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The inter-imaginative concept can alter the selfie as on moves from an exclusively internalized view of the self to a self that a real or imaginary other may view, based upon our interactions with others (and our assessments of their points of view.

 

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1. Evocative Concept—refers to the feeling one gets when internalizing the inter-imaginative concept. This feeling can range from pride to shame. It can also have an impact on how one re-portrays his/her inner selfie (intra-imaginative concept), which then starts the cycle anew.

 

1. Looking Glass Death and Latent Effects of Trauma— while is necessary to ensure passionate commitment and to create and maintain viable dreams and ambitions ( associated with one’s intra-imaginative selfie), experiencing interactive events hostile to one’s selfie (associated with an inter-imaginative concept) can threaten the life of one’s subjective identity.

 

In particular, and as mentioned, an encounter that is antagonistic to one’s subjective view of self (and that is applicable to the intra-imaginative selfie), may lead to a crippling disillusionment that isolates an individual and shatters this individual’s enthusiastic idealism ( and that can make the evocative concept rigidly negative).

 

Once an individual’s idealism (and subjective perception of self) is shattered, this individual is likely to experience trauma and cause this individual to experience a cycle of shame.

 

In the film, Bombshell, Kayla Pospisil (played by Margot Robbie), is a fictional “composite figure” who works at Fox News, first as an assistant to Gretchen Carlson (played by Nicole Kidman) and then as part of Bill O’Reilly’s crew.

 

Kayla describes herself as an “evangelical millennial” who views her “brand” of “Christian Millennial” as profitable and advantageous for Fox News (provided that she can fill important roles within the network (she is, obviously, ambitious). She backs up her claim by noting the thousands of Instagram followers she has accrued.

 

She comes off as a self-starter and perhaps, a self-promoter, who, nonetheless is very much anchored to her family’s political and social perspectives (conservative)—appearing, to the audience, as one who is not afraid to “bend the rules,” but also as one who conforms to her familial values.

 

Kayla strikes up a close (and briefly, intimate) friendship with Jess Carr (played by Kate McKinnon), a lesbian who feels like “a fish out of water” in that she supports Hillary Clinton and other democrats (she is keeping two secrets—her sexual and political orientations). Jess becomes Kayla’s mentor in regard to the “nuts and bolts” of corporate survival, but her ability to be an ally to Kayla is limited (due to systemic and personal constraints).

 

Kayla seizes an opportunity to meet with Roger Ailes (played by John Lithgow), the head of Fox News and the man responsible for making Fox News as popular as it is. Ailes has a reputation for hiring women and “taking them under his wing,” which, unfortunately, translates into sexual and verbal harassment.

 

After gaining a meeting with Ailes, Pospisil is sexually harassed and asked to pull her dress up beyond her waist. Later in the film, it’s revealed that she was asked to give sexual favors to Ailes, a request (or demand) with which she complied.

 

Kayla’s experience is devastating—not only in regard to his sense of self-worth and dignity, but also because the experience “rocks her beliefs” about her politics (and the possible misperceptions that make up her family’s beliefs and political orientation).

 

Kayla’s experience is further devastating in that she discovers that one of the people she most admires, Megyn Kelly (played by Charlize Theron), shows little concern for Kayla’s emotional plight (Kelly is only interested in the fact that Kayla experienced harassment.

 

1. The Double Bind—coined by Gregory Bateson , a double bind pertains to the perception that one cannot respond appropriately to any stimuli—or that any response to stimuli will be the wrong response.

 

The once enthusiastic and confident person (with a robust intra-imaginative concept) now engages in a repetitive and continuous process of second-guessing that invites cognitive dissonance—or the intense discomfort associated with dealing with troubling contradictions between how one defines the subjective self and how one has behaved (in contradiction to this subjective self).

 

2. Atypical Definition of the Looking Glass Self—While typical definition of the looking glass self refers to an routinely accepted and positive internal view of one’s choices that coincides with a feeling of being in the place one belongs, an atypical definition represents intense (and often nauseating) confusion in regard to understanding one’s place in the system—this confusion raises the sickening suspicion that one does not belong in the exact place to where one was once convinced of belonging.

3. The Existential Choice—places the one traumatized (and the one who feels that the intra-imaginative concept and feeling of belonging is shattered beyond repair) in a position to either change or find a compromised way of adapting. When one is in the position to make the existential choice (especially in regard to the looking glass self), one either tries to pretend that all could be well, or to face the reality that one must make a radical decision to move on.

Tuesday, October 18th

 

1. Symbolic Death and the Tragedy of Self Transformation— a tragic self-transformation represents a journey that combines trauma, a sense of deep loss, vast success, and an experience of the death of desired being. Specifically, the tragic transformation is the death of who one wants to be—in which desire is destroyed by an unwanted destiny.

Specifically, a symbolic death involves the death of who one wants to be—or in reference to the looking glass self, “the selfie” associated with the intra-imaginative concept. Additionally, one struggles with the conflict of who one is as a “self-made” person, and what a person is destined to be (or how the person is “molded” by circumstances outside of this person’s control.

Max Weber regarded one’s destiny as connected to his notion of elective affinity—which implies a confluence of historical accidents and individual decisions, making for a particular reality of being (out of many possible realities of such being). Further, Weber’s notion of elective affinity implies that what originally could be seen as a statistical improbability, becomes regarded, retrospectively, as an inevitable outcome.

In  The Godfather , Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) is the son of a Sicilian Mafia kingpin ( Don Vito Corleone). Vito (played by Marlon Brando) is given the title of The Don as a means of great respect—it essentially means that in the Mafia world, Vito is “The Man.” The audience first sees Vito in between brightness and darkness (as filmed).

Michael is the youngest (third) son of Vito; his older brothers, Fredo and Sonny are committed to their destiny of following in Vito’s footsteps (as a Mafia kingpin). He has a half-brother, Tom Hagen, who is a lawyer and serves as Don Vito’s consiglieri (or main advisor), an honorary title. In particular, Sonny, the second oldest brother, is the heir apparent to eventually replace Vito as The Don.

However, Vito recognizes that Michael is the brightest and most talented of the brothers; and he knows that Michael would be the best Don. Vito is torn between such a recognition and a hope that Michael can indeed escape his destiny (as one who would replace Vito). He sees Michael as capable of much more than a mafia kingpin—and as one who has the intelligence, disposition, and talents to make something more of himself than live as one outside of the law.

The audience first sees Michael (in the light of the camera shot) as a brightidealistic, and young college student/war hero, optimistic about his future.at his sister’s wedding. Symbolically, he appears wearing his military uniform (symbolic of his apparent distance he maintains from his family) and in the company of a young (Anglo Saxon) woman (Kay), with whom he is in love. At the wedding, Michael tells Kay about his father’s past violent threats to get what he wants.

In one particular scene, when describing his father’s method of getting what he wants, he tells Kay, “Luca Brasi (Vito’s “muscle”) held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.”

Realizing that his story has shocked Kay, Michael says, “That’s my family, Kay. That’s not me.” In effect, Michael has made a great effort to push his family away for most of his adult life. For one thing, he went against his father’s wishes when he joined the army. For another thing, he brings Kay, a WASP and All-American girl to the wedding.

But Michael finds himself being pushed back in to the family orbit (and being drawn into his destiny as the future Mafia Don) when his father is seriously wounded during an assassination attempt. Michael and Kay are on a date when he first finds out. Kay spots the headline on a newspaper and tells Michael. Michael later discovers that a man named Sollozo put the hit out on the Don

One shot in this sequence interestingly highlights the beginning of Michael gravitation towards his family obligations and the eventual abandonment of Kay. From inside the phone booth, we see Michael shut the door on Kay, as she stands isolated outside, unable to hear the conversation has with his brother. Michael is shutting the door to his past life and dreams of being separated from the family, and enclosing himself back into their world again.

Michael has tried to push his family away, but he cannot deny or stifle how much he truly does care for his father.

The seeds for Michael’s change are further planted during the scene when he visits his father, Don Vito, at the hospital. Michael finds that his father’s room is unguarded, leaving him vulnerable to another attempt of murder. (This one all the more likely to succeed). Michael quickly and resourcefully is able to get his father moved to another room. Michael runs into Enzo the baker, who was there to visit the Don, and together they stand outside and pretend to be guards to deter the passing car of other assassins.

The baker is frightened to death and tries in vain to light a cigarette, for his hands are shaking too much. Michael remains cool and collected, and effortlessly lights it for him. Michael looks at his steady and unfearful hands for a moment . In this potentially dangerous situation, Michael has managed to stay completely calm. It is in that moment where perhaps Michael realizes he may have the right skills to be good at this kind of game.

Thursday, October 20th

Eventually, Michael is punched by a corrupt officer who they discover is Sollozo’s bodyguard. A newly resolved Michael, set on avenging the assassination attempt of his father, comes up with the plan that will change the course of Michael’s life. He decides to kill both Sollozo and the officer. We see here the forming and sleek execution of cunning ideas that Michael will employ as future head of the Family.

Michael makes the decision to go through with killing the men, knowing full well that he is abandoning his dreams of a simple All-American suburban life, one he’s begun with Kay. He will now be a true criminal on the run, hiding in Sicily. Michael rationalizes this decision for the good of his family. While Michael has shrewdly come up with this plan for the good of the mafia family’s business, there may be personal motivations for Michael. If he hadn’t seen his father harmed and the family in such shambles, Michael would not have been so moved to join in and help them.

 

 

Not Shown in Class

While Michael is in hiding in Sicily, he gets “hit by the thunderbolt” (falls in love at first sight) with and a beautiful Italian girl Apollonia. At this point, perhaps Michael felt that he could still return to America and live a relatively normal life. After all, as far as he knew his brother Sonny (played by James Caan) was still alive and his father was on the mend. Either one of them was capable of running the Family. At this point there was nothing particularly tying Michael back to the mafia world.

But it is the devastation of Apollonia’s death, combined with the news of his brother’s Sonny’s death that brings Michael to a point of no return. Once the love of his life and unborn child dies, Michael becomes a bitter and ruthless man. Love was replaced with hate and a coldness running through within him.

Michael may have left behind an optimistic young man with All-American dreams behind when he killed Sollozo and the officer to flee to Sicily. But his marriage to Apollonia was a wonderful time for him, where he began to form dreams of a new and blessed life with her. In that moment, when he watches her die, is the germination of the cold Mafioso he becomes.

When a despondent Michael returns home without his Italian bride, he discovers that his brother, Sonny (the new Don, replacing a weakened Vito), has been “gunned down” (multiple times) and is dead. His other brother, Fredo, has too weak a character to run the family. His half-brother, Tom, an attorney, is not a Sicilian and cannot be a Don. His father is too sick to be the boss anymore.

 

 

Upon returning to New York from Sicily, Michael does not feel that he any other choice but to submerge himself into the business, despite his father’s hopes for something more. Michael finds Kay and, in a very cold way, proposes marriage. Even though Kay seems reluctant (and also sees through Michael’s exterior, aware of a drastically changed Michael), she accepts (aware that, in all probability, Kay is merely, from Michael’s perspective, the easiest and quickest option available to him.

The scene is more of a calculated business transaction than a loving proposal. It’s not to say he doesn’t care about Kay, at all.  Michael never cheats on Kay; he gives her a good life. But it’s much more a business move than anything else.

During the proposal, he tells Kay, “I came here because I need you—because I care for you. Because I want you to marry me.” Beautiful words, but watch how Michael says them, there’s no true emotion, and this proposal is clouded with mechanical motions with the goal of getting Kay back into his life.

Michael and Kay marry, have children, and act as the happy couple as Micheal becomes increasingly more successful and ruthless as the Mafia Don. In the end, Michael has virtually eliminated all of his enemies, including his brother-in-law (married to his younger sister) and even his own brother, Fredo. He has gained the respect and prominence as the most powerful Don, but at the expense of sacrificing his soul—and all of his previous dreams of being his own man, living within the law.

Michael proceeds to become more and more ruthless, not only taking over the Mafia world in New York City, but around the country. He becomes the most powerful gangster in America—but at a great price. He has eliminated countless people including his brother Fredo, who Michael believes betrayed him .

Kay, begins to hate Michael (and refuses to live with, or have another child with him); Michael has pushed Tom away and is no longer a consigliore. At the end of the sequel, Godfather II, the audience sees him isolated, lonely, and alienated from his family and his own self as he reflects, nostalgically, on what could have been.

 

1. The Vibrant Introspective Self—represents the self in the process of discovery, creation (of one’s own path), and in the process of finding one’s own direction, independent of others’ expectations (especially the expectations of family, friends, and others in one’s life world). The self as vibrant and introspective is defiant in the sense that the person does not feel obligated to follow in expected footsteps and seeks to establish one’s own identity—on one’s own terms.

 

2. The Me as Social Object—represents a continuous struggle between an introspective dream and the expectations of others in the life world.

Even the most introspective and defiant of selves is anchored to expectations of others—and is aware of how such expectations can differ from one’s own dreams and independence.

This Me takes into account the demands of others—when one says, “this is me” the person is not only identifying one’s self, but is articulating, in art, the expectations of those in his/her life world.

Inversely, when one says, “that’s not me,” the person is basically distancing him/herself from others’ expectations, even though this person is still attached to those others with particular expectations.

3. The Turning Point—represents a dramatic and internalized event that puts the self that others expect one to be and the self that one desires to be in sharp focus. It often signifies the beginning of the end of one’s desire—and in turn, puts the vibrant introspective self on a destined path that runs counter to this self’s idealistic wishes.

 

The turning point is an unexpected and unplanned event that nonetheless serves as a significant alteration in one’s plans. In the case of The Godfather and, specifically, the character of Michael, this turning point is the prelude to a tragic transformation.

 

4. Resolving Cognitive Dissonance— according to cognitive dissonance theory, people face a difficult choice to opt for an outcome with which they are uncomfortable. Michael’s choice, to either pursue a life outside of the family by himself (he has abandoned Kay and married Appolina, but now has neither Kay nor Appolina in his life), or to take over the family business and become The Don.

 

Once a person makes a choice (“the lesser of two evils”) this person works hard to justify and rationalize the choice as the correct one (even if it is not so).

 

Michael chooses to become The Don. This choice represents a powerful and enduring realization that one’s definition of the self actually corresponds to one’s destiny— the once vibrant and introspective self is replaced by the self that one is meant to be, for good or for bad—and usually for bad.

 

Michael’s rationalization and justification of his choice symbolizes how one’s tragic fate is sealed. In The Godfather , Michael makes several realizations that transform the way he thinks about himself— as his more ruthless and cold-blooded self emerges in the wake of the demise of his introspective and vibrant self.

 

5. The Self with No Exit—pertains to a sealing of the self as destined and finalizes the death of the introspective self. This particular self (without an exit) engages in an act or acts that symbolize the impossibility of turning back. Once engaging in the act—such as Michael murdering his father’s would-be assassins in cold blood—there can be no return to introspection. Effectively , Michael’s fate as the very lonely and unlovable Don becomes sealed.

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