Watching and Listening
I’m down to the last two episodes of Breaking Bad. This show has been quite a ride. Is Walter White a tragic hero? I don’t remember all of the elements required to place a story in the same category as Oedipus Rex, and Hamlet (I learned that stuff in high school after all), but Walt certainly causes his own downfall. His pride and greed lead him down a dark and destructive path. The show was sometimes hard for me to watch. Things happened that made me feel just awful. I know it’s just a tv show, but boy did it seem real! That’s what good writing does. It transports you to different realities. I suppose we wouldn’t be able to be entertained if we couldn’t suspend our disbelief. Is that our capacity for empathy at work?
When I needed a little respite from my Breaking Bad binge, I would watch Derek. Derek is Ricky Gervais’ mockumentary-type series about a guy who works in a nursing home in England. The title character, played by Gervais is probably supposed to be somewhere on the Autism spectrum. He is kind, sensitive, and an outcast. The other employees at the nursing home are misfits as well, but they’ve found a place where they can be accepted for who they are. It’s a sweet show really. I’m convinced that Karl Pilkington is a genius. If you’ve never listened to the Ricky Gervais Show podcast, I suggest you go do that now. Get to know Karl on the podcast, and then watch Derek. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
That’s what I’m watching. What I’ve been listening to is The Historian. This is a novel by Elizabeth Kostova that I picked up in the discount section of Borders or Barnes & Noble several years ago. I started reading, but it was so long in getting to the story that I gave up. I’m not sure why I decided to buy the audio version, but I’m almost finished with the listen. It’s a vampire story, told from the perspective of a couple of history scholars, and the daughter of one, who are trying to track down the real Vlad Dracula. It’s a fairly complicated story, but interesting. I’m not usually into vampire books, but this one appeals to the librarian in me because it involves archives and old books. I recommend it if you’re into research driven mysteries mixed with old-world vampire lore.