On Strangers
Miscellaneous Essays
As well as other notes about systems and ideas related to Goodbye Strangers.
systems: tears/the flood/heart/clover
The following shapes and symbols are among several that recur throughout Goodbye Strangers.
The Rain/Teardrop
Emotions ('base'). Symmetrical on one axis. Stands for loneliness, isolation, downwards movement and an increase in saturation/density.
The Heart
The teardrop, duplicated. A balance of the 'self' and 'connection', while remaining divisible into its two distinct halves.
The Clover
Positive destruction. Change and transformation. A book that is not incinerated, but instead overgrown by plants.
The Waves
The teardrop, split in two. Half formed; the collapse of a system. There is the potential for it to go on forever, though it's not symmetrical.

destruction (positive)
subtract, multiply
destruction (negative)

Bugs Bunny's Anus (or, levels of abstraction in cartoon reality)
Bugs Bunny does not have a visible anus. I think that this can tell us something about abstraction in media and the levels at which we can make assumptions about the realities and framework in which characters reside. Here are a few of my thoughts and interpretations.
1. The cartoon Bugs Bunny that we see is an abstracted visual representation of a real form. If your pet cat or dog appeared in an animated movie created by Disney Studios, for example, it is unlikely that their anus would also make an appearance. And though no anuses are present in The Lion King, it can be presumed that these animals do go through such physical processes such as urination and excretion.
2. Bugs Bunny has no anus, because Bugs Bunny is an entity whose sustained existence is not contingent upon consuming food and relieving himself of fecal waste. In short - he does not possess the natural physical processes of an animal. A wind-up dog is an abstraction of a real dog, yet, the mechanisms that give it "animation" (the turning of the key) are not contingent upon needing to eat and excrete. Even were an anus to be added, it would serve a purely symbolic role, much like decorative testicles added to a car.
3. Bugs Bunny exists as an archetype that is drawn forth for the sake of the immediate and self-enclosed story's premise, with each Bugs Bunny being a new variant of an unseen platonic Bugs ideal. Under such a framework, Bugs Bunny's narrative role has more in common with Pedrolino from commedia dell'arte than it does that of Neon Genesis Evangelion's Shinji Ikari. Each Bugs Bunny's life begins with the self-enclosed story's first frame, and ends when the credits roll. In this instance, the anus is unnecessary, as no Bugs is ever a self-sustaining entity.
What do you think Bugs Bunny's anus can tell us about abstractions of reality in media?

Characters as Divisions of the Self
As an autobiographical work, the characters' relation to the author mirror one way in which the self is divided within an individual.
Default: The centermost self, and main perspective – i.e when dreaming, one identifies as the dreamer, not the dream.
Bracey: A positive, but externalized part of self – i.e a romantic fantasy about an imaginary partner.
Fifi: Negative, externalized, and intrusive – i.e. imagining an argument with someone in the shower, or being unable to stop dwelling about someone, even though the person is not there.

Levels of Villainy
A character can be an antagonist in a story without being specifically being clarified as a "villain." It may not be too difficult to imagine an ex-boyfriend as the antagonist in a story. Yet would be strange to see a Kingdom Hearts-esque team-up of characters that included Scar, Jafar, Ursula, and this ex-boyfriend character.
Meanwhile, you can have characters who play an antagonistic role, but are not particularly "bad guys". Not every ex-boyfriend is an abusive one, and not every conflict is a violent one; a story about two athletes competing for the same goal allows may have a character who stands against the protagonist, but that does not mean that their goal is to harm the protagonist.
In this regard, there are several levels of villainy.
Meaty: Evil, like a Disney villain. She is aware of morality, and chooses antagonism; her thrill is to see how "bad" she can get away with being.
Fifi: Antagonistism as a natural force. Fire does not burn wood out of hatred, but cannot be convinced to stop.
Olivia, Argona: Antagonists within a stylized reality, like the villains of Batman, Bond, or Metal Gear Solid. Their goals are self-serving (and sometimes perversely 'altruistic'), but not evil for evil's sake.
Kazma: Antagonisitic in relation only to the characters themselves, much like an ex-boyfriend. The conflict and tension, though potentially intense, does not concern outside parties in the way a Batman villain might.
return to goodbye strangers