The post New Mexico’s Breaking Bad Statues Draw Ire of Republicans Already Fuzzy on Fact vs. Fiction appeared first on Consequence.
Prominent conservatives have spent more than a year trying to convince themselves that Trump won the 2020 election, so it’s no surprise that the fictional, morally-gray world of Breaking Bad presents an intellectual obstacle course. After Albuquerque, New Mexico erected statues of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, Republican politicians, regional talk radio hosts, and now Fox News have tried to frame this mildly amusing tourist trap as a capital-T Threat to America.
The statues were commissioned by Sony Pictures Television without the aid of taxpayer money and unveiled at the end of July. Democrat mayor Tim Keller touted the $400 million in production fees and tourism dollars that Breaking Bad had already invested in the Albuquerque community. “While the stories might be fictional… jobs are real every single day,” he said.
Some residents agree. “That brings people here, it provides Old Town with an income, it provides me with an income,” said candy shop owner Debbie Hall.
However, Republican State Representative Rod Montoya has criticized the statues, incredulously asking Fox News, “We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?”
And the most apocalyptic takes have come from Eddy Aragon, a conservative talk radio host who ran for mayor against Tim Keller and came in a distant third place. Sounding like a character himself, perhaps ripped from the pages of The Onion, Aragon doesn’t understand why statues of fictional television people are ok but real-life genocidal slavers are not.
Aragon referenced the 2020 removal of a statue commemorating Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, who murdered close to a thousand Acoma people, enslaved survivors, and cut off their toes, before being exiled by the Spanish government for “excessive force.” The talk radio host said, “We have now erected statues and our progressive mayor from the city of Albuquerque has stood behind them. We’re funding those, so it’s OK to go get rid of real historical figures and now, somehow it’s even better, to [have] fictional, drug-dealing figures.”
“There is so much media bias,” he said, before presuming that everyone else has as much trouble as he does telling delusions from reality. “We see these guys as good guys, but we don’t even have a bonding system in Albuquerque, the judicial system doesn’t exist, and that’s exactly the problem as more of the criminals continue to commit the crimes without any sort of penalties.”
Here, he’s referring to a recent change in bail bond practices in Albuquerque, where many accused low-level offenders were released on “a promise to appear” instead of being required to post money. The practice was meant to address criticism that requiring bonds keeps untried poor people in jail to await justice while rich people get to wait at home.
“I think what you saw on Breaking Bad should be a documentary, honestly,” Arogon continued. “I think, really, that is the reality in New Mexico. We try to say it’s fictional, but that is the reality, the Jesse Pinkman, the Heisenbergs, the man who is running everything, Gus [Fring], and the way that they’re bringing it in from Mexico is exactly the way that it is right now, so we’ve joked that it should be on PBS,” Aragon said of the fictional characters. “That is, unfortunately, the reality.”