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‘Breaking Bad’: For The Excitement

July 7, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 27

June 9, page 22: The antimicrobial agent used in W.S. Badger Co.’s recalled SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen Lotion and SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion was Arborcide OC and not Leucidal Liquid, according to Active Micro Technologies, the supplier of both products. The agents are both derived from Leuconostoc bacteria.

Regarding the letter to the editor by Donna Nelson and Sally Mitchell, I don’t think the depiction of Walter White on “Breaking Bad” was intended to reflect negatively on chemistry teachers or professors (C&EN, April 28, page 2). I also don’t think the show has influenced students to believe that chemistry teachers make crystal meth.

As a character, White had serious emotional problems long before he cooked meth. Years before, he quit the Gray Matter Co. that he helped create with his business partner. White could have made a lot of money, but he quit and chose to be a high school chemistry teacher.

When he found out he had terminal cancer, White claimed that he had to make meth to help his family, but that was a lie because he had turned down money from relatives and friends who offered to help to pay his medical bills. His former partner at Gray Matter even offered him the same job he held previously. Far from his family being the reason for his descent into the drug underworld, Walter did it because he could. He finally admitted as much in the series finale.

White was involved in murdering people, blew up a car, and continued making meth for the excitement—knowing that he wouldn’t live because of his terminal lung cancer. His relationship with his son and wife went downhill throughout the series.

The show was about a person who lost his morals; it had nothing to do with his being a chemist. The show was about human nature and not a screed against a particular profession. White was seduced by cooking meth for the “excitement” of it.

Lynn O. Sabo
Strongsville, Ohio



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