Thursday, November 13, 2014

Damn you, Saul

The good news is that there's a bit less pain today in my knees after getting cortisone injections, one for each knee.  The bad news is that I was exhausted afterward and then didn't sleep well at all last night.  I'm not sure what explains this, but it wasn't pain.  I took it easy yesterday and had essentially no pain after the procedure.  Maybe it was the trepidation beforehand. Or perhaps the local anesthetic did a number on my head, though I don't know why that should be.  (The nurse just called from Carle and said maybe the steroids did affect my sleep.)  Then too, I am giving a midterm today and was corresponding with a handful of students yesterday who seemed jittery.  Whatever it was, I am a bit of a zombie this morning. 

What does a zombie think about, especially one who is also an INTP in Myer-Briggs personality typing?  No doubt the answer is Homeland Season 3.  I've watched through the DVDs once before on my computer.  This time around I'm watching them while I do my exercises, half the elliptical and half the treadmill, with some other light exercises in between.  (As my mind flits from one thing to another in true zombie-mode, it occurs to me that I didn't do the exercises yesterday because I was supposed to take it easy.  That may be the real reason for the lack of sleep.)  It's a good show for exercising to, because it is a real grabber.

There is something of a fatal flaw in the story line, a confounding of Sunni and Shia and as the piece at the link shows, I'm not the only one to have noticed.  When I was reading Econ papers on a regular basis, if I came to what I though was a fatal flaw in the story I would put the paper down and move onto something else.  Why bother with the rest?  But this is a TV show only, probably much of the audience doesn't notice the issue, to them the Middle East is just one big cauldron of one problem following another, and as I said the show is a grabber.  For me, the main attraction is the character Saul Berenson.

The lead on the show is Carrie Mathison and she is a compelling character in her own right.  Carrie is as intense as it gets.  She is Saul's protege, brilliant but impulsive.  Saul is more thoughtful and deliberate, seeing things more strategically.  He is also a cultural Jew.  As this piece points out, these two aspects of his persona match perfectly to form the larger whole.  I'm not nearly as Jewish as he is, but I see a good deal of similarity between his approach to addressing issues and mine.

Since I don't want to be a spoiler for the show, I hope what I say below doesn't give away too much of the plot.  In season 3 Saul has become interim director of the CIA after a catastrophe was perpetrated on the agency.  Saul and Carrie launch a secret plan to catch the people behind it.  To anyone else, this would be an incredible long shot.  But to Saul and Carrie, in the outrageous world of spying in which they live their work lives and the rest of their lives too, it is what makes sense.

Part of the plan is for it appear to the rest of the world that Carrie has gone over the deep end.  She is put into the ward of a hospital where the other patients are "crazies."  She is given the treatment that crazies get.  Some of it is too much for her.  Multiple times she says, "Damn you, Saul." (And some other expletive about Saul too.)  She and Saul have a very affectionate working the relationship.  But they push the limits of that relationship and it leads to some brief friction from time to time.

Regarding my own situation, it seems to me that I too like to hatch long shot plans that to me have a solid logic to them but end up being too far out of the box.  Further, I'm doing this mostly as an outsider, with no way to implement the plans myself.  So readers of this blog will know that from time to time I generate a rather detailed idea for a plan, only to find it go nowhere.  In contrast, I've come to realize that in some of the little things I do have consequence and occasionally the consequence is positive.  Most little things don't matter.  But if one does enough of them some will matter.  And it us much more do-able to have a diverse portfolio of little things.  So I had just about convinced myself to reorient my attention toward the little things and stop generating these big ideas that go nowhere.  But then there's Homeland.

Damn you, Saul.

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