Chameleon cured by woman doctor! wrote the papers right before Zelig was gifted with the symbolic keys of New York City. During psychotherapy, Dr. Fletcher had acted like Leonard Zelig himself, and consequently, Zelig had to face and transform his identity into himself and thus have fallen into an emptiness of character. Later on, through psychoanalytical transference, Zelig develops his own opinions on life; first thing he states is that he wants to have sex with Dr. Fletcher. As time goes on, in spite of his “normalization”, Zelig didn’t lose any of his popularity. He sold his life story to Hollywood where he hangs out with celebrities such as William Hearst, Marie Dressler, Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, Jimmy Walker, Adolphe Menjeu, Claire Winsdor, Dolores del Rio, James Cagney, Carole Lombard and Bobby Jones. Meanwhile, Zelig’s advice to youth regarding self respect is meaningful, says Prof. John Blum. According to him, for American people, Zelig was a symbol of self-improvement in Great Depression, to which Susan Sontag agrees. Controversial events take place right before Zelig and Dr. Fletcher arrange their marriage. Several women from all over U.S announce that they have children whose missing father is Zelig and who left right after they have affairs. Later Zelig becomes, not a prototype of ideal citizen but a criminal; who gets charged for every unsolved crimes happened all over the country, including bigamy, adultery, automobile accidents, plagiarism, household damages, performing unnecessary dental extractions. Afterwards, Zelig is reported to have transformed into Greek while dining in a Greek restaurant. Subsequently he gets missing, and some months later, he is spotted as a deputy among Adolf Hitler’s leading officers. At this point in documentary, Saul Bellow states that fascism offered Zelig a kind of opportunity which would enable him to make something anonymous to himself by belonging to this vast movement.
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In this respect, this part of the documentary displays two different acts of transformation of Zelig’s personality. First one is that he has been cured by Dr. Fletcher, and the second one is that he has transformed back through the end of the documentary while he was with Nazi officials. Until his convalescence, Zelig used to stand in the line between notions such as being a societal subject, a useful normal citizen and a mythical, mysterious, magical, unknown, unidentifiable individual who possesses some humanly characteristics and not either. The process at the end which Zelig was identified consists of two modes of conduct: Scientific research and forms of speech which was particularly practiced among mass society. To begin with, scientific research, as Adorno and Horkheimer puts it, aims at enlarging and embracing Zelig, so as to dissolve this individual into existing empiricist and positivist modes of understanding, which is basically enlightenment. Secondly, songs, movies, toys, games, adds, chats among people and words in press on Zelig’s authentication, endlessly continues to exist out of limits of scientific knowledge while they all together point at the theoretical understanding of mimetic conception of language, which is simply “discourse as utterance”. Utterance is not only ideological, but it is a use of language not as instrument of communication but of particular acts of using language. It is a language used by specific subject or object and received by specific subjects. For Foucault, it has to do with placing acts of language in history, in entire historical use of its usages. Also Bakhtin is also interested in concept of dialogue and polyphony, that in every word in utterance, there is a whole history of other usages. However, Foucauldian understanding of discourse emphasizes a kind of language which is organized, regulated, regulating and constituting. It regulates who the individual is, and how the individual perceives him/herself. Zelig, as a human being who is under constant transformation, was long before emptied from his own perceptions and personality. Or, we may say that his personality was adherent to the utterances of individuals around him. That is to say, Zelig was mimicking, repeating the acts of language he perceived such like he was talking with Boston accent, or a coarse one, due to change of social environment. Seen from this aspect, Foucauldian understanding of discourse suggests that language was regulating, constituting and organizing Zelig continuously. Hence, not only Zelig the human chameleon becomes a symbolic exemplification of ultimate function of discourse prevailed, but also, after his “normalization”, he transforms from “a non-existing performing freak” into “an existing performing freak”, which either builds up his own personality on prior utterances or demolishes it:
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“I used to be a member of reptile family, but I’m not anymore.”
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