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Breaking American exceptionalism

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When Walter White turns into Heisenberg he morphs into Deerslayer:
"A man who turns his back on white society. A man who keeps his moral integrity hard and intact. An isolate, almost selfless, stoic, enduring man, who lives by death, by killing, but who is pure white. 

"This is the very intrinsic -- most American. He is at the core of all the other flux and fluff. And when this man breaks from his static isolation, and makes a new move, then look out, something will be happening."
The genius of the Breaking Bad writers' room -- with creator Vince Gilligan at the core -- was to depict Walter White's descent into the maelstrom as primeval, intrinsically "most American." No wonder Gilligan defined Breaking Bad essentially as "a western." Clint Eastwood was fond of saying that the western and jazz were the only true American art forms (well, he forgot film noir and blues, rock'n roll, soul and funk, but we get the drift).

So call this warped western a masterful depiction of American exceptionalism. And mirror it with the soft pull of a dying, lone superpower which is still capable of turning the whole planet into junkies, addicted to the cinematically sumptuous spectacle of its own demise.

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Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and (more...)
 
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