Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Of Red Shirts, Pomegranates, Revolutionaries and Phallic Narcissists

Where was I on Christmas Day in 1988?  Well, I can tell you, my friends, I did not spend my dinner hour at a Chinese restaurant: red Chinese or otherwise.

My friend Craig W. Dye invited me over to his place, where I spent the day.   At that time Craig had an English sheep dog named Toots.  During the afternoon, Craig, talking about his dog said, "The bitch is in heat.  She whines when she's in heat."  Daniel Cutler, another friend and former coworker from Hogan & Hartson, where I worked from 1985 to 1988, arrived late in the afternoon.  Daniel Cutler's friend, Axel Martinez, also showed up.  Craig cooked rabbit for dinner.  Daniel and I went to a video store and rented Mosquito Coast, based on the book by Paul Theroux, which we watched in the evening.  (Incidentally, the novelist Paul Theroux's brother is the Washington, DC attorney Eugene Theroux, Esq.  I sent several letters to Eugene Theroux in the 1990s.)

 http://dailstrug.blogspot.com/2011/06/attorney-application-baker-mckenzie.html

In the evening, while we were watching Mosquito Coast, Craig began eating a pomegranate.  He offered me one.  I declined.  Craig went to his bedroom and changed into a dark red shirt to conceal any errant dark red juice from the pomegranate.  The shirt might have been flannel, but I don't remember now.  I do remember that Craig used to douse himself with Gray Flannel cologne.


Be that as it may.

The psychoanalyst Leonard Shengold has written about an adult male patient he had seen in analysis.  The patient had had sex with his mother in early adolescence and had blocked out the memory of that event.  Sexual intercourse with his mother at age twelve had dramatically transformed the man's character, in Dr. Shengold's view.

Dr. Shengold writes: "My patient had solved the riddle of the Sphinx in incestuous action, and then repressed it.  But the arrogance continued for him, the narcissistic triumph derived from feeling himself the 'son of Fortune.'  During his analysis my patient remembered his secret pride at the age of twelve at having had intercourse with a grown woman when his friends were only daydreaming about sex.  He consciously tried then to dissociate any thought of the 'grown woman' from the concept of mother or even from the word mother, which inevitably connected with father (see Welch 1968 for a contrasting view of the use of the terms mother and father in relation to incest).  In later adolescence (after repression), he habitually attracted attention by wearing a bright red, flannel "worker's shirt," which had Marxist connotations for him.  This  was "the flag of his disposition"; in analysis he called it the "costume of a humble coxcomb" (coxcomb can refer to both a fool and an exhibitionist--an apt mixture of shame and pride), and he associated the word and the image of a cock's comb to his mother's genitals and to his own red and far-from-humble erection.  He was unknowingly draping himself in an incestuous revolutionary red banner.  In later life, when there was competition for a particular post, or if he had to submit work in contention with that of peers, he confidently assumed he would win; true to Freud's prediction, he often did.  He was both intelligent and gifted, and that helped him live up to overweening pretensions.  Although generally good-natured and even 'humble' in manner, he had many arrogant traits.  He never wore a watch, which certainly was an inconvenience in business; his attitude was a breezy 'let others wait.'  There was more than a touch in this of a concomitant strand in his superego: provoking punishment.  (He was never late in his analysis, where he had to confront the deeper meanings of warring with Time.)  His wife would frequently be stimulated to repeat to him: 'You know, you are not of royal blood.'"  Such are the observations of Dr. Shengold.

A dream I titled The Dream of Milton's Successor (Part 2) quotes from the above passage:

Shengold quotes Freud's Goethe essay in his book Soul Murder, the relevant chapter of which presents the case of a man who had had sexual intercourse with his mother during adolescence. See Shengold, L. Soul Murder at 155-180 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989). The patient, a man in his mid-thirties, is described by Shengold as a "strong-looking man with rugged good looks and an athletic presence" and an "aggressively masculine aura" (p. 162). Shengold states: "My patient had solved the riddle of the Sphinx in incestuous action, and then repressed it. But the arrogance continued for him, the narcissistic triumph derived from feeling himself the 'son of Fortune.'" (p. 170). Shengold then quotes Freud directly: "Freud uses almost the same words, with no reference to Oedipus, in his construction of the thoughts of Goethe, one of Freud's alter egos: 'I was a child of fortune' [quoting "A Childhood Recollection from 'Dichtung und Wahrheit']" (p. 170). Shengold reports that the patient's arrogance was such that his wife "would frequently be stimulated to repeat to him: 'You know, you are not of royal blood'" (p. 170).

During the summer of 1987 my working relationship with Craig Dye (who, coincidentally, had a physique and bearing that matched that of Shengold's patient) was one of rivalry. Our mutual antagonism is suggested by the fact that Craig and I shared the following characteristics, attributed by Shengold to his patient, in equal measure. "In later life, when there was competition for a particular post, or if he had to submit work in contention with that of peers, he confidently assumed he would win; true to Freud's prediction, he often did. He was both intelligent and gifted, and that helped him live up even to overweening pretensions. Although generally good-natured and even "humble" in manner, he had many arrogant traits" (p. 170). A paraphrase of a line from a novel by Goethe (Elective Affinities) aptly describes my workplace relationship with Craig: "Once they have been brought together, God help them!"


 Michael Zapruder 
 by garfreed
this is what I'm talking about - POMEGRANATES -

3 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

Is Warren Beatty a phallic narcissist?

He wrote the screenplay, directed and acted in Reds.

According to the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich phallic narcissists are attracted to work as airplane pilots.

Under his original name of Henry W. Beaty, Warren Beatty enlisted in the California Air National Guard on February 11, 1960.

On January 1, 1961, Beatty was discharged from the Air National Guard due to physical disability. He was also simultaneously discharged from the United States Air Force Reserve. Since he served on inactive duty only, Beatty was not awarded any military decorations.

Beatty has had relationships with singers Madonna, Cher, Carly Simon, Michelle Phillips, actresses Natalie Wood, her sister Lana Wood, Julie Christie, Leslie Caron, Joan Collins, Ann-Margret, Diane Keaton, Isabelle Adjani, Mary Tyler Moore and supermodel Stephanie Seymour.

After years of dating many famous women, he married Annette Bening on March 10, 1992.

Incidentally, Beatty is a close friend of Roman Polanski, whose lawyer is Reid Weingarten. Weingarten is a close personal friend of the Attorney General, Eric Holder.

Beatty is tied to many liberal causes.

Gary Freedman said...

More on Craig W. Dye:

http://dailstrug.blogspot.com/2009/09/in-praise-of-mamas-boy-case-of-telltale.html

Gary Freedman said...

For David Callet:

According to Wilhelm Reich, in airline pilots, there's a strong trend of phallic narcissism (a character type that features arrogance).

What are the special problems of labor relations with such a cohort?