December 8, 2013 by NowhereButPop
For the longest time, I lived my life under the assumption that I was the only sane person living in an insane world. Over the past few months I’ve had to readjust that theory, thinking that I was actually the only insane person in a relatively sane world. Now, I’ve revised my theory into believing that our insanity, as people, is caused by the insanity of the world, which is bred from the innate insanity of people. Kinda like a “chicken or the egg” thing. Everyone’s a nutjob, just in a different way.
The things that we like and the reason why we like the things we do is because they speak to our specific and special brand of individual insanity. We see something that is relatable and understandable with which we can use as a prism to further understand and explore our own habits of self-examination. When we say that a fictional character is relatable to us, we are understanding a fact or an ideal about ourselves and then creating a correlation between this character and ourselves using the character as a model for self analysis. This article will focus on the four individuals, both real and fictitious, that I liken certain similarities to, and how I see myself through them. Be prepared that in trying to decipher myself, I may come off as incredibly arrogant and self-centered…If I am, I’m not trying to be; there may be no other way to do such a thing without coming off as conceited.
Bono (It’s no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest)
Specifically Zoo TV era Bona, to be clearer. More so than with any other band, my love of U2 is predominately anchored by my unconditional love for a singular album, Achtung Baby. Whereas with other bands my affection for their discography is more diverse and widespread, when it comes to U2, 77% of the reason why I like them as much as I do, is solely due to Achtung Baby. Not only was it the music or the newfound sense of levity and looseness that appealed to me, but it was also Bono’s attitude. Instead of being the self righteous and pretentious martyr he had been in the past, the Bono that presented himself at every concert along the Zoo TV tour was a more charismatic, flippant, and cheerful Bono. No longer was he dour and depressed about the state of the world, he was dry humping cameras, and prank calling the White House.
Bono described his entire attitude during the Zoo TV tour as being the part of himself that always wanted to embrace and enjoy that rock star lifestyle. Gone was the stoic condescension, replaced by a charismatic cynicism. In place of that sour scowl, was a new bright smile. And taking over for self-serious demeanor that drew many detractors, was a more lighthearted joker who still bled for the world, but didn’t feel the need to crucify himself anymore.
Zoo TV, and more specifically the character of “The Fly” exposed Bono for the captivating, entertaining, and even jovial person that he’s become since the album first came out back in 1991. He turned himself into this magnetic, energetic and hyper-maniacal jovial joker, who could still be serious and sincere though. It was this new and engaging side of Bono that drew people to see the band every night of the tour. This is me at my most exaggerated.
Harvey Dent (IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT I WANT; IT’S ABOUT WHAT’S FAIR!)
Emotion and logic. Dessert and fairness. Justice and revenge. Forever strewn about in a twister of two opposing forces is Harvey Dent, and by extension myself. How does one be a good person in a world that is begging you to be cruel? There’s a part of everyone that seeks to vindicate every transgression done unto them with equal amounts of malice. The desire to do unto others as they have done unto you, whether it be for good or ill is a powerful feeling, and a feeling that is tremendously difficult to escape.
Harvey Dent, the man who would become Two-Face has always, and will always be my favorite supervillain. The thing that always stuck with me, even as a kid, was that prior to his disfigurement and subsequent sojourn into insanity, Harvey Dent, as the D.A. of Gotham City, was a supporter and ally of Batman; he was one of the few incorruptible figures of truth, justice, and decency. And yet despite these virtues, Batman failed to save Harvey from madness. Not only did Batman fail, but he failed to save someone who so desperately needed to be saved, not only from the world, but from his own inner demons as well. Because of his failure to save Harvey Dent, Batman now has to live with the monster who, like a phoenix, rose from the ashes of the righteous Harvey Dent.
All the emotions that Dent tried to keep at bay for fear of being overwhelmed by them came to the forefront as Two-Face. Where Dent is logic, and justice, and fairness, Two-Face is pure emotion, selfishness, and vengeance. Two-Face is the dark side of Dent that always wanted to be let off the leash. Whenever Harvey was hurt, it was Two-Face who wanted to fight back.
Despite his best attempts to be a good person in a world that would appear to forbid such a thing, and the challenge of keeping himself in check, it was only a matter of time before Harvey Dent crumbled. Two-Face was all too happy to take his place and impress his suppressed fury onto the world. Harvey Dent is selfless, decent, and goodhearted. Two-Face is selfish, vindictive, and unrestrained. Harvey Dent is me at my best, and Two-Face is me at my worst.
Pablo Picasso (She was always my weeping woman)
I have no eye for art, but when it comes to artists, Picasso has always been my favorite, and it’s not because of his artwork. Instead I’m very intrigued by the circumstances and inspirations of his works. To see such extensive and diverse pieces of work, each with their own driving emotion behind them is very compelling because we’re shown a piece of him and what he was feeling. There’s no guesswork involved, it’s just strong and unbridled emotion.
His Blue Period is all misery, melancholia, and despair because those were the emotions that ruled his life at that time. His paintings conveyed an inescapable void that Picasso felt his life had become. Just a few years later, after meeting Fernande Olivier, Picasso made the transition to his Pink Period which involved more jubilant and joyful expressions. Simply by being in love with this one woman was enough to make Picasso do a complete 180 as a creative force. From then it seemed that all of his mistresses began to influence him in assorted, but personal ways.
His courtship with Dora Maar produced artwork similar to those of his Blue Period because of the fact that Maar was perpetually depressed. Another relationship, with Marie Therese Walter, led Picasso to paint in a way that was reminiscent of his Pink Period, because of her youthful vibrancy and cheerful disposition. Here is this artist who beyond a shadow of a doubt is a master at his craft, but depending on how he felt and who inspired him his creation would literally take a life of its own. Any creative work is akin to a child; it’s a part of the creator, and the best kinds of creative works are borne from two people, the creator, and the muse who inspired those feelings within the creator in the first place. To have such a strong sense of creativity, it’s ironic that a source of inspiration would be needed to draw it out and for Picasso that inspiration, that muse, was whatever woman was in his life at that point.
I like being inspired, and I like having someone to write for. Whether or not I’m good at writing is another story, but it’s something I enjoy, and it’s something that I want to do for someone else as much as I do it myself. I hope that one day I could be as creative at my craft that Picasso was at his, and I hope that I have sources of inspiration that draw out such intense emotions from me as Picasso had. This is what I aspire to be.
Nick Carraway (I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person)
Ever the observer, who Nick Carraway is and who Nick Carraway thinks he is, are two different people. But at the end of the day Nick Carraway knows who he really is, and knows that the person he thinks he is, isn’t really who he is. He sees himself as the last bastion of morality, honesty and sincerity. But in reality, he allows himself to become entwined in the superficial lifestyle of those around him. He treated Jordan Baker poorly because he didn’t think she was the kind of girl who he could have feeling for, and so as a result he didn’t let himself develop feeling for her, and she was hurt by him in the end. He would go out and party and drink with people he claimed to have nothing in common with, but at the end of the day there he was right in the thick of things.
Now, unlike most other people in the novel, Nick is aware of the superficial lifestyle that everyone lives, and he does have a disdain for it, but that disdain doesn’t translate to distaste. He knows better, but still does anyway, and that’s why Nick Carraway is an asshole. He knows that what he’s doing might not be the most honorable or moral thing to do, but he does it anyway. All of his transgressions aren’t bred from ignorance, but from knowing that he isn’t half as decent as he’d like to think he is.
Nick knows this about himself, and divulges as much to Jordan at the end of the book. Despite his best efforts to refrain from succumbing to all the hedonism around him, Nick can’t avoid the allure, but at the same time he never loses his sense of morality or his sense of self, as he is aware that he makes mistakes and at times betrays his own sense of self-righteousness. But he does this because he is the constant observer. He observes people with a sense of disassociated passion; and yet for better or for worse he observes himself through that same voyeuristic disassociation. Because of this he is able to call himself out for failing to live up to his own self professed ideals. Just because Nick knows better doesn’t mean that he acts better though. I fear this may be me at my realest.
I, as I’m sure most people would, could talk about who I reminds me of myself for a long, long time. These are only a few examples though, as I know this list is missing Sinestro, Pete Townshend, and Quicksilver to name a few. With these characters listed, I could be right, I could be wrong, or I could be totally conceited, but these characters help me decipher myself by looking at perceived similarities. Most of the examples provided only display one aspect or trait, but for each one that they provide it strikes a personal resonance. Maybe I’m looking too much into this, or maybe we’re all the exact same kind of crazy.