Oh, True Detective, HBO. Singular masterpiece on TV now.
Some pretentiousness and fluff aside, this is serious good writing, excellent use of music, excellent direction, and even more excellent acting, which is rare if taken alone, even more if you expect them to happen all at once. It comes as close as possible to an hour of perfect Television. I’m impressed (I’ve only seen the first three episodes, I’ve heard the fourth is better).
It’s also a fair bit like a TV adaptation of Bakker’s “Disciple of the Dog”. Matthew McConaughey is more than perfect for the role as Detective “Rust”, the most delicious kind of cynicism. Tasting exactly like Rust, who suffers from synesthesia. Bakker’s themes are all there and not /too/ flattened for the broader public either.
This show, contrary to the standard of TV productions, is also run entirely by a single writer and a single director. Eight episodes and the first season is over, but following seasons, if they happen, open up completely new chapters and characters. So this story will come to a close in these eight episodes. It promises and delivers.
To add more genius, the opening shows human interiority as physical landscapes. Human beings as environments. And The King in Yellow was mentioned.
But this post is simply supposed to collect quotes right from the script (or the three episodes I’ve seen).
– People out here, it’s like they don’t even know the outside world exists. Might as well be living on the fucking Moon.
– There’s all kinds of ghettos in the world.
– It’s all one ghetto, man, giant gutter in outer space.
Look. I consider myself a realist, all right, but in philosophical terms, I’m what’s called a pessimist.
– Um, okay. What’s that mean?
– Means I’m bad at parties.
– Heh. Let me tell you. You ain’t great outside of parties either.
– I think human consciousness was a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, this accretion of sensory experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody when, in fact, everybody’s nobody.
– I wouldn’t go around spouting that shit, I was you. People around here don’t think that way.
– I think the honorable thing for species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters, opting out of a raw deal.
– So what’s the point of getting out bed in the morning?
– I tell myself I bear witness, but the real answer is that it’s obviously my programming, and I lack the constitution for suicide.
Ah, that’s not this. This has scope. Now, she articulated a person with vision. Vision is meaning. Meaning is historical.
Yeah, back then, the visions. Yeah, most of the time, I was convinced that I’d lost it. But there were other times… I thought I was mainlining the secret truth of the universe.
– Some folks enjoy community, the common good.
– Yeah? Well, if the common good has got to make up fairy tales, then it’s not good for anybody.
If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward, then, brother, that person is a piece of shit, and I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible.
What’s it say about life, hmm, you got to get together, tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day?
Oh, yeah. Been that way since one monkey looked at the sun and told the other monkey, “He said for you to give me your fucking share.”
Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel. It’s catharsis. He absorbs their dread with his narrative. Because of this, he’s effective in proportion to the amount of certainty he can project.
Certain linguistic anthropologists think that religion is a language virus that rewrites pathways in the brain, dulls critical thinking.
See, we all got what I call a life trap, this gene-deep certainty that things will be different, that you’ll move to another city and meet the people that’ll be the friends for the rest of your life, that you’ll fall in love and be fulfilled. Fucking fulfillment, heh, and closure, whatever the fuck those two– Fucking empty jars to hold this shitstorm, and nothing is ever fulfilled until the very end, and closure– No. No, no. Nothing is ever over.
The ontological fallacy of expecting a light at the end of the tunnel, well, that’s what the preacher sells, same as a shrink. See, the preacher, he encourages your capacity for illusion. Then he tells you it’s a fucking virtue. Always a buck to be had doing that, and it’s such a desperate sense of entitlement, isn’t it? “Surely, this is all for me. Me. Me, me, me. I, I. I’m so fucking important. I’m so fucking important, then, right?” Fuck you.
People. I’ve seen the finale of thousands of lives, man– young, old. Each one is so sure of their realness, that their sensory experience constituted a unique individual with purpose, meaning… so certain that they were more than a biological puppet. Well, the truth wills out, and everybody sees once the strings are cut, all fall down.
Each stilled body so certain that they were more than the sum of their urges, all the useless spinning, tired mind, collision of desire and ignorance.
This– This is what I’m talking about. This is what I mean when I’m talking about time and death and futility. There are broader ideas at work, mainly what is owed between us as a society for our mutual illusions. 14 straight hours of staring at DBs, these are the things you think of. You ever done that? Hmm? You look in their eyes, even in a picture. Doesn’t matter if they’re dead or alive. You can still read them, and you know what you see? They welcomed it, mm-hmm, not at first, but right there in the last instant. It an unmistakable relief, see, because they were afraid and now they saw for the very first time how easy it was to just let go, and they saw– In that last nanosecond, they saw what they were, that you, yourself, this whole big drama, it was never anything but a jerry-rig of presumption and dumb will and you could just let go finally now that you didn’t have to hold on so tight… to realize that all your life– you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain– it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person…