“I know because she says over and over again that she doesn’t want a family yet it is clear through her actions that it is all that she wants.”
~Jon Osterman – in Watchmen 01.08 – A God Walks Into Abar
I used to take the same Meyers Briggs personality test repeatedly to see how the results would differ over time. One of the questions was “Do you feel involved when watching TV Soaps?”
For the first few years of this process I would answer “no” or “not true at all” to this question because I did not watch afternoon soaps. Through the majority of my life I did not have access to cable TV and was not home at the times General Hospital and cousins would air on the antenna channels. Further, even with the tacit knowledge I had of the genre, I felt soap storylines were too over the top for my taste.
As time passed I began to reinterpret the question. Something more along the lines of:
“Do you empathize with characters in fictional stories?”
The answer to the adjusted question is “yes” or “extremely true” and while the results of my Meyers Briggs do not change (much) – I am consistently an INFP (ok fine, sometimes an INFJ though I am loathe to admit it) with high intuition and feeling numbers – I did learn something about myself. I’ve mentioned it here before – I am susceptible or sensitive (…both) to the emotions of others. In this case ‘others’ encompasses other people around me in the world, figures out of history, and fictional characters on a page ~ through a speaker ~ or in a screen.
Angela Abar in Watchmen – played in perfect pitch by the brilliant Regina King – is one whom I connect with profoundly. Particularly in the penultimate episode of the show ~ which is the source of Dr. Manhattan’s quote at the top. One part of me sees deep resonance with Angela as a connection to instances where I’ve kept myself apart from one desire out of the need to maintain another, similar to the way her character compartmentalizes in the show.
Are the emotional walls we construct permanent? Are they so if we wish them to be? Does time both heal emotion and break it down along with the physical?
WARNING – A small Watchmen spoiler is incoming like a rocket reaching the end of Gravity’s Rainbow
Another part of me wonders if it is just the power of emotion driving this moment in the story that causes my empathy to hum. I don’t know which perspective is actual ~ perhaps both are ~ but I know this much is true:
The scene where Jon convinces Angela’s grandfather to seek her out makes me weep every time. And then its just more tears in each moment until the episode ends.
“Don’t all relationships, by definition, end in tragedy?” ~ Jon Osterman
“I guess you have a point there.” ~ Angela Abar
While I appreciate how tidy the sentiment in these quotes is from a dark alternate reality storyline perspective, I am not sure I agree that all such ends are tragic by definition. In any case Angela has, and will continue to have my heart in her grip.
Hold on tight all, see you next week. (apologies for the ten finger discount Warren, but I miss reading this line ~ or one like it ~ every Sunday)