Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

« In Which He Is The One Who Knocks »

Better Business


Breaking Bad
creator Vince Gilligan
Sundays at 9 on AMC

Once Lee Iacocca asked me to serve on the board of Chrysler; I laughed in his face and told him to go fuck a Plymouth Prowler. I'm dumb but I'm not that dumb.

I'm sorry for what I said, Lee. I felt justifiable anger towards you on behalf of the all business owners who don't get a handout from the government every quarter. If that's not enough, a businessman today has to be insulted by Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett, who knows only rich fucks like himself, thinks that the very rich can afford to pay more in taxes. Thanks, guy. Of course they can. Because some douchebag can write a check for what Buffett believes he "owes" to society doesn't make it right.

If you do feel so inspired, don't wait to write a NYT editorial on the subject. You can send your checks to

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

There's a dwarf waiting there whose only job is facebook the sender and emit a sinister chuckle. Warren Buffett has a goldplated portrait of himself hanging from his belly-button. It's a joke about "navel-gazing", don't ask me.

Breaking Bad's Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) is another of these small business owners. He pays taxes on his straight business, a fried chicken restaurant called Los Pollos Hermanos that I would eat at every single day of my life were it to actually exist.

In the eyes of the law, Gus' food service venture is in the clear. They pay the handout required of them, they compensate New Mexico and the federal government by doling out "the cost of doing business." Gus doesn't pay taxes, however, on his real, high-margin enterprise: the production and distribution of crystal methamphetamine. This setup is identical to Google's in nearly every aspect except one company has far gaudier office parties.

Also, the only backtalk Google executives have to deal with at work is the poaching of their middle management. In order to convince Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) of his crucial role in the proceedings, Gus sets up an elaborate scheme in which Jesse manages to "foil" a robbery at one of their dead drops.

Gus' passive-aggressive management style strikes a real chord with me. I once made John Bolton launch a Navy Seal team into combat to make him feel more like a real man. It worked for about an hour and then the guy went back to playing Banjo-Kazooie on his N64. It was a different time, an era when you could touch yourself at the sight of Sonic the Hedgehog's female companions without irony or affectation.

Tipped off by his meth-cooking partner Walter White (Bryan Cranston), Jesse asks Gus why he has been chosen to leave the relative safety of the meth laboratory in order to venture out into the wide world of drug distribution. "I like to think I see something in people," Gus tells him. It is a cliché every chief executive in history has forced upon his proteges, but as a "let's get along" motivator it certainly beats Walter's stratagems.

Unlike Gus, Walter's business techniques originate in one of two places: acting from shame and desperation when confronted with jobs he can't do himself, or acting from shame and humiliation when things aren't going as he planned. A chemist is inured from the delicate work of manipulating people; to a drug dealer it's not just part of the business, it is the business.

We are always managing and recalculating the control we exert over others, ask Wesley Snipes. Walter White is not very good at exerting this control. He lacks empathy; he does not understand how other people stand in relation to him. He believes he is A, and when someone thinks he is B, instead of calculating the distance between the two points, he substitutes the new answer, the one he in his heart believes is more accurate, like any scientist.

Walter's wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) begs him to turn himself over to the police before Gustavo Fring tries to eliminate him again. She has been listening to an answering machine message he has left her under the pressure of his job. At first she had heard the strength and love in what he presumed were his last regrets, but a second time changes the story. This is not her husband, the man she married years ago.

Walter tells her that if he doesn't go into work, a business the size of those traded on the NASDAQ goes belly-up, ceases to exist. "You clearly don't know who you're talking to," he explodes. "I am not in danger, I am the danger."

Skyler White responds in the passive-aggressive fashion reminiscent of Walter's other boss. She drives their infant daughter to the Four Corners Monument at the intersection of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. She tosses a quarter into a wishing well that does not exist. The look of disgust on her face is equal parts anger at her husband and shame at having to live under the long, thieving arm of the law.

In last week's episode, Walter White purchased a car wash. If he knew the kinds of taxes he'd be paying to wash other people's vehicles, he might have thought twice before embarking on this plan. The government will ask Asian children running a lemonade stand to pay their "fair share", it is more a simple reflex than any kind of malice.

"You're the boss now," the outgoing car wash owner tells Walter. "Do you think you're ready?"

American life hasn't been this melodramatic since the 1920s; American television has never been this good.

I don't blame Gustavo Fring or Google for their tax evasion, no more than I would any man who doesn't want to pay money he does not owe. The super-rich already write checks you and I cannot even imagine. Ask for more, and can you really blame them if they take their business to a country that is satisfied with less than half? How does driving the wealthiest American citizens to foreign lands help our country?

You can't blame Mr. Buffett for losing perspective: everyone he knows owns an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Walk down the street of any rich suburb in America and envy will flow through your veins. Bravo. You have made being rich being bad. It is not. Money is no more a value than television. Some I know say, "I don't like television." Terrific. How do you feel about the microwave?

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He last wrote in these in pages about Curb Your Enthusiasm.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe

"Magic" - GIRLS (mp3)

"Just A Song" - GIRLS (mp3)

"Myma" - Girls (mp3)

Father, Son, Holy Ghost is the new album from Girls, and it will be released on September 13th from True Panther Sounds.

References (5)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: uk best essay
    No man can earn his livelihood without getting any kind of education so it is the requirement of time and work as well. Education can be of so many kinds. We should always go for that kind that is our side of entrusts and that can help us in our day ...
  • Response
  • Response
    Response: wintel box
    firefly box
  • Response
    Response: essay writers
    Your post reflects that you have good business sense. If anyone wants to become a good businessman then read your post. It's not rocket science it just the best use of skills and meet goals.
  • Response

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.