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11 September 2003 @ 03:11 am
In which I babble a lot.  
Here's what I like about taking classes: they make you think. I feel like over the summer my brain became hugely amorphous, fat, flabby unused muscle - kind of like Jabba the Hut, but with gray matter - and now I'm slowly flexing it back into shape. And man, when I say slowly? I mean slowly.

But in one of my classes today we discussed something called Gift Theory, which is actually pretty interesting. What the discussion boiled down to was this: giving a gift creates a bond between people - a community, if it's more than two people, and that gift economies rely upon three obligations. First, you are obligated to give the gift, second the recipient is obligated to accept it and third they're obligated to reciprocate. Sounds kind of weird and materialistic but what it means is that when you give something and then pass the gift along in some form or another then you create a cohesiveness -- links that tie you to other people and suchwhat.

What the hell does that have to do with anything, you wonder? Probably not much, but it just struck me as interesting. Gifts are such a big deal in SV - the giving, recieving and reciprocation - and this made me think of how Jonathan Kent (and Lord don't even let me get started on that man, or my bed time will be pushed back, y'all) broke the chain, and refused the gift community that Lex tried to create with the truck that he gave Clark, or the many small gestures that Clark has refused from Lex. Even those he's accepted - has he reciprocated? Probably not, and reciprocation is a point of honor in some ways.

Interesting, then, that the only character there that behaves 'honorably' is Lex - who is being accused left right and center by Bo Kent of being a dishonorable man. It's an unintended irony, I think, but kind of an irony nonetheless.

See, here's the thing about me, and Clark. I love him, I really, really do. I adore the boy, and have sublimated him to a certain point. I'm also fully aware of his flaws. But these make me love him more in a kind of "Come here let me hug you and then smack you really hard" kind of a way. I mean, folks, he's a sixteen year old boy; he's going to screw up, probably a lot. He just happens to be playing with higher stakes than most sixteen year old boys.

But, even in the grand picture, the boy's got some flaws. I know this. He's obssesive, secretive, gets snappy when questioned, is kind of an attention whore when it comes to certain people, and can be really needy. The big thing, though, is the dishonesty. Here's the thing about that: he's an alien. Think about it. Dude, if I were an alien? I think I'd find it *very* difficult to kind of slip into conversation. "Hey, yeah, so, by the way? I'm the last son of Krypton and you're out of salsa." Granted, the situation is very different with Lex and even Chloe and Lana in that they *know* that freaky things happen, and they keep asking.

And Clark lies. And that's not good. In fact, it's really, really bad. It's betrayal of people who love him, and that's not okay. But it's understandable because he *needs acceptance* so much and think about fear of rejection for admitting your deepest personal secrets *anyway*. That's pretty hard, but imagine, also that you're NOT HUMAN when you sort of were raised to think you are. People are going to think you're crazy or worse if you tell them.

I know this has been much hashed out by other, far more eloquent people, but I just wanted to air some of my Clark-thoughts. And trust me, I have many many many. (The guy's crawled into my brain so far it's ridiculous.) I think he thinks in neurotic little circles, and that he's a lot smarter than he wants people to think and that he is one of the loneliest guys ever. That's why I love him so much, I think - because of the isolation he has while he's surrounded by people.

Granted, the same could be said for Lex, but...oddly? I think I don't feel as drawn to Lex because I almost feel like he's more in the right than Clark is and I find myself searching for justifications for Clark more than I do for Lex. *shrugs* I can't really explain it, but it's always Clark that grabs me and pulls me to a story, even though when I watch the show, it's Lex who I agree with more often than not.

Also, there's the guilt thing. Clark's guilt. Oh, Clark's guilt. Clark's guilt should have it's own trailer. Clark's guilt to come when he realizes what he's done by lying over and over? Doesn't need a trailer. It's got a mansion, and it's called Lex.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Jeff Buckley - In My Arms
PROBE UNIVERSE: just a bit obsessedliviapenn on September 11th, 2003 09:19 am (UTC)
Interesting, then, that the only character there that behaves 'honorably' is Lex

Well, maybe. I mean, the Kent-Luthor thing *started* with Jonathan saving Lex's life, and then Lionel offering them the "gift" of helping them adopt Clark... but that of course came with strings attached.

Lionel's gifts (to Martha, to Chloe, to Lex) *are* meant to create a bond, a tie. It's just that he uses that bond to *bind* people, to manipulate them, instead of creating a two-way bond of mutual sharing.

Lex's gifts come with no strings, sometimes ridiculously so. (Like, I still don't understand how Lana half-owns the Talon when it's Nell who owns the building and Lex who must've put up *all* the money to restore it.) But I can't blame Jonathan for not wanting to get into the same situation he got into with Lionel. (Or not wanting Clark to get into that situation either.)

I think he thinks in neurotic little circles, and that he's a lot smarter than he wants people to think and that he is one of the loneliest guys ever. That's why I love him so much, I think - because of the isolation he has while he's surrounded by people.

*sigh* Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. And the saddest part of ALL, for me, is that it's not really going to get better. Clark Kent never really *is* going to blossom and have a social life and a lot of friends, or ever really fit in.

Canonically, in pretty much any incarnation, if you ignore the Superman part of the equation-- Clark Kent has about two friends, Lois and Jimmy. And they're both work friends. Look at Lois&Clark's Clark, who would fly back to the frickin' farm to discuss things with his parents whenever stuff got tough. Yeah, it was cute, and I liked the L&C!Kents, but *dude*. Clark. Get some friends.


Anyway. *looks around*

OK, I'm going to sleep now.
Garyg_martin_blank on September 11th, 2003 02:41 pm (UTC)
Lex Owns the Talon
If you'll remember, Nell SOLD the building to him. He was going to tear it down, drop a parking building on the site. Lana whined, Clark said "for me? err, for Lana, I mean?" and Lex said to himself, "Well, it's more expensive than the truck, but Johnathon can't deny it, so..."

PROBE UNIVERSEliviapenn on September 11th, 2003 04:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Lex Owns the Talon

Well, frankly I've never bought into the theory that Lex invested in the Talon for Clark. If that were really the case, then why did he say "no" the first time Lana asked him? If he were really just secretly wanting to make Lana happy in order to make Clark happy, then I don't think he would have shut her down so firmly when she came to him with her original request. Not to mention that he was apparently quite willing to let her make her own mistakes and even fail, as we see in "Drone." If restoring the Talon were a gift to Clark, I doubt he'd let Lana run it into the ground, and yet he seems pretty ready to let her do that.

I really don't see how any Clark-related motive can be ascribed to Lex. He's interested in the community, and he has something of a big-brotherly, mentor-ish relationship to Lana. I mean, do you think he taught her to fight as a favor to Clark as well? As much as *I* dislike Lana and think there's not that much that's attractive about her, it's canon that Lex feels some empathy for her and actually seems to like her quite well.

My original comment on the Talon was just... I still don't see how it works that Nell *originally* owned the building and Lex put in all the money, and yet Lana is a full partner. What exactly did she invest, in order to gain such rights and responsibilities? She wasn't even the manager at first-- that didn't happen until Nell left town.

So Lana's initial investment was pretty much 'poverseeing the reconstruction, decorating ideas and occasional waitressing duty,' all things Lex could've hired other people to do without signing over a full partnership in his new business venture.
pure FORESHADOWINGnifra_idril on September 11th, 2003 05:50 pm (UTC)
I hadn't actually thought about the Lionel/Jonathan issue - but the thing about that is that Lionel's behaviour always tends to be under the assumption that people will behave as he does, and hoard things. Which makes maybe only a small difference, but a difference nonetheless - he acts without a basic comprehension of honor/obligation of a gift community.

But you're right - Jonathan makes the assumption that Lex and Lionel are synonomous.

And jeez...Clark, Clark, Clark...it's true; he never learns how to be really anything other than a good son/employee/super hero. It's really sad, and maybe that's what it is about Smallville Clark that makes me just want to pet him. He's so hopeful, but the thing is? We know that hope's not getting him anywhere really.
(Anonymous) on September 11th, 2003 12:18 pm (UTC)
Another thought:

I think the realtion of gifts between Lex and Clark are total different. For example: If Clark buy Lex a good bottle of vine for 15 $, it would really much money for him. Maybe his money for two weeks. If Lex give him a car, it is like nothing money wise. So there is a big difference.
For Lex his gifts are small.

In most future fic´s I read, Clark don´t take Lex gifts, because they cost so much. I think this would be total frustrating to Lex, because he work hard for the money and is not allowed to spend it with his (boy-)friend. Not allowed to make a nice holiday or live in a big flat with him. Only because Clark don´t earn enough? What should Lex do with all his money? And I don´t think it would be bad if Clark would take it.
paperbkryterpaperbkryter on September 11th, 2003 03:47 pm (UTC)
I think he thinks in neurotic little circles, and that he's a lot smarter than he wants people to think and that he is one of the loneliest guys ever. That's why I love him so much, I think - because of the isolation he has while he's surrounded by people.

Yes, yes, yes! ITA