On Thefts Grand and Auto Related

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This essay originally appeared in Unwinnable Monthly Issue 77 (March 2016).

I don’t know if Grand Theft Auto IV is the Citizen Kane of videogames, but the titles do share one important distinction: a whole hell of a lot has been written about both. Continue reading “On Thefts Grand and Auto Related”

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How Far Do We Go?

breakingbad1This essay originally appeared in Unwinnable Monthly Issue 78 (April 2016).

Vince Gilligan’s inspiration for the creation of Breaking Bad is almost as famous as the show’s own premise: Gilligan wanted to make a series in which the main character transformed from Mr. Chips into Scarface. The circumstances he concocted to achieve this are notable. In Breaking Bad, a high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and decides to sell meth to provide financial security for his family. This is an idea with momentum. It’s also a little deceptive.

Continue reading “How Far Do We Go?”

With friends like these

This piece on energy technology from Eduardo Porter at the New York Times is disappointing. Porter lays out a criticism of a particular paper on clean energy that is, according to critics, too unrealistic in its predictions concerning our ability to power the US completely on renewable energy resources. He uses this one paper and a recent response to it to mount a much broader criticism of renewable resources, all while claiming that he is simply trying to have a conversation about energy that is practical and realistic.

Continue reading “With friends like these”

Hate in “Blood Meridian”

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This essay originally appeared in Unwinnable Monthly Issue 82 (August 2016).

In Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy crafts a fictionalized account of the campaigns of the non-fictional Glanton gang, a group of bounty hunters tasked with the slaughter of indigenous Americans throughout northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States between 1849 and 1850, in the months following the end of the Mexican-American War. The governor of the state of Chihuahua enlists John Joel Glanton and a few dozen other men (mostly Americans) to eliminate Apache Indians living in the region. Compensation for the Glanton gang’s services comes only upon the presentation of the scalps of those killed. Glanton and his men soon begin murdering other Native American peoples and Mexican citizens, initially scalping the dead to provide false evidence for increased profits. Eventually, they drop even this reprehensible pretense, as the gang raids and plunders settlements throughout the region in a sustained massacre. There are almost no survivors; they leave no children orphaned.

Continue reading “Hate in “Blood Meridian””