You act like you never saw a severed human head on a tortoise before

…been catching up on all the Seasons 2 -- 3 Breaking Bad I missed.

…and been thinking about how that line was written. It may have emerged from the void whole, but I suspect the writer or writers worked a while before they hit on the word “severed,” which is just right. The prior owner of the head -- a compromised drug dealer played by actor Danny Trejo, nicknamed “El Tortuga”  -- appears briefly in this peppy parody of a narcocorrido from the opening of the same episode (Season 2, Ep. 7, “Negro y Azul“):

Or maybe it’s more a satirical homage than a parody… Understanding the storyline helps in interpreting the lyrics, of course, but the video is also a study in the artful manipulation of cheesy out-of-the-box transitions and effects: It’s disarmingly and appropriately cheap-looking and yet brilliantly slick at once.

Watching a whole season this way has a lot to recommend it over agonizing through the story episode by episode, week by week -- though the traditional method does encourage the viewer to savor every moment.  Also, the latenight AMC commercials that accompany these earlier season re-runs, ahead of the Season 5 premiere in July, even played back at high fast-forward, tend to be quite depressing: lots of disease, drugs, lawyers, often combined with each other… But that’s also appropriate to the show, of course…

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

5 comments on “You act like you never saw a severed human head on a tortoise before

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  1. Well when Danny TRejo shows up, you know there will be blood, of course GianCarlo Esposito, as the middle manager, is Chilean, which is symbolic, since they were the original cocaine players before the Colombians

  2. It issort of becoming implausible, how can Walt’s neighbors not notice, he is like the Death Eater in their neigborhood.

  3. Even when it comes to just getting some heavy shit on the air, I still vote for House. On network television, they managed to get the following scene produced:
    An episode about two young kids who turn out to have been accidentally exposed to viagra and are exhibiting adult sexual characteristics leads up to House going to their school. CLOSE on HOUSE saying “Do you have hair on your special part?” Camera pulls back to reveal that House is speaking to a 6 year old girl. She screams appropriately and runs away.

    I’m not sayin’ it’s appropriate network television, I’m just sayin’ it’s mind-blowing that they got stuff like that produced.

    What I like about the tortoise scene is that the guy who has a human reaction to it ends up being saved because he had a human reaction.

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  1. […] Scott comes a bit of his high HOUSE to embrace the tortoise: What I like about the tortoise scene is that the guy who has a human reaction to it ends up being saved because he had a human reaction. […]

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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