We are always our own worst enemy…
Well, it looks like I was right about Albert. We see him take action this week. What’s interesting about it is the way that the “community affairs” sergeant presents the problem: do we want justice or do we want democracy? In this sense, we see the same issue raised in a variety of arenas this week: from Creighton’s YouTube rant about the topic to the judge’s rant about New Orleans. The message that we seem to be getting this week is that the system is the problem, but we are the system, and so we are the problem.
All of this reminds me of Hegel’s famous injunction to see ourselves as an “I that is We” and a “We that is I.” It’s obvious that who these characters are is determined as much by those they find themselves in community with and/or opposed to as much as it is defined by who they take themselves to be or claim to be. This is as true of Davis’s and Creighton’s satiric escapades as it is of the most annoying New Orleans bureaucrat. It is also equally true of the entire New Orleans culture. This culture which seems to be revered universally by every segment of New Orleans, intimately depends on a culture that seems to be reviled and feared by the majority (i.e. the poor, which must of New Orleans wants to keep from coming home). These mutual dependencies, then, perfectly illustrate how Hegel’s injunction is precisely unrealized, perhaps even intentionally ignored. It also stresses the delicate balance between universality and particularity that not only the modern city, but especially New Orleans, and essentially modernity, embodies.
As a concluding point, I found the scene with Ladonna and the semis full of bodies (picture above) to be extremely touching. It reminded me of a quote by Solzhenitsyn, who wrote about Stalin’s camps that:
When we count up the millions of those who died in the camps, we forget to multiply them by two or three.
I think the scene here perfectly illustrates the same point. Khandi Alexander’s acting is so outstanding here, it is almost beyond words. As this realization dawns on her: that not only are there hundreds of other bodies here, but that their families will also be where she is right now, she truly realizes the extent of the suffering that is being inflicted and it literally brings her to her knees. It is one of the few moments on the show where we explicitly see the fragility of her character and it is an absolute classic moment in television.
Until next week,