The Perpendicularity of Horatio Caine

David Caruso as Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami

Horatio. Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Hor-a-tio.

You know how some people say everything happens for a reason? I think they’re right. And anyway, if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. If this is a dream, don’t wake me. I am guilty, guilty, guilty, but I don’t care! I have begun watching reruns of CSI: Miami.

Horatio. Steps into the frame. Perpendicular.

It wasn’t long into my first episode of CSI: Miami that the perpendicularity of Horatio Caine announced itself to me. Subtle, at first. Tucked discretely beneath the cool paradoxically radiating heat. Insouciant pauses nevertheless throbbing between liquid phrases. Hypnotic repetitions of people’s names, people’s names, people’s names, pitched just low enough so you have to lean in to hear. But there’s more.

The sunglasses. Oh, the way those sunglasses slipped away like linen trousers falling to the ground in the Miami heat. Watery smooth, sliding like a drop of condensation down a margarita glass. Yes! Those very sunglasses would later decisively — but never hurriedly — delicately — but in a manly way — return to stand sentry across H’s statuary visage. But the perpendicularity was there. It was always there. But there’s more.

In a flash, I realized: Horatio. Cain’s. Perpendicularity. Means. Everything.

On a rare occasion, Horatio Caine stands three-quarters — some 75 degrees, if you will. Come closer, however, and you will see that most every frame involves the pedagogy of perpendicularity. Here is a living timekeeper who, by posture alone, could teach the formula for calculating the angle of a right triangle, for determining the diameter of the circle. And yes. Yes, he does. But there’s more.

Consider a plumb line. You know, the measuring device in which a weight is attached to a string or rope and then dropped into the water or simply suspended in the air towards Earth’s center? Gravity kicks in, and the vertical is established. So pure. So geometrical. So Horatio. But there’s more.

Perpendicularity, or in some cases the vertical, establishes depth. Perpendicularity says — and here as everywhere else, we adopt Horatio’s locution — I. Am not. You. With one move, it seems, the problem of numerical identity — that problem that has plagued philosophers for centuries — is solved. So, maybe personal identity is still up for grabs, but we can’t blame the enigmatic Horatio Caine for that. Only one insoluble perplexity at a time, please. But still. There. Is. More.

Depth. Not just to stand at a distance, but to be deep. That, my friends, is the perpendicularity of Horatio Caine.

Author: girlzillawrites

I am a philosophy professor and writer with a diverse set of research interests. My favorite courses to conduct are all introductory: critical thinking, symbolic logic, ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, social and political philosophy, and ethics. My philosophical loves are Kant and Kierkegaard, but I happen to be smitten pretty much with whoever I'm reading at the moment.

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