There were high expectations for the second season of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective, and a lot of people were disappointed by what they got. It became a form of strange enjoyment for many viewers to “hate-watch” the show and then bitch about it afterwards via social media. Why was the show so ferociously maligned? Besides the usual sort of backlash that occurs when an artist (Nic Pizzolatto) gains a too-rapid reputation as a cultural hero, only to have it stripped away by the same voices that gave it to him, there was also something subtler and darker at work.
While discussing the show with an H.P. Lovecraft-exegetist, Heather Poirier, she brought up the idea of the American Dream as a weaponized meme. Poirier suggested that people who pursue their happiness based on unrealistic ideals become carrier of a cultural virus and have to destroy parts of themselves in order to attain their goals—or even just to feel like they are attaining them.… Read the rest