Thursday, July 8, 2010

7/8 - Shake, Rattle and Roll

What a plethora of wedding questions there were Monday. Hasn't the season concluded, with relatively few casualties? I do, though, find it hard to believe that the Prudecutor actually believes that a wedding is a good place for a single invited guest sans +1 to meet likely prospective co-victims for a future ceremony of one's own. Surely the Prudecution cannot be serious - nothing shows heterosexuality in a worse light than a wedding.

This week I feel inclined to a brisk game of Clue.

L1: This letter seems hard to believe. Its spiritual home would seem to be the time of those television programmes from prefeminist times. Postwork parties in bars? Supervisors encouraging young female interns to drink too much? A ride home - to HIS home - offered by a boss? The only alien note might be her reason for thinking him to be safe, but one original touch might be permitted. As for what LW1 ought to do, if her host were married, she should have an affair with him, which would promptly lead to a nice postintern offer and some friendly introductions to other eager executives, followed by a glowing recommendation when she'd slept her way through the Board of Directors. Were her host unmarried, perhaps the best thing to do would be to have a rumour started (not by herself, of course) that the evening ended in triangular antics featuring her host, herself and a rent boy. After all, if she thought him to have a rather non-corporate because rather more interesting sexuality, chances are good that others in the company have their suspicions.

It could prove quite interesting to cross-examine LW1 and the boss in question, but the entertainment value of their replies would likely far exceed the informative value. Apparently he was not too drunk to drive - or does that open another can of worms? And why did she think he was gay in the first place? There might be quite a decent little subplot here, or it could be just annoying idiocy that will waste the time of the court.

In *Clue*, of course, the boss would be Mr Green, who even goes so far as to admit to homosexuality, for which he is being blackmailed by Mr Boddy. In what the film presents as the final of its three endings (the book based on the screenplay has four), however, each of the other five coloured guests commits a murder. Professor Plum accuses Mr Green of shooting the singing telegram (portrayed by the former Go-Go with the most interesting sexuality), at which point it is revealed that she was shot by Wadsworth, who was actually the real Mr Boddy, the purported Mr Boddy being his butler. Mr Green then shoots Wadsworth/Mr Boddy just before the police storm in to arrest everyone who is still alive as Mr Green has another appointment to keep.

LW1 herself appears to resemble Yvette the maid, who is already well acquainted (perhaps not by name) with Colonel Mustard, and with Mrs White through sharing her husband, and even with Mr Boddy, who at least claims to be well acquainted with her. At least it might cheer LW1 up that Yvette is constantly in employment, when not working at Hill House being provided by Miss Scarlet as young female company on offer to gentlemen for a short while, with Professor Plum among those eager to sample the goods. LW1 might beware of women, however, as in each of the three film endings Yvette is murdered by a different woman.

Moral: "If you want to know who killed Mr Boddy, I did - in the hall, with the revolver. Okay, chief? Take 'em away. I'm going to go home and sleep with my wife."

L2: Well, it's nice to know that there is one adult in the household. Given his talent with finances, he ought to be able to assure his parents a financially secure dotage. Meanwhile, they are back in their own childhoods, squabbling with an uncle over the last $20 payment. Perhaps most entertainingly of all, we have the Prudecutor and various of her supporters urging LW2 and her husband to take the opportunity to provide the adult in the household with a lesson in compassion by forcing him to defraud himself of what might have been about a month's labour.

This is the biggest no-brainer in ages. Slip the SB1 uncle an SB1 twenty and SB1 make sure the SB1 makes the final SB1 payment. Case closed. No appeal.

The uncle resembles the inept Colonel Mustard, who proves on numerous occasions not quite up to a battle of wits with Wadsworth, rather than the slightly more lecherous and perhaps slightly less inept Professor Plum (despite his possible inability to determine that Mr Boddy wasn't really dead the first time). The adult in the household has two possible role models as Capitalist Extraordinaire. He might take after Mr Boddy, who, Wadsworth explains in answer to a question about why he didn't turn the guests in to the police if he thought they were all so un-American, decided to turn his knowledge to good use and make a little money; what could be more American than that? Or the little entrepreneur might take after Miss Scarlet in the ending in which it turns out that Yvette had been finding out secrets for her.

Moral: "No, Mr Green. Communism is just a red herring. Like all members of the world's oldest profession, I'm a capitalist, and I'm going to sell my secrets - your secrets - to the highest bidder."

L3: Well, it is certainly heartening to see the vast number of posters who choose to post underneath the column who have decided that they are so certain that there was nothing prejudicial towards LW3 at all in what she said, and that her prejudice was directed at something else. It is just SO charming to see people who have not been the direct objects of a common and rather vile prejudice claim that they are likely better informed about the woman's meaning than LW3 who was there at the time, knows a good deal more of what was actually said, and presumably has considerably superiour expertise through considerably greater experience at hearing anti-gay comments and the various tones of voice in which they are uttered in how comments that might be deemed anti-gay ought to be interpreted. It's a little like George Jefferson telling Edith Bunker that Archie's not a sexist. Certainly the Prudecutor was out of bounds, assuming facts not in evidence when she declared the woman to be clearly decent and non-homophobic.

Yes, there are gay people who see homophobia everywhere, or at least in a good many more places than it makes it valuable to apply the word. Yes, it would be worth sending F.I.G. Newton out and about for a day or two to determine whether this is the sort of reaction LW3 habitually has to non-supportive commentary. But unless I unearth some pretty convincing evidence to the contrary, I feel reasonably justified in assuming that someone who has a lifetime's experience of anti-gay prejudice is better positioned to call the queen of hearts a diamond than anyone else, at least, anyone who hasn't been the object of such commentary. There are people who enjoy ditching friends at the slightest sign of heresy, but I don't think LW3 reads as one of that persuasion.

It's all well and good to say that LW3 owes the friendship another chance. If LW3 feels the capacity to give it one, more power to him. But it is one thing in a friendship to know that there is a serious difference of opinion between the friends over an issue of vital importance to one or both. It can be quite another if an opinion that one can accept in theory is actually heard in full gory detail. Budding romantic buzzes get nipped all the time; why the inclination to friendship can't be damaged similarly is beyond me. Some things can happen which can kill off one's capacity to find deep enjoyment in the company of another person, and it's not necessarily anyone's fault. Maybe it can be repaired, maybe not.

It almost feels like cheating to use Mr Green again as my *Clue* parallel, but we so rarely have two letters in the same week with an openly gay aspect to them that I shall indulge myself. And Mr Green at least feels no personal shame, which is about as close to being out and proud as it might have been plausible to be during the McCarthy years. His friend seems closest to the sarcastic Miss Scarlet (not a bad tongue-twister, that, perhaps?). Miss Scarlet doesn't seem particularly pro-gay, but then she has less use for Mr Green or his kind than most others would be likely to have, there being no potential profit in him for her. And she doesn't single him out for more than a fair share of jabs.

Moral: "A plant? I thought men like you were usually called a fruit."

L4: Ugh. Another technicality recusal. Really the Prudecutor ought to do better. Unfortunately we don't know of any babies in the case in *Clue*, so that, by default, the best I can do is to declare the fertile one to be more similar to Mrs White than to anyone else, in having had the most husbands (five of her own and an indefinite number of other women's, although Yvette would presumably take that title). Or we could go the route of choosing Mrs Peacock as the only one clearly in violation of etiquette when, served one of her favourite dishes at dinner, she cannot wait for the others to be served to begin eating. But Mrs White, who informs Colonel Mustard that flies are where men are most vulnerable, has more good quotes.

Moral: "Husbands should be like Kleenex - strong, soft and disposable."

I shall close with a line not in the film that was added to the book - "Their slogan is Soft, Strong and Pops Up Too," Miss Scarlet amended.


  1. Wise comments, but who the hell is Colonel Mustard and would you care to introduce him to me?

    Dr. Steak

  2. He was portrayed by Martin Mull in the film. Mr Mull, I believe, appeared in *Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman*.