Leaves of Glass: Breaking Bad’s Walt Whitman fixation, and 'Ozymandias' deconstructed


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IMHO: The article is little more than poetry buffs wishing that their interests in some small way intersect with a pop culture monolith like Breaking Bad.

It makes out like the parallel is an undeniable, inextricable part of the Breaking Bad story arc which, in the opinion of a person who has obsessively watched through all released episodes twice in sequence, is utter BS. In the first season I believe there to be absolutely no intention of comparing White to Whitman. The first mention of Whitman is from Gale in season 3 and IMO it’s (at least until that point) no more than a storytelling convenience employed by Gilligan to help the story unfold in later episodes.

Sorry poetry guys, but What’s next? The Wire is a modern take on A Tale of Two Cities?

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Well, since your post aggravated me—why not just let others have their little pleasure?—I’ll see if I can give you a heart attack by noting that Dr. House’s buddy was Dr. Wilson and that House’s house number was 221. Since House was, like Holmes, a genius of detail and “deduction,” I’ll say that House was inspired by Doyle’s short stories. Is your left arm hurting?

No, The Wire is more properly a modern, televised extension of literary realism, like rolling up Balzac’s Comédie humaine with Zola’s Rougon-Macquart cycle, with some of the English writers thrown in: maybe more Bennett than Dickens, in certain ways, although Simon’s Baltimore grotesques are certainly Dickensian . . . when they’re not straight out of Poe. Add to that certain key moments of Stephen Crane and Frank Norris (and some others), and you’ve got yourself a working background to Simon’s epic cycle.

Dickens did publish serially, though, like a lot of nineteenth-century writers, so there is a fair comparison there: both forms, the nineteenth-century novel and twenty-first-century longform television serial, aspire to “bring the news” of the day to their audiences, and both occupy a central place in the cultural imaginary. So, notwithstanding your snark, you’re rather correct!


I don’t watch shit TV like House.

You and anyone can say what they want, but it doesn’t make it true. I gave a bunch of examples debunking the parallels between White and Whitman while you gave me an unrelated example of yet another (probably also completely imagined) parallel between TV and literary classics.

What you should do if my post aggravated you is explain why the parallel we’re discussing does exist in contradiction of my points, not give me another poorly considered parallel. I already ripped on one person’s parallel as idiotic, why do you think yours will bother me?

Why not let others have their little pleasure? Why not add my 2c? I guarantee you I’ve watched the show more closely than the people writing the opinion piece and I guarantee you that you won’t find anything that alludes to Walt Whitman until season 3.

I hate you :smile:

PS: My snark was intentionally designed to be rather correct. It’s a slow week.

Aw, come on, I’m a lovable pedant, not a hateful one. LOVE ME

Maybe you’d feel less hate for people if you watched uplifting, quality TV like House.

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