Breaking Bad and Walter White’s Too-Neat Conclusion

Breaking Bad‘s finale was a little disappointing. After the relentless darkness of the second half of the fifth season, I had let myself believe that the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, would go all the way and serve up a stark, brutal ending, one that would put the finishing touches on the show’s reputation as anContinue reading “Breaking Bad and Walter White’s Too-Neat Conclusion”

Walter White’s Rage Against The Dying Light

Ross Douthat ponders the question of what makes Walter White the target of such sympathy–and perhaps even affection– even as it became clear that his criminality and amorality had run amuck: The allure for Team Walt is not ultimately the pull of nihilism, or the harmless thrill of rooting for a supervillain. It’s the pullContinue reading “Walter White’s Rage Against The Dying Light”

A Small, Yet Beautiful Book Collection (And Its Scholarly Owner)

As an academic, I’m used to seeing large personal book collections in homes and offices. Many of my colleagues and friends–some very accomplished and smart folks–have, rather effortlessly, put mine to shame.  This is the story of, in contrast, a small book collection. But a very impressive one, one that revealed its owner to beContinue reading “A Small, Yet Beautiful Book Collection (And Its Scholarly Owner)”

Alina Simone Doesn’t Like The Internet, Her Best Friend

The New York Times periodically publishes blog posts and Op-Eds by defenders of the intellectual property regimes that are a blot on our cultural landscape today; these defenders include what I describe as–for lack of a better term–‘the whining artist.’ This category includes all those who, seemingly stunned by the fact that the political economyContinue reading “Alina Simone Doesn’t Like The Internet, Her Best Friend”

Turn Down the Comments; We’re Talking Science Here

A couple of days ago, Popular Science decided to turn off comments on news articles. In a blog post, Suzanne LaBarre explained why: Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off….[W]e are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of scienceContinue reading “Turn Down the Comments; We’re Talking Science Here”

Breaking Bad and the War on Drugs

A video made by the Brave New Foundation and titled ‘What Breaking Bad Reveals About the War on Drugs‘ is making the rounds these days. It is brief, well worth a watch,  and made up of rapidly edited clips from the show. It features the following  screen legends–designed in Breaking Bad’s trademark ‘chemical elements letters’ style–thatContinue reading “Breaking Bad and the War on Drugs”

A Tiny Pleasure: Heading Home On Time

Yesterday evening, I took the train to my wife’s place of work at Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center. I was going to drop off my baby daughter at her mother’s office, and then head to the gym to workout. It had been a tiring day as any day of infant daycare invariably is; my wife was going toContinue reading “A Tiny Pleasure: Heading Home On Time”

Breaking Badder Than I Thought

Almost exactly a year ago, I speculated about how Breaking Bad would wrap up. I wondered about Walter White‘s eventual fate: [P]erhaps the writers will give Walter a glorious back-to-the-wall-defending-his-family-shootout kind of death, saving  them from the depredations of a ruthless set of ganglords, thus redeeming himself in spectacular fashion even as he loses hisContinue reading “Breaking Badder Than I Thought”

NYPD to CUNY Students: Drop Dead

Corey Robin has an excellent post on the latest twist in the ‘General Petraeus at CUNY‘ fubar situation: students protesting Petraeus’ presence at CUNY are treated, first, to a tongue-lashing by various CUNY administrators including the University Faculty Senate, and then, when six of them are arrested, manhandled, and have the book thrown at themContinue reading “NYPD to CUNY Students: Drop Dead”

Mallory Kane Goes ‘Haywire’

Steven Soderbergh‘s Haywire is–perhaps literally–a kick-ass little guilty pleasure. It is so because through its snappy 94 minutes, there is plenty of ass-kicking carried out by its redoubtable heroine Mallory Kane (Gina Carano, the formidable mixed martial arts fighter turned movie actress). Indeed, the movie could have been rather profitably–and more accurately–named Don’t Mess With Mallory Kane.Continue reading “Mallory Kane Goes ‘Haywire’”