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Old 09-14-2014   #21
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

Terrific , scholarly article which highlights Ligotti's pessimism and the disappointing resolution of TD:

Is Survival Always the Best Option? Pessimism, Anti-Natalism and Bloodchildren

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The psychologistic dismissals of pessimism are widespread, most recently and disappointingly exemplified by writer Nic Pizzolatto in his TV series, True Detective. Disappointing, because Pizzolatto clearly shares my love for the most ontologically downtrodden horror author working today, Thomas Ligotti. Nevertheless, after 7 hours of episodes that dismantle straight guy Marty Hart’s ideas of family, hard work and law as delusional distractions which keep him from confronting the abysmal punchlines consistently delivered by pessimistic funny man Rust Cohle, and despite having the latter nearly quote Ligotti verbatim at times [1], Pizzolatto betrays all of this with a denouement that makes the show into little more than religious propaganda hidden in a blighted form. Rust has a metaphysical conversion in the finale after a near death visitation by his dead daughter and father: he begins to see little rays of hope peeking out of the darkness of the nighttime sky. Turns out it was the trauma of losing a child and of not having reconciled with his father – genetically, a future deadend and an unresolved past – that lead to those previously expressed dark thoughts, and not, say, facing the objective ramifications of the eternal perspective, or sub specie aeternitatis, which can only reveal an end to humanity, its concerns and all its artifacts. Rust and the audience need no longer worry about such ramifications with the hope of continuing as an immortal soul. Ligotti refers to such pessimistic flimflam as a “façade of ruins, a trompe l'oeil of bleakness.” (Ligotti, p. 147)
And that's just a tidbit.

"...the uncanny is to me the defining trait of this strange and terrible world and our strange and terrible minds." --Thomas Ligotti
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Old 09-15-2014   #22
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Locrian View Post
Terrific , scholarly article which highlights Ligotti's pessimism and the disappointing resolution of TD:

Is Survival Always the Best Option? Pessimism, Anti-Natalism and Bloodchildren
I've heard that Joanna Russ's We Who Are About To... is very good. I wonder if there has been any talk about this novel in antinatalist circles (other than this article).
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Old 06-09-2016   #23
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

The essay linked by Malone is interesting, especially the part commenting the end

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We were warned that there would be a monster at the end, and the monster came and the monster was Hope... When asked if he still sees things (things he shouldn’t see), Cohle replies: “It never stops, not really – What happened in my head is not something that gets better.” But was he really so immedicable? After all, don’t we see him recover in those final minutes? Don’t we get to see under the mask that Childress tells him to remove? So although Cohle undoubtedly undergoes some kind of heathenized kenosis, the realism remains intact, even intensifying, amounting to a meta-position, a pessimism about pessimism. For as Cioran tells us, “However disabused one may be, it is impossible to live without any hope at all. We always keep one, unwittingly, and this unconscious hope makes up for all the explicit others we have rejected, exhausted.”50 And however much “we dread readapting ourselves to Hope … betraying our disaster, betraying ourselves …”51 we enact that perturbable orientation just in virtue of staying alive (or in being born, if Bahnsen is correct and death is not the extremity we were promised).
For all the posturing of the subjugator that’s gone before, we remain inchoate little grubs, weaklings shivering in blackened rooms, deranged dogs slavering for the tiniest mote of light, in which we imagine some state of ataraxy lurks and waits for us, some end to being anything at all.
So True Detective's ending is even more pessimistic than the pessimists when it shows Cohle babbling "Light is winning over darkness". Cohle hasn't opened his eyes to the light, he closes his eyes to the darkness because he can no longer stand it.

The essay suffers from lack of a summary though...There are lots of good points but in the end I cannot remember any of them (save for the ending's comments).

WORD MADE FLESH.— The relationship between thought and language is the relationship between a wound and its scar.

-Hans Abendroth
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Old 06-09-2016   #24
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

Rust's philosophical conversion was disappointing, but I had less of a problem with that than the big mystery having a really simple underdeveloped stock 'evil hick' from a hundred horror films as the big bad. I thought True Detective S1 was going somewhere more interesting than where it was, both philosophically and plot-wise.

I still look back on it with mostly fond memories of the first five episodes. It didn't tie together in to the classic it could have been (Hannibal accomplished this very well), but I overall had a good time with it due to the stellar production and performances. S2 had neither of those, sadly.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 06-09-2016   #25
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

I wasn't a fan of the ending either. It was like a premature ejaculation, for all the reasons mentioned above.
I refuse to watch the second season.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 06-09-2016   #26
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

All I remember abut Season 2 was Caitlin R. Kiernan yelling abuse at people on social media for being unimpressed with that dialogue and the stock noir storyline. Good times.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 11-05-2016   #27
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

Like many, I disliked the ending. However, it didn't ruin the show as a whole. I thought Mathew McConaughey played a very convincing pessimist. Everything from his indifference towards sexuality to his choice to drive the same old pickup truck felt authentic. Besides, the ending didn't negate the quality of scenes such as the following:

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 11-06-2016   #28
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

It should have ended with Rust's death after he blew the maniac's head off. But, alas, mass audiences want a different kind of closure. Can you blame the artist for working in such a medium?
I liked it, always did. A nice piece of work. Never caught the second season.
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Old 11-06-2016   #29
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

I wasn't sure if they would actually kill off Cohle, but when it was clear that he was going to survive I knew the ending was going to be insipidly optimistic.

“Evolution cannot avoid bringing intelligent life ultimately to an awareness of one thing above all else and that one thing is futility.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited
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Old 11-06-2016   #30
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Re: The Ending of True Detective

There were a couple interviews where Nic Pizzolato said that he didn't feel like discussing Cohle yet (in light of his Ligottian "influences") because we had to wait and see the last scene of the series to really grasp the totality of his character; and that this last scene was the first thing he wrote, and wrote everything else knowing he had to get there.

And that ending scene was really beautiful and brought tears to my eyes, and made me slightly melancholic whenever I thought of it for weeks afterward. Or at least it did way back when I first read it in Alan Moore's Top 10 comic. Yeah, light vs dark is the oldest theme in the history of narrative, but much like the Ligotti quotes, Nic lifted Moore's words almost verbatim. Whatever power that ending might've had to me was replaced with "seriously?". Like if I wrote a symphony and for the choral ending of the 4th movement I just threw in the "na na na na" coda from Hey Jude (with one or two na's changed for ni's or ne's, of course.) That's my big problem with the ending.

Otherwise, I think the first four episodes are pretty much flawless. If it was up to me I'd edit episode five to be shorter and make that the ending of the series somehow.
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