Doc pulls some strings to examine Ventriloquist/Scarface, and compares him to some other well-known examples. Knock wood, this advice could work out well for you…
Don’t be a Dummy! Be Your Own Puppet Instead
Ventriloquist has a nice setup. He keeps his mouth shut, and Scarface is the front man. But is that what he really wants? I’m not so sure. I think he lost his way a long time ago. He put up the front, but ignored everything behind it. I know of some other examples who do it differently. After I scratched my post for Mr. Sinister (please, you wouldn’t want more clickbait), the one part that I didn’t forget mentioned a line from a song. Pink sang in “Don’t Let Me Get Me”
LA told me, “You’ll be a pop star
All you have to change is everything you are”
That is poignant because it establishes the mainstream concept of external validation. LA (meaning, LA Reid, music producer) helps people become stars, and the underlying tone is, screw that. If what Pink (sorry, P!nk) wants is different, then she’ll do what she darn well pleases. That’s what’s missing from Ventriloquist.
Hmm…I just realized, I don’t have a burning desire to go into that backstory. I need some other people I’m willing to dive into to make it worth my while. Who crafts an identity that is much different from their prior iteration?
Stop it. Just…no.
Tempting…maybe some other time
Oh yes, YES. He’ll do
Full disclosure: this is 100% selfish on my part because I just binged the whole series of Breaking Bad. My apologies. But even before I knew every detail, I knew enough about Walter that he’d match up perfect…ly bad.
I will stop. I swear.
Anyway, Walter is the cofounder of a big biotech company who cashed out waaaaay too early for personal reasons, and has regretted it ever since. He carves out his life with his wife and son as an overqualified chemistry teacher/car washer, where he’ll exist mediocrely ever after. Then BAM! Cancer diagnosis and
a harsh critique of an unjust healthcare system a need to fulfill his unmet dreams leads him to become the Steve Jobs he knew he was meant to be. Except he calls himself Heisenberg. And it’s not Apple, it’s crystal meth. And killing. Plus lying. A lot of lying. So, SO much lying. But I’m not focusing on the antisocial or narcisisstic traits. I’m in this for the identity crafting. The dissociation (deftly done with that high-pitch noise overlaying scenes; if you’ve seen the show, you know what I’m talking about) is perfect. It tells us “my mind is trying to come to grips with something it wasn’t ready for. Please hold. The hourglass/spinning circle icon is not done yet.” But that also means that Walter was not truly in control. Let me put it to you in terms that Ventriloquist would understand. The wooden puppet is Walter White, passive nerd. The creator is Heisenberg, the brash arrogant blue meth millionaire. The crafting process is all of the horrible stuff that has happened and continues to happen to him. Sounds backwards, right? How can Heisenberg exist before anything bad happened to break his spirit? (I’ll get better at this, really!) Well, if Walter had continued with his original risk in the legitimate business world, he would have been handsomely rewarded. But what if that failed, you ask? Then I doubt he crafts a story of injustice for himself. He shoots his shot, it misses, and he has the pride that he tried to make it big. That doesn’t produce a sociopath. That produces a budding venture capitalist. Save your “what’s the difference” jokes for the comedy club, I beg of you. Walt let bad situations break his flimsy husk of a dummy so he could drop it and let the world see what was underneath, raw and bitter as it may be.
Okay, that was the last one.
“But Doc,” you ask, “do you have an example of someone forming an identity in a more complete, productive mold?”
Sure, my internal monologue! Thank you for asking! Just let me queue up my muse…
*yawn* (and I say that as a Yanks fan)
Wooooooo! But no
Come on, you KNEW this was coming/I’m dating this blog post
Random Fact: Prime Time disliked the nickname Neon Deion. He knew from a young age that he wanted his life to be special. He wanted success. He needed fame. He had enough hints that sports would be the gateway. And yet, he described multiple times that as a child he was soft spoken, introverted, and docile. No, those are NOT synonyms. But back to Mr. Sanders. He picked football as his main sport because he was a top 0.1% performer (calculated risk). He still kept interest in baseball as a top 1% performer (supplemental backup). He researched how much an NFL cornerback made, and knew that he had to be as flashy as possible to garner media attention, and subsequent financial backing regardless of his prime-ary paycheck.
(Are puns a sickness?)
What did that get him? A hall of fame NFL career, a Major League Baseball career, a football TV analyst career, and a college football coaching career. Some of you may think that I’m misinterpreting how Deion Sanders shaped his life. Uh…no. The man has told this to everybody, every time. Check out this interview (or don’t; it is rehashing what I just said)
So the Ventriloquist model is that Deion Sanders used his own talents, motivations, and sense of purpose to craft a puppet that is so well formed it’s infused with his spirit, and as time goes on they are complementary if not identical.
Hold up! That’s not fair! Walter got dealt a bad hand! But…did he? He had a former partner willing to pay his bills. He had a wife willing to go to some extreme lengths to keep the façade of a “normal life” together. He had a brother-in-law who showed he could go the extra mile. He had a son who worshipped the ground that he walked on and begged Walter to just be real for once. He had opportunity after opportunity to just cash out, walk away, shut up and For God’s Sake Walter why did you keep a random book in the bathroom and try to talk people INTO searching for you and just stop being you, you poisoned a kid…*ahem* so no, I’m not buying it.
Oh but Doc, clearly you love Sanders so much…except I don’t, really. Coach Prime’s shtick gets a little tired for me. He’s had some incredibly cold takes on hot topics. But I know he’s doing it after getting his toes amputated. Plus going through divorce must hurt on myriad levels. I also know that he is using all the tools available to him to recruit at a level that rivals powerhouses. I know that he is providing an opportunity for his own offspring to accomplish their own goals. This isn’t about who we like and dislike. This is about how we craft ourselves on the inside AND the outside. Let me put it this way. Your inner voice is going to come out sometimes. Will it be through your fine tuned identity, or through your soul crushing traumas? Yes, you may have both. You still have a choice of what to do next.
So doctor, doctor, won’t you please prescribe me something?
A day in the life of someone else
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