Thursday, May 26, 2011

5/26 - Ideas for Fakes

Monday gave me an idea for a fake letter that would really only be the tiniest exaggeration of something quite real.  The first letter quite irritated me.  It is one thing to find GF1 beyond redemption.  It might be a variation of the same thing to extend the sentiment to GM1.  But why the Prudecutor has to be so insulting to any possible reader who happens to be of German heritage I have no clue.

I have known one other person, reasonably well-known in his own right, of whom the Prudecutor reminded me.  He was a much more intelligent and reasonable person than the Prudecutor in other aspects, but he displayed an even more intense disdain for all things or people German, even to the point of openly hoping that somebody would stab Steffi Graf.  This made for a much more interesting subject of moral rumination.  He was culturally, if not religiously, Jewish.  This was also some time ago, when more people were living who had known Holocaust victims directly.  It's a very tocuhy subject, but it struck me that it might make quite an excellent letter, although I don't know that I'd ever advise anyone to send a real letter along such a line to the Prudecutor.  How much sentiment or even outright prejudice is reasonable; what is the limit of what a non-Jew can reasonably say about it; how does the standard diminish over time; it would certainly make for more interesting and potentially more edifying discussion than most of the fodder provided in recent times.

I also note from Monday that the Prducutor was rather kinder than one might have expected to the hospital-bound surgery patient who didn't wish to see or be helped by anybody.  Given how the Prudecutor some few weeks ago was willing to call a male friend's conduct disgraceful for not intruding on the recovery of a woman after a recent debilitating illness, one might have expected her to blast the patient with her notions of how Expected it is for people to flock to assist a recovering patient, and how evil it would be of the Patient to rob them all of their opportunity to do their duty.  Of course, I am not entirely serious, and I do have rather a lower opinion of the Prudecutor than many, but it would have been more consistent of her to take such a line.

Quick Thoughts:  L1:  Perhaps it surprises some readers that this is not my Parallel of the Week, even though there is clearly no Austenian similarity in this one.  But I am going to recuse myself from lengthy commentary here.  Given my history, I cannot in all good conscience on such flimsy evidence as has been presented endorse a course of action which results in parents being told anything about the sex lives of their adolescent children.  I shall not blame anyone for holding a contrary opinion, but I trust I shall be allowed the latitude for this stand unquestioned.

L3:  Isn't this another Technical Question to a great extent?  How and how rapidly the mentally declining become no longer able to be fully participant in the life events which had been of meaning to themselves and others is of too great significance for the case to advance either way without the summoning of an Expert Witness.  And I am always wary of calling an Expert Witness.  They have an unnerving habit of providing answers to questions that one does not know in advance.  One can say that LW3 is not sufficiently high up in the hierarchy to have standing to dictate about  what might or might not be done.  The Prudecutor suggests what seems basically an end run, and I can't care enough either way to agree or not.

L4:  How well did LW4 know DD4 before the occasion?  Are we sure this wasn't an episode of that MTV favourite, Disaster Date?  But this one is too easy.  LW4 should contact DD4 and wangle for the pair of them a free mini-break as they take the tale of their date and enjoy the company of Mrs Justice Sheindlin or one of her imitators for twenty minutes or so.

And now:  L2:  With such slim pickings this week, I shall elevate L2 to the status of the letter that gets a parallel, even though it is a borderline Technical Question.  One must always, I suppose, investigate the matters of safety and, to a lesser extent, politics, enough so so that what LW2 should actually do is largely on the Technical side of things.  But, with a husband abroad on business, from the point of view of Conjugal Felicity, we have here the excellent example of Admiral and Mrs Croft from Persuasion.

Mrs Croft is a more pivotal character than may appear.  As she and the Admiral let Kellynch Hall from the Elliots and her brother Captain Wentworth is shown to be at the current time, however things might have stood seven years previously, to be quite worthy to address the daughter of a foolish, spendthrift baronet, there is much to be done as the social revolution of the men of the Navy actually earning place among the groupings of those of inherited rank occurs.  Pure good luck, in the form of Admiral Croft possessing looks that satisfy Sir Walter Elliot, may do something to ease the transition, but more is acquired from how well Mrs Croft is able to get on with the reluctant Lady Russell, who laments the fall of the Elliots, reduced to quitting their family estate and attemtping a more economical existence in Bath, almost enough to be unwilling to accept the rise of the Crofts on their own merits.  This is passed over lightly, and omitted in the feature film with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, but it carries a bit of societal significance.

On the personal realm, however, the Crofts can serve as a model of Conjugal Felicity.  In the fifteen years of their marriage, Mrs Croft has been four times across the Atlantic, as well as once to the East Indies and back again.  All this has been in the company of her husband.  At the Musgroves' dinner party, the Crofts dispute with Captain Wentworth about his not liking to have a party of women on board a ship of his, as he claims it is impossible to give them the accommodation they deserve.  Mrs Croft claims to have been as comfortable on board ship as anywhere else she has lived, but she has been with her husband and the only woman on board.  Captain Wentworth even goes so far as to declare that a party of ladies might be said to have no right to be comfortable aboard ship, to which Mrs Croft replies that he should not speak as if women were all fine ladies instead of rational creatures.  The Admiral then plays the trump card to end the discussion, claiming that, once Wentworth is married, he will change his tune, causing the Captain to claim the impasse.

It is then that Mrs Croft relates her history of trave to Mrs Musgrove, with the charming admission that, once over a slight disorder the first twenty-hours into a voyage, she has never known illness or discomfort, and that the only time she ever had was during the winter she spent by herself at Deal, when the Admiral, then merely Captain, was in the North Seas.  One of the few additions to the Austen dialogue that has struck me favourably has been Fiona Shaw being given the line, "That I did not like," as she describes the imaginary maladies that befell her when on her own and concludes with the happy thought of never knowing ailment or inconvenience so long as they were together.

Moral:  "'We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies.'  Mrs Musgrove had not a word to say in dissent; she could not accuse herself of having ever called them anything in the whole course of her life."

No comments:

Post a Comment