Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sociopath police: True Detective

In hacker culture, there are different color "hats" of people. White hat means you basically just ensure that systems are unhackable. Black hat hackers are the opposite, they're out there looking for vulnerabilities and exploiting them. Grey hackers are somewhere in between. Maybe they're breaking laws, but usually it's not malicious, or it's at least for a "good reason," whatever that may be to them.

I started watching True Detective, an HBO television series, and while I wouldn't say that any of the characters seem obviously sociopathic, by the time the mystery gets solved we'll probably realize that somebody is. For our protagonists we have a couple of cops. With giving too much away, the straight man, Marty Hart played by Woody Harrelson, makes questionable moral decisions. At one point his partner asks him what it is like to live a life sans guilt. His partner is not much better. Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey, is a master of compartmentalizing and situational ethics. Sometimes it seems like he is a deeply moral person (he spends a long scene explaining how unethical it is to bring children into this world, yanking them out of nonexistence), but he is also perfectly willing to kill people should the right situation present itself. He is nihilistic, but congratulates his partner after doing something completely unlawful: "Good to see you commit to something". It's not that he doesn't believe in right and wrong, he just had a different view than almost anyone else you would meet (but could it be just a sociopathic code? And actually, Marty's version of right and wrong is only superficially Judeo-Christian. When it comes down to it, they both have a very flexible sense of morality). Cohle is also insanely cool under pressure, is famed throughout the are for reading people, and is an extremely persuasive guy when he wants to be.

Is one of these characters a sociopath? Both? If they are, they are not black hat. Marty comes off as white hat, gradually seems more gray, and some think he's actually black. Cohle comes off as grey, sometimes creeps darker towards black, and every once in a while says something extremely white. But maybe that is more reflective of what he has chosen to do with his life to give himself some sense of purpose. When Marty asks him what's the point of getting out of bed in the morning if he believes life is meaningless, Cohle answers "I tell myself I bear witness, but the real answer is that it’s obviously my programming. And I lack the constitution for suicide." Sound like something you might say, sociopaths? But this is coming from a man whose definition of honorable behavior would be for human kind to "deny our programming; stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction. One last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal." So I don't know.

Or maybe they're just cops. I heard a rumor once that police get their personality tested for sociopathic traits -- you have to have at least some but not too many. That doesn't surprise me, with police officers being in the top 10 jobs for sociopaths. And even if you weren't a cop, I bet dealing with some of that stuff and the frustrations of not actually being able to do much good in the world would eventually leave you pretty morally jaded.

Whatever these two characters are, the themes, plot devices, and overall flavor of the show are sociopathic and both sociopath and empath readers are likely to relate with one or both main characters, oddly enough. (At least at times.)

My favorite line after raiding the cocaine in the police evidence room, "They really should have a better system for this."


19 comments:

  1. love that show
    Matthew McConaughey is great
    and with Woody Harrelson they make a great duo
    (i was wandering in "the wolf of walstree" why matthew was so skinny)
    it 's still not quite twinpeaks but it really good
    another bood one is "boss" with Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Frasier Crane )
    it's good to se that real acting is not dead
    and ther's still quality

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martin: You wonder ever if you're a bad man?
      Rust: No I don't wonder Marty. The world needs bad men. We keep the other bad men from the door. -

      Delete
  2. Another series to watch. Thank you for the suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sound like they are using the here we go again conflicted people with a good chance for suck hit tv show code.

    All good white hats are excellent deep black hat thinkers. Not always true in the reverse.

    ReplyDelete
  4. M.E.: Please don't waste your time on fiction, unless it's
    "inspiring fiction," like "classic" literature, or warm and earnest
    films and plays, like "Death Of A Salesman," and "Of Mice And Men."
    Classic, and entertaining Broadway musicals from the period between the late 1940's and middle 1970's.
    There is little, if any "art" in today's day and age; and it's ALL
    "Garbage in/ garbage out.
    We want our "Queen" M.E., to be infulenced by "quality" art, not
    the TRASH of the present day!
    Songs like "Bend, Me Shape Me," by American Breed. And "Deliah,"
    by Tom Jones, the perfect song about a female sociopath!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. shut up you vapid cunt

      Delete
    2. Haha nice :))

      Delete
  5. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

    MelissaR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you think the detectives are just regular empaths?

      Delete
  6. What is a regular empath? Are there irregular empaths? Are we all either sociopaths or empaths?

    MelissaR

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The statement was for emphasis. Regular as in standard, given the Freud quote you gave, which essentially means "not everything is pathological".

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    2. I think this blog is focused on looking for sociopaths.

      MelissaR

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    3. That's what people figure. Then why give Freud's cigar quote?

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  7. That was alotta coke he snorted. Does anyone else thinks it's gross that people put powdery stuff up their boogary nostril?

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  8. To Snobbish Anonymous above: Thank god you are so wrong. I consider myself an intellectual but most certainly not a snobbish one. There are so much crap out there these days, no doubt. But with a little bit of research and by only watching by quality producers there are more than enough good stuff out there. HBO is a good example: "Big Love" is a great show, they produced. And for example , not appreciate Leonardo Dicaprios work in Wolf of Wall street (now, there´s a sociopath if there ever was one- the character that is-) , Django Unchained etc. doesn't make you look smarter. Mainstream film and TV can be exceptionally good these days. House of Cards is another quality production. The Mentalist .The fall (Northern Island). I could continue...Just stay off daytime TV and you´ll be fine.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The remark on meaninglessness sounds like something I'd say, deadpan. Others woukd laugh, thinking I was joking.

    ReplyDelete
  10. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    ReplyDelete

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