Day: October 19, 2013

“Breaking Bad”: Through a Literary Lens

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Breaking Bad” has achieved something akin to artistic immortality, crowned by critics near and far as the finest television show in history. Such is its outsized achievement that it has taken up its perch in that rarefied stratosphere where only giants roam and even the creative gods bow down. Once Breaking Bad reached such heights it could no longer be evaluated in mere entertainment art terms. Just as Dylan is now revered with the poets, Breaking Bad began to get lionized alongside the likes if not of Bellow, Hemmingway, Morrison, and Faulkner then at least Mailer, Roth, Styron, and Carver. But something happened just shy of the mountain top. For although it went out with a bang, the final episode may have rendered it a mere mortal once again—albeit still the Muhammad Ali of TV.

“Breaking Bad” glowed on the verge of the literary pantheon by achieving something rare for a television production, elevation to a higher genre…it achieved this with perhaps the most complex and creative plot in television history…its unmistakably epic quality…its deep inquiry into the human condition…to the degree it had one, its not so trustworthy narrator…the shifting moral centers of its characters, and not only the protagonist…the movie-making quality of its filming and production…in particular those first ten minutes before the credits rolled, tantalizing and beguiling…at times abstract, and almost always foreshadowing or deeply symbolic…its layered commentary on the darker parts of American society (and the darker parts of ourselves)…and it limned the place by the way in which the suburban wasteland of Albuquerque became for all intents and purposes one of the central characters on the show. Continue reading

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Duck Forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy #4

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[Note:  This is a guest post by Jerel A.Rosati of the University of South Carolina and James M. Scott of Texas Christian University.  It is the final installment in our forum on Teaching US Foreign Policy.  You can follow more of the conversation at #TeachForPol.]

Teaching US Foreign Policy with The Politics of United States Foreign Policy (6th ed, Cengage: 2014). By Jerel A. Rosati and James M. Scott

Using The Politics of United States Foreign Policy, we engage our students to consider the players, processes, and politics that drive U.S. decisions and involvement in the global political system. Our emphasis on the “politics” of U.S. foreign policy leads us to focus our efforts, on examining and explaining the struggle that occurs to define problems, formulate options, choose policies, and implement them in the context of a highly political process. In this endeavor, we emphasize that a variety of players play a role, and that the struggle over competing values, purposes, meanings, and interests is never far from the surface for both national security and foreign economic policy. Continue reading

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