Saturday, March 18, 2006

Penis Revisited

My sister, Lisa, had a friend who had a peculiar idiosycracy of bestowing upon those in her inner circle a name of her own design. Once renamed, you would then only be referred to by that name regardless of the circumstances. She was an adult, not a child, so I found the behavior particularly fascinating. For instance, Lisa became "Tina," not privately, but to everyone in her friend's world, all of whom had pseudonyms as well. Even my mom and dad were given new monikers. Everyone would go along with the charade in her presence, and return to their given names in her absence. I found it impossible to keep track of who was who in this group of renamed friends. To my knowledge, I was never christened as such, though no telling who I was in the privacy of her mind.

Creative Ownership

I acknowledge that "taking possession" of others, of anything, is common to all of our behavior in so many complex ways. And while it is not specific to narcissism, and doesn't fall under the categorization of narcissism put out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is a foible common to the narcissist. It was a theme that I found throughout my research for AoaN.

Naturally, this was to become Tyler LePerdu's fate: to chronically claim creative ownership of the world around him, the people in it, the language used, concepts, paradigms such as psychology, and his own body. One way to capture this, I thought, was to exploit the preposterous cliche' of penis-naming, specifically the naming being done by the holder of the penis, so to speak. Doing so would both fulfill my needs for the character and indulge my hankering for the absurd.

Of The Celebrity

Imagine my elation when the following blurb from was brought to my attention:
Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin reveals his pet name for his penis in his new book Junior - he calls his appendage "Floyd." The actor is currently on a tour promoting the collection of stories, poems and personal observations. He explains, "I had to do a reading and I did a Q+A afterwards, and somebody asked me where I came up with the name Floyd. I didn't come up with it, if I was going to come up with something, it would have been "Kroll the Conquerer"... or something like "Enrique", something Latino...It was kind of bestowed upon me I guess you could say. If I could have picked something, it probably wouldn't have been that. Now the world knows, it's in print."


Blogger Steven LaRose said...

I once worked with a curious crew of kooks "lead" by a young fella who was fanatical about re-naming the rest of us. We worked long and intense weeks doing a cross between set-decoration and installation art. We shared hotel rooms and ate shitty food and spent far too much time around each other. The rest of the crew would always use the "name" that the boss used. The names were always jr. high locker room quality. The kid named Toby was instantlly "Camel Toe". I made a point to call everyone by their proper name. It took the "boss" a full year to find a name for me, "Stainer". It was actually his most clever considering my job. I never worked for him again.

March 20, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

Whoa. . .
Thanks for that terrifying link. That's exactly how this boss of mine worked. It was all about control and a serious(I might hop on my high-horse and say justifiably) insecure and self-conscious streak. I mean, how can you work for a man that calls Vladimir Putin "Pootie-Poot". No shower can wash away my crawling skin.

March 20, 2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

"Hogan" for John McCain gets my blood boiling. Literally. My heart is pounding and I'm feeling angry.

Somewhere in his mind, the man who creates a war and sends our troops into battle associates Mr. McCain's traumatic and arguably heroic POW experience with a 60s sit-com.

Holy, Holy Hell.

March 20, 2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

Maybe this is all just negative propaganda. I've never actually heard the president use these words. Although I wouldn't put it past him. Maybe this is like when the New York reporter called the Sub Pop offices and asked questions about the new "grunge" scene and the woman who answered the phone, some girl in a band, made up a bunch of slang on the spot: "Catch you on the flippity flop" The NY reporter believed it all and printed a story about a the Seattle Scene Slang.

I'm just saying. . . it seems almost too easy to believe that the emporer has no clothes. And yet, could anyone but a narcissist, become president?

March 20, 2006 1:48 PM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

Wait. . . maybe I'm wrong. Wouldn't a hardcore narcissist NEVER be self-conscious or insecure?

March 21, 2006 2:27 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

On the contrary, the harcore narcissist would do whatever they could to appear secure, confident, not self-conscious. But at the core, this person is chronically insecure, so much so that he must create an elborate image that would indicate to others they are not.

I'm of the understanding that fundamentally, the chronic narcissist reveals their narcissism in relationship, the way that they treat others. They are abusive, dismissive, exploitative and ultimately extremely isolated. So I would argue that this person would have a hard time making it to the presidency, considering how much relationship is required to get there. They don't succeed as mates, either. That would make it tough to hide abusive behavior. But, that isn't to say that the power of the presidency doesn't naturally attract narcissistic people.

Perhaps this is a splitting of hairs over the use of the word "narcissist."

March 21, 2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger Steven LaRose said...

Oh man, I'm changing my header: "Fish or Cut Bait, splitting hairs with Steven LaRose."

March 21, 2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

Collective nacissism. Now we're getting somewhere. I have seen a lot of people stumbling upon this blog when searching for information on how to get a narcissist out of your life. Which tells me that it isn't so easy to do for many people. It sounds as though it may be a lot like how abused children grow up to seek out abused mates. In this way, since we are culturally tied to narcissism, we may be the enablers of our narcissistic leaders. If love is, in fact, listening, and since listening goes both ways, it is conceivable that having non-listeners leading us lets us off the hook in a big way.

And yet, there many, many good and courageous people seeking a more healthy relationship with our leaders, seeking political change and a real dialogue.


Aside from fear of rejection, one of the reasons I ended my pursuit of acting after a few, genuinely focused years of training, auditions, and career-dreaming, was what it did to me. To my psyche. Though I loved the work, it made me extremely self-conscious, concerned about appearance and image, and generally self-centered. Mirrors were much more important then. And the knowledge that the attention of many people was on what I was doing in the moment - was on me - was very seductive. Above all, I found I really loved the praise about what I did in front of an audience because it was directly linked to the appearance of who I was. And similar to when I stopped drinking coffee, the effect of turning my back on the dream of acting was palpable.

I wonder if climbing the political ladder to the presidency doesn't create the same experience, but on a much larger scale. I wouldn't think you could make it to the most powerful position in the world without believing what everyone is telling you along the way, even if you believe only a small portion of it. I can't fathom the magnatude of that kind of importance. And I can only imagine what one is told, by implication and outright. Even if you barely get into office. Then, if you are a spiritually minded person, there is the element of divine selection as well.


Steven, SHwSL (formerly FoCB) really got me.

March 23, 2006 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Offered by Kaye Trout of "Kaye Trout's Book Reviews"

"By the by - I know of two men with a named penis.

Keith Hughan who wrote "Straight from the Horse's Mouth" shares that bit of information with his readers - he named his Harry (sometimes Dirty Harry but thought to stop there)and another fellow named his Harvey. It seems quite reasonable to me because it often has a mind of its own.

Richard Marcinko always gives nicknames to the men who work with him on his teams and Navajo Indians tend to call a person by some feature they notice."

April 10, 2006 8:51 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Foster said...

Some comments deleted from this post at the request of the poster.


August 18, 2014 1:22 PM  

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