In this issue: James Cagney, The Philadelphia Story, Audrey Hepburn, Sherlock Holmes, Mae West, Sorry Wrong Number, John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara, The Honeymooners, Judy Garland, East of Eden, Norma Shearer.
This post manifested from a rather animated discussion with a friend in which many ideas were shared. :)
Is the Labyrinth real or an exploration of Sarah’s psyche?
Everything in Sarah’s room becomes part of Labyrinth, in literal terms or under the guise of something else (the ball gown, her toys, even her Jareth doll). They are all a part of her, so Jareth, the temptations, and the conflicts within the Labyrinth may be elements of her psyche or metaphorical extensions of her emotional state as she transitions from childhood into womanhood. If everything she encounters in the Labyrinth is part of her true Self, each character represent an element of Self that is growing through these trials; the chivalrous dog learns to become more flexible and think outside the box (“You cannot pass without my permission!” “Then may we have your permission?”). Hoggle finds courage. After his rescue from a state of helplessness, Ludo becomes warm and loyal. All of them also make mistakes, showing shortcomings in her nature – cowardice, selfishness, laziness, haste. This may speak to impulse needing wisdom to transform it into restraint through collaboration by all the characters involved in Self.
Though Sarah sees the Labyrinth as cruel and confusing, it strengthens her with each new obstacle… and whenever she needs or wants assistance, something conspires in the environment to assist her. Her view of the Labyrinth is negative, revealing her resistance against Struggle (desiring an easy path, rather than one of discipline). In her negative view of the Labyrinth, she is inventing negative adversaries, believing their intention is to prevent her from reaching her goal (just as she sees her family as an obstacle to her ambition). She is in teenage rebellion, the stage of “the world is against me,” but she is wrong; the Labyrinth both helps and hinders. Entrances and answers exist in front of her, but she cannot see them because she is not looking for them, like how we can get stuck in our own perceptions instead of looking externally for the truth. We hold the answers but don’t see it, even as we also create our own problems.
I have neglected this blog of late. I’m sorry, but I’m also not. I’m busy.
The last eight months have been spent reworking one of my earlier manuscripts, which required more historical research on the side. I can never stop at knowing “a little” and so I have been knee-deep in books on the Tudor period, ranging from explorations of Middle Ages Catholicism to biographies on the lesser known figures at court during the period. I tend to read ahead and read as I write both which meant I had little time or interest in anything else. Christmas arrived and with it, the end of my first draft… and it was all wrong. The book felt wrong. It felt condensed and too small. The world was little.
So I started over. I decided to expand the narrative to multiple POV chapters (all in third person) and immerse the reader in the political, romantic, and social upheaval surrounding Katharine of Aragon’s marriage to Arthur Tudor. This put an explosion of possibilities at my fingertips and made it a much more expansive project that is both exciting and a little overwhelming. I’m holding onto a half dozen plot threads at once and winding them together, and my only fear is that it will turn out too long (I am nothing if not wordy) and need massive editing when I am done. Oh, well. That is part of the process. The true challenge is taking an enormous world and reducing it to a straightforward narrative where you do not lose track of characters. But that is also part of the fun! By the end of this book, you will know of Thomas More, Margaret Beaufort, Katharine, Arthur, Prince “Harry,” and their parents. You will feel sorry for Lady Margaret Pole, be fond of Maria Estrella de Salinas, and know some history you might not have otherwise. That is my hope, and my prayer.
I do not intend to release this book through indie publishing; there is nothing quite like it on the general market, so I will make my best attempt to get it published elsewhere… it and the seven other books that may sprawl out of it, continuing history on and giving you a broad grasp of these people’s lives as they entwine and separate. This may disappoint some of you, since I know you like my speculative fiction novels. I have many books in my head, waiting for me to write them. And I do intend to do a Watching The Hobbit with God book. That is my intention for later this spring or summer, once this momentous project is finished. But right now this is what I am working on. It’s my passion… hence, my silence on the blog. What is in my head is more fun.
The other is how “easy” it is to be (mis)typed as a Ni-dom online.
I watch people automatically type characters and celebrities as Ni-dom all the time, when they show absolutely zero emphasis on actual Ni. Basically, it comes down to a method like this:
+ Oh, you’re not sentimental or traditional – you must be Ni.
+ You’re intelligent and can talk about abstract stuff sometimes – Ni.
+ You question authority and do your own thing – Ni.
+ You’re not like other people and can’t relate to your SJ parents – Ni.
But that … is not Ni. None of that is Ni. NONE OF IT.
David Bowie was Ni.
This interview is a classic example of Ni-dom. About 6 minutes in, the interviewer brings up the internet and Bowie lights up like a fire engine and starts high-abstracting. You get the feeling that this is really all he wanted to talk about, and he would go on talking about it, endlessly, if he could. None of it is tangible. All of it is impressionistic and subjective and the interviewer is totally lost. He looks on, confused, trying to pull Bowie back to specific examples and tangible things and Bowie keeps going. The internet is a powerful force of rebellion. It is an alien invading our lives. Its vast potential is untapped. Art is not complete until the gray space inside it is filled in, until people project their interpretation onto it and become part of the art itself.
Look at the art Bowie creates. Read his lyrics. Intangible. Personal symbolism. Nothing pertaining to reality that has not been highly subverted and recreated into abstract symbols and hidden meanings. He says that it’s hard for him to create art because it never feels it is entirely complete – he is trying to express an internal Ni impressionism into reality and it doesn’t always work. That is how introverted functions all are to some degree – almost insanely difficult to get out of your head into lyrics or writing or art – but Ni is so impressionistic that the result is “weird” to a level that you rarely see in other types.
Better yet, watch his music videos. What do they mean? What does HE mean? It’s hard to tell, isn’t it, specifically? What is he saying with “I’m Afraid of Americans”? It is a judgment on America’s reputation for violence and at the end he concludes “God is an American.” What does that mean? That Bowie fears God? That God is violent and thus an immoral force? It’s impressionistic. It’s unclear. More lies under it than is readily apparent to interpretation. And, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Look at his 70′s and 80′s appearances on SNL. The weird outfits, the weird background aesthetics, which … were surreal and untouched by reality in any way, an attempt to manifest an inner abstract concept in visible form – which often turns grotesque in some way (this is still true of his later music videos). That is Ni. All Ni. So much damn Ni.
Remember that, when you’re looking for Ni celebrities or even assessing your own personality. It isn’t enough to abstract once in awhile or for fun (and there is a difference between generalized Ne-abstracting and Ni high abstracting). It isn’t enough to make a weird comment now and again. It isn’t enough to talk in metaphors. It isn’t enough to be creative or intelligent or take an interest in the realm of abstraction. It isn’t enough to find small talk boring or daydream or have a single goal for your life.
Those things are not Ni.
Unless Carey Mulligan, or Benedict Cumberbatch, or God forbid, Taylor Swift, can do this Bowie-level Ni consistently throughout their conversational history and choices in life, unless their entire worldview and artistic history is saturated in Ni, they are not in any way, shape, or form Ni-doms.
On a minor note, given Bowie’s delight in introducing new concepts to people and inspiring them to create their own subjective impressionistic art, and his clear preference for intense analyzing, he was likely INFJ… one of the few actually legitimate ones in the industry.
Did anyone else watch The Abominable Bride? I had so much fun with it, I was cracking up hours later over dinner, talking about completely unrelated things. My family has not seen me that high since I ate an entire carton of ice cream by myself.
Victorian Holmes: I have been dying to see Benedict in an “official” representation of Holmes since forever, and he did not disappoint. He was so lovely in his top hat and tweeds, smoking his pipe and dashing about in his caped coat, that I’d gladly trade in the modern series for a purely costume drama experience. They got the atmosphere perfect… ghostly, fog-filled streets, dank underground morgues, high hedgerows and bustles. The mustache on Watson was terrible but oh, well. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the sideburns on Lestrade. Uuugh!
Winks, Nudges, and Nods to the Canon: I started laughing right around, “I had to grow this mustache just so people would recognize me!” and did not stop until the end. Does the Strand artist follow you around sketching you during the crimes? Nice of them to throw in the five orange pips. It also borrows from other, lesser known, Holmes productions… hilariously, the super awkward conversation in the potting shed about whether Holmes has had any “experiences” with women is ripped out of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. (A movie I should not find amusing, but I do, and subsequently, a film that has greatly influenced a lot of their decisions on Sherlock, including the brother dynamic.) Continue reading →
The new Star Wars (don’t worry, no spoilers!) is an interesting reflection on the modern era, about a villain becoming a villain through his choices, and heroes becoming heroes by facing similar choices and selecting the moral path.
The Jedi are a myth; the next generation grew up without them. Kylo Ren believes returning to the roots of the Empire will build a stronger future. He believes killing Luke Skywalker will shift the balance of the Force to the Dark Side. His journey into darkness is paralleled by Finn, a Stormtrooper who defects from the Dark Side and must overcome fear of being targeted to do what is right. Then there is Rey, a scavenger surprised to find the Jedi, the Force, and Han Solo actually exist; she thought them legends. Each looks to the leaders of the last generation for inspiration; Kylo idolizes Darth Vader, the heroes idolize Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Continue reading →
Don’t read on unless you’ve seen the film, or don’t care about spoilers. I can’t discuss these themes without revealing the major “shock” moment.
One theme often repeated in art has Rebellion by the Son against the Father, with the Son inevitably murdering the Father. Because the Son would not exist without a Father, this places the Father in the shoes of the Creator. Pagan mythology is full of demigods rebelling against their creator/father, often who abandoned them on earth with no awareness of their true purpose. Christianity explores this symbolism in the myth of the Archangel Lucifer’s rebellion against his Creator. Continue reading →