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Friday, September 27, 2013

Again: Murder Considered As One Of The Fine Arts

Here we are, awaiting the finale of the series Breaking Bad.

It seems another series, Dexter, has come to an end. It was a series dealing with a psychopathic killer, delving into his "good" side, and illustrating with loving detail his "bad" side. Funny how rich and complicated are the characters of mass murderers.

The Dexter finale has been roundly criticized as feeble and unimaginative.
They should have had him go to Syria and join the heart-eating jihadist group. Or they could have followed him into a near-death or real-death experience and taken a peek at the afterlife of a murderer.
Come to think of it, maybe that lumberjack thing was supposed to be the afterlife of pedestrian brains.

I have talked to people who have watched the series. They told me it was riveting in the beginning, then began to lose its luster.
That is normal.
It is hard to write a TV series and keep it crisp. Look at the second season of Mad Men, or the 4th seasons on to the present of The Big Bang Theory. They are more memorable for what they contain that you crave to forget.

When a series based on a serial killer loses its luster, it means that the artifices of Art has become weak, and the Horror of what the show is actually about begins to ooze out.

I do not mean the make-believe horror of depicting serial murders, I mean the real horror of the world and the fact that we are making a celebrity of monsters for money.
That's the horror.

Daniel Defoe, of Robinson Crusoe fame, penned the pamphlet On Murder Considered As One Of The Fine Arts.
(referred to in: )

As I read the title, an insight not only came to me, but became part of my deep cognition of the world and society, and it was the simple fact that anything may be considered to be an Art, if there are enough people willing to believe it, and there are enough self-appointed critics, and there are essays devoted to it.
Even serial killings.

We seemingly take horror and trivialize it into TV shows that the word "superficial" is too good for. 

We have trivialized the experience of war:
(1) by watching the USA bomb various peoples on prime time,
(2) by insulating ourselves from the horrors of war,
(3) by making war more of a budgetary matter than an ethical one,
(4) by ignoring the true cost in human lives lost and injured in our wars.

The entire flocking of war hawks and ravens and vultures to bomb Syria was an example of people who fancy themselves so totally defended against the horrors of war that they blithely wish to inflict it on others. Norman Podhoretz comes to mind as a giant of an intellect that needs Paul Bunyan size servings of Middle Eastern blood.

Remember how governments beat the drums for war.
Remember all the propaganda flowing that sought to secure the bombing of Syria.

Those things are the equivalents of script writing on a TV series: their objective is to keep the minds of the audience captivated by the "Story".

Once the "Story" falters - like is sort of is right now with Breaking Bad , maybe - the the Horror shows through and the audience feels the repulsion. The people look around at each other, ashamed for their disgusting thrill seeking... wretched people in wretched rain coats in disastrous porn movie theaters of reality.


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