Friday, 04 October 2013

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OBAMACARE! Copyright (c) 1980, 1982, 1983, 2006, 2013 Sekocom, Inc. All rights reserved. OBAMACARE! is a registered trademark of Sekocom, Inc. Revision 23 / Serial number 8940726 West of Apartment Complex You are standing in an open field in west of a white apartment complex, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here. > e The door is locked. There is evidently no key. > kick door I don’t understand that. > chicago jackboot thug kick I don’t understand that. > black panther power You don’t understand that. > power of greyskull Fine. By the Power of Greyskull you open the door. You are in the kitchen of the white townhouse. A table seems to have been used recently for the preparation of food. A passage leads to the west, and a dark staircase can be seen leading upward. To the east is a small window which is open. On the table is a computer open to Healthcare.gov. > what is dot gov Healtcare.gov is a website on the Internet that you can use to find affordable health care. > what internet This is going to be a problem. > WHAT INTERNET A series of tubes. Information goes through them. You will like it. > e You look out the window but see nothing of interest. You return to the computer and look at Healthcare.gov. > no dont Yes, you do. > no, dont Yes, you do. You choose the state you want to have health insurance coverage in and hit return. > then what Hold on. > then what Hold on. > SO THEN WHAT Fine: > what in fuck is that That is an image file. Computers have them now. > naked ladies I don’t understand. > want see naked ladies Really? You discovered the Internet two minutes ago and all you want to see is naked ladies? > NAKED LADIES Fine: > saw that You are waiting for the opportunity to acquire good healthcare coverage at a reasonable price. > am wait for naked ladies As soon as you have finished signing up for healthcare coverage you can see some naked ladies. > now Let me check: > what about now Let me check: > LADIES NAKED NOW What if you got eaten by a grue? What would happen to you? > kill computer You do not want to kill the computer. > kill internet You cannot kill the Internet. > kill kill kill You really want to kill something? > KILL KILL KILL Fine. You have a head cold. > what You have a head cold. This morning it migrated to your lungs. You are coughing an awful lot. > i am You are. You seem to have acquired a nasty case of bronchitis. > go doctor You do not have a doctor. You cannot afford one. Your cough is getting worse. > fix it You cannot afford to fix it. You are on the floor covered in specks of blood. You are drowning...
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Breaking Bad can't be art: Thoughts on the first truly naturalist television narrative A few weeks after the finale of Lost, Chad Post attempted to defend it by claiming that its nonsense was the stuff of art. “What’s interesting,” he argued, “is how these six seasons functioned as … a great work of art [that] leaves things open to interpretation, poses questions that go unanswered, creates patterns that are maybe meaningful.” I’m not interested in discussing the merits of the Lost finale – whether all of the “survivors” Oceanic 815 were dead the entire time or some of them were only dead most of time doesn’t matter, as they’re both the narrative equivalent of convincing a child you’ve stolen its nose: it only works because kid’s not equipped to know it doesn’t. Defenders of the Lost finale, of course, have no such excuse and are instead forced, like Post, to recapitulate aesthetic theories they half-remember from high school – in this case, the quasi-New Critical theory that elevates the interpreter over the work of art. It’s the critic, after all, not the artist, who benefits from “leav[ing] things open to interpretation.” The New Critic was an archeologist of ambiguity, teasing from every contradiction he encountered a paean to the antebellum South. They valued ambiguity as an aesthetic virtue because poems and novels that possessed it could be made to be about anything, which freed them to make statements like, when it came to great works of art, “all tend[ed] to support a Southern way of life against what may be called the American or prevailing way.” And they did so by being ambiguous, which allowed the New Critics to say, without irony, that great works of art celebrated “the culture of the soil” in the South. This, dear reader, is the brand of literary and aesthetic theory you were likely taught in high school, and by its druthers, Breaking Bad‘s not even a work of art, much less a great one.* In fact, by this standard, it’s quite possibly the least artful narrative in the history of American television, and because of this, it’s the first show that deserves the label “naturalist.” The naturalist novels of the early 20th Century were tendentious in the most base sense of the word: any tendency that appears in characters’ personality early in a book will, by its end, have metastasized into impulses so vast and deep you wonder why they even tried to repress them. For example, in the first chapter of McTeague (1899), Frank Norris compares his titular character to a single-minded “draught horse, immensely strong, stupid, docile, obedient,” whose one “dream [was] to have projecting from the corner window [of his "Dental Parlors"] a huge gilded tooth, a molar with enormous prongs, something gorgeous and attractive.” There’s your premise: McTeague is dumb and stubborn, especially in the service of his vanity. In the next chapter, when he tries to extract a tooth from the mouth of a patient he’s fallen in love with, it’s no surprise that “as she lay there, unconscious and helpless,...

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