Mar. 20th, 2016

proximoception: (Default)
How to watch The Walking Dead:

Assume the most exacting standard of morality.

Pay attention to any violations of it by anyone.

Look out for ways that that fucks them up indirectly.

Because it will.

Maggie asks for as much food from Hilltop as the Saviors took? Rick kills a guy in a Mexican standoff that might have been resolved peacefully? Everyone but Morgan agrees to the premeditated killing of every member of a group that might eventually kill some members of their own? Rick kills a prisoner who refuses to talk but who poses no present threat?

They will suffer. The graze on Maggie's stomach is a warning.

Carl was shot in the eye because Rick killed that kid's father. Carol is a wreck because she got Sam killed by keeping him infantilized through a mixture of fear-mongering and oversheltering. Etc.

Bidding up, is what's being attacked right now. Escalation. Seeing conflict not as having to hurt Them to protect Us at times, but as never again considering those one is in conflict with as anything but a Them until more has been paid back than was taken (or threatened to be taken). This kills negotiation because negotiation cannot be repeated except on the same terms, i.e. on escalated ones. The mathematical basis is that one of You is not worth as much as one of Us. The Saviors are worse along this line, but that just makes them a Breaking Bad-style foil, showing us just how close the protagonists are to being that. And then hanging around, at least in memory, to horrify us when the protagonists are suddenly as bad as that themselves. The "reset" only taught Rick that allies' lives are precious, allies' minds are real. The dirty secret Morgan, Carol and others are keeping isn't just that Morgan kept the Wolf alive but that the Wolf proved he didn't deserve to die - all life's being precious is the treasonous notion.

They're tying it in to capitalism, where the mere fact that you're not crossing some final set of lines, some bare minimum of human dignity, makes it okay to cross everything right up to them where non-Uses are concerned. Thus Rick's apologizing to the medic he kills. If he'd cooperated he would have let him live, you see. The "new deal" isn't as good as the old deal, meeting as equals, but you brought it on yourself by not meeting thus too. And everyone you're affiliated with will now be dealt with according to the new terms - thus Witt's "the people you're with are killers, so that makes you a killer" to Carol, whose side used the same logic to kill her people.

The motherhood thing is fascinating, too. The Alexandria guy - Holden? - basically tells Carol she's like a mother bear to those on her side, or snyway most of them. We see that with Maggie, who goes feral on those who threatened her: I have a child on the way, you endanger it, so I get to kill all of you. Carol knows this logic is horrifying but can't fight it because of a twist on sunk cost fallacy: I have killed 18, 20 people (Witt had only killed 10), so if my principles of conduct are wrong I am a horrible monster, so they can't be wrong. Meanwhile I'm more and more messed up over all of the people I killed. And if the "I" house takes all ties you can see why - only takes two "it was you or me"s before that self-justification is mathematically nauseating. Glen's killing Heath's man for him is about that same math - to murder even once is to have rendered it forever unclear to yourself whether you've taken as much as you've given, in the life account book.

And Witt's account of the fall of DC: the gov't employees were considered worth more as persons, which injustice made her feel she could throw over the rules, and choose herself in the perceived me-or-him of her and her boss (another implicit assumption of a "better-than" mindset). Everyone gets sick when they stray from a 1 person = 1 person understanding, no discounting allowed, or rather a 1 infinity = 1 infinity one, where discounting may not even be mathematically coherent.

Maggie told them about Alexandria's location, I assume we're to take it? Thus perhaps wanted them all dead not just to protect her people, but to somehow erase her own knowledge that she would hold them all at less worth than her unborn child. Capitalism's frewuent, unspoken justification being that it's okay that I'm taking more than my share so long as I'm passing it along to my children. And the fact that others will have children too is ignored because you see yours, you don't see theirs. When you do see theirs things get harder.

Carol stops Maggie from risking herself because she is pregnant. Which ends up putting Maggie at still more risk, but also lets Carol feel further nauseated. She didn't kill the guy who had the drop on them, the way she saw Morgan not kill the gun-stealing Wolf.

Rick refuses to entertain the notion of a 1 for 1 hostage exchange, but I guess that makes sense - he loses his hostage and then he has no real leverage, other than not killing, which they don't buy for good reason. The shock for us is that once the prisoner seems valueless to him he kills him. Like with whatshisname, though, the surgeon he killed in Alexandria, this medic's absence may become consequential. The surgeon's loss gets rectified because someone Rick had given a second chance (because Maggie did) gives his replacement the sense thst she'll have one too if she fucks up. So the show is really a series not just of delayedly punished Oedipal road murders but also delayedly rewarded paw thorn-pullings.

How the dying woman shares her cigarette with Carol - meaning Carol perceives herself this way? How the other woman refuses to let her smoke around the pregnant woman, suggesting she would not have really hurt Maggie, a hint which Maggie does notice or does but feels she can't afford to pay attention to.

Jesus saves Glen and Heath. Because the one was unable to murder, and the other murdered to prevent his having to?

The self-defense of those two crewting a pile of several bodies outside the door was a nice touch too - a war movie cliche thst, when oresented with even the tiniest touch of realism, becomes absolutely appalling.

Highly Zero Dark Thirty influenced, thst 3rd episode.

The range of behaviors of the kidnappers was telling, too: the man wants Carol killed, or Carol's arm shot the way she'd shot his at the very least. He's dying. The smoking woman doesn't care about her second hand smoke until her friend stops her - and of course second hand smoke is bad for non-fetuses, too, so there's a bot of a "1 trumps 1 but not 1+" assumption baked into her smoking. That she's dying ... is that just further symbolic proof that bad moral math sickens? Like with the Wolf? The man is already dead but they'd intended to kill him, or anyway Maggie did and Carol doesnt stop her; the 2nd woman is dying, and Maggie kills her too, with Carol not stopping IIRC; so Carol's slowly climbing up the me-or-you sin hill, and horrified because she's actually aware of it this time. Then there's Maggie vs. the Maggie double, who Carol kills rather than threatens (it's pretty brilliant that they have reason to think BOTH sides' allies are about to burst in at any time), then last there's Witt, who isn't armed, isn't running, isn't attacking but might, is merely advancing on a position they have room to retreat from, and standing in between them and an exit it isn't at all clear they should use. Carol almost shoots her because she's increasing the danger knob - but at what point is it fair? There's a chance she can be subdued, or maybe even reasoned with. One step closer she's more of a danger - but enough of one to kill her for it? But to not shoot her, as she hadn't shot the man, means she is still a live danger, and Witt does attack Carol, knocking her gun. Are we to understand that if she hadn't morally compromised herself she would have known when to shoot? Or rather that she wouldn't have moved in point blank like thst, in self-destructive indecision? Wanting to be killed, on some level, since life is not clearly worth living when you don't feel all life is precious - someone else's you know still might be, so you might not be suicidal. But at a certain point you are suicidal, because at a certain point you've killed too many other people to justify the claim you're just protecting your cubs.

Very very interesting stuff. It's like The Leftovers, where the challenge becomes justifying why you're still saying the same thing. Ways to say it just a little differently you go out of your way for, since they let you look yourself in the mirror. No one wants to be a hack, and especially no one wants to be a hack pimping violence. They want it justified - and they're ordered to pump out more and worse, so they need to justify it more and better. Kind of fascinating, given that anticapitalism dimension to their present argument.
proximoception: (Default)
In the dream things were not things. All shapes extended back behind themselves till merging in the outer flux and echo. Colors there were speeds, and stillness, slowness only relative in the universal streaming urgent surge. All was transparent, interlapped, but dense - they were not ghosts that wandered in each other. Each altered each but stayed some shape it was.

Waking, I thought that's all there was to say. Infinite potential hardly mattered, given the patterns of my days, though it unsettled something in me to know there was a place for such a thing.

Dreaming, I let my fingers drift among the shapes, forgetting which was which, until the whole spread of the known became that of my hand. And yet I still could touch. I just touched more.

Awake I abandoned relationships behind me like beads from one's necklace in the crawl from a motorcycle crash.

Asleep there was a glance across my length, like a shy finger alighting between eye and nose to silence some noise of expression during love. It persisted across the nights, became the slight, the focal margin of some second sort of skin, my only one in that long dissolution.

Here I stopped eating, gave up my home, took up rock-climbing.

There the ribboned depths of each occurrence caught, whipped then wrapped about me, putting substance in that me. Inequalities in that birthing trace of hush mounted into lumps, these met and formed crevasses, those caught new streams of happen. I grew limbs.

But these were not my body in, which was not, but my body out. The body of what wasn't, no, was less me.

I ate ice cream when anything during those weeks. I found the narrowest parlor, like a passage, like a railcar. Door in, the glassed one row of forty flavors, jar of spoons, a young girl paid to smile, the ancient register, door out.

The body out was never still. Please don't misunderstand me. It was almost as much shelf as body. A holder where space was suggestive. What did I lack? Filled with what from where, would I lack what more?

I bicycled. My rule was no street twice. Boxed in, I had to lift the bike and walk. It still felt wrong.

For a while it was arms. They stroked me, choked me, poked me. Or they hung like seaweed off a ledge, thinking like all ocean life is thinking.

I collected jars. Containers. Afternoons I fit them one inside the other, discarding redundant levels. Stopped with a bird's-nest crumpled rubber band in a thimble in a wasabi dish in a measuring cup in a pitcher in an urn in a wicker basket in a sleeping bag in a wheelbarrow in the shell of a car.

There I collected too. I gave my findings to the arms, my indescribables. Soon the arms held too much to be seen, and I wedged novelties in the gaps. The stacks jutted slowly forward and loomed over, as though to intimidate.

In a valley town I made two friends.

Where jags of wall pierced me I did not bleed but reconfigured, like a crystal when a pressure is removed, the object out becoming my new edge. Some edges moved within, became my boundaries there.

We set up a garden pool, using every trick of sending water upwards. This fountain was written up and was nominated for several awards. Now the neighbors accepted that some might exist in the way we were doing.

When did your face appear? Out of arms, tops of trees, ends of rains, nets of chairlegs on tables in night-shuttered restaurants. Out of shadows in weeds in a tropical water. Was there a face all along? Were there nothing but faces?


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