Thursday, January 27, 2011

1/27 - Faux Outrage Day

I have been mulling over some ideas about moving the early-to-mid 1500's to later years and venturing across the Atlantic.

Catharine of Aragon would have been Elizabeth Edwards - placed in an unhappy but sympathetic situation, though more popular than her character might strictly have merited.

Anne Boleyn would have been Christine O'Donnell - an evangelist with witchcraft, purity and motherhood issues, and it's a neat parallel between having Protestant Bibles smuggled into England in consignments of French underclothing and flirting with Bill Maher on Politically Incorrect all to further the glory of the Saviour's Alliance for Lifting the Truth.

Jane Seymour would have been Newt Gingrich's wife, neglected and left to die just when times ought to have been most prosperous.

Anne of Cleves would have been Caroline Kennedy, whose brush with being a Senator worked out about as well as Anne's with being Queen, although at least Anne got a really happy ending.

Catherine Howard would have been silly enough to marry Rush Limbaugh. Had she not been rather stupid, I might have been tempted to say she'd have been Camille Paglia.

Katherine Parr would have been an ideological survivor - Barbara Boxer, perhaps?

Mary Tudor would have been either Nancy Pelosi or Sarah Palin. NP had tenure of about the same length trying to reverse the course of her country, but SP had the pregnancy issues. A toss-up.

Elizabeth Tudor would have been one of those cagey bipartisans like Mary Landrieu or Olympia Snowe.

Mary Stewart, given her silliness and taste in husbands, would have been Arianna Huffington.

This week, the questions are irritating enough that I shall declare a Faux Outrage Day:

L1: This letter is an outrage. If the LW had been male and revealed that the outline of one of his particular private parts had been inadvertently outlined through his clothing, the Prudecutor would have called him a pervert and a child molestor and demanded that he be run out of polite society in perpetuity. Additionally, we have the Prudecutor once again injecting her own preferences and sexuality into the situation in a completely inappropriate manner, and to the effect that I am feeling it necessary to go boil my eyeballs. Fortunately, I had no particular acquaintance with the person she names; had it been Stephane Lambiel, I could never have watched figure skating again.

For genuine advice on LW1's situation, I refer the question to the Submariner, who doubtless has far more experience than I on the subject, and is doubtless prepared to give a far more appreciative response. I shall only add that Claude Erskine Brown would completely support LW1's position, which is as good an argument as any I can recall for adopting the contrary viewpoint.

Moral: Anne Boleyn would have had a garment for this situation.

L2: This letter is an outrage. If the brother who hates his job and is deeply in debt had been a sister, LW2 would not have been so quick to write the sibling off as a complete failure or to have been so disgustingly judgmental about what he would likely do with the money. A sister would have been offered free room and board with LW2 along with a generous salary that would doubtless far exceed what has been ladled out to the brother in dribs and drabs by way of a token of gratitude. And the parents would have beenn investigated as abusers and blamed for ruining their daughter's life in perpetuity instead of their son's being called a blank-up for not getting with the program. In the Prudecutor's defence, however, she would most likely have made the assumption that everything has to be due to a diagnosable condition whether the sibling were male or female.

As for a real assessment of the situation, it seems reasonable for LW2 to offer to settle particular debts, not that that will really have any effect in the long run. I am a little reminded of those irritating people who fret endlessly in newspaper columns over whether they should retire credit card debt or student lines or contribute to their retirement accounts instead. They waffle on for paragraph after paragraph as if the whole of their moral worth would ride on whether they net an extra $1.67 to leave in their wills. Will it really make that much difference? Even if LW2 pays off her brother's most crippling debts, then he'll probably just live more on credit for a while as he racks up new debts instead of his taking a considerable cash sum and squandering it himself.

LW2 is more or less half there, and cannot be faulted too severely for not being able to get past the rigours of a severe upbringing. At least LW2 adores her little brother (with good reason, as he doubtless made her shine when she was facing the most critical of juries), and recognizes the value of his coming through for her in her time of need. But I would rather like to cross-examine her on exactly what she thinks maintaining the same parental attitude towards her brother as was upheld by their parents for all his life would accomplish. Does she seriously think her brother is suddenly going to become successful and motivated if she pushes him down the same path their parents tried for years and years to push him? Such hubris!

Moral: There are far worse things than hating one's job. Those who work to live instead of the other way around develop skills that can be of considerable value.

L3: This letter is an outrage. Mr Savage expresses it best. He recently received a letter from an infuriating woman who signed herself Serial Cheater in Love. She has been having an affair with her first love, who wants her to leave her second husband. The second husband has become much more attentive and loving since learning of the affair, when she was hoping he would divorce her and make the decision for her. She wrote to Mr Savage hoping that he would wave his magic wand and solve all her problems. His reaction to the letter was summed up eloquently in this sentence:
"This ***** can get legally married and I can't?" LW3 may not be quite that bad, but she's not a whole lot better.

If this were my novel, LW3 would hire someone (or convince a friend) to seduce her husband and arrange for her to catch them in the act. She would then be able to get a divorce without his feeling any right to feel ill-used, she would retain the affection and sympathy of his family, and everything would be lovely forn a while as she went off to pursue her desired adventures. After a year or so she'd want him back, only to find that he and his seductress had fallen genuinely in love.

But I really long for the sort of world in which one could tell such an idiot as LW3 that this is what happens to people who rush into making lifetime commitments without anywhere near the appropriate amount of serious consideration, and that it was too bad she didn't think before she opted for the Bridezilla path but now what was done was done, her husband had done nothing wrong, and just to grin and bear it. But that sort of thing only works in an ideal world. LW3 would doubtless punish her husband up the east coast, across Canada and down the west coast. I suppose really the only answer is for her to have an affair. That ought to get her vague lust for adventure out of her system. If she isn't caught, she may be sufficiently grateful to make sure that she treats her husband well. But I suppose she will probably be caught, and then he and his family will have a reason to resent her which will make them all feel a good deal better about themselves than if she simply doesn't want to be married at all and ruins things almost without any meaning.

Moral: If only LW3 could take Catherine Howard as a role model.

L4: This letter is an outrage. The fund collects an equal amount from everyone in the office and then doles out presents to those workers who become PREGNANT? This is discrimination of the clearest variety against men. I suppose LW4 and her female associates will try to cover their derrieres by claiming that they will spend just as much on whatever present they buy any man who happens to become pregnant as they do for any woman, but this is just another variation on the old trick of offering benefits to married couples and then telling same-sex couples that it's not discrimination, as unmarried heterosexual couples don't get preferential treatment, and if ever... well, at least some of those discriminators have gotten theirs.

As for this situation, it is interesting that a higher-up in the office would be the one to refuse to contribute to the fund in question. That just seems so typical. But I am more interested in LW4 putting herself in the role of the New Broom determined to change the entire corporation to suit her own sense of what might be right or appropriate. It might be fun to see her receive what she has coming to her.

Moral: Katherine Parr at least knew how to treat Mary, Elizabeth and Edward.

1 comment:

  1. Aargh - I forgot to mention that Jane Grey would likely have been Hillary Clinton. Although she had a fine mind, she strikes me as the sort who would have irritated people who felt themselves to be her inferiours, and there were marital similarities besides.