Walter White Is a Monster and So Are Congressional Republicans

Walter White Is a Monster and So Are Congressional Republicans:
(Yeah, spoilers)
Something that has bugged the Rude Pundit lately about the TV show no one can shut the fuck up about (including the Rude Pundit), Breaking Bad, is not really about Breaking Bad itself but about the way in which people react to the show and, especially, the protagonist, Walter White, the chemistry teacher turned meth-making kingpin turned retired drug kingpin turned on-the-lam outlaw. Too many analyses of the show argue over whether or not Walt is an antihero (a protagonist who we root for even though he has awful qualities) or a villain. Indeed, for many, they just accept that he's an antihero and justify his actions. And even when someone is asserting that he's not one, that he's become the villain, it's done by telling you about all the terrible events we've seen on the show: the murder of Gale, the manipulation of Jesse, the lying to his family, the inaction while Jane died, the poisoning of Brock.

What this leaves out is a huge, glaring part of Walter's crimes (and Jesse's, too). Their absence is a constant presence, in the best postmodern sense, but their existence makes it perfectly clear that Walter White is a monster. He cooks meth, highly pure, highly addictive methamphetamine. That meth is sold by various people throughout the series, even going international in the last season. And then people use it. And it fucks up their lives and the lives of their families and loved ones. At this point, we are more than likely up to thousands of people who have been ruined in some way by Heisenberg's blue meth. Whatever you think about Walter White (and, yeah, the Rude Pundit has rooted for him against Tuco, against Gus, even now against the neo-Nazi bastards), you cannot divorce it from this fact.

Just like David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, always knew that Tony Soprano was a sociopath, so does Vince Gilligan know that Walter's a very bad guy. It's why it's so refreshing that, when confronted by his father's crimes, Walter Jr. does what any sane person with a shred of morality would do. He doesn't try to justify them. He doesn't hesitate. He calls the cops. Because that's what you do when the monster comes into your house.

See, it's the victims you don't see that always should haunt the actions of those who harmed them. What they hope is that you won't think about those victims, that they will just be abstract, a faceless statistic. It's easier that way. It was easier for Walter White because he never had to sell a meth packet to a tweaking addict. So the House of Representatives, on a mostly party-line vote, voted last Friday to cut funding to the food stamps program. The food stamp cuts would push at least 3.8 million people off the program at a time when more people than ever are relying on it and on food banks. Of course, since most of this happens in places most politicians never visit, the suffering remains mostly invisible, the better to hurt people more.

The House GOP's reasoning on food stamps, in part, was that it would "put us on a path to fiscal responsibility." Walter White justified all of his actions because he was going to make enough money for his family to be taken care of when he dies of lung cancer. In theory, both of these are perfectly acceptable justifications. In practice, so many people must suffer in service to an objective that it makes the justifications into so much bullshit, a crutch to fall back on while cruel people do more and more harm.

It's chilling, isn't it? The way that terrible people are supported by so many when, in the end, what they deserve is a karmic comeuppance.

But not before he kills Todd and sets Jesse free.