Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"United States of Tara": a recipe for Psychoanalysis

The premise of Showtime's television show, "The United States of Tara," is that a mom of two is living with Multiple Personality Disorder, or Dissociative Identity Disorder. Is the previous season of the show, Tara had three other personalities that would emerge:
"Alice"-a Martha Stewart-type, fifties, baking, mom figure.
"Buck"-a male Vietnam War veteran.
and "T"-a fifteen-year-old, who is loud and promiscuous.
In the present season another personality arises after Tara "gets new meds" is a psychiatrist figure named "Shoshana."
The show goes on as Tara's husband Max and her two teenage children also try to cope with Tara's constant changing personalities.

The Psychoanalysis Theory would say that this disorder stemmed from something in Tara's past. It could have been childhood abuse and Tara's coping mechanism was to create personalities that could stand in for her as she goes inside herself to hide. She would create a personality that would be better suited to deal with the trauma.
This clip showed the different personalities at their finest.
"Alice" takes the role of the housewife, bakes and talks to teachers and tries to connect with Tara's husband, Max. This could stem with an estrangement that Tara feels with her husband or being the wife. This might be how Tara controls a feeling of being out of control with her role as a wife and mother. "Alice" is the perfect 50's housewife, so she is best suited for this role.
"T" has fun and has the ability to connect with Tara's teenage daughter, Kate. This might be because Tara might feel that she can not connect with her punk rock teenage daughter. "T" has a better understanding of Kate because she is a rebellious teenager, herself. Tara uses "T" because she feels that she is best suited for this role.
"Buck" likes to have a beer, go bowling, and tries to connect with Tara's teenage son, Marshall. This could be because Tara is aware of Marshall's homosexuality. Tara uses "Buck" to try to be a masculine role model for Marshall. Maybe Tara feels that her husband, Max, is not capable of fulfilling this role.
Tara could also be using this "alters" to get out of doing certain tasks. Tara's sister wants to go to a "Pampered Chef" party, so "T" arises, therefore Tara does not have to attend the party with her sister. Also, when Marshall is having problems at school, Tara uses "Alice" to stand in and have a conference withe the teacher, therefore Tara does not have to take part in conflict.
It also makes the audience wonder how much of the personalities are actually Tara and if she is just using them for her benefit. Have her conflicts of the past subsided or is she still using the "alters" for a way out?
This is a clip of the new season, still more crazy alters because Tara decides to go off of her "meds." We see in this season that "Buck" finds a love interest at the bar. Maybe this means that Tara has some homosexual fantasies herself. This could be because she wonders about why her son is homosexual, but Marshall finds a girlfriend. "Buck's" love interest could be reflection of Marshall's homosexuality.
Also, because Tara is trying to integrate her "alters" Tara is beginning to know what happens when she is "not there" because she has conversations with them. This is also the beginning of the therapy sessions with "Shoshana." (The embed was disabled, but here's the link for that one.)
Tara is trying to "get better" so "Shoshana" becomes a confidant figure. Tara becomes aware of her alters and has conversations with them.

Even though Tara creates "Alice" to be the wife and "Buck" to be the male role model, Max has to be strong and be Tara's husband in spite of her illness. Tara is still is wife and he has to be the husband to all of Tara not just "Tara."

Ultimately, Tara's family has to remain solid even if Tara isn't. As Marshall said in this last clip, "Because of you, we get to be interesting." That sums up this show and the Psychoanalytical approach shows the complexities of all that is "Tara."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

thoughts on postcolonial theory

Postcolonial theory stems mostly from British colonies and the aftermath of being the colonized. The effect is that the colonized has to find identity. Should they return to the old ways or become what my Postcolonial Literature teacher calls, "Little Brown Englishmen?" The group that presented these ideas showed pictures of Ghandi the colonized and Ghandi the visionary.
Britain wanted to use these colonized peoples as translators to spread the word and reach more colonized people. Spread the gospel of what is British and educate the people of India, for instance.
The piece by Said was also mentioned. He coined the term, "orientalism," which is a British view of the colonized. They showed clips of Disney's "Aladdin" to try to emphasize this point.
"Aladdin" would be an Orientalist idea because of all of the mysticism, sand, nail bed laying, harem, sword eating idea of Arabian people.
There's also the idea of what happens next?
Writers that come from British colonies are stuck wondering whether or not to write in English or to use their native languages.
In Joyce's, Ulysses, Stephan marvels over language. He is conflicted because he doesn't know his native Irish language. He knows English because Ireland was colonized by Britain. How is he supposed to find his identity?
What happens to the colonized?

postmodern contributions

The idea of postmodernism, as I understand it, is to take all old conventions and turn them on its head. Take everything we know about gender conventions or any binary and flip it.
My contribution was to try to show the differences between the traditional telling and showing of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juilet" with a modern form with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Obviously, there are differences in dress, music, costuming, etc.
Mercucio in the 90's version is dressed in drag and acting flamboyant as the traditional is dressed in Shakespearean garb.
I'm still a little unclear of what postmodern theory is. Most say that it is a break away from modenism, but what is modernism?
Modernism turned realism on its head just as postmodern tries to turn modernism on its head.
Each generation of thought is trying to find what is truly real and trying to find ways to accurately document these ideas.
For one thing, Modernism wanted to change the ways that we see point of view. Let's use a first person narrative and maybe this narrator will be unreliable.
I've read some novels where that first person narrator was almost having a conversation with the reader over coffee by the fire. He would jump from subject to subject and then say, "wait, that's not right, let's start over." It was truly fasinating.
Postmodern wanted to show that there is no way to show what is real. What is reality anyway? What is truth? Is there truth?
We don't all see things the same way. My truth is different than your truth.
I also contributed the oreos. I figured that golden oreos would be a postmodern spin on the regular tradional oreos. This wasn't really explained.
Everyone seemed to just like coloring pictures of The Birth of Venus and eating oreos.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is that your sword, or are you just happy to see me?

Any piece of literature could be looked at through freudian googles. In class we looked at Hamlet through these oedipus complex eyes and the result was rather intriguing.
Hamlet seeks revenge on his father's killer, his uncle, who married his mother. When looked at through Freudian specialized googles, we see that Hamlet sees yet another man in the way of him "being with" his mother.
We saw a scene of Mel Gibson and Glen Close as Hamlet and Hamlet's mommy as Hamlet is so sexually frustrated about this new man in his mommy's life that he pushes her on the bed and thrusts into her (with clothes on of course). The ghost of his father bursts in the room to provide the "naughty, naughty, don't do that Hamster" and the frustration ceases.
We also see other forms of phallic symbols in literature, "It that your sword, or are you just happy to see me?"
I guess Hamster really is a Shakespearean Oedipus, after all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

eat your wheaties

In class a few weeks ago we were given a magazine ad and asked to do a word picture about it. Mine was a picture for "Wheaties FUEL." It had pictures of Peyton Manning and other well known athletes that I don't know the names of. If a child, let's say an over weight, video gaming, coach potato, child looks at this ad, he would think, hey, if I eat this cereal, I will be just as fit and powerful as these professional athletes. This isn't really the case because in order for this kid to lose all the weight and get active, eating a bowl of Wheaties, won't really do it for him. He's got to put down the game controler, turn off the tube, and go outside! The Wheaties might help give him some more energy, as we all know, eating a healthy breakfast can keep you full and focused. Do we know that Peyton Manning eats Wheaties FUEL? He probably doesn't. He seems more like an Eggo waffle man to me. It's false advertising that keeps children on the couch and not outside riding bikes. One could say that Peyton Manning is contributing to childhood obesity. Of course, I'm a Colts fan so blame it on Wheaties.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turn it on Salvador...

A Structuralist viewpoint for this picture shows me the clock.
The clock equals time.
These clocks are melting away=time melting away?
The tree branch gives me the idea of life, though life that is dead and merely a twig.
The clocks are melting off of the branch, time melts as life ends.
Mountains in the distance could be what is to come.
Returning to nature as time is melting into nature off of the dead tree branch.
Rigid boxes and beetles climbing over one clock=time is rough and never ceasing.
A life ends as another life is to begin and emerge from the darkness.

"Time melts away..."

This painting depicts group of clocks that are melting away and falling off of a box. Who put these clocks on the box and how long have they been sitting there? It must have been a very hot day for the glass and the metal as well as the inner workings of the clocks to melt. Why were they left outside? Were they supposed to melt? Did the owner of the clocks one day decide to take his clock collection outside and forget about them? He must have heard the phone ring or had to answer the door and forgot his clocks outside. Is his collection that important to him that it was so easily forgotten and reduced to a residue, ooze that easily falls off a box?

This painting lead to a modern day take of a digital clock that melts like a candy bar off of a bench at a basketball game.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bakhtin "Discourse in the Novel" and "Rabelais and His World"