From Mr. Destructo:
Early in the film, we’re subjected to another manifestation of Smith’s pretension. A comic book fan describes Holden’s comic Bluntman and Chronic as “Bill and Ted meets Cheech and Chong” to which Holden replies, “I kinda like to think of them as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet Vladamir and Estragon.” Thus Holden (read Smith) proves his masterful knowledge of literature without actually showing why this particular analogy has any meaning other than as a pathetic namedrop of works he almost certainly doesn’t understand. Compare this to Linklater’s Slacker, where he references James Joyce’s Ulysses. Because Slacker shares many of the same themes of Ulysses — aimless modern wandering, layperson curiosity about ideas, finding the heroic in the banal — and because its form resembles the “Wandering Rocks” chapter of the book, bringing it up inside the film feels organic and relevant.
Smith perhaps anticipated the comic style of shows like Family Guy while also missing any of the necessary self-aware irony. He consistently alludes to other fragments of pop-culture, hoping to infuse his own work with the collective nostalgia/humor/pathos of his reference. From DeGrassi Jr. High to Star Wars, the entirety of Smith’s allusive capability seems to be, “Hey, remember this? Yeah, me too. Cool, huh?” Most obnoxiously, he also repeatedly refers back to his own creations, attempting to shoehorn them into the pop-cultural conversation as shared hallmarks of events or ideas on par with the other works he namedrops.
Yet, aside from the token presence of Hooper X, all of our characters are upper-middle class white bourgeoisie, entrenched in their first-world problems.
There’s that phrase again.
In its first season, “Breaking Bad” seemed like the story of the nuttiest midlife crisis ever, told with elements that felt vaguely familiar. The structure — felonious dad copes with stress of work and family; complications ensue — owed an obvious debt to “The Sopranos,” and the collision of regular people and colorfully violent thugs nodded to Tarantino. The story and setting were an update of the spaghetti Western, minus the cowboys and set in the present.
But it was soon clear that “Breaking Bad” was something much more satisfying and complex: a revolutionary take on the serial drama. What sets the show apart from its small-screen peers is a subtle metaphysical layer all its own. As Walter inches toward damnation, Gilligan and his writers have posed some large questions about good and evil, questions with implications for every kind of malefactor you can imagine, from Ponzi schemers to terrorists. Questions like: Do we live in a world where terrible people go unpunished for their misdeeds? Or do the wicked ultimately suffer for their sins?
From Talking Points Memo:
Two gay former patients of Marcus Bachmann’s Lake Elmo, MN counseling center are talking to the press about the so-called homosexual “reparative therapy” Bachmann offers at his clinic. Bachmann — husband of surging presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — has long denied he peddles the universally-rejected theory that prayer and Bible study can turn a gay person straight. But now there’s video that shows reparative therapy was on offer at the clinic just weeks ago.
Reports from the pair were first published in The Nation and on ABC News Monday.
Andrew Ramirez, who was sent to Bachmann’s clinic while a senior in high school after he came out to his parents in 2004, told The Nation that a counselor at Bachmann’s clinic “set about trying to ‘cure’ him” by reading the Bible. “particularly verses that cast homosexuality as an abomination.”
John Becker, a gay LGBT rights activist who lives Vermont, traveled to Bachmann’s clinic in June carrying a hidden camera and posing as a patient looking for a “cure” to his sexual orientation. On the website for the organization he works for, Truth Wins Out, Becker detailed his sessions with clinic counselor Timothy Wiertzema, who suggested Becker find a “heterosexual accountability buddy” to help fight urges and reminded Backer that “in terms of how God created us, we’re all heterosexual.”