If you haven’t been watching HBO’s True Detective yet, you will thank me eventually for being one of the many online voices that pushed you to it. For a cop-drama, this series digs in quite deep. Metacritic ratings show universal acclaim, critics are are right in putting it at the same pedestal as The Wire. Rust Cohle’s bleak worldview is now the punchline to this meme. Just it’s five episodes down, here’s an excerpt that shows the intensity of the screenwriting contained within.
Detective Rustin Cohle: What do you think the average IQ of this group is, huh?
Detective Martin Hart: Can you see Texas up there on your high horse? What do you know about these people?
Detective Rustin Cohle: Just observation and deduction. I see a propensity for obesity. Poverty. A yen for fairy tales. Folks puttin’ what few bucks they do have into a little wicker basket being passed around. I think it’s safe to say nobody here’s gonna be splitting the atom, Marty.
Detective Martin Hart: You see that. Your fucking attitude. Not everybody wants to sit alone in an empty room beating off to murder manuals. Some folks enjoy community. A common good.
Detective Rustin Cohle: Yeah, well if the common good’s gotta make up fairy tales then it’s not good for anybody.
Detective Martin Hart: I mean, can you imagine if people didn’t believe, what things they’d get up to?
Detective Rustin Cohle: Exact same thing they do now. Just out in the open.
Detective Martin Hart: Bullshit. It’d be a fucking freak show of murder and debauchery and you know it.
Detective Rustin Cohle: If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward, then brother that person is a piece of shit; and I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible.
Detective Martin Hart: Well, I guess your judgment is infallible, piece-of-shit-wise. You think that notebook is a stone tablet?
Detective Rustin Cohle: What’s it say about life, hmm? You gotta get together, tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the god damn day. Nah. What’s that say about your reality, Marty?
Detective Rustin Cohle: Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel. It’s catharsis. He absorbs their dread with his narrative. Because of this, he’s effective at proportion to the amount of certainty he can project. Certain linguistic anthropologists think that religion is a language virus that rewrites pathways in the brain. Dulls critical thinking.
Detective Martin Hart: Well, I don’t use ten dollar words as much as you, but for a guy who sees no point in existence, you sure fret about it an awful lot; and you still sound panicked.
Detective Rustin Cohle: At least I’m not racing to a red light.