Thursday, April 26, 2012

4/26 - Very Much at Sea

I shall begin this post with a quick look at a pair of letters from Monday. The first was from the woman whose husband's mistress applied to her company and somehow, though the questioner didn't assist her, got interviewed in another department and now the questioner is being asked to sit in on a follow-up interview. At the time of her original letter, when she would have been the one to interview HXM, it did seem that the thing to do might be to disclose personal conflict to an appropriate member of personnel. Now it seems rather odd that such disclosure isn't part and parcel of protocol for interviewers. Everything else seems to be. And those who staff Human Resources have sufficient power for evil anyway without being able to toss applications into the trash for reasons of personal knowledge, however much one could assume reasonable provocation in this case.

The second Monday question I shall consider came from the older sister of the 16-year-old girl who had made sexy recordings with her 19-year-old boyfriend. The Prudecutor was quite adamant that the girl MUST be put in full possession of all such material; I have never seen her so adamant (except just possibly about racism, which appears to be her one Unforgivable Sin, however many excuses she usually finds for homophobia despite her lip service to the contrary). Yet, if we were to turn the clock back to last July, when a LW in possession of potentially career-harming material involving an ex who'd become a celebrity very young and dumped her in a less-than-considerate manner was nreasonably hurt that she was approached by representatives instead of the ex himself, the Prudecutor gave a rather giggly sort of answer amounting to, "I can't tell you to extort him, but extort him," in much the same way that Mr Savage can't advise the underaged about how to have sex. Interesting that potentially damaging material incites the Prudecutor so much more than definitely damaging material.

Now for Thursday.

L4: Welcome to the world of male privilege. Simple suggestion: join the Lesbian Serial Killer Club and wear the T-shirt when barhopping alone. That will at least prune the timid from the ranks of your suitors.

L3: Pack a lorgnette.

L2: This letter does seem to manifest how many of today's youthful career starters only have half the requisite preparation. LW2's attitude could use a bit of improvement, though thankfully the Prudecutor went so far overboard that we shall have her on toast in the Court of Appeal. OE2 did not exactly cover herself in glory on this one, and appears at the least to have assumed that LW2 had sufficient seasoning to be able to perform the task properly and cope with any deviation from expected procedure. B2, who otherwise comes off much the best of the bunch, could perhaps have been a little more proactive than appears to have been the case, and made sure that LW2 could cope with the drill - potentially unnecessary, but not unreasonable when dealing with a new hire of youthful aspect.

L1: It occurs to me first off that we don't know for certain where LW1 actually is. The construction of the letter and the invocation ofn the L word make it reasonable to assume that the LW is male, but it is unclear whether he went off to Hawaii as scheduled, or, if not, where he might be at the moment. Did he go off on honeymoon on his own? This is not quite what happened either to Tanya in Muriel's Wedding, who caught her new husband cheating with Rose Biggs and ditched her honeymoon to join her friends on Hibiscus Island, or even indeed to She Who Must Be Obeyed when, on the cruise which she designated as her second honeymoon, the sudden appearance among the fellow passengers of Mr Injustice Gravestone caused her husband to lie doggo in the cabin, leading misguided mystery writer Howard Swainton and his personal assistant Linda Milsom to speculate that She was on honeymoon on her own. Did he remain at home? If so, how is it that he has not seen W1 or at least had some communication with her?

And there is so much else we don't know, starting with the exact time line. I'm reminded of Anne Meredith managing to pull the wool over Superintendent Battle's eyes in Cards on the Table and misleading him into thinking she went directly from A to C when during the B in between she murdered her employer. We know that F'sBF1 died the day after the wedding, but not how long after the wedding and the death L1 was written. How long after the wedding was the honeymoon scheduled to occur and how long was it supposed to last? Was postponement possible? financially practicable? Surely it makes a difference if the letter was written two or three days after the death as opposed to going on two weeks, as opposed to a month. Did LW1 ever actually meet F'sBF1? It appears that he did, but his suspicion could have sprung from what he was told by W1. If we wanted to give even freer reign to speculation, we might even ask if F'sBF1 even died in the first place, or, if LW1 never met him, if he ever actually existed.

There is a potential point against F'sBF1 being married in that F1 learned of his death so quickly. As presumably F1 was busy attending the wedding - without F'sBF1 in tow - the day before, she might not have learned of the death so immediately had he been married. She would certainly at any rate be much less likely to be notified promptly. It's certainly possible that she might have tried to contact him and found out, but that seems far from certain. I would like to question LW1 on why the point matters, although I should avoid that if I were his brief. Rather I'd comment on the suspicion in closing speeches, making the point of F1 not holding the matrimonial bond in high regard in consequence.

The Prudecutor certainly seemed full of snark on this response. Yes, LW1 deserved to be dinged on a number of points, and she actually picked up on the lack of communication between husband and wife. But why the vitriol? Her response seems dated, also, as if one were still living in the era of Virgin Brides (if not Virgin Grooms besides). And, given the almost complete want of any spouselike conduct on either side, I can't imagine why the Prudecutor would favour the continuance of the marriage. Why not annul, even if LW1 and W1 decide to start over and see if they can do the relationship properly this time? My main docking of LW1, by the way, will be based on not seeing the B-word anywhere in the letter (ditto for the Prudecutor, who gets docked double). Sexuality is not a weighted coin toss.

I shall conclude by looking into my crystal ball. It tells me that LW1 was the lucky recipient of Spiritual Guidance from the Other Side when he wrote L1 and chose the pseudonyms therein. The good news is that F1 is straight. W1 is bisexual, however, which may or may not be good news in its own right, and any continuance of the marriage would be advised to take this into account. Sorry to elaborate the obvious, but why else would he call them Sadie and Brenda?

Moral: "This is my husband." "Is it really? I am surprised."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4/19 - Possible New Speed Record

Very short on time, I shall be as direct as possible.

LW4: Of course you aren't just interested in the size of what the Victorians would have called Alabaster Globes. Good luck convincing anyone of that. But, on the off-chance, try resorting to similar enhancement. Make it sufficiently blatant that it will draw public notice. Fun may ensue.

LW3: There are so many ways to play this. It is interesting that the Prudecutor seems to take this outlandish behaviour as all part of the normal process, which is far from a ringing endorsement of what has been lauded as being the bedrock of society.

Option A: Invite G3 over for a talk, and then drop all the innuendos in the book allowing him the opportunity to seduce you. There are certainly possibilities here, especially if your significant other can arrange to burst in on the encounter. At the very least, it will have given G3 time to decide whether he prefers to put up or shut up.

Option B: Make a tearful confession to F3. This has possibilities, in that F3 will likely reveal whether she is more interested in the wedding or the marriage. Of course, it could lead to an impersonation of a scene out of Dynasty. That could be either a selling point or a disincentive.

Option C: Do not mention the conversation to anybody, but either you or your significant other interrupt the ceremony. I think I have a slight preference for SO3 undertaking the assignment. This ought to cause the maximum quantity of drama for the greatest number, but truly needs someone of a sufficiently divaesque character to carry it off.

Option D: Don't attend. F3 won't miss you. G3 seems shaky enough as it is not to need to see you in the audience - if indeed he goes through with the ceremony at all.

Option E: Have an adult conversation with G3. Have you ever done so before?

LW1: Silly Guilly! Are you really completely unaware of how you have been treated all your life based solely on your surname, with perhaps your appearance for backup? Compare the treatment you receive to that given your mother. Maybe you've received other benefits along the way here or there. Far more likely any positive treatment you've received has been outweighed by negative discrimination, but not necessarily so. I'd be happy to be wrong here.

There are several considerations regarding the scholarship. One that seems to have eluded the dull eye of the Prudecutor is that your parents appear to have been angling for this with at least some semi-honest intent. They viewed Hispanic as the Flavour of the Month and were at least happy not to disillusion anybody who might react positively to the designation. You might be resentful that they preferred trying to grab a possible advantage to being truthful with you about your heritage. Perhaps it might be worthwhile to you in the long run to turn down the scholarship for that reason, although it seems like a hefty amount to make the point. You don't seem to have qualms about the scholarship as a whole on its own merits, which is fine; if you had, it would have been legitimate if again costly to decline. The scholarship will be given to somebody or other, and tuition in general will remain inflated in part due to the scholarship system. You pick your battle and you take your stand.

LW2: No, no, no, five thousand times, no. The Prudecutor obviously does not pay attention to the news. This wonderfully misogynistic country of ours is now jailing rape victims in an attempt to force them to testify or as punishment for violating a subpoena. What is the right thing for you to do is one thing. But you cannot put other victimized people at risk. Go to them yourself and urge them to come forward, perhaps, but conditions for victims are not such that it is safe to force any victim into the system.

Moral: "This is my wife. And this is what I would have. Judge me as you will."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

4/12 - Land of Wonder

Getting right to it today:

L1: I could brief myself in various ways on this one. I could brief myself for LW1 on the grounds of H1 being a monster. Fix the children? No, no, seventy times no. I could brief myself against LW1 on the grounds of it having taken her this long to become dissatisfied with his parenting and on the grounds of her list of Ideal Husband Qualities. Additionally, she fails to recognize the Luck Factor in the bounty of his career. Granted, though, she must be a genius at baking. It may come down to a question of why he does the housecleaning. Is her method insufficient for his tastes or is she too busy?

As for the practical problem, she's left it Way Too Late. The only way Boot Camp Parenting ever gets anywhere near tolerable results is when both partners sign on to the same page. And by now C1 have let themselves harden into such extremes that the chance of a conversion on either side that would not blatantly appear to be a concession instead is far too low. Attempt counseling or parenting classes at their own risk; but it won't really help often enough to get an endorsement. Divorce now while H1 can find a partner more to his taste who will give him the family he deems worthy of his attention, so that the K1s can bond with a nicer stepdaddy.

Rule 42: "He cleans the house" and "His career lets me be a SAHM" don't mix.

L3: Well, cheer me up, give me a 5-Hour Energy and call me Jean. It occurs to me that I have been sadly remiss in failing to provide any previous tribute to the late lamented Mr Jones, who has caused me a good deal of difficulty on two occasions. The second was when I was sufficiently unguarded as to voice my truthful (and less than entirely favourable) opinion of Ms Murray's rather-lacking-in-vitality version of one of his best known vocal outings. The first, which had rather more lasting consequences, occurred during my childhood, at a party where we were responding to random questions in writing and reading the answers under the guise of anonymity. I could not think of any other famous person I'd prefer to marry. That none of the attendees happened to be of the female persuasion did not quite make the full ramifications clear to my nine-year-old mind.

Enough reminiscing. LW3 is like Archie Prosser, the new member of Chambers at Number Three (or, occasionally according to Mr Mortimer in his later years, #1 or #4), Equity Court, only worse. Mr Prosser is merely called a wit by others. LW3 calls himself a wit and fails to say anything witty in his entire letter. For that alone he deserves as quick and as painful a divorce as his spouse can inflict. I therefore advocate with all my heart that he believe in his daydream to the maximum extent.

Rule 42: Never say anything uncomplimentary about Ms Murray in the company of female bodybuilding medalists in the Gay Games unless they do so first.

L4: Why on earth do people send the Prudecutor letters having anything that have to do with Europe? Her Europhobia is so well established by now that I am rapidly concluding that her favourite cousin must have been one of the biggest promulgators of Proposition 8.

But this is a weird letter. We are either winning or losing badly, and I can't tell which. Out of all the possible causes of political differences, LW4 has to select nuclear energy? There's no more personal source of discord? It is conceivable that this could be a good thing, perhaps taking issues that target people off the table.

Really, this is all about Dealbreakers. Some people take their politics sufficiently seriously to have political dealbreakers set a good deal more generally - but how many people don't have any? What we really need is to tabulate this. What is at the top of the Unthinkable chain?

In a way, I am reminded of a recent debate I saw after the passing of Ms Rich. Amidst the praise for her poetry a dissenting note sprang up from those who considered her transphobic. After that, part of the discussion concerned what evidence there was about how seriously or deeply ingrained this flaw was in her or if she distanced herself from it in her later years. Another part devoted itself to recrimination between those who acknowledged the flaw but on the whole missed her anyway and those who declared her no loss to humanity. It left me thinking in the end that, wherever one wanted to set one's personal Dealbreakers, that was fine, and that it was insisting that other people adopt the same dealbreakers (rather than merely understand why they're dealbreakers) where things go awry.

Rule 42: Is this the hill on which you wish to die?

L2: Why on earth is this not L1?

LW2 could be worse off. She could have gotten the promotion, had the baby and then seen the business fail and been demoted or laid off. On the whole, though, L2 is quite a mixed bag. The off quality of her rant about never being able to afford children, though (reminiscent of the Lindt commercial in which Roger Federer's luggage is full of chocolate and the airport security women decide they have to strip search him), makes the points in her favour rather suspect.

Digs at the other woman: understandable, but not a huge point in her favour
Passed over for the promised promotion: How clearly promised? Presumably hardly at all.
NO KIDS - WAAAAAH!!!!!: I won't even.
File of Evidence: Now, if her evidence were not already suspect, this could be interesting. If this point stands up to cross-examiniation, then LW2 ought to take up a career as Chief Personal Assistant to Ferdinand Isaac Gerald Newton (called Fig), Private Eye Extraordinaire. But it leads one to wonder about LW2 seething in silence all this time, never discussiong the lack of promotion with her superiours... how long does it take to become suspicious of MPDG2 and gather such a conclusive block of evidence, and why would nobody be noticing? If LW2 is such a good actress, that ought to open up even further alternative career possibilities for her. But perhaps her talents really fall closer to those possessed by the formidable Marigold Featherstone or even She Who Must Be Obeyed, Herself. I also ask why the nepotism would be thrown in almost like an extra pickle on a multi-feature hamburger order instead of being the crown jewel in her case.
Options: Threats? Useless. Doesn't LW2 read? Has she never seen how many wretched blackmailers lie dead, felled by the hands of their unscrupulous victims, made desperate by the dastardly act?

It's really tough to know what to advise LW2 to do, because one could have so many possible goals in mind for the outcome. If one were advising her solely in her own perceived best interests, I'd tell her to send the file (assuming the contents meet the standard she suggests) to BW2 and MPDGF2, perhaps anonymously, and let the chips fall where they may. Or she might look into what she could bring in as a private investigator and then leave the file as a parting gift (or not) when she quits. It might be more fun to detonate the bomb but more prudent to resist.

Rule 42: "Now, that was a decent spot of blackmail - clear, concise, and, in this case, highly effective."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

4/5 - One Thing Right

With the leading adulterer in the Western Hemisphere in at level par after one round, I shall vary my usual method and select one thing in each letter that the Prudecutor didn't botch in each letter. Can it be done?

L1: The Prudecutor is more or less right about LW1's state of mind. After months of desolation, he is just about ready to rejoin the living. Everything else is a flight of sheer fantasy almost worthy of defending counsel.

How "odd" a stepfather barely older than herself must have been - unsubstantiated. Possibly DW1 was a Cougar and generally dated in LW1's age range. He seems to have gotten on well with her and doesn't seem particularly fixated on the age difference as a plus, which makes it plausible that other men his age might have gotten on equally well with DW1 before him.

How can the Prudecutor be "sure" this caused much fascination and speculation among SD1's friends? As it was likely she was in college at the time of the marriage or extremely soon afterwards, where does this come from?

Forbidden thoughts? Sounds like somebody's been reading her own diary again. Oh, dear.

Younger variation? Possible, or else that's just framing it in a way destined to produce confirmation bias.

Father-daughter relationship? Highly unlikely. It's one thing to become a step-parent to a child in need of double-parent parenting, but new or very nearly adult stepchildren are quite different.

As far as the relationship might go, it could be a bad thing under certain social circumstances for the original couple - none of which have been submitted into evidence. Yes, it's a higher-risk relationship, and I'd advise both parties waiting for a fair period of time and then deciding whether they wanted to proceed after more sober reflection - if LW1 were seriously interested, which he does not have to be.

L2: The Prudecutor is correct that P2s are lucky LW2 still visits them.

The Clementi suicide is being raised only by those who think the conviction far too harsh on the poor homophobic perpetrator. It is at the least tone-deaf to miss this, at the worst a way of siding with the bullies in secret.

Decency to acknowledge awfulness is one thing, but the Prudecutor has missed that the bullies go into gory detail after gory detail. This is not the conduct of the truly repentant.

Just pulling contact information and lying does nothing to get at the root of the problem. LW2 can send an email issuing a blanket pardon and closing discussion on the topic once and for all. Much more effective.

L3: The Prudecutor is more or less right about work bullies. But her approach is ridiculous. It assumes the presence or coporate hierarchy. Did she miss that the bully is #2 in the workplace? "One of the higher ups"? Only one exists.

This is a hard letter to answer without knowing the ins and outs of the company. It seems plausible that the president and the perpetrator-aka-VP are on reasonably good terms, and one might actually cover for the other. Is punking a common company occupation? If so, then the LW's approach will have to be rather different than in the Prudecutor-envisioned world in which every company runs on Perfect 1984-Style Compliance lines. And there surely is more to be found in VP3's harping on drugs and alcohol. A highly unsatisfactory letter.

L4: The Prudecutor should have stopped after the first sentence. Beyond it, she falls flat on her face. She apparently thinks sex work is a great way for women to level the wage disparity, and of course anything that the Prudecutor thinks must be okay she can't conceive as being considered harmful by anyone else. (If we find out later that this is how she paid off her college loans, we can probably force her to recuse herself - if she's winning the case.) What level of outside intimacy is permissible in a relationship is entirely a matter for the two people therein and not for the Prudecutor or anybody else not sleeping with either of them except perhaps a spiritual advisor if they so deem.

If the Prudecutor really thinks LW4 is such a controlling witch, why not advise an immediate break?

"Apologize" if he lied point-blank? Apology barely begins to cover it. How about - Have a really good defence ready to hand concerning why it ought not be a dealbreaker, either the stripper or the lie?

Lighten up? If there is one sort of person in the world on whom that is the worst possible advice, a bride-to-be is on the short list for that distinction. And strippers at baby showers are all the rage.

The Prudecutor completely misses the weird group dynamic. Why are the transgressing couple still included in group activities?

I advise all the wymyn in this little social circle, except the brothelkeeper, to take an immediate interest  - no, more, to become fascinated by the life, times, conduct and character of Vita Sackville-West. Give the men something to ponder.

Moral: "We all do so wish Charles had married Anne instead; we should all have liked that a great deal better."