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Seductive Mother

The author explores the obstacles to self-assertion experienced by some men. Beyond castration anxiety, the development of the analysis makes it possible to encounter a determinism connected with the early relationship to the mother. Cathected by the mother as the daughter that she would have liked to have, these men experience an alienating attachment to the mother, a primary female homosexuality governed by an overwhelming need for love that is jeopardised by any manifestation of autonomous male assertion.

seductive mother

Like some modern-day young Shane, John Reddy rides in from the West, a mysterious, brooding 11-year-old, sitting on three telephone books so he can see over the dashboard of the Cadillac he's driving. Burdened with the care of his insane grandfather, two stunted siblings, and a smolderingly seductive mother, John hardly has time to notice the frenzy of interest he inspires in his nosy peers. "There was a time in the Village of Willowsville, New York," the story begins, "when every girl between the ages of 12 and 20 (and many unacknowledged others besides) was in love with John Reddy Heart."

When he's tracked through the woods, beaten unconscious, and arrested for shooting his mother's rich lover in bed, he becomes a national obsession. A song about him reaches No. 1 on the pop charts. The tabloids go crazy for the minutest details. A CBS TV movie luxuriates in the sexual exploits of his mother, a blackjack woman from Vegas who dresses only in white.

Just how inappropriate that is becomes painfully clear in the novel's quiet second section, a snapshot of John's life, told several years after graduation by an omniscient narrator. John dates a young mother and works as a dependable carpenter, one of several provocative allusions to Jesus that hover around him. Hounded by his girlfriend's ex-husband, John avoids the fight, refuses to let another control his reactions, and attains a kind of nobility that supercedes any of the absurd fantasies projected on him during high school.

This stage spans from 6 months to two years. It is during this time that the child begins to take his first frail and uncertain steps away from symbiosis, toward autonomy. Until roughly 18 months, the baby has not fully learned to distinguish his mother as separate from himself, and he experiences himself and Mother as part of one continuum. The fledgling move toward differentiation is of necessity fragile at first, and tentative. There is frequent regression back to Mother's (and increasingly Father's) side. Differentiation is made real for the child as he gradually discovers and masters his motor power to set his own direction, through crawling, standing and walking. Primitive speech patterns are now erupting, and all these changes begin to give the toddler his first sense that he can exert some influence over himself, over his environment, that he can start to exercise choice. He can articulate some basic needs with growing specificity, he can reach out and independently explore the world beyond Mother. A veritable revolution is taking place; a radical and momentous shift in how the toddler experiences himself in relation to the world. This transformation is both exhilarating and frightening.

It is very tempting at this time to manipulate the child to exceed his own need for supported growth. The trap lies in the temptation to make the child special for being a "champ", or compelling him to make Mummy or Daddy proud. This orients the child toward performance, or showing off: adults become their appreciative audience, as the child splits off from his authentic self to project an image or role designed to get the positive strokes. In the quest to have the "wonderful child" that we can gloat about, "support" becomes manipulative and exploitative. Encouragement to perform more competently (feats of walking, talking, being "cute") risks being seductive to the child, who willingly rises up to meet the parental expectation. He trades in his inner pleasure for the power to entertain, gratify, and thereby control others. Seductive encouragement stands in contrast to a sharing and celebrating of the child's own pleasure gained from his accomplishments.

When he learns early in life that he has the power to gratify his parents, this gives the child an over-expanded sense of ego. The introduction of harsh "discipline" or control at this stage begins a hardening of the personality. The results are either an overly dominant personality, or an individual who has learned to control through making promises and being seductive; through pretense. Personal power is distorted in meaning, and is exerted through domination, threat or seductive promise. A proclivity to mistrust others inhibits any show of weakness, and he therefore maintains control through denial of his human vulnerabilities and shortcomings. The persona presented to the world can be charming, charismatic, intimidating, even larger-than-life. Yet he will seem unreal and inauthentic to those who look for his humanness, or his earthy-ness. Personality types range from the charmer to the tough-guy; from the actor, the rock-star, the wily salesman, to the dictator.

Our system of commerce is based on the interplay of seduction and gullibility; a dovetailing of dysfunctions stemming from the second and third rites of passage. The generally credulous attitude to "image" and P. R. springs from unfulfillment at the second stage, and provides a fertile ground for the work of seductive advertisers, marketers and P. R. illusionists. Our model of "strong" and implacable authority breeds submissiveness and hero-cults, and dates back to unresolved issues from this third early-childhood rite of passage. The stage is set here for a "winners-and-losers" mentality, and an attitude of exploitative dominion toward the world and its resources.

My own mother is medicated to within an inch of her life and seems to be n a state of complete hazy relaxation. The old anxiety is gone and is replaced with a glazed smile. What happened to my mother, my wonderful neurotic Jewish mother!!!! As to her sex life, it would be tasteless for me to speculate.

Groundbreaking director Robert Zemeckis offers a vision of the Beowulf saga that has never been told before. In a time of heroes, the mighty warrior Beowulf slays the demon Grendel and incurs the wrath of its monstrous, yet seductive, mother in a conflict that transforms a king into a legend. Beowulf stars Ray Winstone in the title role and Anthony Hopkins as the corrupt King Hrothgar, as well as John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman and Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother. Paramount Pictures, in association with Shangri-La Entertainment, Presents an ImageMovers Production of a Robert Zemeckis film, Beowulf.

Then Davis turns around, sets her eyes in a seductive scowl and purses her lips in a perfect imitation of a supermodel pouty face. She waits for a reaction and when she doesn't get one, she laughs quietly and heads off in another direction.

Hope Davis is a charmer. She has the knack of being funny and deadpan and dramatic and seductive all at the same time. She is polite and engaging in person, and yet another part of her seems to be watching you from behind the veil of her eyes. This sense of distance is also part of Davis' allure. So far she has exhibited her particular talents in a handful of well-received performances in independent films, including "The Daytrippers," "The Myth of Fingerprints" (both 1997) and "Next Stop Wonderland" (1998).

Now she is taking a few months off, hanging out with her mother, her sisters and actor friends like Stanley Tucci and Julianne Moore, because it looks like 1999 is going to be hectic. She'll have two big feature films out, "Arlington Road," a thriller with Tim Robbins and Jeff Bridges, and "Mumford," a comedy by Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote and directed "The Big Chill" and "Body Heat."

The seeds of this anxiety seem embedded in her childhood in Tenafly, N.J., where she grew up the middle child of three daughters. Tenafly, a small suburb about 15 minutes from Manhattan, is known as a rich town, but the Davises lived in a relatively modest section. Her mother is a librarian and a professional storyteller who had to support the family when her father succumbed to substance abuse. "My dad, what did he do?" says Davis. "He did a lot of drinking. He was a salesman, but didn't hold a job after I was 10."

Davis' childhood dream was to become a dancer, but in elementary school she did write, direct and star in a play titled "China Doll," about a doll that comes to life, with a girl across the street named Mira Sorvino. Sorvino's mother, Lorraine, gave Davis acting lessons. After high school, Davis went to Vassar College, where she studied cognitive science. But it was during a junior year abroad in London that she became infatuated with acting. "I saw over 50 plays," says Davis. "I was swept away. That is what I wanted to do."

Davis may not bash the audience over the head with attention-getting histrionics, but you can't ignore her when she's on-screen. Whether playing a graduate student, a sexpot (as she did in "The Myth of Fingerprints") or a lovelorn young woman ( "Next Stop Wonderland"), she says what she wants to say with finely drawn gestures. The seductive way she eats a banana in "Fingerprints," or that open-faced look that says, "I really need you to be a nice guy but I know you aren't," that Davis flashes at a blind date in "Wonderland," are moments that stay with an audience.

Though her newer friends may have higher profiles, Davis says she spends just as much time with longtime buddies who don't appear on-screen, as well as with her mother and sisters. "Not much has changed," she says. "My life doesn't feel all that different. It's not like we were living in a rat hole and now I'm living in a palace and knowing all new people. My life is the same: my family, my friends."

These plans form only part of a wider strategic objective in the United States, one termed full spectrum dominance, the ability to command at all levels of military activity and in all potential theatres of war. It is a seductive vision, but it is also deeply ironic that one of its central components, the development of the MOAB, took place in the context of a war against the Saddam Hussein regime that has had very unexpected results. 041b061a72


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