TPAOL #5 ~ Mutz

by James Meek

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Red Shoes
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Unread postby Red Shoes » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:54 am

This is all really interesting!

I agree about the bad-boy syndrome - there's something sickeningly attractive about a man who is willing to eat his fellow traveller as part of his mission to save you. :-O

Another contrast I thought of was that Samarin and Balshov are both intensely focussed on an *ideal*, far-off future, whereas Mutz is concentrating on the present and the very immediate future.

Mutz's ideas of simple love for a family, reprieve for his soldiers and basic protection of people are all practical, realistic, achievable things that he can actually get done in a relatively short time frame.

Balashov is focussed on attaining a utopia, something distant and removed from everyday life that he cannot achieve in his natural lifetime (as much as he might try to convince himself that he can).

Samarin is focussed on whole-world, longterm ideals of a perfect society, and again, this cannot be achieved by him in his lifetime.

The idea of devoting yourself to a cause that is greater than your own lifetime is noble and somewhat attractive; but I think the man who devotes himself to simple, achievable tasks can "beat" that attraction purely by reason of its immediacy.

Hope that makes some sense. :-?
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Unread postby Lady Jill » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:29 am

OK, OK. . I got it!

Samarin - Good for a Saturday night love-in, but make sure he's well fed first!

Balashov - Good for hugs only, and you can give him a horse and sword and hire him for the next revolt!

Mutz - Good for a Sunday afternoon stroll, smiling at everyone - that's all!

NOW GIVE ME THAT HORIZON AND CAPTAIN JACK! These guys don't interest me! :yuck2: :yuck2:

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Liz
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:42 am

You guys are really cracking me up tonight. :lol: :biglaugh: :rotflmao:

I'm with you, Lady Jill.

Could it be we've analyzed them too much? No, not us? We would never do that. :shhh:

Maybe a change of pace is in order tomorrow?
:grin:
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Unread postby Endora » Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:58 am

Late again... KYw, so interesting, especially following the idea of the third way we spoke about in a previous Q.

Mutz? He's, to me at least, the kinder third way. Not thinking himself on the side of god or the devil like B.or S., not man's evil like Mutula. He's on the side of moderation, of humanity. I think his role in the book is to show how we can live without the extremes, and be better because of it. I think that's part of why the image is often used of him being a judge, weighing the good and the bad in people.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:29 am

I liked Muntz of all the characters, I certainly didn't find him boring.
Love Lady Jill's summation (is that a word?)

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Unread postby Parlez » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:41 am

Nice summation, Lady Jill! And, btw, it is a word, GG, and a good one for describing what we're all trying to get at here! I'm actually rather eager to move on to Matula...I never thought I'd be saying that!! :fear:
But if these are the 'good guys', bring on the monster!
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Unread postby Angelina » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:46 pm

Parlez wrote:Okay. I leave you Noodlemantras alone for a few hours and you start soaring with the eagles!
Since when did Samarin and his insatiable appetite start leading the popularity contest??

:lol: Mea culpa, I'm afraid. But, btw, Anna Petrovna, saving Samarin, didn't know about his "appetite" yet, she looked at him rather as at a victim, or even as at a martyr. The pity, the "bad boy syndrome" – oh, I can't blame her.

Speaking seriously, I think, Samarin is an interesting and complex figure, I hope, we will discuss him (and Balashov) separately.
I liked no one of that trinity though (poor Anna Petrovna!), I agree with Lady Jill too, and I have a little reproach to James Meek here. It seems to me, he didn't love his characters, he didn't turn into them. He just had some plan, some ideas, which he wanted to tell to readers, and his characters for him is only the figures, the means for a telling this plan. Therefore the characters look like a scheme very often, they do a strange things, unlogical for those characters, and we can't believe them and love them. I think, Mutz, Samarin and Balashov are the victim of such treatment of author with them.
But I liked the book very much, and found James as a good and perspective author. I think, we have a good stuff for a discussion about this guys anyway.

So, may be, speaking about "the eagles", we moved aside a little of our main theme here – Mutz. But I would like to stay with the eagles just a little more time. I would like to say, "the eagle" is not only the "bad boy" (although a part of it, may be, is here). "The eagle" is a man, who moves the earth, who focused not only on simple and easy attainable things, who is able to make a decision and to fulfil them. (Making my off top more deep, I want to say, Johnny has it, indeed! And I noticed in my dictionary, "the eagle" in English means not only "the bird", it means also "the colonel". It is interesting, that it coincides with a nickname, which Hunter S.Thompson gave to Johnny, isn't it?)

So, back to Mutz. Perhaps, it isn't fair to look at him with Anna Petrovna's eyes – Anna Petrovna is unusual woman herself, a kind of a "famme fatal", she never will be attracted to a man like poor Mutz, with all his manifest dignities and simple intentions. But I, a simple woman, didn't like Mutz too. I have to say, I wanted to love him, I had a lot of sympathy for Mutz and his love for Anna, like Nebraska said, and I couldn't understand for a long time, what repels him from me. I think, it was his irresolution, his aspiration to substitute the actions for the reasoning (then, when he must action), his weakness in a result. I think, those people just seem like reliable, and you can't know, when he will safe you, and when he will submit and betray you. Yes, Mutz showed many proofs of his firmness in the book, but it was only then, when his firm actions coincided with his interests. When it was about interests of others (the killed people, for example), he only was able to write a report – accusing of himself, of course.
(It is only my opinion, never mind it, please, if you have another look on Mutz).
I don't think I have any enemies, really. The scariest enemy is within, allowing yourself to conform to what is expected of you~ Johnny Depp, PE junket in Japan

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Unread postby Depputante » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:59 pm

Angelina, your post is very interesting. It hits home for me.
I love the Eagle. In fact, many eagles are living near me, I can see them almost every day. And Sparrows, and Swallows too. Now when I see Eagles, I will also think of Johnny.

Mutz, I fear, like Mutz, Mr. Depputante is very reliable, and recently I can also see the selfishness of his actions, as you say it is with Mutz.....but...I dream of Eagles, Sparrows, and Swallows. :cloud9:
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Unread postby Theresa » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:13 pm

Endora wrote:Late again... KYw, so interesting, especially following the idea of the third way we spoke about in a previous Q.

Mutz? He's, to me at least, the kinder third way. Not thinking himself on the side of god or the devil like B.or S., not man's evil like Mutula. He's on the side of moderation, of humanity. I think his role in the book is to show how we can live without the extremes, and be better because of it. I think that's part of why the image is often used of him being a judge, weighing the good and the bad in people.

I'm later than you, Endora --

I agree with your assessment of Mutz. His moderation does appear boring, but only because his role is alongside characters who swing to such extremes.

Mutz also was the only one of the three main characters who was more of an "open book", not harboring secrets and telling lies -- like Balashov not revealing his history with Anna to the castrates, or Samarin and everything he had done.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Feb 06, 2007 3:06 pm

theresa, that is a good point that Mutz looks somewhat tame by comparison to the other characters he is being compared to. Taken alone he is a bit heroic and actually commits treason. Pretty tame stuff compared to the other two! :lol:
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:06 pm

Angelina wrote: I agree with Lady Jill too, and I have a little reproach to James Meek here. It seems to me, he didn't love his characters, he didn't turn into them. He just had some plan, some ideas, which he wanted to tell to readers, and his characters for him is only the figures, the means for a telling this plan. Therefore the characters look like a scheme very often, they do a strange things, unlogical for those characters, and we can't believe them and love them.


Angelina, this is a very interesting point that you bring up. I have to think more on this. I think that maybe the reason some of us see Balashov and Samarin in different lights is because the characters don’t act logically, or as some of us would view as logical. Therefore, it is hard for us to relate to their behavior, motivations, views, etc.

Theresa wrote:His moderation does appear boring, but only because his role is alongside characters who swing to such extremes.

Mutz also was the only one of the three main characters who was more of an "open book", not harboring secrets and telling lies -- like Balashov not revealing his history with Anna to the castrates, or Samarin and everything he had done.


Theresa, I think you have a point, that in comparison to the other two characters, Mutz is boring. Also, honesty is one of my most highly regarded qualities in a person. And that, in itself, is a reason for me to be attracted to Mutz.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Parlez » Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:24 pm

Angelina ~ I really get what you say about Mutz not being reliable! I take it to mean that he's the kind of guy who's too compromising and too reluctant to take a stand; someone you could never count on, really...who knows when he'd decide to play it safe and sacrifice you for it?! Whilst Sam and Bal and Mat are all extreme personalities, and each mad in their own right, at least their behavior is predictable. Of the four, Mutz is the least predictable, inspite of his mild-mannered, rational demeanor and unassuming nature. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. :cool:

Likewise, I'm all for soaring with the eagles...those guys sweep me off my feet every time! :capnjack:
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:04 pm

Xaxis wrote: Id = not circumcised = Samarain
Ego = circumcised = Mutz
Superego = castrated
= Balashov

'When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.' Hunter S. Thompson


That really is an interesting description, sure puts the abstract theories into a visual form! As Mutz and Balashov had that status as part of their religious make up, the visual probably has some real basis in behavior patterns......

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Unread postby Xaxis » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:26 pm

Agapē (IPA: [ɑˈgɑ.pε] or IPA: [ˈɑgɑˌpε]) (Gk. αγάπη ), is one of several Greek words meaning love. The word has been used in different ways by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including Biblical authors. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, thoughtful love. Greek philosophers at the time of Plato and other ancient authors use the term to denote love of a spouse or family or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to philia, an affection that could either denote brotherhood or generally a non-sexual affection, or eros, an affection of a sexual nature, usually between two unequal partners, the lover (erastes) and beloved (eromenos). The term is rarely used in ancient manuscripts. The term was used by the early Christians to refer to the special love for God and God's love for humanity, as well as the self-sacrificing love they believed all should have for each other.
Wikipedia...

I just wanted to add another triad to the mix..
Agape = Balashov
Philia = Mutz
Eros = Samarain
“Know thyself” and “Nothing to excess” inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:36 pm

Wow! That's an interesting comparison, Xaxis, between the three of them. I never would have thought to go that direction with it. But it seems to follow in line with The People's ACT OF LOVE.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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