Eichmann in Albuquerque

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In this chapter, I argue that Breaking Bad’s Walter White is an excellent model of Hannah Arendt’s theory of the banality of evil. Arendt’s position in Eichmann in Jerusalem, understood as a cognitive model of empathy wherein one can recognize the specific positions and needs of specific others, captures the ways in which White’s absence of empathy leads him to make decisions on narrow, technical grounds, ignoring their larger contexts and consequences. Due to the pervasive nature of the drug trade, Walter White makes a very recognizable marker for the dangers of apathy.

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