Education and Hard Work Get You Nothin’, So Now What?

As  a person with a boatload of education, you can imagine how disconcerting it was when Stefan Bekowsky replies to Cole’s (that’s me!) assertion that he just wants to fit in:

“Educated, hard-working – hate to break it to you Cole, but you’ll never fit in.”

He’s a blunt guy…

Great. But on a less personal note, the message here is that following the rules set out by a “rags to riches” ideology is not how to get ahead. In fact, according to Bekowsky, don’t get ahead, which means renouncing the type of masculinity that Phelps strives for. In fact, we learn early on that Bekowsky didn’t go to war, so what kind of man is he? A pretty brave one it turns out: he received a citation for bravery. He also helps Phelps out quite a  bit and is a thoroughly likable fellow (particularly compared to Phelps next partner but more on him later).

So what’s the message?  Don’t be ambitious? Keep your nose down and mind your business?  It seems likely, until we meet Kelso, I think but then he isn’t the everyday man. Frontiersmen/noir detectives never are. For the regular guy, much like my argument about Red Dead Redemption in a recent article I published,  the lesson is to be stay apathetic and just do as you are told…but we’ll see.

The cases are progressively involving more violence against women and “The Fallen Idol” is no different. The opening scenes are dramatic – a car goes over a cliff and the female driver and passenger are only saved by a giant billboard (see? Advertising saves lives!). It turns out the driver is a B-Movie actress and her passenger is a corn-fed mid-west 15 year old girl, named Jessica,  looking for fame in Hollywood. June trades her little friend to porn producers for a film role. The girl is drugged and then filmed being molested through a “social camera room.”

The femme fatale

I won’t go into detail about the case; it’s fairly sordid, but we do encounter loads of characters that will pop-up later, such as Roy Earle and “Alienest” Fontaine. The most interesting character, to my mind, is Elsa Lichtman, the singer at the Blue Room Jazz Club.  She is the femme fatale. If you read any Slavoj Zizek, then you know the femme fatale upsets the normative symbolic order so let’s see what she shakes up (I imagine it’s Cole and his dreams of heroism and social mobility!!).

What I am loving about this game are the threads of narrative that seem unfinished in one case only to be picked up and woven into another, such as the references to California Fire and Life, which clearly will appear again. I admit it: I am hooked on this game.

I bet this company is not on the up and up

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