Out in the Open: Certainty is Power

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Sarah Griswold is a junior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She spends her “free time” analyzing her favorite shows on Netflix, which of course winds up ruining them. She is currently enrolled in an independent study with Dr. Simmons where she is analyzing the popular HBO series “True Detective.”

“Transference of fear and self-loathing is an authoritarian vessel. It’s catharsis. He absorbs their dread with his narrative. Because of this, he’s effective at proportion to the amount of certainty he can project.” – Rust Cohle

HBO’s True Detective approaches existential questions of reality through lenses of structures of the human experience. So far in this blog series, perception and classification have been the main focus. Power, however, is a related concept, yet is also a performance of its own accord. Power can be situational or institutional, but it is always relational. In other words, power is exerted in a relationship. Power, certainly, is not static. Particularly in situational power relationships, power is continually bounced back and forth. This is a good thing, but it is something not really shown in True Detective. Take, for instance this encounter between Marty and a secretary in the Louisiana State Police Department.

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Out in the Open: Perception is Everything

true-detective__140415184301

Sarah Griswold is a junior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She spends her “free time” analyzing her favorite shows on Netflix, which of course winds up ruining them. She is currently enrolled in an independent study with Dr. Simmons where she is analyzing the popular HBO series “True Detective.”

“I have seen the finale of thousands of lives, man. Young, old, each one so sure of their realness. You know that their sensory experience constituted a unique individual with purpose and meaning.” – Rust Cohle

In the previous post to this blog series on HBO’s True Detective, I ended on a cliffhanger of sorts. The majority of the show is presented through Marty Hart and Rust Cohle’s perspectives. Because the audience sees what Marty does, Maggie, Marty’s wife, and Lisa, Marty’s mistress, are both women who are cast aside after attempting to assert themselves as individuals. They are cast aside from the show, because as viewers we only learn things through Marty’s perspective and he has removed them from his life.

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Out in the Open: Everybody’s Nobody

true-detective__140415184301

Sarah Griswold is a junior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She spends her “free time” analyzing her favorite shows on Netflix, which of course winds up ruining them. She is currently enrolled in an independent study with Dr. Simmons where she is analyzing the popular HBO series “True Detective.”

“[People] are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are somebody. When in fact, everybody’s nobody.” – Rust Cohle

In the first blog post of this series, Out In the Open: We All Fit a Certain Category, I discussed classification as a political act in HBO’s popular series True Detective. In the show, Detective Marty Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, exemplifies classification and living stereotypes astoundingly well, while also performing dominance through categorizing and therefore (in this case) dehumanizing the people in his life. I plan to explore this through examples of Marty’s relationships with women, but first some notes about the series:

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Out in the Open: We All Fit a Certain Category

true-detective__140415184301

Sarah Griswold is a junior double majoring in Mathematics and Religious Studies. She spends her “free time” analyzing her favorite shows on Netflix, which of course winds up ruining them. She is currently enrolled in an independent study with Dr. Simmons where she is analyzing the popular HBO series “True Detective.”

“You know I’ve seen all the different types. We all fit a certain category.” – Marty Hart

One of the great things about the Religious Studies department here at UA is that you can study pretty much whatever you want and get credit for it. Case in point: this blog series makes up part of the work I’m doing for an independent study I’m doing this semester with Dr. Merinda Simmons about the HBO series True Detective. Yes, you read that correctly, I’m studying a TV show. More particularly, I’m studying classifications of race, religion, and especially gender (amongst other categories that pop up from time to time) in entertainment, with True Detective being my main case study.

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