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9:39 pm - 01.28.2011
Locus of Control

Locus Of Control

A simple philosophy of acting, from Dean Martin - "You learn your lines, I'll learn mine, we'll see if they fit."

Seems to fit right in with Spencer Tracy's "Learn your lines and don't bump into the furniture", and Jimmy Cagney's "Just look 'em in the eye and tell the truth".


Watching Four Weddings And A Funeral for the umpteenth time earlier today, I was again struck by how the beautiful Andie MacDowell, like the beautiful Katherine Ross before her, is not a great actress, but was nevertheless in two of my favorite movies ("Four Weddings" and Groundhog Day for MacDowell; The Graduate and Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid for Ross).

In the acting sweepstakes, I'd give the edge to MacDowell, but still...


This is ancient history now, but I watched the Golden Globes this year, and on the whole, didn't care for Ricky Gervais as host.

Basically, I thought on a comedy spectrum of "funny" to "mean-spirited", he was closer to "mean-spirited" the majority of the time.

It was a big topic on entertainment websites and message boards for the next day or two - whether he'd been "too mean" or not - and depressingly, my opinion (that he was) was definitely in the minority.

The "depressing" part of that, I guess, came from realizing that I have views/opinions that were formed in a decidedly different era; when I think of a great tv host, my mind goes to Johnny Carson, who could certainly get in a "zinger" when the occasion warranted, but who seemed to actually like the people he had on the show, and who seemed to believe, regarding his guests, "If I make you look good, I look good".

It was also depressing, reading those online message boards, to get a sense of how many people just hate actors; Gervais's audience wasn't really the actors assembled at the show, but instead, the audience at home, and they really wanted him to lay into his "guests".

I mean, I "get" that some actors, through their off-screen behavior, make themselves into targets of scorn, but a lot of the stuff I read wasn't that - This was more just general, bitter, bile-soaked envy.

(I guess mentioning this in here is my roundabout way of saying, "Please don't hate me when I become a big success". Unless of course, I become a douchebag - In that case, hate away.)


In a recent bit of commentary about President Obama, Bill Mahrer said, addressing the President, "Stop organizing your life around people who don't get the joke".

He was referring to Obama rolling over for the Republicans, when they aren't going to like him no matter what he does.

While I think reasonable people can debate whether Obama is being too accommodating to the Republicans ("Compromise" is good, but at what point do you need to stop compromising and stand on principle?), I liked Mahrer's sentiment in general.

I don't think I organize my life around "people who don't get the joke"...but I do think that, when I consider being more open and honest in here, I worry there will be people who won't like it, and won't like me as a result.

I'd like to move past that.


One of the few phrases I remember from my handful of college psychology courses is "locus of control".

I don't want to go too deeply into explaining it - for one thing, I'm running out of time, and for another, I don't want to get it wrong and make myself look stupid - but basically, "locus of control", in psychological terms, refers to your view of where the "control" lies in your life.

If you have an external "locus of control", you believe that outside forces control your life, while an internal "locus" means you believe that you control your life.

And, generally, people who have internal "locus" are happier than those who believe their lives are controlled by forces outside their control.

"Locus of Control" popped into my mind recently, regarding my childhood in foster care.

My "theory" is that I developed internal "Locus of Control" regarding being a foster child - I assumed that I caused what happened to me somehow, because I was "bad" or "ugly" or what-have-you.

That's obviously not correct - my entrance into the foster care system when I was less than a year old was clearly out of my control - but it makes a certain sense as a "coping strategy"; if it was my own fault that I was in foster care, then maybe there was a way to "fix" it. In any case, it made "manageable" an otherwise "unmanageable" situation.

I think it also goes some way toward explaining why I didn't end up going more wrong than I did (In terms of "acting out" and perhaps ending up dead or in jail as a result); there's no reason to "rebel" against "the system" if you're the one at fault.

Though the idea that I was "in control" of that situation was ludicrous, the belief was, to a certain extent, helpful.

But it's not anymore.

But it's now after 11:00, and I have to get up at 5:45 am, so I'm off to bed...


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