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.

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