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Chronic Aporia

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Munchhausen Syndrome: This is a psychiatric disorder similar to Hypochondriasis in that the individual will fabricate or exaggerate symptoms to get treatment at a medical facility. It is differentiated from Hypochondria in that Munchhausen Syndrome implies that the individual is fully cognizant of their fabrications. That is, they feign illness to achieve medical care.

I also slept with the Empress of the moon. True story.

Patients with Munchhausen Syndrome are chronic, even pathological (get it?) users of Aporia. They most often exaggerate symptoms, leading doctors to spend a great deal of time and money treating them. Aporia is supposed to be to an advantage…but what advantage is there to this? Well. Psychologists think that the hospital feels safe to these people. They feel that they are more secure with a staff of hundreds looking out for them. The question is why they feel they need it, which varies from patient to patient.

He knows!

The overall effect is to cost the system thousands of dollars and the situation isn’t improving. Medical facilities won’t often report it because the insurance companies then refuse to pay up, leaving the patient with the full (usually quite large) bill, which few pay. It is now being considered a serious psychological illness and is getting some attention. Hopefully there will be means in the near future to help Munchhausen sufferers.

What makes you think I need help?!


New Mexico: The Fugue State

December 9, 2011 2 comments

Walter’s Fugue State in Breaking Bad: This series follows the character Walter White who has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Being a proud man, he refuses financial help, and wants to pay for his treatment and leave a substantial amount of money for his family. He does this by manufacturing crystal meth. He obviously hides this from his family, who are very suspicious of his absences. When he is kidnapped by a drug dealer for a number of days, he has to concoct a story to explain why he has been missing and out of contact.

He walks into a grocery store, naked, and claims not to remember anything. His doctors diagnose the event as a fugue state. This is clearly somewhat suspect, and while his doctors are fooled, his wife seems to understand something is up. In the end this does not go well for him. (Very little, if anything, does in the whole series) However, he does get the alibi he wanted and that’s better than spending his last months in jail, I suppose.

This is pretty much textbook Aporia, and in fact uses both kinds (feigned and real) to fairly good effect. First, he does fake the fugue state entirely. He doesn’t remember a thing. That is creating a difficulty related to his illness (or Chemo in this case) that suits his need (for an alibi) without inviting questions. However, alone this would be fairly ineffective. His behavior leading up to the event was rather suspicious. He exaggerates both his illness and his happiness to return home in order to dissuade questions. After all, who would question too deeply a man dying of cancer?

Well…his own wife for one. It goes badly. Watch the series.

Enargia Example: President Obama’s Presidential Victory Speech

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Plot Summary: Yes we can- timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Enargia is displayed through President Obama’s victory speech. “Yes we can” was his morale- boosting motto throughout his campaign, and he continued that trend for his victory speech.

A sense of being united among Americans soared as he told Americans to “join the work of remaking this nation…block by block, brick by brick, callused hand by callused hand” because his victory is giving the people and him “the chance for us to make that change.”

The confidence in his voice affirmed he visualized an improved United States over the next four years. The audience felt a personal connection to this idea of togetherness and prosperity when he said:

“So let us summon a new spirit, of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder, and not only look out for ourselves, but each other.”

The audience can see the peaceful intent Obama wants the entire nation to have. When he mentioned the “block by block” statement, everyone felt like they could participate in this movement. Low income families to Bill Gates  are equally important to this idea, because he said:

“Tonight we have proved once more that the strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”

The audience visualizes an America as a place of prosperity and unlimited opportunities, which is the American dream. The audience may visualize America as being a busy corporation, in the sense that if one person does not do their job, everyone suffers. Moreover, everyone is important, no matter what their rank in authority.

MSNBC. “Barack Obama Victory Speech: Yes We Can – YouTube.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. MSNBC, 5 Nov. 2008. Web. 09 Dec. 2011.        <;.


Enargia Example: Two 9/11 survivors’ stories

December 9, 2011 1 comment

Plot Summary: A reporter interviews a couple who just evacuated the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Enargia is evident in the story given by this couple who left the World Trade Center by their facial expressions, what they said, and especially because of the thick ash of their clothes. The video opens with the couple getting their first bottle of water to rinse their body. They both pour water over their faces and then spit some out of their mouth. This opening scene tugs at the heart of an American audience. Enargia is present when the viewers hear painful coughing, moaning and heavy breathing. Before the couple talks to the reporter, obviously they are feeling pain, exhaustion, relief, and anxiety.

“We saw a shadow that looked like a plane. Then all of a sudden: boom, boom! The ground started shaking, we saw debris falling down.” -Woman

It is clear to the viewer that they just experienced a tradegy before their own eyes. The viewer can imagine this couple anxiously waiting to get off of the stairs. The audience can see them trying to escape the smoke cloud, unable to see anything. When the man coughs, the listener can hear the pain and ash in his chest.   They can feel relief  when the survivors finally make it  down the stairs to the lobby, and then there is an explosion. All relief is gone, and panic and fear set in.

“I thought we could outrun it [smoke cloud] but we couldn’t. It was pitch black. It was like a comet just hit the earth.” -Man

A comet has never hit the earth, but film directors create an ambiguous idea of what it would be like, in movies. Unlike the movies, there was no warning of this impactful, powerful terrorist attack. The viewer can visualize the panic-stricken atmosphere at the World Trade Center. Especially, since the couple was on the eighty-second floor and made it to the lobby via crowded stairs within approximately fifteen minutes, when the second plane hit.

The reporter is fascinated by the amount of ash on the man’s suit, instilling a mental image of the thick smoke cloud and other debris surrounding the couple. Because the interview happened immediately after the couple got to a safe place, their raw emotions were fresh, giving an emotional depiction of their heart-wrenching story.

WABC-Ch. 7. “WTC Tower Witness 9/11 – YouTube.” News Broadcast. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. WABC-Ch. 7, 5 July 2011. Web. 08 Dec. 2011. <;.

Enargia example: Limitless (2011)

December 9, 2011 1 comment

Plot Summary: Limitless (2011) uses special effects and intriguing  scenarios to allow viewers to understand and visualize the effects of NZT, a fictional drug that  allows users to access all of their brain instead of the realistic twenty percent.


Eddie Morra (played by Bradley Cooper), once a depressed writer is now on an NZT-fueled odyssey. Everything Morra has read, heard or seen is instantly organized and available to him.

“A tablet a day, and what I could do with my day was limitless.” -Eddie Morra

“I was blind, but now I see.” -Eddie Morra

Enargia is evident when the audience sees Morra’s attitude in all aspects of his life change in a positive way. He now has motivation to work out, get a haircut, and new wardrobe.  Morra writes a book in four days, becomes fluent in different languages and transforms into a stock market genius. The audience credits NZT for all of these life-changing hurdles. Without enargia, this concept would not be perceived. But with the use of special effects mirroring Morra’s new outlook on life, the evident change, with the help of NZT, is realistically mind-blowing. Things that Morra learned could be learned by any human, but Morra embedded unpresidented motivation and embraced new knowledge and experiences, which allowed him to achieve these things extremely faster than a person that does not take NZT.

In this clip, enargia is achieved as the viewer is in Morra’s mind and body running through the streets of New York City.

It is easy for the audience to visualize Morra’s state of mind. Eddie begins ahead of the viewer as both travel quickly, but then Morra disappears. The viewer is not following him, but becomes him. Viewers are now in the driver’s seat gaining acceleration with each block they pass. No opportunity is given for the viewer to hesitate or look around, because they are going too fast.

Limitless. Dir. Neil Burger. Perf. Bradley Cooper and Robert Di Nero. Rogue, 2011. Film.


Metastasis:“Twilight Biology Class Scene: Edward’s Golden Eyes”

December 6, 2011 1 comment

Metastasis is at work in the first Twilight film, as both Bella and Edward pass quickly over uncomfortable topics.  In Youtube’s “Twilight Biology Class Scene: Edward’s Golden Eyes” clip, we see a particularly effective exchange.  Edward and Bella sit, microscope between them, analyzing slides.  Edward asks Bella about the weather, and she answers that she doesn’t like “any cold, wet thing.”  Edward, curious about her recent move to town, had asked the question in order to “figure” her “out.”  He probes, “If you hate the cold and the rain so much, why did you move to the wettest place in the continental U.S.?”  She attempts metastasis: “Um… it’s complicated.”  Edward, unrelenting, says, “I’m sure I can keep up.”  After class and in the hallway, Bella (between um’s) explains that she had moved to be with her father because her mother remarried a traveling minor league baseball player and that her mother, staying at home instead of traveling with her new husband, had seemed unhappy without her new beau at her side.  Edward replies, “And now you’re unhappy?”  “No,” Bella retorts; “Hey, did you get contacts?” In turn Edward replies, “No.” She probes more, “Your eyes were black the last ime I saw you, and now they’re like a golden brown.” Edward responds, “Yeah, I know.  It’s, uh, it’s the fluorescents,” walking abruptly away.

Both character’s reluctance to address the issue on hand reflects their alikeness.  In fact, a careful eye picks up on the character’s purposefully balanced responses and sees it as the director’s or writer’s way of fusing the couple (despite the throng of Jacob fans).  Metastasis also serves to create a sense of mystery, propelling the plot.   In this way, the filmmaker and actors work effectively here in what we can call a sneaky, creative way of creating enigmatic sexual tension. Seamless execution here, even with the awkward um’s.  This makes me wonder, is there a rhetorical device that elicits or capitalizes on the word “um”?

Hardwicke, Catherine.  Twilight.  Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2007.  Film.

Also viewed at Youtube: “Twilight Biology Class Scene: Edward’s Golden Eyes.”

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December 6, 2011 Leave a comment


Categories: uncategorized