October 1st, 2009

breaking bad

Waking the Dead

On telly these days I watch University Challenge, a few repeats (like the X files on Virgin), Criminal Intent Season 6, and Waking the Dead.

I really like Waking the Dead, though I don't see much fannish stuff online. I think Trevor Eve is great as Boyd, and Sue Johnson is also superb as Grace Foley. I mean, it's standard crime drama stuff, with grumpy psycho cops getting too emotionally involved in the case and so on, but I enjoy it a great deal. Perhaps I find it easier to enjoy a drama in a professional setting if the people in charge are oldsters rather than implausibly buff youngsters.

Both Criminal Intent and Waking the Dead have had extended storyline with the male cop flirting with a female super-brain psychopath. I know it's a cliché but I've really enjoyed those stories in both series.

I read a good online article the other day, might have been on Pandagon, where she said that views on torture were distorted by dramas that use torture as a lazy plot device to make the protagonist more edgy. Pretending that torture is effective makes sense in dramatic terms (was her argument) even though in real life it's obviously a rubbish way to get information.

Personally I think drama can be much more exciting and transgressive where police don't carry guns and don't use torture. If it's well written that is. There have been many scenes in Waking the Dead where Boyd and his crew have had to walk into danger unarmed, and I think it's exciting. The requirement to dominate by force of personality not force of arms makes for better drama. Similarly, I think that non-violent interrogation scenes can be a lot more thrilling and exciting than ones which centre around the application of force. Homicide: Life on the Streets used to give some brilliant interrogation scenes.
breaking bad

Sweets and violence

Cardiff University study involving 17,500 people found that 10-year-olds who ate sweets every day were significantly more likely to have a violence conviction by age 34
This link between confectionery consumption and later aggression remained even after controlling for other factors such as parenting behaviour, the area where the child lived, not having educational qualifications after the age of 16 and whether they had access to a car when they were 34.
Let us say that this is a true correlation. What might the explanation be? The researchers think it might be caused by a chemical effect of sweets, such as addiction to additives. That seems unlikely to me. They also suggest that giving treats to kids means they don't learn to delay gratification
"Our favoured explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them learning how to wait to obtain something they want. Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behaviour, which is strongly associated with delinquency."
That sounds like a lot of hooey. I tried to give my kids treats (not sweets) whenever I could, I didn't make them wait. There's enough frustration in everyday life without adding to it.

Perhaps difficult kids get given sweets a lot to keep them quiet? Parents who don't really know what they are doing give out more sweets because they don't have many other strategies? The social class that eats most sweets is the lower working class, and they are most vulnerable to conviction? Sweet eating is associated with other nutritional deficiencies?

I think the most likely explanation is that people who don't have much fun in their lives, or are most subject to anxiety, are more likely to use sweets to comfort themselves and their children.