Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

by Daniel Depp

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Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:31 pm

Pg. 71-76: The incident with Dee.

Comment on Spandau’s behavior towards Dee and his channeling of Gene Autry in his backyard.

What did you think of Dee’s reaction to his behavior?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:18 pm

I am surprized by two things. First, that Spandau could't seem to understand where Dee was at all in terms of the 'relationship' and second, that he had such limited self control.

It's one thing to wish that things aren't the way they are, but Spandau is blind to Dee's perspective, assigning motives to her that are completely unrealistic. For example "Unfair, unfair. She came because she wanted to see me. She came because she feels the same way I do, she can't say it, she needs an excuse, she's hoping for the same bit of magic to appear and fix things." Yeah, casebook magical thinking I guess. She's remarried for pete's sake. And this is a guy who spends a good deal of his time sussing out motivations of others? He's so off the mark when it comes to Dee as to be slightly scary. The kind of guy you have to get a restraining order to stop.

So then we look at his ability to control not just emotions but acting on emotions. Yeah, people over-react in the extreme when pushed to the extreme. Question: what did she do that was so extreme? Not conform with his magical thinking formula. So he feels crazy and he acts crazy. I don't want a private eye who can't control his thoughts or actions when faced by an extreme situation. What if there's some other situation out there that also doesn't fit his narrow standards of what's appropriate.

So I get the strong feeling we are seeing an even more wounded Spandau than we saw last time.

Dee made perfect sense to me. I can't comment on why she picked the pencil-necked dweeb, but she did and she is commited to making it work. She was level in her analysis and comments and even when Spandau threatens her physically she is able to maintain her composure. I liked the why she turned and exited, no words, no drama. Classy lady.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby gemini » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:00 pm

I found his behavior here out of character with the Spandau we saw in the first book. Where was the strong silent in charge fellow? In the first book his reason for letting Dee go was he was afraid of becoming like his abusive father. Here he almost fulfills his worst fear by putting his hands on her. The shooting the raccoons with his Gene Autry gun was just more of acting out his temper.
I don’t like his drunken, jealous side that he shares with his boss. I felt like this incident was created by Depp so his boss would have a reason to send him off as a body guard for a hot actress in a vacation spot, as good therapy.
I thought Dee was the only stable sane person in this fiasco.
Last edited by gemini on Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby moviemom » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:25 pm

I think that Dee handled Spandau's grabbing her by the neck the best way possible. No reaction other than to walk away. That said more to him than her words, which he didn't hear anyway. Finally, he realized he had no chance, and it was over.

Gene Autry? No way. As for the racoons in the backyard, that was truly a Yosemite Sam moment with a bit of drunken idiot thrown in for good measure. Consarned furbearing varmints. Spandau is enormously overjoyed. Take that, you little :censored: . :lol:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:52 pm

I found some of the relationship fiasco between Dee and Spandau a little hard to believe in this scene since in Loser's Town we were lead to believe that they really still loved each other, even though Dee was dating. So maybe Spandau's denial is a little easier to understand from that perspective. I think he loved her for many reasons and just didn't want to let go, and once he started drinking, his repressed emotions came raging to the surface.

Dee, on the other hand, seems perfectly logical and in control and she handled the situation perfectly well -- except that it can be really futile to discuss anything with a drunk. I still find it hard to believe she remarried, but ........ well, what do I know! Like Spandau, maybe I just need to accept it.

The raccoons were a great dumping place for the bulk of Spandau's anger and frustration. I understand, having more than once found the ravaged bodies of poultry scattered around my barn and yard. I have no love for raccoons! :grr: But the way he went about the attack was way over the top and out of proportion and not very smart at all! He didn't behave that way sober.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby Betty Sue » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:13 pm

Even while under the influence of the alcohol and his frustration, Spandau seemed as shocked by his behavior in grabbing Dee as we were. He'd gone lower than he ever expected to go; he probably worried he was becoming his father, something he long had feared. So at this point he can continue the decline or vow to learn from the incident. He can also be thankful that Dee deescalated the abuse with her classy demeanor.
I don't know what to think of all that raccoon action! :yikes:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:00 pm

Nebraska wrote: I found some of the relationship fiasco between Dee and Spandau a little hard to believe in this scene since in Loser's Town we were lead to believe that they really still loved each other, even though Dee was dating.
I very much agree. That's why I mentioned that Spandau seems more psychologically wounded than he did in the earlier book (Losers Town). Makes one wonder what's in store for Spandau in the next book. Perhaps even greater hard times?

I guess I also find myself thinking alot about the complexity of continuing a character over more than one book. The character must change, must respond to the environment around him. The author also needs to be able to make adjustments in the trajectory of a given character. What made sense at the beginning of the first book may have become limiting for Daniel based on where he wants to go with Spandau.

Finally Dee's remarriage kind of throws a monkey wrench into our thinking about the two of them. I truly loved all that was written about the couple last time, and it was disappointing to see it's collapse. The author is actually rather rough on his characters if you think about it.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:06 pm

Great answers today!

I was actually pretty shocked by his behavior. And I agree with all of you that Dee’s response was just stellar—so in control--just the opposite of Spandau’s.

Gemini, you said that his behavior was out of character. And others have agreed. I have to agree, too. I wonder if his behavior is a direct reaction to everything that happened in the last book. I’m having a memory that he blamed himself for the deaths in Loser’s Town. Can someone tell me what they remember? Seems Loser’s Town ended with him being depressed while watching the Oscars with Dee. And then Bobby Dye goes and dies. He’s lost 3 people that he was close to.

Mind you, this is not an excuse for his behavior, because as far as I’m concerned, he was over the top grabbing her by the neck. That’s just beyond my comfort level. That said, there could be reasons for it. I think that certain reasons can make a person snap….just like Perec. Spandau knew when to stop, though. He isn’t quite at the psycho level yet. So IMHO he has the personality to snap but has the morals and center to stop himself before he goes too far. That’s how I see Spandau.

But my next question to you is: Is he realistic?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:48 pm

Like most of you, I was surprised too and it seemed out of character compared to Spandau 1.0. However in a way I can understand it. He was afraid of becoming like his father and how many of us have heard the words of our parents, that we swore would never come out of our mouths, slipping right out there? Words and actions are two different things but sometimes you fall back on how what you learned when you were younger, especially in times of stress, fear or sadness when you feel emotionally out of control. The fact that Dee had actually remarried and been stolen by another man, his goldfish had been stolen by the racoons - he stopped short with Dee but he could take out his anger on the racoons. I saw it as somewhat symbolic and cathartic.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:25 am

Liz wrote:Great answers today!

I was actually pretty shocked by his behavior. And I agree with all of you that Dee’s response was just stellar—so in control--just the opposite of Spandau’s.

Gemini, you said that his behavior was out of character. And others have agreed. I have to agree, too. I wonder if his behavior is a direct reaction to everything that happened in the last book. I’m having a memory that he blamed himself for the deaths in Loser’s Town. Can someone tell me what they remember? Seems Loser’s Town ended with him being depressed while watching the Oscars with Dee. And then Bobby Dye goes and dies. He’s lost 3 people that he was close to.

Mind you, this is not an excuse for his behavior, because as far as I’m concerned, he was over the top grabbing her by the neck. That’s just beyond my comfort level. That said, there could be reasons for it. I think that certain reasons can make a person snap….just like Perec. Spandau knew when to stop, though. He isn’t quite at the psycho level yet. So IMHO he has the personality to snap but has the morals and center to stop himself before he goes too far. That’s how I see Spandau.

But my next question to you is: Is he realistic?


In my opinion, yes.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby Buster » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:23 pm

I'm not so sure Spandau's behavior is out of character. I suspect he would like to think he is incapable of violent and abusive actions, but when you add alcohol to an emotionally overwrought relationship, it can certainly bring out the least savory aspects of an already impulsive personality.
The whole western obsession makes a lot of sense, too. The gunslinger mystique certainly appeals to black-and-white hair-trigger emotional thinking, and it offers a quick code to decision making. Some of that reactivity has worked out well for Spandau in his line of work; it just might have some, shall we say, negative repercussions in long-term relationships.
Shooting at the raccoons reminded me of Captain jack shooting the undead monkey: (Gibbs:"You know that'll do no good"
Jack: "Well it does me!")
A totally frustrated moment where reason doesn't come into it.
Dee's response is classic - most spouses of alcoholics come to that same point eventually. It is sane, self-protective, and unarguable.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:28 pm

Like the comment Buster. Perhaps we're romanticizing the Spandau/Dee relationship based on what we wanted to happen, expected to happen based on the last book.
The whole western obsession makes a lot of sense, too. The gunslinger mystique certainly appeals to black-and-white hair-trigger emotional thinking, and it offers a quick code to decision making.
Yes, I agree. Whereas a private eye requires some distance, the cool eye so to speak, I believe our Western mythic figures were quicker to respond with violence. I mean, quick or dead yes?

And all of this makes me think about men and emotion. Another discussion perhaps.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #4 ~ Dee

Unread postby gemini » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:09 pm

Unfortunately I agree that it is realistic but that doesn’t mean I think it’s acceptable. I do agree with what was said about western gunslinger mystique being a step in this direction. It is part of the macho style that many men aspire to thinking it makes them more masculine. The scenario between Spandau and Dee seems a common endings when that attitude prevails. The woman has no choice but to move on for her own saftey.
As fireflydances said I think some of us did romanticize the Spandau and Dee situation and hoped he would win her back, which made this angered side of Spandau more distressing.
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