Mr. Nobody terrifies me. Not just because he seems creepy, but the whole concept of “Nobody” is unnerving: Mr. Nobody functions on drugs which carry out different aspects of his so-called personality, and without these drugs, he is nothing but an empty husk. Mr. Nobody is basically a bunch of chemical processes in a container. What really bothers me is how this perfectly describes a human being (and all living creatures as well). What is really “human”? Are our personalities defined by our experiences, or is it all just the manipulation of biological processes? For instance, a person’s response to various stimuli is dictated by the amygdala, which plays a large role in anxiety, fear, aggression, etc. Interestingly, the size of the amygdala could be an indicator in whether or not an individual has the potential to being (or becoming) psychopathic. Regardless, the fact remains that much of what makes a person who he or she is has to do with biology, much like how Mr. Nobody’s whole character is determined by the drugs that give him “reasoning”, “sense of humor”, “powers of persuasion”, and so on.
While reading the “mess” of seemingly-random narratives in Atrocity Exhibition, I was niggled by some sort of psychological conflict happening within the text but couldn’t pinpoint it. Moreover, I became depressed. It’s funny, though. Seeing–well, reading–the bizarre, debauched scenes made me realize just how sheltered I really am in relation to the world around me. It’s like (as a classmate pointed out in lecture today) waking up from a nightmare but realizing that nightmare still persists.
Professor Pulizzi pointed out that one of the running themes of Atrocity Exhibition is the perverse fascination with celebrities. Travis/Talbert/Talbot’s freakish obsession with recreating the assassination of JFK shows a twisted side of celebrity culture. Celebrity figures seem to be “gods” whom the masses worship, but ironically they are victims because of such “worship”. The famous person does not have real power because his/her rise or fall is dictated by the common people through continuous consumption of media like billboards, magazines, and the computer screen. Suddenly I think of the Kardashians (or, as my fellow Yahoo-ers like to say, “Kartrashians”). A netizen reads the latest scandal involving Kim and thinks, “Ha! What a loser!” With just that thought, they gain the advantage. In other words, the one who watches on the sidelines has power.