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Snarky rebuttal to altruism on House, M.D.

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And to post my own opinion...

The character of House is an illustration of dedication to the truth above all else. When all other people "round corners" and ignore small facts, house keeps insisting on integration. When the answer seems impossible and all others give up, he ruthlessly searches for an answer, never resting until he has got it figured out.

His brilliance is a result of his method of thinking (logic) and his extraordinary dedication to his work and to discovering the truth (and save the patient's life).

With people, he is not afraid to say things that may be unpleasant to other people. He does not conform. He only does things if he finds it logical and if it fits his values. He is the opposite of the "accept all, be nice to all" - he is "respect if deserve, niceness is not important".

And these are the same things he encourages in his team members. He encourages them to stand on their own and to oppose House if they think they are right about a medical case.

Everything else - all the bad elements in the character are insignificant compared to this.

Edited by ifatart

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Everything else - all the bad elements in the character are insignificant compared to this.

First of all, I did not do a character analysis. I made an offhanded comment of what he reminded me of. Please read my post again.

2nd, and this is the thing that always gets me. If House is art, a selective recreation of reality, and all his bad sides are insignificant as you say, then WHY HAVE THEM? I'd agree with everything else you said, then I ask myself, what sort of metaphysical value judgements require the insertion of his flaws?

The metaphysically insignificant doesn't belong in art.

Look, I understand those people who like him and defend him on the basis of his good aspects, while acknowledging his flaws. Rand had a thing for the noble crook. The people who hold him up as a paragon of Objectivist virtue and rationality? I question their analysis. It's not an issue of saying things that are unpleasant to hear, or of facing reality as it is. It's the unnecessary aspect of his commentary, and from what people have said here, the evasion of his own issues.

Somebody needs to answer Rory's claims. They seem pretty substantial. Don't sit here piddling with me. I could care less.

Being nice is not a virtue. Being Just, is.

Being just doesn't mean you can be a prick and not face the consequences of your actions.

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Being just doesn't mean you can be a prick and not face the consequences of your actions.

I would say in House's case, he is aware of the consequences of his actions and he does accept them.

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I would say in House's case, he is aware of the consequences of his actions and he does accept them.

Rory doesn't make it sound that way.

But of course the next question as to his psychology would be "why" does he choose to do so? What's rational about purposefully being a prick when admittedly it's unnecessary.

Edited by KendallJ

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Are you arguing by proxy? :)

No, I would only suppose that people would prefer to argue with me, someone who has said he's only seen a few shows, and who's also said he doesn't care about the debate, since it is much easier than arguing with the guy who made a cogent point. I'm simply testing the hypothesis.

:)

Edited by KendallJ

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But of course the next question as to his psychology would be "why" does he choose to do so? What's rational about purposefully being a prick when admittedly it's unnecessary.

Okay you admit that you've only seen a couple of the shows so maybe you just don't have enough knowledge of the show to understand that his "attitude" usually does serve a purpose. Usually that purpose is to get things going as he needs them to by challenging peoples poor premises. Doing it with attitude is usually the most effective way of doing this because like you or hate you (which is usually irrelevant) others will generally examine your ideas, and that's what really matters. Getting things done, NOT making friends. although there is nothing wrong with freindships. If you are right and someone comes to that conclusion, they will naturally want to associate with you whether you can sometimes be an ass or not--f they are rational.

Edited by EC

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Okay you admit that you've only seen a couple of the shows so maybe you just don't have enough knowledge of the show to understand that his "attitude" usually does serve a purpose. Usually that purpose is to get things going as he needs them to by challenging peoples poor premises. Doing it with attitude is usually the most effective way of doing this because like you or hate you (which is usually irrelevant) others will generally examine your ideas, and that's what really matters. Getting things done, NOT making friends. although there is nothing wrong with freindships. If you are right and someone comes to that conclusion, they will naturally want to associate with you whether you can sometimes be an ass or not--f they are rational.

Dude, read this post here.

Then go answer Rory's objections or read that article I linked to which is by someone who has watched more than a few episodes.

Realize that I don't care. I don't give a shit. On the list of things to do, watching another episode of House is 12,345th. I've watched enough to know what people think his intended actions are, and to know that if that's what he really wants to do, he's got a zillion other ways to do it than berating his team and his patients every week. Given his inabilit to face up to his own issues, I'd say his bitterness is a little more. Quincy was "insignificant snarky." House, is not insignificant. Or maybe that was just in the 5 episodes I watched all the way through.

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First of all, I did not do a character analysis. I made an offhanded comment of what he reminded me of. Please read my post again.

Categorizing him a second hander is an analysis of his character, not an offhand opinion about something minor. You presented this judgement as certain and so I was asking how did you arrive at that conclusion.

2nd, and this is the thing that always gets me. If House is art, a selective recreation of reality, and all his bad sides are insignificant as you say, then WHY HAVE THEM?

I do not understand what you are asking. The question makes no sense to me. If you are asking why does he have flaws at all, I think it's because the script writers do not have an integrated philosophy (but they got some of the basics of ethics pretty darn well).

The metaphysically insignificant doesn't belong in art.

Sure, but imperfect art still has it. It does not mean it deserves to be denounced completely.

Look, I understand those people who like him and defend him on the basis of his good aspects, while acknowledging his flaws.

...

Somebody needs to answer Rory's claims. They seem pretty substantial. Don't sit here piddling with me. I could care less.

I'm not interested in a discussion about House. I'm interested in how you arrived at the conclusion that he is a second hander (your claim that if someone acts the way House does, the ONLY possible explanation is that they seek the opinion of others about them).

Even if you only see 5 episodes, there still has to be a method, some logical steps to reach a conclusion like yours. And from what you said I see only one, then a big leap, then the final conclusion.

Also, if your explanation is the ONLY thing that can explain House's behavior, how would you explain Francisco's bluntness to those he disrespected?

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Oh for God's sake, please realize that House is not a human being, he's just the tool of the show's creators to deliver a message: since many of you are buying into this super rational House, how do you reconcile that with the fact that he is so miserable, so unhappy? How does this supposed perfectly rational attitude result in him relying only on one, completely psychologically flawed friend and the occasional hooker for his human interaction? How come there is a point made at the end of every episode to show how lonely and unhappy he is?

Check out the article Kendall linked to, it addresses the character from the creator's point of view, providing quotes that make their intentions clear:

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues...ll-dr-house.asp

By the way, I watch House all the time, but only for entertainment. The character is still rational enough (one of the most rational and intelligent ones on TV) to be interesting and unpredictable to me. However, he's no randian hero, far from it.

Damn it, I had another point, and I forgot while re-reading the article.

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Getting things done, NOT making friends.

I am going to side with Kendall here.

Getting things done does not require repeatedly acting like a jerk. Commitment to the truth does not require cynical sarcasm and disregard for tact. Living rational, first-hander life does not clash with socially prosperous life.

The respect that men of self-esteem feel toward other human beings (and thus act accordingly) is profoundly egoistic. In revering like entities (and there many worthy of his respect people around House) they are revering their own life.

This is not a very good vision of what the life of a rational man looks like.

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Oh for God's sake, please realize that House is not a human being, he's just the tool of the show's creators to deliver a message: since many of you are buying into this super rational House, how do you reconcile that with the fact that he is so miserable, so unhappy?

His character cannot be integrated (it has inner contradictions, things that cannot co-exist). The character is the sum of many different (about 14) script writers. And so I focus on the main theme and dismiss the changing incoherent details (because those cannot be integrated into the aspects of the character which are consistent)

And also, I don't think he is unhappy. He is happy in his job, a satisfaction that surpasses those of everyone around him. He has certainty about what to do in life, ergo inner peace. He is lonely, therefor miserable, but that does not suffice to say he is unhappy.

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He denies there's any real truth, evades questions about his own motivation for anything, runs from his past, never faces up to the reason why he does anything - except for that one episode where he admits he only became a doctor because he wanted to be like this forgotten, obscure janitor, who suddenly 'stuck it to the man' by showing everyone how awesome he was.

Now wait a second -- I don't think there was one accurate statement in that whole run-on sentence. Did I miss the episode where he says "there's no real truth"? Or where he never explains "why he does anything"? What are you talking about?

You also distorted his motivation for becoming a doctor. As I recall, the "obscure janitor" was an "untouchable" employed in a hospital in Japan. As a child, he saw the doctors there keep the "untouchable" around, even though they hated him, because of the medical knowledge he had. When he saw the "janitor" help save a patient with an infection, he realized that when the stakes were life and death, that politics, birth status, race, and religion didn't matter -- it only mattered that you were right. He thought that a career in medicine would be where he could be the most rational, so he decided to become a doctor.

That being said, I stopped watching House in the middle of Season 4. Since then, I'm sure it's gone even further downhill. IMO, only the first two seasons and part of the third are any good. The rest is barely watchable crap.

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And also, I don't think he is unhappy. He is happy in his job, a satisfaction that surpasses those of everyone around him. He has certainty about what to do in life, ergo inner peace. He is lonely, therefor miserable, but that does not suffice to say he is unhappy.

Yuh-huh... he's miserable because he's lonely. He has inner peace, certainty. Right. That's why he takes drugs, tries to kill himself, pushes away people he clearly likes. That's why the one woman he actually likes, he just terrorises, as Wilson (I think) puts it: 'Because we're not in kindergarten so he can't just pull her pigtails'. That would be why he became a doctor - because of a sincere love for doing something rational; not because he wanted to make everyone feel inferior by comparison to this lonely, powerful sage.

When I was 14, my father was stationed in Japan. I went rock climbing with this kid from school. He fell and got injured, and I had to bring him to the hospital. We came in through the wrong entrance, and passed this guy in the hall. He was a janitor. My friend came down with an infection, and the doctors didn't know what to do. So they brought in the janitor. He was a doctor. And a Buraku - one of Japan's untouchables. His ancestors had been slaughterers, gravediggers. And this guy knew that he wasn't accepted by the staff, didn't even try. He didn't dress well. He didn't pretend to be one of them. People around that place didn't think he had anything they wanted, except when they needed him - because he was right, which meant that nothing else mattered. And they had to listen to him.

Nope, doesn't sound second handed to me at all.

We are selfish, base animals, crawling across the earth. But 'cause we got brains, if we try real

hard, we can occasionally aspire to something that is less than pure evil.

Sounds like an upstanding lover of human existence.

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Now wait a second -- I don't think there was one accurate statement in that whole run-on sentence. Did I miss the episode where he says "there's no real truth"? Or where he never explains "why he does anything"? What are you talking about?

I mean in all the diagnostic sections. Back in the first and second season, they'd always get the white board out, run through symptoms, think about what the cause might be, narrow down the options. Now, he just makes a few comments, laughs at people's ideas, seemingly randomly accepts one person's suggestion over another -- there's nothing rational and considered about it anymore.

Also, truth:

Dr. Wilson: It's a simple question. Has your life sucked? Tell her the truth. Tell her you were shot, tell her -Dr. House: She doesn't want to hear the truth. She's looking for something. Looking to extrapolate some -Dr. Wilson: She's looking to connect with you. And that's what's scaring the hell out of you. Tell her the truth.Dr. House: There is no truth.

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Yuh-huh... he's miserable because he's lonely. He has inner peace, certainty. Right. That's why he takes drugs, tries to kill himself, pushes away people he clearly likes. That's why the one woman he actually likes, he just terrorises, as Wilson (I think) puts it: 'Because we're not in kindergarten so he can't just pull her pigtails'. That would be why he became a doctor - because of a sincere love for doing something rational; not because he wanted to make everyone feel inferior by comparison to this lonely, powerful sage.

Nothing you said shows that he chose being a doctor for the reason you stated. That is not a logical analysis, but more of a leap of faith.

I think producers made Gregory House miserable because that is the only way perfection (and directness) can be tolerated by most people. It eases their pain of hating house and being threatened by the good things that he is.

Nope, doesn't sound second handed to me at all.

It doesn't. "because he was right, which meant that nothing else mattered" Shows exactly how he is not a second hander. The second sentence can only be taken as indication of power lust if taken completely out of context.

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House is not a second hander, but he isn't a flawless man stuck in a flawed world either. All that "he" is is a constantly refreshing, never ending personification of the, to use Gina Gorlin's phrase from her article, "reason-emotion dichotomy" message put across by his creators.

A real person's life does not play itself in losely connected 60 minute episodes. A real person would never be able to retain his exceptional rationality if he were afflicted with House's emotional disorders for years and years. If the joy he felt (but curiously never shows) from solving a medical question could sustain him emotionally in the same way that art or friendship or love could, then he would exhibit the same disposition towards everything and everyone he encountered. Sure, he would be alone at home, but he would not be affected by it. He would have his work, and not pills, to sustain him through those hours. His personal life would be just like everyone else's, just - alone.

Conversly, neither would a real person be able to retain his emotional disorders if he were imbued with House's exceptional rationality. Part of House's medical greatness is his supreme honesty regarding medical questions. In real life, that honesty would inevitably rub off on other parts of his life and cause him to seek out psychological help and philosophical enlightenment. He would resolve his issues and work to become happy. Perhaps that would involve accepting and respecting those around him (even if they're not as smart as he is) or perhaps it would involve rejecting them because he determines that their inferiority comes from evasion. Even if he were without an intellectual/spiritual equal, he would spend his free time seeking one out or at least creating one through artistic expression. But either way, he would be free enough of their influence to be happy enough to be pill, hooker, and sarcasm free.

It is simply counter-productive to analyze House in the context of real life; where each "episode" bleeds into the others and determines a person's character. Any attempt to decide if House is or is not a second-hander or a lover of life in the only way possible to such an exceptional individual is pointless. All he is is his creator's attempt to evade taking a deep look at their own faulty philosophical premise. They create elaborate art over years and years, the production of which involves countless details which such suck up a huge chunks of their lives as a means of continuing to evading their confusion; and as a way to make the pain they feel because of it appear metaphysically potent. After all, why deal with it and be inspired to create good (ie: flawless) characters if House pays? They aren't capable of appreciating the damage they do by glamorously perpetuating the myth that reason and emotion are forever at odds.

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Getting things done does not require repeatedly acting like a jerk. Commitment to the truth does not require cynical sarcasm and disregard for tact.

No, it does not require these. (Nor have I said such a thing). But Kendal's claim was the reverse: that if someone does act like that, then he is necessarily a second hander, and that is what I disagree with.

Look at Henry Cameron from The fountainhead as one example. He hated people (almost all of them). For a good reason, too. He cursed every single costumer that walked through his door. Does this mean, he is a second hander?

Living rational, first-hander life does not clash with socially prosperous life.

For whom and in what context? For Gail Wynand, first-handish life could NOT exist hand in hand with socially prosperous life (before he met Roark and Dominique). For him and his environment, first-handish life WAS a contradiction to living without compromising his values.

So point is - it depends on the person and his environment, and has to be judged while taking it under account.

For someone else, acting like a jerk with the purpose of being a jerk will definitely not be a demonstration of nobility and pride (but of a petty little second hander, getting a kick out of hurting people). Context is important.

The respect that men of self-esteem feel toward other human beings (and thus act accordingly) is profoundly egoistic. In revering like entities (and there many worthy of his respect people around House) they are revering their own life.

I agree with "In revering like entities they are revering their own life" but not with your first sentence ("The respect that men of self-esteem feel toward other human beings is profoundly egoistic"). Being a human being, by itself, does not make someone a "like entity" to House (or to anyone else). For demonstration - there is a big difference between the character of Galt and James Taggart, even though both are human beings.

As for "and there many worthy of his respect people around House" - according to what I have seen, he mostly does not fail to express the proper respect. He is still blunt and direct, but this is his way of being, not his way of demeaning (with some exceptions of being plain mean, which ARE exceptions and are not consistent with his behavior in most of the time).

This is not a very good vision of what the life of a rational man looks like.

If the social aspect in a rational man's life is so important to a piece of art - How do you explain The Fountainhead? Roark was not exactly a walking public relation agent.

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Henry Cameron acted like a jerk because of how the world had treated him. He came to view the world as a malevolent place because it rejected him. House is not rejected. He is a successful doctor, he pulls in lots of money, he gets the cases no one else can do, he goes to exciting places - he even has friends who see a value in him despite outward appearances. And yet he is still miserable.

Roark, by comparison to Cameron, knew that what he wanted was achievable, and there was no contradiction between his values and his achievement of them. Do not equate Roark's social demeanor with that of House's. Roark sometimes is cold, but only because he does not consider the irrational. House, on the other hand, thrives on it. He is always looking to make comments about everyone, to analyse them, to pronounce them as being driven by the memory of their dead husband, or by a fatal genetic disease or the want of a child. He belittles all their values and never sees any value in what he does himself. He achieves what he sets out to do... so why is he so miserable?

As for the quote, why does it matter to him that he's right? What is so important about being 'right'? Because it gives him a chance to show that he's right, and that's all that matters, despite being such an outcast.

And why is the Japanese guy such an outcast? He's outcast from birth, because of his parents. House on the other hand - his father was highly respected. House's life is a credit to his own ability. He chooses to be an outcast who then has to be accepted because he makes the right call. There is no reason he has to be an outcast, has to keep showing a complete lack of respect to everyone.

House inflicts all the pain he suffers upon himself, by refusing to see any value in the work he does. It's just something he does, to do it right - like his father, who was obsessed with everything being perfect and good but never with it actually being of value to him (hence the fact that House hates him: his father made sure House was raised right, but never actually loved him). That same dedication to doing things right, but emotionally divorcing oneself from any meaning, gets carried over to House from his father.

Look, I know you like House. I like House. He's entertaining, to a degree. But this is the same thing as that thread on '24'. I protested that it be considered Romantic. You want to see some heroes in art, so you're rationalising that House is this great guy, when really, he is an incredibly mixed case, who at times, shows actual humanity, but most of the time, just goofs off, hurting himself and others. He is not outcast by society; he chooses to outcast himself!

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Tenure -

I think we're talking about two different incarnations of the same character. I stopped watching in the fourth season because Gregory House and the show had changed for the worse. It was becoming everything you said it is now. It's important to point out though, that the first two seasons were excellent and that the third was watchable at least.

When judging the overall legacy of a show, you can either start from the bottom or start from the top. I choose the top.

So here's my judgment:

House MD was a great show. Too bad it went off the air two years ago.

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I think we're talking about two different incarnations of the same character. I stopped watching in the fourth season because Gregory House and the show had changed for the worse.

I agree with this assessment, though I have to say that many of the fifth season episodes are at least as good as the third season ones, which I found to be generally worth watching.

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