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The Godfather Commentaries #31

The mimicry of the Don was so extraordinary, so unexpected, that Hagen and Johnny were startled into laughter. Don Corleone was pleased. For a moment he reflected on how much he loved this godson.

The Godfather, Chapter 1, Page 36, Paragraph 7, Sentences 42 – 44

Quick, go look into your arsenal! Check thoroughly and count your weapons. Did you find mimicry there? No? Ah, then you surely must enter into the martial training school of Don Corleone!

What a weapon, and what glorious, masterful use, what a wonderful demonstration. Coppola, Brando, Duval and Martino are perfect in the film version of this, too.

No, don’t tell me you don’t want to; you don’t like to be sarcastic; you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Surrender and rise to new levels of leadership. I emphasize, if you love your followers you will, you will find the right moment to scourge them with loving sarcasm. They need it, and they’ll love you the more for it. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is you’ll get their attention. You’ll break the evil spell. You’ll tear down their terrible constraints. You’ll reverse their horrible spirals into hell and worse than hell. Sarcasm, executed properly, will save your children’s souls and pave their path, build their very stairway to heaven. I swear I do not exaggerate; it is that powerful, that good, that necessary.

In this moment of mimicry we witness Don Corleone at his most glorious, most generous and mighty. He has crafted his message to perfection. Every word of his attack is true, technically and literally. But, by way of timing and delivery he has softened the blow, sugared the pill, empowered his godchild and ensured progress. The bite is sharp enough to hurt, but not so sharp as to scar. He draws blood, but just enough. He heals, but only IF his godchild obeys.

All his power, his seemingly infinite reach is here for his godchild, but his godchild must withstand the heat of his correcting love.

The Don’s love instructs and transforms, before his power serves.

[originally posted January 31, 2012 at my Facebook]

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