Thursday, June 30, 2011

6/30 - OPPOSITE???!?!?!???

I trust that the gentle reader was not overly distressed to hear an exceptionally loud noise some several hours ago.  And surely the same gentle reader ought to have had no trouble in diagnosing the origin.  Clue:  It was neither Victoria Azarenka nor Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon.  Those two amateurs clock in at a mere 95 and 100 decibels, respectively.  I shall only add that I wish it were August.

Quick Thoughts:

L2:  Now, there could have been a ncie debate on whether LW2 and H2 would be best served by not attending family events to which AC2 were also invited, instructing AC2 to give them a wide berth at such events, or simply leaving the instant AC2 showed H2 any attention.  The Prudecutor was not doing too badly on this letter, and then she had to Go There, as one hears said.  What conceivable difference could it possibly make to anything except H2's sense of understanding of the past whether AC2 was herself abused as a child or not?  Why even bother to mention such a thing?  In tennis terms, this startling revelation is reminiscent of the 763rd time one of the ESPN crew reveals in full solemnity that Mardy Fish has lost weight, Caroline Wozniacki hasn't won a Grand Slam tournament, or any of an assorted bag of Overly Stated Facts.  If anything, the Prudecutor's idea about AC2 is less useful, as it might detract from a helpful solution.

L3:  Not a bad letter - a sort of Green Acres in reverse.  I advise LW3 to channel her inner Eva Gabor.  I'm not sure why the Prudecutor has to take such glee in the death of the farming/small town way of life.  And I do wonder a little at LW3.  I'm not exactly sure where Grouchiness ranks in the Biblical calendar of Grounds for Divorce, but I suspect that it is not very high on the list.  The Prudecutor might have pointed out that LW3 has reaped great benefit from the very modern institution of No-Fault Divorce, and that, as she's already at least bent one of the three Fs of Faith, Farm and Family, it's not that great a leap to reconcile herself with dropping a second.

L4:  While this is largely a technical question, it does strike me as the most Austenian.  Miss Austen makes excellent use of less blatant miscues to hint to the discerning reader whether a character is to be liked or disliked.  Note the grammar used by many of the characters.  Laxity in that department by a female is never entirely forgiven.  We may see the most of it in Mrs Elton, but it might be most important in the case of the Miss Steeles.  After all, while Nancy has no excuse, Lucy begins in rather a sympathetic position.  She has been engaged for a long time without means of marriage to Edward, a connection which constitutes a distinct social and economic advance for her, and Edward has behaved very badly indeed by allowing his affections to transfer themselves to Elinor Dashwood.  However, the discerning reader quickly gathers from Lucy's grammatical abuses that somehow she isn't to receive much sympathy despite her position.  It's interesting that Ms Thompson's film of Sense and Sensibility addresses the situation more directly than the novel.  Her Elinor asks Ms Winslet's Marianne, after Marianne has declared that Edward must not honour his engagement, "Would you have him treat Lucy worse than Willoughby has treated you?"  Presumably, most readers would. 

And now, in not quite the usual manner, for L1:

First, to cross-examine LW1:  Okay; he has two "wonderful" daughters.  How nice for him.  How subjective is that opinion?  Are we correct to assume that F1 is not Christian, or at least less Christian than the N1s?  As far as the neighbour family is concerned, given that the families have dined together, how was LW1 struck by the other family's children's conversation?  What did that reveal about how they have been raised and/or schooled?  Just for the purposes of clarification (I trust people will accept that I have no interest in the response, although the Submariner might), are LW1's daughters dressed in a manner suitable only for home or perhaps the beach or a pool party? visiting friends? going to the mall?  How old were the boys doing the looking?  What were Mike's exact words to describe the situation?  "Caught them watching" sound rather inflammatory.  Were those his exact words, and how reliable is he?  Did Mike suggest any particular clothing as more appropriate?  Come to think of it, why did LW1 have such a serious discussion with Mike alone without W1 or both wives present?  Very patriarchal of him, and, if he does not have a little strain of patriarchy in his system, falling into Mike's trap.  Why were W1 and D1s offended? because the D1s were being accused of sexualizing themselves inaccurately, or just because they didn't think they should be told what to do?  Why does LW1 carefully avoid expressing an opinion of his own about his daughters' yard work apparel even to the point of not letting us know what he told Mike?  Is he trying to mask a patriarchal belief along the They're-Asking-Fot-It line as a reasonable thing to do to appease a neighbour?  And why is W1 staying out of it and expecting LW1 to handle the situation by himself?  Does she want to make sure that he will tell Mike to stuff it when put to the test? is she a bit more of the Christian Submissive Wife than we've been told? some other reason?  And is LW1 himself a bit uncomfortable around his daughters, now that they are more womanly?

For the Prudecutor, I shall simply refer that person to the title of this post.

For Mike:  Did you really catch your sons?  How many of them and what ages?  And were they really watching or just looking?  How incontrovertible is it that it's the D1s they were observing?  How much education about Certain Relations have they had?  While I have nothing against pro-abstinence education, it's a bit of a unicorn, as it almost always turns out to be Abstinence Only.  And can we be really, truly, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-turn-striaght sure that your boys are the ones with lascivious thoughts?  How well has your wife kept her figure after eight children?  How much Senior PGA Tour golf do you watch, during which about 90% of the commercials advertise some variant on the theme of Viagra?  Can you genuinely assure us that the mote is not in thine own eye?

I advise LW1 to spend a good dealm of time digging around on feminist sites.  Dr Schwyzer might be just the person.  As a former rake and addict himself, he can emit a sort of smug puritanism that should be just up LW1's alley, and he writes regular columns dealing with concerns of adolescent girls and their parents from a feminist standpoint.  LW1 could use a healthy dose of feminism.

It is also tempting to suggest that first Mike might voice his concers to the D1s (with their parents present) and then that LW1 might speak to the S1s (with their parents present also).

I am reminded of how My So-Called Life gives occasional glimpses of this aspect of Angela's relationship with her father, Graham, and once or twice Graham's view of the boys he sees as hanging around her, such as the time when Graham asks Brian Krakow for a little assistance with a chore only to receive no response and then mutter to himself, "I'm sorry, Sir; I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked."

Moral:  "My dad and I used to be real tight...  My breasts have come between us."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

6/23 - Choices of Questions

As there was no Monday, this week will be a bit short, especially as there is the tennis to consider and Tiger-Roger/Rory-Rafa comparisons to draw.

Quick Thoughts:

L2:  Why on earth did LW2 write to the Prudecutor?  There are so many columnists being published in so many newspapers who deal entirely in employment issues.  One of the Wall Street Journal columnists would probably be ideal, especially as many of them have been expanding the scope of their columns into examining how money and employment questions intersect with other issues of daily life.  Now, I could see asking the Prudecutor whether one were obliged to do something.  But the Prudecutor (who, I suspect, in the role of an employer, might bear a striking resemblance to Mrs Donahue) seems an odd choice to consult on the question of how to determine How Much is Too Much.  And, surprise, suprise, the Prudecutor doesn't really address the question.  It appears that she considers documentarians just one rung up the ladder from lawyers; her scorn for the field is the only part of the response that stands out.  And her telling LW2 that (s)he's just comparing the work experience to early home life wrong is going to accomplish... exactly what?  On the plus side, this could be a good one for the Gender Guess book.

L3:  This always seemed more of a technical question than anything else as the letter progressed.  Now, there might have been an interesting question of etiquette attached to LW3's habitual tears.  But closing the letter with nothing but the appeal, "Help!" really leaves little but for the Prudecutor to point out that this is a technical question.  Why she assumes exclusive medical provenance I'm not sure, but there's very little leeway for commentary with TQs.

L4:  Given how much LW4 knows about RS4's life, this one seems too easy.  Send RS4's wife a money order with a brief note.  No need to buck restaurant policy.  Any little detail that LW4 might not know that would be necessary to discover RS4's address should be easy enough to elicit in conversation.

And now onward:

L1:  This is another of those lovely letters that would make a brilliant court case.  Cross-examination into the history, habits, and all the pertinent details of the triad could last for weeks.  It certainly would for any decent cross-examiner if the daily refreshers were worth spinning out the proceedings.  One particular detail is likely to force the proceedings.  There's no reason why LW1 shouldn't buy a fairly large house on relocating after the death of his wife.  But is it so big that his recently designated nephew's room won't be needed by the incoming invaders?  Even if the room is not needed, it seems almost certain that S1 and DIL1 actually in residence in the house will likely see the room at some point in time.  Then what? 

Indeed, there is quite the chance that, if the room is left alone, S1 or DIL1 might form some conjectures considerably more alarming in nature than the truth.  The clever solution might actually be to get DIL1 and S1 in such a state that they are composing a letter to the Prudecutor about how their welcoming Daddy(-in-law) who took them in during hard times seemed surprisingly reluctant, when one would think he'd have enjoyed the company, to have them, how there was a spare room he didn't want to use, and how they'd finally discovered that it was all set up as a bedroom for a little boy who actually lived next door, which made them at first want to move out at once, which they couldn't afford, and would it be really, really horrible of them to borrow enough money to tide them over for a few months from a pedophile and then move out of his house, and, if they did borrow money from him, would it be tacky to report him to the police, and, if the police arrested him, would they have to repay the loan?  Then, when the letter is actually being composed, the actual truth might come as such a huge relief that they won't care how many consenting adults of whatever genders are giving LW1 a little bit of comfort in his old age.

The Prudecutor seems surprisingly mild in her response to this one.  Remarkably, for her, she opens with a misapplied analogy (it is incredibly weak to compare this situation to a religiously-backed institution that has oppressed and abused women for centuries) and a dig at the returning son.  Then later she manages to restrain and almost conceal her contempt for the couple, which whom she is afraid she must agree.  Evidently the Prudecutor has a touch of the Old Man Standard so touted by Dr Schlessinger - that Old Men are so Incompetent and Lonely that they Jump Into Inappropriate-Seeming Relationships that Dishonour their Late Wives as a Matter of Routine.

For a parallel, I want to think back to the days when a patriarch could indulge almost at will and have it basically be considered a matter of routine.  Not that I long for such a time, but it seems an appropriate antidote to LW1's rather creep-mouse and apologetic attitude.  (It is a little grating to see someone who is prepared to open his home and disturb his own privacy for an indefinite period to be cringing about how his guests will bully him by publishing abroad the details of his escapade.)  The obvious period would seem to be the day of Victoria.  While Mrs Woolf does not have quite so many irregular menages as one might be led to expect from her life and the lives of others in her circle, the situation in the "1880" chapter of The Years will do well enough.  The first members of the large Pargiter family to appear, Colonel Pargiter, is lunching at his club.  His dying wife at home has been dying for some time, occasionally better and occasionally worse.  Discontented, after lunch, he realizes that there is one place where he will be received with pleasure, and he heads off to see his mistress, in her shabby little domicile, before returning home to take a perfunctory sip of despised tea from his father's old cup and rule his roost, unsettling the various discontents of his son and daughters with his own mood.

Moral:  "There aren't any adventures for an old fogy like me," said the Colonel surlily.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

6/16 - Not Many Surprises

The only surprise from Monday is that I refuse to believe that the Prudecutor genuinely meant that she did not find a photo of a freshly folded load of laundry to be more erotic than a photo that might generate a rating rather towards the tail end of the alphabet.  However, being the eternal defender, I can declare that All is Not Lost.  I think I could even clear the Prudecutor of such a charge.  I would imagine, in conference, and in such tones as it would make it quite clear what answers during cross-examination would have the best effect upon the jury, that the Prudecutor's skills in the gentle art of keeping house fall somewhat below those exemplary accomplishments frequently displayed by She Who Must Be Obeyed, that the Prudecutor would not even be able to identify the Cleaning Products Aisle in her favourite supermarket (assuming, of course, that she even had a favourite supermarket), and that perhaps, like Tony Timson, she might reasonably be incapable of identifying even so much as the location in the house of her own washing machine.

Quick Thoughts:

L1:  Divorce.  Three of these things belong together, as they sing on Sesame Street.  Remove the inharmonious element, the wife.  But drive her crazy first with suspicion, so that she will judged unfit to have custody of the children.  Then there will be a really Happy Family.  Or, if I am hired by the other side, cross-examination into the facts of the daughter's birth, who was identified as her father and why, her and her mother's relationship with him, LW1's potential for mending the relationship with his co-parent, and a variety of related topics could at least keep a good cross-examiner in daily refreshers for at least a couple of weeks.

L2:  A & E.  But quick - before they conclude the run of Hoarders or whatever that series is.  These exploitative programs can really be life-altering.  It might not be as much fun as managing to arrange an appearance before Mrs Justice Sheindlin or one of her ilk, but it's still useful.

L3:  What kind of moron actually believes that a surprise party for someone on his own birthday is actually a surprise, let alone a welcome one?  Remember the "success" of the surprise party thrown by Mizz Liz Probert at Froxbury Mansions in the Gloucester Road.  Have as many parties as the old man would like (which might not be all that many when all is said and done; quite a few of these honourees would probably genuinely prefer NOT being the centre of attention at a large party).  These events are usually used as weapons with which assorted party-throwers or -goers club each other.  Case in point:  the man who was a member of the wedding party for his closest friend, whose siblings, who were on the record as being opposed to his "lifestyle" and had been for some time, deliberately selected that date for their father's 75th birthday party.  He was ordered by Dr Schlessinger to attend his father's birthday party.

And now the main comment:

L4:  Oh, did the Prudecutor ever miss this one.  What a pretty little gloss-over by LW4.  Divorced and remarried with two little boys aged six and three.  Now, what are the chances, Members of the Jury, that a woman with a newborn child and a three-year-old would have the time in three short years to become disenchanted with her husband, seek and obtain a divorce, and then, an appropriate amount of time after the divorce, meet a new and perfectly suitable suitor, undergo a courtship of reasonable length and remarry?  That is quite a lot to achieve in the short space of three years (no need to add on however many months besides).  Or how much more likely might it be that SF4 might just have happened to have been the cause of, or at least a large part of the motivation behind, the divorce?  Think how much time that would have saved.  Of course, one need not mention this during cross-examination of LW4 or SF4 if the case is otherwise going sufficiently well.  It might be far better left and then remarked upon at length in Closing Remarks.

But there are others points on which one can dwell at length.  LW4 has provided glowing testimony - but is she truly an unbiased witness?  he's not coming across as one.  Might there not be hidden instances of the dreaded A-word that she might just happen to be glossing over, or indeed of which she might not even be aware?  Alternatively, could she have poisoned the well herself when they were still little boys?  How did she treat BF4 and SF4 after the remarriage?  Did she push too hard on the boys to recognize SF4 as "Daddy"?  Did she undermine their relationship with BF4?  The divorce and remarriage appear to have occurred during the height of the mania for divorced men to remove themselves from their children's lives on the grounds that it was better for the children to have only one father figure and for their routines not to be broken to smithereens by having to undergo disruptive visitation.  How did LW4 and SF4 handle the death of the boys' father?  Was it perhaps, tacitly if not openly, a relief, that at least they would only have one father, one whom LW4 currently loved, instead of a second one with a greater claim whom she'd grown to dislike or even hate?

And where does the Prudecutor get the idea that LW4 has the power to back up all these commands the Prudecutor recommends?  If the sons have different memories of SF4 than LW4, who says that hers are more valid?  And on whose description is he Grandpa - the sons'? their partner's?  LW4's or SF4's?  Also, is this a pointed omission; do they commemorate her birthday and Mother's Day?  It would be rather rich on the part of the Prudecutor to demand more from them for their stepfather than they offer their mother.  And what is LW4 supposed to do if she presents her list of commands to no effect?  Finally, and perhaps most tellingly of all, where is the evidence that SF4 is crying his heart out over or has even noticed this horrible neglect on the part of his stepsons?

Does it really take an expert spinner of tales to produce a convincing portrait of a stereotypical woman with stereotypical female reactions to holidays, birthdays, High Holy Days, Low Holy Days, Six Month Anniversaries, etc., surrounded by three stereotypical men who could not care less about any holiday in the calendar except that it becomes an occasion on which they have to please a stereotypical woman who will have forty-two fits otherwise?

Now there is nothing wrong with LW4 initiating a discussion with her sons about why they act (or don't act) as they do.  But such a discussion comes with the usual disclaimer.  She should be prepared to hear something unpleasant by way of reply.

My parallel will reverse the genders here.  To be a little more on the side of SF4, who, except perhaps for his taste in wives, has not yet given any indication of serious fault, I shall compare SF4 to Mrs Dashwood and the sons to Mr John Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility.  The book opens by establishing that Mr Dashwood (Henry) has had three daughters by a second wife, that the estate from which HD intended to draw provision for his second family was left to him only conditionally with no means to draw upon the capital for such a purpose, and that HD dies leaving his widow and daughters with only ten thousand pounds between them, but having exacted a promise from his son to assist them.  Mr John Dashwood, although in general inclined to selfishness, is at first sufficiently moved to plan, as he himself has just come into full possession of the valuable family estate, to give his half-sisters a thousand pounds apiece.  We then witness the process by which John's wife Fanny, rather more perfectly cold-hearted and selfish than her husband, succeeds in wearing him down from a thousand pounds to five hundred, then to an annuity of a hundred a year to his stepmother, then to occasional presents of fifty pounds or so in order that they might not simply increase their style of life from the income, and finally to no gift of actual cash at all but simply assistance in moving and occasional presents of stock in season.

Moral:  "'And I must say this:  that you owe no particular gratitude to him, nor attention to his wishes, for we very well know that if he could, he would have left almost everything in the world to them.'  This argument was irresistible.  It gave to his intentions whatever of decision was wanting before; and he finally resolved, that it would be absolutely unnecessary, if not highly indecorous, to do more for the widow and children of his father, than such kind of neighbourly acts as his own wife pointed out."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

6/9 - Cross-Examining the Prudecutor

Carrying over from Monday, one cannot completely prevent oneself from wondering what the Prudecutor herself might have been up to some years ago, about which she is now so eager to declare the statute of limitations long expired.  While the victim is clearly in the wrong if she is actively attempting to carry on retribution to the next generation, the Prudecutor clearly shows that her sympathies lie with the bully.  She even ignores clear signs that the LW has not changed all that much - the slip-up in mentioning the victim's unrecognizable attractiveness, the inadequate non-apology, the desire for cover-up in not wanting to tell her husband, the "inability to remember the details" of her bullying.

And the Prudecutor's proposed solution is a strange one, at least from the angle proposed.  While being open to admitting her former bad conduct is a good start, suggesting that it be admitted in a brushing-off sort of way may backfire.  Being active in school affairs is almost sure to bring some sort of conflict out into the open.  And has the Prudecutor never read the Girls' Handbook and Rules for Life?  If Mary Lou Hassenpfeffer calls Betsy Ann Pflugendonck fat when they are both in fourth grade, Betsy Ann may never forgive Mary Lou.  None of her friends may invite Mary Lou to birthday parties, and they are fated to feud for all eternity.  It is in the Girls' Constitution.  The only possible solution forn the LW is to remain in hiding in abject terror, deferring to her victim on every possible occasion should their paths ever cross, and hoping that perhaps someone seeing how contrite and penitent she has become, along with how abject and miserable her life is, may convince the glorified victim that no further revenge is necessary.

On to another week of strangely subpar letters.  Maybe I am just jaded.

L1:  While the Prudecutor does pick up on LW1's attempts to distance himself from his behaviour through the passive voice, why does she not inquire into from whom he has come to understand that some extramarital conduct of some sort is within the realm of permission during a separation such as work travel?  While chances are it would be relatively meaningless if LW1 is simply being a parrot and repeating things he's heard from other husbands of shady fidelity, what if part of his understanding happened to come from his wife?  Or does the Prudecutor think that couples have no business establishing for themselves what is and what is not acceptable conduct?  Does she view a marriage license as a legally-reversible-only lifelong binding agreement that the partners will both behave as if all the sexuality in the entire world resides exclusively and permanently in the other?  Would she send caught adulterers to prison even if they had full encouragement to conduct themselves so from their spouses?  Is a married couple allowed in the Prudecution's book to have their own agreement on what constitutes fidelity and what cheating?  If so, why the blazes did the Prudecution not even so much as suggest a discussion of the topic between husband and wife?  Also, is "decapitation" really her idea of an appropriate response to a visit to a strip club?  Does she view Mrs Bobbitt as a role model?

L2:  Did the Prudecutor mean her remark about women behaving as badly as men to be witty, or is a sign of depression over not being able to stake exclusive female claim to the moral high ground?  Has it occurred to her that LW2's concerns can be phrased as a question instead of a statement?  Or does she prefer that the conversation have the air of a confrontation?  Does the Prudecutor think that the friendship ought to be severed because of the bad conduct of HST2, and is she advising LW2 in such a way as to produce that result?  (It seems a bit clever for the Prudecutor, but she may have been having an inspired day.)  And why the blazes does she not inquire into why LW2 would have thought holding her tongue acceptable, especially given that the Prudecutor sees exposure and ruin as inevitable if HST2's current course is not reversed?

L3:  Does the Prudecutor consider it to be of any importance whatsoever to discover whether the real manipulator in the game is H3 or MIL3?  Does she consider itn impossible or undesirable for non-related children by a former wife to have worked their way into the hearts of the family sufficiently to be considered "real" relatives?  Why does she assume that LW3 and her child are the only ones excluded in the entire family tree?  Why is she uninterested in the possibility of LW3 and her child becoming a true part of the family, given that she pushes saccharine solutions of this sort at people who clearly do not want increased closeness in similar situations?  Above all, where on earth does the Prudecutor get the idea that LW3 and H3 both want this to be the last marriage for either?  They are both old hands at matrimony, and if anything seem to enjoy the novelty.  Why not advocate for having taken a much more firm line with the possibility in view of divorce or at the very least separation some time ago, given H3's poor treatment of C3?

L4:  A technical question, but, as in the case of L2, wh did it not occur to the Prudecutor that LW4's statement can be handled as a question?  What would be wrong with asking if the bathroom is out of soap (or even removing the soap from the bathroom before the visit of BF4 in order to give the question more of an air of truth)?  Why in the Prudecutor's final vision of the great revelation being played out, is she determined for it to be made in such a way as to come across as an attempt at embarrassment or humiliation?  Does the Prudecutor secretly want the couple to break up without wanting to admit it openly, and is she therefore advising LW4 to bring this to BF4's attention in such a way as to increase the chance of the relationship imploding?

Moral (in reference to Monday and the Girls' Handbook):  "'Rule Forty-Two.  All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.'"...  "'...that's not a regular rule:  you invented it just now.'"  "'It's the oldest rule in the book.'"... "'Then it ought to be Number One.'"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

6/2 - Same Old Same Old

Well done to Li Na for spoiling the hopes of NBC and keeping Maria Sharapova out of the French Open final Saturday.  As was formerly the case with the endless rounds of hype in favour of Andre Agassi, it seems clear that the marching orders had gone out to all talking heads to pump Sharapova through the roof.  How tiresome.

In the Tuesday Leftover department, may I submit, with all due respect to the LW with the non-heterosexual father that almost all of her evidence is Hearsay and therefore of little or no value?  He was "caught cheating" with another man - pretty phrasing to make it appear that they were caught in the act, but, as the LW had left home, it was presumably not the LW who discovered whatever was discovered - if it even was a discovery and not a revelation twisted (understandably) by a bitter wife.  Several other cross-examiners have picked up on the point that the witness cannot possibly have any clue about whether the "flings" really are such.  I don't know where the Prudecutor gets the idea that LW and YB are not homophobes, as there seems to be very little evidence either way.  About the only piece of direct evidence is that the LW does not feel comfortable sitting there listening to a description of Daddy's Love Life, but this requires a bit of cross-examination as well.  What does that phrase entail?  Those of us with more than a passing acquaintance of How Breeders Interact with a Non-Breeder are familiar with the double standard that conflates the smallest piece of social information into Explicit Sexual Details.  Or the exuberant Pappa could well be providing lots of ESP.  Further questioning is required, of the sort that might last three weeks or so if the daily refreshers are good.

On to today and the Prudecutor in usual form.  Quick Thoughts:

L1:  Move.  (If they were all this easy, I'd be done in no time.)

L2:  Have the FUNeral NOW.  Why wait?  Let the poor dying woman enjoy the occasion.  For an example of how to do this, watch It's My Party - at least from shortly after the beginning through very nearly the end.

L4:  Oh, good grief.  If the Prudecutor's strategy actually worked, then half the people seeking employment would be making deliberate errors and following them with a similarly cheesy correction.  But my real point of concern is how the Prudecutor and LW4 both buy right into the Corporarchy and hand the running of the world cheerfully over to the evil cohorts of Mr Messy (I grant Mr M personally the benefit of the doubt as a courtesy to Ms M).  They both assume that it is quite right and proper for LW4's panties to get into a Major Bunch, as if this one detail will Ruin LW4's Life if it is not Handled Correctly.  How the Prudecutor comes up with taking too big a risk is completely beyond me.  One can only presume that she actually approves of 1984, when all sorts of the tiniest of actions were similarly risky and carried dire consequences.  And yet the vast majority of the population is perfectly content to go along like sheep and play right along at being the Corporarchy's willing little drones, too terrified to go to the lavatory without Corporarchal approval.  Can we not end the insanity now?  Ah, but how?


L3:  Well, this one is somewhat interesting.  In LW3 we have actually a female (and it was only the word second being applied to the other woman in the case, which is quite a shame, as it really would have been a much more interesting letter had the couple been MM and BF3 been secretly maintaining a side relationship with a woman) version of Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park, at least to a partial extent.  It's tricky without a Fanny Price involved for the letter, but I suppose a letter from LW3's long-suffering admirer, who'd watched her doomed relationship over the five years and lamented the failings of BF3, would read similarly.

I must take further issue with the Prudecutor.  The invocation of Mr Edwards seems tolerably apt, but why bash polygamists?  They would be relatively unlikely to be keeping a second partner in secret; in their book, as it wouldn't be cheating barring particularities in their agreement, it would likely be in the open.  The swipe was undignified and, typically, more characteristic of the Prudecutor's private prejudices than witty or illuminating.  As for the remainder of the Prudecutor's comments, dealing with relationships, exes and friendship, I feel it only fair to recuse myself.  I could a tale unfold, but I am not here to give evidence.  I might, though, wonder how long the second relationship was ongoing.  If it was for the better part of the five years, then BF3 looks rather worse, but LW3 also looks rather more oblivious, not really an enviable state of affairs.

Back to Mansfield Park, much of its particular point of interest may well rest with the depth in which the doomed love between Edmund and Mary is examined, even by Fanny herself.  Fanny's own success in replacing Mary in Edmund's affections comes as almost the briefest of footnotes as the novel gently subsides.  Mary has not quite had the double life of BF3, but she has had the bad example of her uncle, Admiral Crawford, who, after the death of his wife, installed his mistress in his house, thus forcing Mary to seek new and respectable accommodation with her half-sister Mrs Grant, even in  a country parsonage.  Mary's life is open enough; she has twenty thousand pounds and is ready to marry to advantage.  She even expects to become fond of Tom, Edmund's elder brother, and the heir to the baronetcy; it rather surprises her to find her inclination drawn to the rather too quiet and serious Edmund.  Early on in the acquaintance, Edmund and Fanny discuss Mary's faults in a way that has not borne up well with time.  But Mary's flirtatious style and skill at the harp gradually win Edmund over.  Fanny can only watch in horror as increasing attachment leads Edmund to overlook Mary's fondness for playacting (and even agree to take part in the theatricals himself), her determination to sparkle in Society on a better income than their united fortunes might provide, even her irreverance and preference for him not to go into holy orders.  When even Edmund's ordination appears to be forgiven, a deus ex machina is required to part them.  But by then we have seen quite enough of Fanny appreciating all Mary's moral faults to the full and lamenting Edmund's reducing them all to little errors and fancying himself strict in criticism.  Mary never really deceives Edmund, unless one counts her willingness to accept him being based largely or primarily on Tom's dangerous illness (an area in which Miss Austen is somewhat less adept than usual).  But Edmund reacts in much the way LW3 seems to have done at most stages of the relationship and post-relationship.

As far as what LW3 ought actually to do, it's hard to care.  She can let him and whatever little vestiges of hope she has clinging to life support finally go.  She can manoeuvre her mentality into a state in which they can truly have a friendship.  But this is just silliness.  She isn't going to get what she thinks she wants.  On the other hand, he does seem to be a source of amusement, and that might well be worth the price of admission.

Moral:  "On his side the inclination was stronger, on hers less equivocal.  His objections, the scruples of his integrity, seemed all done away, nobody could tell how, and the doubts and hesitations of her ambitions were equally got over; and equally without apparent reason.  It could only be imputed to increasing attachment.  His good and her bad feelings yielded to love, and such love must unite them."