Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Anthropological Philosophy of Dr. Temperance Brennan of Bones

On off-road trips, one reads EVERYTHING. When you are stranded by the side of the dirt highway 2 miles above the sea-level in the middle of Mauritanian desert and the reason why your hitchhiking isn't getting you anywhere is because there are NO rides, you'll read a phonebook backwards if need be. 'Es how I first came across crime novels.
As a compulsive paper fiend, I don't really discriminate between texts - if they fail to draw me in, I just won't read them. One book can have the best PR in the world at the moment, but if it doesn't want to talk to me, I won't force it. I also don't like having my intelligence insulted or my emotions pushed around like a ping-pong ball. That said, my standards shift with dire circumstances.
The power of some novels is extraordinary. Reading Clan of the Cave Bear (Which I stole from a pair of impossibly annoying french hikers on top of a very tall mountain) took me to such green, such wet places and I was 3 days of walking into white sand. Even S. King successfully turned my tummy with Needful Things. But my first crime novel was Scold's Bridle (by M. Walters) and I was impressed by the novel, despite the former slight shade of disdain. In it characters are really well developed and somehow to know them at the time of the event, see them turn tables, makes you feel good about having something in common. I was pleasantly surprised.
Fast forward several other books left behind by "Two weeks summer break" folk, I crossed paths with two bad samples (both featuring leads in the form of ladies that deal with corpses.). Don't remember the first one, but the later of the two proved to be die hard. It was one of Kathy Reich's Deaths Something or other - I hated it. I thought the lead was retarded.
On similar emotion, I dismissed the show Bones when I first saw it. I watched one part with a Japanese friend who promised me a ceramic knife if I moved with him to Tokyo (wasn't my time), but the two leads were so bitterly antipathetic I just couldn't watch. I'm amazed there are shows that run for years that are painful to pay attention to, acting and script are so bad I go watch it twice just to make sure I haven't wronged it from a bad mood or something...

But then, again by chance, I was on one of the prettiest planes I've ever flown with and they had a cool selection of watchable choices and since it was a long flight, I sampled one of each.
Turns out Bones wasn't half bad. The point-on dislikability of the lead woman was there for a reason. It is in fact one of the red threads of the show - her inability to react romantically or popularly to circumstances is what makes her cool. The intellect being far superior than emotions is a theme several times over - namely, how really witty people can't function properly in society. The truth is, society allows them to be arseholes. It's been so thorough history. Geniuses get away with a lot.
Up until the demeanor of Dr. Brennan, I haven't put much stock to anthropology. I've in fact successfully argued 'The Selfish gene', 'The Moral Animal' and several other books themed on social responses-vs.-genetically programmed fate. Must admit, however, that the Dr. Brennan from the show Bones tipped that scale for me. I've realized that the other day, when put in a situation where I had to take care of a small boy.
Now, I DO have Compassion Fatigue Syndrome, my legacy from the divorce still. It means that unless I can make myself, I feel zero compassion. Seriously, I could watch a baby drown and be annoyed by the mother's screaming. But the thing is, as mentioned in the show, with birth of one own's baby, a hormone is released to make a female blindly love and protect the young at all costs... (That's a bit off, since an infant that small stands no chance without the mother). That's why women are all so into cute stuff, like puppies and bunnies and things with big dark eyes. It's superimposed on our needs to the point of being vital for our sanity. I don't have that. Personally I hate kids and hate when people worship them and forgive them everything and give them even more. Only way I tolerate the boy I must is because he's smart and I can treat him as an adult in conversations and we can explore cushy interests like photography or viral infections. To have society expect me to a)serve him, b) care for him, c) entertain him and so on and so forth is just unnerving. We got nowhere when I was trying to make myself likable to him (as one should, obviously.) Then I stopped and got pissed off and the kid stopped exploiting me. Now we work.

How males worry about letting females out of their sight so as to another wouldn't inseminate them; how we continue to push forth into bigger/better/faster/more as if we were after the only berries in the jungle; how we need to rebel against our parents at one point, then we ourselves grow old and die because the gene has gotten damaged with use.. Now that's just amazing study. Dr. Brennan in the show is a bone lady, she works with human remains, but her attitude is that of a genuine homo sapiens. She operates according to thought and knowledge as oppose to urges and strives. Sex is just sex. Fear is just fear. Morals are just that. And rules apply only to serve the process which serves the principles.

THAT I can go on. Next time someone calls me hysterical (since I am a woman and women can never be stressed, we're always just hysterical and overreacting), I'll get my blood work done in detail and then name them all the hormones pumping through me and THEN I'll stress. :p