Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Woody (Rough Draft and Still In Progress)

(Caution! Title Still in Progress/ Rough Draft!!)

It is undeniably evident that Woody Allen experiences his very existence through the dichotomy between his real life and his those of his works. He embodies his actual self in almost every single character he plays. As a man who has gone through over 30 years of intense Freudian psychoanalysis one can only except that the man himself is truly an egoist. It can be argued that a person who spends so much time trying to figure themselves out through therapy practices could essentially be obsessed with their own identity. Think about it, Allen is constantly talking or thinking about himself in both movies that he stars in and real life whether it be to a doctor, to a loved one or through the scripts he writes. It is always he, he, he and more he (and that’s not just because “he-he” funny).

In order to completely understand the male egoist’s way of thinking one must not think outside of the box, but rather think inside of the box as this is what an egoist does naturally. Man may maximize the attempt to appeal his or her selfishness, but in actuality the motives are altruistically apparent by the goaded action. A person’s body language may make individuals unaware that he or she is egocentric, but when one gets deep underneath their external shell may see the “hidden motives” that lie burrowed in the ever-sinking hole of haughty superiority. Never in this world until now did I think Allen was this complex until reading more about his life and studying his works. Then again in a way I am just getting to know him. Every person has a story even if they don’t seem they do. Some people say in life seeing is believing, but that is where an egoist can trick everyone. Nobody can ever physically see a person’s true soul, but we know it’s there. It’s the science of our genetic makeup that makes us have so many complexities and disorders, but it is also what brings us together making us individuals of originality, like the great Woody Allen himself. On the other hand all of those complexities can make us frightening human beings as well. Take the film American Psycho for instance. The main character Patrick Bateman is a serial killer who could make any person feel a tingle down their spine. Bateman and Allen are two different types of “into themselves personalities.” Allen is more of the warm-hearted funny egoist who is selfish but doesn’t hurt a fly (physically that is). Then there is Bateman who is more of a narcissist than an egoist. One of the main differences between an egoist and a narcissist is an egoist thinks highly of their own characteristics and wants to serve only the self and yet is still emotionally tied to the world in one way or another. A narcissist, like Bateman for example, is constantly in search for fulfillment and feels totally disconnected to the world around him. He acts as if he is the be all end all in this world; almost as if he is an entity rather than a human. This quote from the film explains exactly why I was lead to this conclusion: “There is an idea of Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gave, and you can shake my hand and feel the flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simple am not there” (IMDB quotes).

...Not quite 5 pages yet, to be continued... work in progress...will be completed after first peer assessment.
Still Hard at work on laptop :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Side of Paradise by Fitzgerald

The other day in my class we looked at quotes pertaining to This Side of Paradise to be able to grasp a better understanding of the book's characters.
The quote that was given for us to analyze was on pg. 74:

"'Oh, but your missing the point, Tom.' Amory interrupted. ' You've just had your eyes open to the snobbishness of the world in a rather abrupt manner. Princeton invariably gives the thoughtful man and social sense.' (...) 'Yes,' he agreed, you're right. I wouldn't have liked it. Still it's hard to be made a cynic at twenty.' 'I was born one,' Amory murmured. 'I'm a cynical idealist.' He paused and wondered if that meant anything."

First my group thought it would be wise to define the word cynic, as this is what Amory is calling himself.
Cynic: someone who is critical of the motives of others.

As we can tell by the quote Tom looks at life in a more positive light. Amory thinks that Tom has been blinded by this outlook and wants him to be more of a cynic. Amory feels that Princeton has warped Tom and this is what has validated his positivity because he expects life will always be good for the comfortable or the wealthy. However, no matter how rich or well off a person is there will always be problems... in turn making life more like a soap opera: (i.e. the people who have everything really have nothing.) Through Amory the reader witnesses that wealth and education is fleeting and in the end everyone dies regardless of status. There is a bit of an existentialist point of view towards the characters in Fitzgerald’s book: that life is life and actions speak louder than words.

Jeremy Benthan's Panopticon

Jeremy Bentham, a designer of a jail in which each cell is visible through a guard tower (a panopticon). It is set it up this way
because people who know they are being watched are more likely to behave. Laws are panoptic and this helps to maintain order and power through citizens who control other citizens.

Michel Foucault uses Bentham's design in her studies. Foucault says it is what keeps us in order. Example: A parent spanks a child, an observer sees it and says something. Now the parent is more cautious of his or her actions because they have realized someone has been observing them. They are less likely to do spank their child in public again
because of the fear of being caught again in the act.

Here is two examples of Bentham's panopticon:

This is what people act like when they are NOT being observed:

This is what they look like when they FIND OUT they are being observed:

And now how they act when they are FULLY AWARE they are being observed at all times:

Looking smart, but ACTING stupid. -no pun intended :)


The Two Different Types of Murders

The other day I was asked to compare Crime and Punishment's Raskolnikov to the character Patrick Bateman from the film American Psycho. These two men are different type of killers. Who knew there could be different types of killers eh?? Just like there are two kinds of nice I suppose.

American Psycho's Patrick Bateman is a very cold and complicated murderer. He has a superiority complex and is constantly obsessed with himself as if he is superhuman or not of this world. I think he thinks he a God (if he believed in religion, however I am guessing he doesn't because he thinks he is above all else). He is a narcissistic murder and he feels no remorse for any of the people that he kills. Whereas Raskolnikov would feel some sort of guilt or fear of getting caught. Raskolnikov is more of an egotistical murder. He thinks highly of himself and everyone else is inferior. His egoist role in the world is to serve himself no matter what the price is for the others around him. Both characters feel they are above the law and will commit any crimes necessary to make sure that their happiness is fulfilled. It is as if they believe the blistering fire of death in their hands will control the world counteracting anything or anyone who comes too close.

Relating Woody Allen to Crime and Punishment

At first I think it was hard for me to find a comparison between the main character in Crime and Punishment, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, with Woody Allen. For one Woody is no cold blooded killer. In fact, I don’t picture him even hurting a fly. Dostoevsky presents a modern day man who has beliefs that rely on science rather than religon. He responds to ideologies of a utopian society. However, Raskolnikov and Woody are both a bit strange so that works in their favor when trying to find similar comparisons. They both have a tendancy when they speak to get lost rambling in and out of their own inner monologue. They are also both socially awkward. Mind you I am not calling Woody Allen himself socially awkard (even though that may be the case) just that the roles that he usually plays are. An inside source from a local news station told me he doesn’t like to speak to the media in big profile states like California and New York, but instead will talk to smaller markets because he doesn’t like to see his interviews on television. Anyways back to the point and be it short and sweet both people have a lack of faith in the fellow man and puts oneself before the other.

on a side note: Woody Allen does have a simialrity to the title of the novel. He has comitted a crime that should be punishable... however and I think we all know what I am referring 2... his EX...STEP DAUGHTER!! I yie yie.