Marine Biologist The Doorman Opposite George Newman's Mail The Bootleg Marriage
Just Dessert Sleep Desk Late Coffee High Stakes Motor Oil Downtown
Code Cracking Nonfat Yogurt Bad Boy It's Not You I Can't Be... Exploding Wallet
Elaine Flies Coach The Close Talker The Alliance Broccoli Coated Culture Dinner Party
George's Friend Jerry's Haircut Face Paint Mustachioed Smoking East River
Pool Man Dunkin' Joe Life Lessons Reckoning Dog Medicine Shower Heads
Looking Busy George Tips Kramer's Job Empty Tank
Click here for the reference to the "Argonauts" title, below.
Argonauts of the Seinfeldian Specific
Newman packs a lifetime of emotion into this little package. It got me thinking about the ways in which we express, nay perform, our social lives. There is clearly variability within a cultural setting (if Newman doesn't seem a little odd to you, you might want to spend more time watching people biting their tongues, so to speak, in most human encounters). Still, what strikes me here is the zero to sixty range of his emotions. Imagine such a panoply of emotions in any social setting (a staff meeting or history class, for example). Newman casts the net widely or, to put it a little differently, performs all of the roles on this tiny stage. It really is a master stroke of seedy humanity.
|[b] Masked RF|
The "day of reckoning" is near, warns Newman, and he enjoys a slice of anticipation (of exilic response) for Jerry's predicted demise. All the world's a stage...or padded cell.
The Plum in the Golden Vase
Wu Song's Fury (c. 1600)
|[c] Fury ADV|
Just as they were settling down to enjoy their drinks, Hsi-men Ch'ing happened to look out the window and caught sight of the formidable-looking Wu Sung, racing up toward the tavern from below the bridge. Realizing that he could be up to no good, he excused himself on the pretext of going to the bathroom, leapt out a rear window, fled along the ridge of an adjacent roof, and jumped down into someone's rear courtyard. Wu the Second dashed up to the front of the tavern and asked on of the waiters, "Is Hsi-men Ch'ing here?" "The Honorable Hsi-men," the waiter replied, "is upstairs drinking wine with one of his acquaintances."
Quickening his pace and hiking up his clothes,
Wu the Second flew upstairs, where the only thing he saw was a man, occupying the place of honor, with a pair of painted singing girls sitting to either side of him. He recognized that it was Li Wai-ch'uan, the lictor from the district yamen, and knew that he must have come to tell Hsi-men Ch'ing the news. Enraged, he went up to him and demanded, "Where has Hsi-men Ch'ing gone?" When Li Wai-ch'uan saw that it was Wu the Second he was too dumbstruck to get a word out for some time. With a single movement of his leg, Wu the Second kicked over the table, smashing the cups and saucers to smithereens. The singing girls were frozen with fright. Wu the Second struck Li Wai-ch'uan right in the face with his fist...
Negotiating Anger (1980)
|[d] Negotiation ADV|
'Distribution,' we have seen, may be related to 'contagion'; 'respect' and 'dizziness' are homonyms; and the idea of 'following' one another becomes problematic when certain people never take the lead. Activity in their social world is understood by Ilongots as a sort of actualization of emotional states, an enactment of the heart's directives. Yet Ilongots are quick to recognize the difficulties that beset attempts at mutual coordination and say that 'people's hearts are not the same.' Do they, then, worry about social anarchy and chaos? Or, more to the point, when and why do Ilongots identify problems in informal cooperation and what is revealed about the nature of social experience as Ilongots understand it when adult men acknowledge strains, discuss them, and so set forth the terms on which their subsequent relations may proceed.
|[e] Burdened ADV|
Carol Trosset (1993)
"I think most of us find being Welsh to be rather a burden." This was said to me by a culturally prominent Welsh speaker who, while speaking about Welsh-Americans, expressed surprise that they, "with all the other problems Americans have," should wish to take on a Welsh identity as well. While I felt this remark to be extraordinarily revealing and to reflect a fairly pervasive attitude, I cannot say that I feel sure exactly what it means. In part it clearly relates to the negative self-image discussed above.
The energy of [Welsh] talk is indeed not in doubt, but we have to listen more
carefully to what it is really saying. It is often a lively exuberance. It is just as
often an unmitigated flow to prevent other things being said. And what those
things are we hear more often among ourselves, an extraordinary sadness,
which indeed is not surprising, adn at the edges, lately, an implacable
bitterness, even a soured cynicism, which can jerk into life—this is what makes
it hard to hear—as a fantastic comic edge, or a wild self-deprecation, as a form
of pride: a wall of words, anyway, so that we do not have to look, steadily and
soberly, at all that has happened to us...To the extent that we are a people, we
have been defeated, colonized, penetrated, incorporated...There is a drawing
back to some of our own resources. There is a very skilful kind of accommodation,
finding a few ways to be recognized as different, which we then actively cultivate,
while not noticing, beyond them, the profound resignation. These are some of the
signs of a post-colonial culture, conscious all the time of its own real strengths
and potentials, longing only to be itself, to become its own world but with so much,
too much, on its back to be able, consistently, to face its real future. (R. Williams
1989: 103 emphasis added).
The idea of Welshness as a burden also seems to encapsulate much of the Welsh theory of the person discussed in this chapter. "Acting for the group" has two sorts of meanings,: to put on an act for those around one, and to take action on behalf of the community. Both demand that the individual assume fairly heavy responsibility for, and accountability to, others. This view of the person requires Welsh people to live with the expectation that one's behavior will be predictable, the awareness of being under public scrutiny and subject to social controls (which are considered difficult to resist), a sense of individual and collective powerlessness, and a belief that one's own needs and goals should be subordinated to those of others. These apparent burdens would be enhanced by the serious morality of nonconformism, and for some individuals, by a sense of responsibility for the maintenance of the threatened Welsh language and traditional culture. Some Welsh people despise expatriates who claim a Welsh identity without being able to live in Wales and share its language and culture and the difficulties its people face. This attitude seems to reflect both an awareness of Welsh-Wales' need for committed members, and a feeling that a willingness to shoulder such burdens would itself be more Welsh than a romanticized affinity that benefits only the expatriate.
 David Tod Roy, translator, The Plum in the Golden Vase, or Chin P'ing Mei, Volume 1: The Gathering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), 184-185.
 Michelle Rosaldo, Knowledge and Passion: Ilongot Notions of Self and Social Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 177-178.
 Carol Trosset, Welshness Performed: Welsh Concepts of Person and Society (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1993), 127-128.
Rosaldo, Michelle. Knowledge and Passion: Ilongot Notions of Self and Social Life. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1980.
Roy, David Tod, translator. The Plum in the Golden Vase, or Chin P'ing Mei, Volume 1: The Gathering.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.
Trosset, Carol. Welshness Performed: Welsh Concepts of Person and Society. Tucson: University of
Arizona Press, 1993.
|[f] Day of Reckoning RF|
Wednesday, February 22nd
Kramer Takes Dog Medicine
The cultural and natural wonders in this clip abound from the very first scene. Kramer's canine world is something to be seen...and analyzed. Be there next week on Argonauts of the Seinfeldian Specific.