Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Deconstruction of the Sergeant Carter Mythology and its Archetypal Reflection of Contemporary Political Struggles and Whatever
I'd like to propose that Sergeant Vince Carter, played by Frank Sutton on the "Gomer Pyle USMC" 60s TV show, was the most awesome tragic figure of the 20th Century. Am I nuts? Certainly. But it's clear that the Sgt. Carter character was a haunted man, full of rage and deep insecurities. One must simply reconsider what lies beyond the goof-ball trappings of the "Pyle" series and you'll find commentary on the dark underbelly of a culture in the thick of denial. By utilizing the literary tools of irony, metaphor, and archetypal projection, the show is as trenchant as any of Shakespeare's works, once unraveled.
Sergeant Carter did everything by the book. However, where Gomer was concerned, resultant clumsy antics cancelled out Vince's desire for validation as military potentate. Everything that he asked of Gomer would backfire, while Gomer's classical "holy fool" innocence would push Carter to his wits end and eventual impotence (thus reflecting the diluting effect of passive resistance on traditional power structures, borrowed from Mahatma Ghandi and utilized as a common form of civil disobedience during the 60s). At the end of the day, Sergeant Carter would go off and drink a whole bottle of bourbon and become abusive to his girlfriend Bunny. Bunny symbolized fertility, as bunnies will, and Vince's sexual collapse meant the discontinuity of future progeny to his paternal order. He was a man living the demise of a chapter of assumed authority; a specialist made obsolete.
carter with his bunny:
uneasy smiles before the descent into hell
Geritopia's List of Top Tragic Figures:
Captain Huffenpuff (aka: "Uncle Captain")
Anyone who makes a top-ten list of names