Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Love A Spy Story

If Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
was a good metaphor for working and office life...Homeland is a great metaphor for the contemporary lack of appreciation for employees in the workplace by corporate companies.
We usually see spies portrayed as the ultimate "don't let them see you sweat" characters who are calm, collected and holding all their shit together. How tricky to have Claire Danes play a spy that not only sweats but is the opposite of calm...she suffers from anxiety. She is playing a manic depressive person who struggles with sleep dep, lack of validation or respect by her bosses, and a total abyss of intimacy.

There are many many images of Dane's character asleep in the series. I think this is a useful and touching image because, sure, spies are so often "sleepers" set in place to live regular lives until they are "awakened" to go back into action. What a fantastic image for an artist or an internal process of our minds and ego and inner lives. The sleeping spy image is also useful because so much of her insight into global crime and terrorism comes to her through her unconscious and animalistic reading of people and their body language. She has "hunches". These hunches come from deep down inside her psyche but are not mystical...they are insights we all have but that can so difficult to access through our awake states of mind and  egos and personas. In eastern philosophy an image of a "sleeper" is a beauty because we are always in transformaton, always fighting an ego or social constraints that may or may not hold us back from "action". Sleeping is when we grow and heal.

Cezanne the painter once said great art reminds us of something we already know, but forgot we knew...and Danes character Carrie Mattieson is like a shaman that processes her animal intuitions into hunting bad guys. She is cut off and not functioning in a healthy social environment, a non-loving hostile calculating world (gee, sounds like the workplace) where communication is measured and competitive...those forces prevent imagination and creativity...therefore imagination and insight must come to her via her unconscious mind and despite her repressed culture and soul. She is almost like the "real" health and spirit of the world and she can not be tamed by social constraints and order. She is a wonderful spirit who is able to access her true imaginative "sight". Her lack of social constraint and emotions and anxiety are double sided (like a spy right?) They allow her to delve into people with her imagination but they mark her in our culture as "bipolar".  Her insight comes to her in unorthodox ways yet....she behaves with bizarre lack of boundaries and trust and fear. She knows things about people that she doesn't how know she knows...and her bosses don't understand how to control her...or harness her. Again, a great metaphor for the workplace. And for artists and those people whose passion and work is best served by setting aside cultural norms and social constraints to find "the truth" in the world.

The tv show Homeland is an exciting thriller spy story with twists and turns that are a hell of a lot of fun to follow and anticipate...I highly recommend this program. 10/10.

Debrief: I  have to say that I came late to this party...just watched first season last week (am half way through this second season now)...but the joke for me is...what great timing with the Petraeus sex scandal. It's a case of life copies art...

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