Thursday, March 6, 2014

here comes trouble

The first bit I've got highlighted in Benesh's (2011) dissertation is, "such an iconic film can be seen as contemporary myth proposing an interpretation of the culture from which it originated" (p. 1). This is the kind of argument I will have use as justification in my own thesis as to why I am using this particular film, Groundhog Day as my case study. Fueling this mythic notion would be the addition of "Groundhog Day" to our lexicon for any situation mired in repetition and getting nowhere (some examples here).

The next highlight--

and I realize this might be too "systematic" an approach

--is, "The film has been adopted by 'Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement,' as well as Platonists, Aristotelian(s), and 'countless professors use it to teach ethics and a host of philosophical approaches' (Goldberg, 2005, para. 3, cited in Benesh, 2011, p. 2). On the one hand, yes, I've only gotten to page two. On the other hand, this is the kind of thing I'd want to cite directly from Goldberg if it came up in my thesis. Also, it's mostly information I can glean from other sources as well. Still, it was highlighted.

Some more of the useful stuff I now cannot steal because, well public record here and, well, I don't want to: "My hermeneutic study examines Groundhog Day as an interpretive case study of 'transformation.'" Also, "Groundhog Day's success in inspiring multiple interpretations may be a testament to its 'archetypal resonance' (p. 6).

And I want to get through this Benesh stuff, and I probably shouldn't air more personal stuff here, but I thought it was worth mentioning that last night just after completing my blog entry I had a nice conversation with the woman I've mentioned a few times lately. I didn't quite get up the nerve to do so directly, but sort of accidentally walked into a conversation with her. It didn't result in the success I might have wanted but just getting it out there, letting her know I was interested--that took off a lot of the pressure I was putting on myself. Months of deciding if I should even approach this girl--yes, months, and I know that's sad. I wish Phil Connors had rubbed off on me more by now. Maybe I really do need one of those WWPCD bracelets.

Anyway, today my mood was quite good actually. It felt good just to put it out there. I wish I'd been more forthright, and been so much earlier, but it still felt good.

But anyway, back to Benesh. The next thing I highlighted was actually the end of a quotation from Beebe (2008): "...the mass audience is in constant pursuit, as if on a religious quest, of the transformative film. (p. 20)" (Benesh, 2011, p. 7). This is the kind of thing that might be useful if I went ahead with the Christ-Figure paper or the confirmation bias one. Probably not too useful under the current plan. Similarly, this line from Benesh on the same page: "A movie about a successful personal transformation can enable its audience to feel transformed, and this feeling of transformation can effect and engender genuine and ongoing transformation. Such a phenomenon can create a ripple effect in the culture, such that even those not directly affected can feel the influence as they relate to those who have." That's a similar idea to one of my Rambo speeches a few years back; I argued that through the process of symbolic convergence Americans have an idea of who Rambo is even if they haven't seen any of the Rambo films. I was recently proved wrong about that when a couple members of the speech team for which I coach had no idea who I was talking about when I mentioned the character.

My daughter, the younger one--she told me life will get better. I think she thinks I'm more upset about not getting that date last night... and it might sound odd that I told her about it, but it came up in conversation about her current crush--not that she has one, if any of her middle school friends happen to read this, which seems rather unlikely. I'm too busy to let myself be bothered even if it was like that anyway. But, as I said, there's pressure off now. I'm reminded of that scene in Home Alone with the Old Man Marley who hasn't talked to his son in years and has to watch his granddaughter sing from afar. You know, this bit:

Kevin: My point is, you should call your son.

Old Man Marley: What if he won't talk to me?

Kevin: At least you'll know. Then you could stop worrying about it. Then you won't have to be afraid anymore. I don't care how mad I was, I'd talk to my dad. Especially around the holidays.

Old Man Marley: I don't know.

Kevin: Just give it a shot, for your granddaughter anyway. I'm sure she misses you, and the presents.

And, it goes on, but the subject changes, obviously. Anyway, that bit from Kevin--"At least you'll know. Then you could stop worrying about it."--that's the thing I'm reminded of. I've got to work on my timing, but at least I do eventually get to what I want to say, even if often too late." I think on my Twitter profile (my personal one, not the Groundhog Day Project one) I jokingly added "Sophist" to my description, but I should be better at finding the "opportune moment" for things then. It's weird, you get me in front of a crowd and I can talk and talk and say just about anything. But, put me one on one and things get harder. I think most people are the opposite. Phil Connors is the opposite, for sure. I mean, yeah, when he's doing his weather reports, he's talking to a big audience but really he's just talking to the camera. And, throughout the film he talks one on one (or two or three, but never a large group) a lot and he has no trouble expressing what he wants. He may have trouble figuring out, or admitting, what it is that he really wants, but whatever he wants in the moment, he's sure to tell someone. Or just make a sarcastic or insulting comment to deflect from being too honest, which in a way is just as honest, I think. (But, maybe that last bit is a problem of mine.)

But, I was talking about Benesh. And it was about to get good... except I think I've mentioned this particular mistake of hers. I don't think I mentioned that I underlined it and marked an X through it. The mistake is minor enough--she attributes the "no consequences" line to Phil when it's actually Gus that says it. But, I like catching mistakes. I'm a jerk that way.

I wish I'd catch my own mistakes earlier than I do. My advice to anyone out there, you like someone tell him, tell her. You want something, go for it--barring something that's going to hurt someone else, of course; that's a given. Last fall I had one class with this girl and I barely spoke with her directly, but she fascinated me right way. She's smart, she's clever, she's funny. She's quite attractive as well, but without those other qualities, why bother, you know? And, I haven't even seen her in person lately--we don't have any classes together this quarter--but I interact with her on Facebook from time to time, and she posts awesome news stories about political uprisings and whatnot, the kind of stuff I used to share more often... Mostly, lately, I've been too busy with my kids and my grad school work to worry about whether I even want another romantic relationship in my life. But, there were moments... there were moments...

More on Benesh tomorrow. Less of me... maybe.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to have the moments I want and live them every day.

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