Sociopaths are pervasive in contemporary television, from high-brow drama all the way down to cartoons -- and of course the news as well. From the scheming Eric Cartman of South Parkto the seductive imposter Don Draper of Mad Men, cold and ruthless characters captivate us, making us wish that we could be so effective and successful. Yet why should we admire characters who get ahead by being amoral and uncaring? In his follow-up to Awkwardness, Adam Kotsko argues that the popularity of the ruthless sociopath reflects our dissatisfaction with a failed social contract, showing that we believe that the world rewards the evil and uncaring rather than the good. By analyzing characters like the serial killer star of Dexter and the cynical Dr. House, Kotsko shows that the fantasy of the sociopath distracts us from our real problems -- but that we still might benefit from being a little more sociopathic.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Really disappointing. With such a great title and such a promising premise, the book began to disappoint after the first chapter. It would have been a great long article, but as a book the premise proves too threadbare for this author to sustain. It's redundant, repetitive, circuitous, and redundant! In media criticism the biggest sin is to be boring. This author has much to atone for.
At 100 pages this easy and fast read covers a wide range of ideas, questions and criticisms of modern television, a second cousin to Postman's classic Amusing Ourselves to Death. While I'm a fan of the high quality of television we've seen in the last decade, perhaps the highest of all time, I'm often bothered by how horrible the lead characters are as people. The author runs through The Sopranos, The Simpsons, The Wire, Mad Men and even South Park, asking questions and framing observations about why we're drawn to these show's central characters.
I didn't agree with all of his analysis, but that's part of the fun. What do I believe? His take was consistently interesting enough to provoke me into deeper thought, a compliment for any book.
If you've never seen The Wire, House, The Simpsons, Dexter, Breaking Bad or the shows I've mentioned above, it'd be worth watching an episode to familiarize yourself with their man character and theme, as when he references...
It is quite nice to read a but like this one. It talks about some topic not treated frequently. Try it
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