READER REPORT:

Was Walt evil, or just breaking good?

DEREK SEYMOUR
Last updated 05:00 07/10/2013
breaking bad

BAD TO THE BONE? Walter White with Jesse Pinkman.

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How evil is Walter White? Really?

Was White a good man gone bad, or a bad man who managed to hide his bad side before turning into Scarface?

I don't buy that White was an evil man.

In Nietzschean philosophical terms, in my view, White was operating beyond the insipid conventional ethics we're all taught are right. You know the drill. In the words of another mortal, Phil from Groundhog Day, he rejected conventional wisdom:

"Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don't mix beer and wine, ever." Oh yeah: "Don't drive on the railroad track".

White drove down the railway tracks at a hundred miles an hour, laughing his head off.

When his deadly cancer diagnosis was revealed he was forced to quickly become what any person is meant to become: he became himself, nothing more, or less, with the tools he was given at any given moment.

In terms of Kurt Goldstein's psychological theory, he self-actualised. And that, my friends, is all we can ask from any person at any one time. They did their best.

In Nietzschean terminology White was a superman who ran roughshod over the prevailing straitjacket morality of our times.

He was a mixture of a snake injecting deadly venom into a tree-frog, a cunning polar bear hunting loveable baby seals on the ice cap, and a doting female grizzly bear protecting her pups. He also had a fondness for blowing people up.

In the loveable language of the DSM-IV psychiatric bible for mental disorders, our superman was a sociopath. But I reject that too.

First and foremost, he was a human. Anybody with half a brain will admit people are the most cunning animals on the planet who can barely be understood, let alone diagnosed.

They are all capable of acts which make granny choke on her tea, in their quest to become everything they were meant to be.

White got stuff done, when it needed to get done, on his own terms. And in the end, he won.

He reminds me of another movie villain, Dr Lector. He says "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti".

We try our hardest to understand people who go beyond the norm, but its a pointless endeavor.

But the ending of Breaking Bad still left a Ricin like turmoil in the gut. What about that sniveling punk, Jesse? What about White's wife, Skyler, who lived in the clouds, and managed to suck out White's essence for decades, like a black-widow spider in her quest to maintain appearances?

The people White pulled into his cellestial god-like orbit managed to live another day in their non-Nietzschean wimp-like existence coveting wood-work boxes and trips to the mall to drink milkshakes.

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I'm slightly disappointed they weren't exited in a hail of Nietzschean gunfire.

As for White, he drank everybody's milkshake, and ultimately, his own.


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