Sunday, July 08, 2018


Wandering through symbolic thickets here....

In "Breaking Bad" or "Better Call Saul," Monkeys, Chimpanzees, or Gorillas represent heavy-handed manipulation. Whenever you see a primate, someone is getting played.

Color may also play a role. When Jesse shows Jane his drawings from childhood, in the background a song is quietly playing: ‘Zungguzungguguzungguzeng,’ by Jamaican Reggae/Dancehall artist Yellowman ("Breaking Bad," Season 2, episode 10, 'Over').

Yellowman endured the stigma of being albino. He eventually embraced his uniqueness by calling himself Yellowman. Albinism is (or at least, used to be) a tough condition to carry in Jamaican society:

"Albinos in Jamaica were seen as not being "real" Jamaicans because blackness is seen as divine or godlike in the Rastafarian religion. And in fact, the darker you were, the more holy and worthy of heaven you were. So by default, and by Rastafarian teachings, albinos are seen as less of a human being and are accused of trying to be or looking like the white men of the west who colonized them."

As far as I know, this is the first time where the concept of a color alternative meaning white – yellow – is introduced in “Breaking Bad.” In some cases and circumstances (still not well-defined), yellow may also signal manipulation. Examples include:

• Jane sucks on a yellow popsicle while denying that she and Jesse have a relationship ("Breaking Bad," Season 2, episode 10, 'Over');
• Walt leaves Hank’s garage and immediately tries to contact Skyler while the neighbor kid is playing with a yellow R/C car (“Breaking Bad,” season 5b, episode 1, ‘Blood Money’; episode 2, ‘Buried’);
• The license plate number of the van Walter White uses to transport his money out to the desert "D4DD31" is HTML code for a shade of yellow (“Breaking Bad,” season 5b, episode 2, ‘Buried’);
• Both Hank and Walt wield bright-yellow containers of honey in their Awkward Guacamole lunch (“Breaking Bad,” Season 5b, episode 11, ‘Confessions’).

Another case where a yellow man, The Man with the Yellow Hat, represents white – a white European - is in the tales of Curious George.

Curious George is a particularly-intriguing chimpanzee. The relationship between Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat mirrors the relationship between Walt and Jesse in “Breaking Bad.”

The tales of Curious George, written from a European perspective, always have an undercurrent of white dominance. An undercurrent of – White – dominance….

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