Friday, October 4, 2013

Oh Jealosy, Where is Thy Sting?

“…I'm telling you beware/
Beware of the pat on the back/
It just might hold you back/
Jealousy (jealousy)/
Misery (misery)/
I tell you, you can't see behind smiling faces/
Smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth…”

       -- Smiling Faces Sometimes by Norman Whitfield
           and Barrett Strong

by Gary

I got your sting right here.

Back in the Silver Age of comics, Lex Luthor became Superman’s sworn enemy when a dastardly experiment he was working on got out of control and Supes blew out the cloud of whatever the hell it was with his super breath.  The stuff swept over Luthor and he lost all his hair permanently.  This before Hair Club for Men©.  Unspoken but you know it was there was Luthor’s jealousy because the Man of Steel still had his lush black Victor Mature-ish locks including that boyish curlicue brushing his forehead.  Never mind that Superman is built like a Greek god, Luthor wanted him some hair.

Also back then, in the pages of Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, J. Jonah Jameson, publisher of the Daily Bugle newspaper was the Rupert Murdoch slash Bill O’Reilly of his day.  A self-righteous, sanctimonious blowhard who seemingly manufactured in his editorials the idea that Spidey was a masked menace to sell more newspapers.  Well that’s accurate but he admits in Amazing Spider-Man #10 that the wall crawler is everything he’s not.  Rather than inspire him, Jameson seeks to destroy ol' web-head.

Iago manipulates and betrays his general Othello because he’s jealous of his accomplishments and through lies, makes him jealous of his wife, Desdemona.  Edmund Dantes in the Count of Monet Cristo is set-up by two men who are jealous of him – one for his rising in the ranks above him and the other who lusts for the woman who loves Dantes.  Ain’t that a ,mother for ya?  Back in the beginning, Cain slew Abel, it is said, because of jealousy.  As in Tommy Smothers to his brother, Dick, “Mom liked you best”…God liked Abel best.

But hey, maybe these guys give jealousy a bad name.  Maybe we should see jealously as a way to motivate, you know?  Like I know when I read Elmore Leonard or crack open one of the Parker novels I’ve previously read by Donald Westlake or devour a cleverly constructed Agatha Christie mystery puzzle, the green-eyed monster whispers to me in the back of my head. How do they write like that?  Did they sell their soul at the Crossroads to be so talented?  Why am I denied?

Just sayin.’  Think of jealousy in Mamet kind of way…the Mitch & Murray motivational talk delivered by their guy smiling like a rattler…they sent me over to let you know first place is a Cadillac, second place is a set of steak knives and third place is you’re fired.  Coffee is for closers.

Now get out there and write!


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