Guillaume Tarrant vs. Gareth Cook

Guillaume Tarrant

A fictional wussy criminal vs. a real-life editor? I’ve got my work cut out for me this morning. Guillaume Tarrant is a character from the HBO series Oz played by (adorable, frankly) Canadian actor Lothaire Bluteau (in the US he’s a Hey, it’s That Guy, here in Canada he’s Jesus of Montreal).

I’ve never actually seen an episode of Oz, but a lot of people freak out over that show, and that video above seems to showcase the highlights of Guillaume’s contribution to the series – he’s in prison for breaking a statue, he’s bullied by some cellblock-mates because he dresses better than them and has an enviable accent, and then someone leaves a gun in his bed and he shoots up the joint in frustration. But in the shooting, he injures more than just his tormentors, and, racked with guilt, he kills himself as well.

It’s a pretty sad character arc, being bullied and manipulated to, ultimately, suicide, but Guillaume is definitely one of the more sympathetic characters on the series, and not just because of his cute French-Canadian accent. Bluteau is a sympathetic actor with a touch of the crazy, which makes him perfect for this character. I know a fictional character is a tough sell against a real person, but a series like Oz inspires the full gamut of human emotion in its viewers. If a fictional character can teach you something about your own capacity for empathy (or lack thereof), isn’t that character as valuable as a real person? Even if that person has won a Pulitzer Prize?

VS.

Gareth Cook

Gareth Cook, helping to explain something that actually affects us in the real world.

Gareth Cook is a Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist and editor who was credited with “explaining, with clarity and humanity, the complex scientific and ethical dimensions of stem cell research.” Oz is one of those stupid, trendy television shows that gets credited for being a “gritty” and “edgy” look at some “underbelly of” something or other when in fact it’s really just entertainment designed to prevent you from bothering to think of the consequences of real-life issues such as stem cell research.

Most people would be lost at tackling such a complex issue, Cook is not only admirable for deciphering it but also doing so despite suffering from dyslexia. Fuck, what have I done with my life? Watched stupid TV shows like Oz. Cook is determined to bring that issue to the masses. If you want to learn more about the stem cell debate, I’d suggest starting with him. Seriously, without people like Cook to keep scientists and governments from running wild with their ideas of progress, we might wake up one day to find a clone of our loved one in bed with us. Now there’s a TV series worth looking into.

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Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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