Thursday, May 12, 2011

5/12 - Not Really a Surprise

The only surprising thing about Jerry Springer finally having a one-gender episode of Baggage is that it wasn't seen until after Wendy Williams aired such a Love Triangle.  As Baggage is rather the older programme, one would have expected Mr Springer to have led the way, although it is always possible that he has done.  I don't really follow the programme as I do the reruns of Match Game.  But surely Mr Springer's experience in LGBTsploitation should have given him the inside track.  As the gay episodes went basically just the same as straight episodes, I readily admit that a bisexual element might make an episode of either more interesting.  There was a hint of it on Baggage, as the blind dealbreaker chosen by the dater was whichever of the three aspirants admitted to being attracted to both men and women.  I'm not sure, though, whether a bisexual dater/chooser on either programme might not prove a bit incendiary; one might expect the audience, for example, to be blindly partisan along orientational lines.

Moving on to a week of questions that have nothing to do with the LW's mothers, but still are not entirely out of the top drawer (as Joan Plumleigh Bruce might say):

Quick Thoughts:

L2:  This question should be disqualified.  It's another technical question.  As someone who walked half a mile to and from school at the age of five entirely unsupervised and without ever having encountered any sort of molestor, I cannot in good conscience countenance these questions about appropriate ages.  The neighbour's children are likely to turn out interesting if they have a creepy parent who insists on watching them at ages ten and twelve, but we could call it a technical question on that side as well.  I shall content myself with suspecting that the four children all have roughly equivalent mental ages.

L3:  Another technical question.  What is a Size 10?  Anyone who pays a reasonable amount of attention ought to have happened upon Vanity Sizing by now.  It has even spread to men's clothing lines; only a couple of weeks ago, I read an article by a man who went in for a pair of 36" waist pants, found he couldn't fit into it, then went exploring and discovered that most stores' offerings labeled as 36 were about 38.5-40 in range.  But ignoring the technical aspect of the question, I am stunned that nobody has picked up on the letter's opening.  My whole life I have struggled with my weight, and LW3 is 17?  Now just who could have put the idea into her brain as soon as she could formulate the idea that she was fat?  Let's take a guess in our best Church Lady voices.  Could it be... oh, SATAN - sorry, I mean... MOMMY?  Or possibly Daddy.  I respectfully submit to the Prudecutor that even a bathing suit selected for LW3 by Staci London Herself will be of less use than getting away from a parent who has been undermining her for seventeen years.

L4:  This one is incredibly obvious.  LW4 should wear the necklace in MIL4's presence, more than once if necessary, without the earrings.  If MIL4 refuses to bite, LW4 can always bring it up via some sort of tangent herself, but MIL4 may well ask about the earrings, at which point LW4 can confide that she seldoms seems to find the right occasion to suit them, and ask if MIL4 ever found the same difficulty.  I am not sufficiently expert to declare this a distinct method, but something along the line ought to work as a way to open the topic for discussion and perhaps find out that MIL4 might actually think it high time the earrings were re-set.

And now, for L1:  LW1 might do well to refer to The Time of the Angels, set in an area of London that seems to be a vast wasteland.  The central character, Carel Fisher, is a priest who has become increasingly eccentric following his loss of belief.  In consequence, he has been re-posted to a Rectory in an area that was bombed out and never rebuilt.  Accompanying him to nowhere are his daughter Muriel (on the brink of obtaining of obtaining a secretarial post but writing poetry at the moment), his invalid niece Elizabeth (university age but mainly engaged with jigsaw puzzles) and his housekeeper/ex-mistress Pattie (of mixed racial origins and numerous internal sorrows).  Somehow Carel, whose faith expired at about the same time as his affair with Pattie (he had wanted to but could not make her his Anti-Maria), has come to the view that there is even more need for a priest in a world without God, but he does little beyond playing Swan Lake on the gramophone and serving as the focal point of the various obsessions of his household and a small circle beyond.  As we are not favoured with Carel's point of view and only occasionally see him interacting with Muriel, Pattie and (once only) his brother Marcus (not Elizabeth's father), we have little with which to make sense of Carel's thinking, save that, when he sees an icon, belonging to the Russian porter, which depicts three angels, he marvels at how tall the angels are.

The book is rather more interesting than L1.  The Rectory, with no church attached, is almost permanently surrounded by a thick fog.  Pattie's main sport is turning away visitors, mainly a parish busybody named Mrs Barlow who only once gets inside for a few minutes, occasionally Marcus Fisher and Muriel's former headmistress.  Muriel worries about Elizabeth's being too isolated and tries to avoid becoming entangled with Leo Peshkov, the porter's son.  Both Muriel and Pattie vie for the porter's attention, though he clearly is all for Pattie.  Marcus forces his way into the house via the coal cellar and has a brief, unsatisfactory meeting with Carel during a blackout.  Carel reclaims Pattie, who is divided.  Muriel, after telling Eugene of Pattie's affair with Carel, is on the brink of introducing Leo to Elizabeth, spies on her cousin and discovers that Elizabeth and Carel are having an affair.  Pattie learns of this; it is the one thing she cannot countenace.  We then get a fascinating scene towards the close of the book in which Muriel enters Carel's study shortly after Swan Lake has started, and discovered that Carel has taken pills with the intent of suicide.  Forced to choose a course of action quickly, her discovery of Pattie's letter of departure sways her into letting Carel die as Swan Lake concludes.  In the wrap-up, Marcus finally sees Elizabeth from a distance as the cousins/sisters leave the Rectory (it is revealed that Carel might have been Elizabeth's father as well as Muriel's), and Marcus discovers that Mrs Barlow is the ecstatic Anthea in whom all three brothers had been interested when they'd been young.

I'm not that inclined to blame LW1 for lying during the past two years.  His faith might have returned, or it might have made no difference.  It does not sound as if active discussion of faith is particularly rampant in the marriage; one presumes that the couple simply assume they are going in the same direction and perhaps never really or rarely discuss religion at all.  I might cross-examine him on whether he is actively lying to his wife or simply not telling what he considers to be the whole truth, or how he knows that she might not be very much on the same page, or at least something a good deal similar.  There is also the question of why his not being an active believer would put him on the outs with the church; is it really for believers only and not for seekers?  Possible, one supposes.  And along similar lines, how can LW1 be certain with accuracy of how much devastation this would cause to his relationships?  It seems that he can reasonably continue to walk along the Works portion of the path, and for a good many possible friends and loved ones that might actually be sufficient.  There may well be those who similarly have less Faith than might appear.

In the end, my main question, though, is why LW1 has been unable to discuss this, not with his wife, but with his pastor or some other spiritual advisor.  I don't know that I'd be prepared to make this a requisite for a graceful exit from faith, but it seems odd that, given his circumstances, he didn't attempt it.  If there is that much harm in the offing, he certainly ought to do so now.  It's not as if such a person isn't used to this sort of discussion, or at the least trained for it.  My only potential surmise is that LW1 fears a lack of confidentiality or that somehow he will be exiled from his community involuntarily before he is ready to make and accept that choice.  But a bit of shopping around if necessary can uncover someone suitable.

Moral:  "Angels are the thoughts of God after God is dead."

No comments:

Post a Comment