countering the counterculture with the substance of substance over the substance of substance

Pot. Who fucking cares, right?

No one knows why it's illegal. No one cares.

But as much as that should be either "end of statement" or "and yeah, why were you bringing that dead dying whore up anyway?", never has a drug been tied to a generation like the (and I do emphasize the quotes) "hippies" (my dad always said he was a "child of the '60s", which seems a bit more dignified, and I ain't talking about the frock coat and monocle sorta dignity neither). It wasn't theirs, but they certainly latched on to it and it to them. Pot's natural, man. I can think of nothing better to point to if the question were put to me "what was the hippie rebellion?" (not that i'd be inlined to answer such a question). While I'm sure the adults were scared shitless -- ya know, those Greatest Generation squares -- there's just something so cute about the schism (and lo! schism it was!) over smoking a plant with some THC and cannaboloids that was illegal where chemically enhancing by ingesting a depressant-solvent (that we learned we couldn't ban in America, no sir!) and, if not actually getting high, at least slowly killing yourself by smoking another plant that contains a sedative-neurotoxin. I mean what, pot gets you a bit giggly, you have conversations about George Washington planting hemp until he and the rest of the Illuminati voyaged to the moon (with an appropriately heavy psychedlic-folk soundtrack, no doubt, with just a hint of an Indian finger cymbal thrown in subtly). I mean, its harmless, right? Pot "addictions" and "problems" are ultimately social problems. Its a problem because its illegal. Is it worse for your body/mind than TV? I fucking doubt it. Fast food? No fucking way. Its a bit silly, but you get to rebel, have your counter culture, with your brass pipes and your flannels and your "everyone does it man; everyone that's cool, anyways". I mean, George "Muthfuckin'" Washington, for Christ's sake? You're breaking the be a bit silly. And get a little high (I've never really been able to describe exactly how you feel high, except that you're definitely high). Because that's illegal. Pretty harmless. The illegal part, really, is almost a retrospective bonus. Made it more important. Then you got older and realized you kinda actually liked pot and that it being illegal was a bit silly plus your kids, well, you don't want them busted. And what's wrong with burning incense and wearing flannels anyway? Because it is ridiculous that it's illegal. Which, in the end, is why the hippies did not lose: that was the whole point. It wasn't harming anyone. People would be better off being a lil' more chill. (Just, um, only bring the tie-dies out for, say, the "special" occassions. K?)

Enter 'Breaking Bad': Season 1, Episode 3: "And the bag's in the river"

Walt and Jesse had just gotten done reducing their first mortal opponent to a much more loosely bound set of hydrocarbons and CFCs with proton-flourine soup. Jesse? Well, even though he's the street dealer and Walt hasn't been too nefarious yet, the audience already is let aware that Jesse's having a harder time with this whole murder scene, so he reaches under the sink where he's stashed we're to believe $40k worth of Walt's wizarding to...I suppose "calm his nerves" would be a poor choice of words.

Enter a real drug, one that won't just make you eat and giggle.

Its the first time you see Jesse -- or anyone -- smokes meth in the series. They show it sparingly. Like all details exhibited on "Breaking Bad", this introduction is laden with significance both to the content and the esoteric. From within a bathroom cabinet, Jesse pulls a ziploc with the $40k of fresh-baked crystal and collapses to a slouch on the toilet. Pulling a curious spherical pipe from his pocket, Jesse hastily dips the dark residue-stained globe into the shards of glass, filling it with what looks to be a heroic amount of the methylated amphetamine. Pointing the pin torch jet flame at a vector to the sphere, Jesse Pinkman puts the stem between his lips and fills his lungs with vape, tilting his head back in ecstasy as the pale smoke spiraled from the pipe and leeched from his mouth.

Intellectual property enforcement prevents providing a link to the relevent 41s of video, but a still may provide some representation of the trappings:

The aesthetics of Jesse's meth paraphernalia set against those of the bygone grassfed flower children beg a compare-contrast (Ref: ) run-down of these two exemplars of American better living through chemistry. As in this one, any invitation towards the duality opposition of a comparative essay itself implies that there is a analog to be found in our crucible with the appropriate application of flame.

Looking at Jesse, his loose dress might very well mark him to the eyes of a clueless parent as a stoner: just a modern-day lackadaisical heir of the culture '60s marijuana tokers from back when it meant something. The fleece, t-shirt, and skull-cap, combined with Jesse's unkempt chin hairs, would fit in with, to pick celebrity instances, Jay and Silent Bob, or Marty from "The Cabin in the Woods". Only the desparate intensity of his eyes, to a careful onlooker, would set him apart.

The form of the equipment more distinctly highlights the disparity of a methhead from a pothead. Both crystal and grass are smoked out of a pipe. However, while the various forms of pot pipes have joined the ranks of mom and apple pie on that familiar shelf of Americana, the glass stem and bulb of the meth pipe remains a novelty. Vintage pot pipes were generally brass and wood or the like, but as marijuana proliferated the mainstream and grew to appeal to those who might like to show that, in each purchase, they proclaim their comparative wealth, glass pipes could be priced up and mass manufactured as models of marijuana smoking purity as well as artistic agents of personal expression. Jesse's pipe, however is not glass for the sake of chemical purity.

It is a common misconception that smoking meth is, like smoking pot, combustion. Not true. Crystalized methamphetamine, as any high school chemistry teacher could tell you from the name, is, and assuredly the irony is noted, a pure chemical (adulterants and less deliberate contaminants aside). The grammar school lesson about how if you heat up a solid (crystal, literally, in physical terms) it melts and becomes a liquid and if you keep on heating it it becomes a gas works for meth. Note that while mixtures, polymers, and composites -- such as polystyrene, marijuana, or human flesh -- may liquify in part and vaporize given enough heat, they do not have a precise boiling point. You smoke pot like a cigarette: the heat, with the flame's ions as an ignition catalyst, gives rise to a self-sustaining (in the short term) burning where the weed is the fuel that combines with atmospheric oxygen. When you "smoke" meth, you are actually vaporizing it and inhaling the evanescence. Direct application of flame or otherwise burning ruins the crystal; the meth breaks down and combines with other chemicals that won't fuck you up. So a pipe was needed that didn't follow the combustion model lifted by Sir Walter where the heat was transfered through a glass medium. Perhaps the reaching hand of the pre-post-spaceage era when technology promised ever-yielding frontiers and duPont heralded "Better living through chemistry" lingers in the culture surrounding this molecular neurotoxin.

The butane torch Jesse uses is a marked contrast to Zippos and BICs and other disposible '60s-or-later era lighters familiar to the classical weed consumer. The blue jet flame roars to a singular point. While the temperature of the flame hot enough to melt copper aids the methhead against the "need it now" mantra induced by the drug and the modern incessant cadence against contemplation (for which has driven the other?) and enables Jesse to score a quick lung injection, what is more operationally key is the directionality of the torch. The spherical glass vaping white monochromatic smoke, the vector of the LED-colored jet, the torch... these artefacts set the scene apart from pot counterculture which has become knowable and known even to the rural heartland of our nation, brought in with digital broadband, box store oligarchs, with the promise that this new drug, this crystal that turns innocent sons and daughters at once unto the devil is close behind. The aesthetic disparities, highlighted by our fair bringers of televised entertainments, carry with them dark futurist undertones of a civilization fallen, in less than a century, from believing themselves lords of nature and their innocent protectorate to facing the grim reality that the obselete first world was built on the backs of the bruise and on ego without will to fall into darkness and the barbarism of child addicts untempered by any instilled decency and the dying old betrayed by their faith of meaning in humanity.

This cataclysm of morals, the collapse of Western notions of what ought to provide happiness -- family, effort, character -- in the face of the evidenced undoing and lack of inherent meaning, is the undercurrent flowing through "Breaking Bad". When Jesse first voices the series title as a Southern expression (at 4:16 here if you care; I also believe this is the only time the expression is uttered thus far), the phraseology and titular reference obscure the adjointment of the two words. Breaking, as in civilization; bad, as in how far

"It means to raise hell" , Vince Gilligan on the title of the series.

[marijuana=together, meth=alone] - meth -> alone

[metaphysique:shadow culture,shadow cabinet(?)] I've always been fascinated when a shadow seeming to fall darkly from that which metaphorically blocks the light; moreso, if the latter thing[?] seems to be the ultimate origin. Space death knights, basically.

[meth is conflated with violence and deception] - Skyler even talks with her sister, Marie before Jesse's, as Walt used the lie that he was on pot. Its harmless, right? Like Skyler's cigarettes. The confrontation is minor. Walt, Jr., could be on pot. It is a matter for living room gossip between sisters. -> Walt + Jesse fight -> meth

[conclusion] [...] While I don't necessarily espouse any of these points of view (I don't necessarily espouse any points of view about anything), [...]