Thursday, June 28, 2012

6/28 - Short Points

In between all the action at Wimbledon:

L1: LW1 wants to know if she should tattle on her boss, a noted bully. What is this, Heathers  in middle school? Come to think of it, the boss certainly bears enough of a resemblance to H Chandler, but LW1 lacks much resemblance to Veronica.

The Prudecutor, naturally enough, assumes that everything will run according to Standard Corporate Operating Procedure. She can come up with nothing better than the standard issue Anonymous Letter, which so rarely served the purpose of the writer when devised by dear old Dame Agatha.

Why it is so important to LW1 that B1 receive some sort of disciplinary action is beyond me. If anything, the issue going unaddressed can be used to better advantage by any employee with half a brain. If B1 knows she could be disciplined and isn't, there's an off chance that she might either be encouraged into misconduct so egregious that removal would be impossible to avoid, or that she might live in such dread of the unexercised discipline that she treads lightly. Discipline B1 and she'll become defensive, which will likely bode nobody any good.

L2: LW2 at least chose wisely to write to the Prudecutor rather than Mr Savage. Had she consulted Mr S, he'd have handled her with something rather less respectful than kid gloves. But Mr S would have had far sharper words for H2 about waiting until after LW2 gave birth to reveal his relatively tame kink. But LW2 writes that she found his little hobby a major turn-off, and adds shortly afterwards that she is not at all sexually attracted to him, despite his virtues. Given the course of their 30-year marriage, a) how on earth did these developments play out in the first place between LW2 and H2 when (or if) she ever brought up the lack of attraction? and b) how often would she want sex with a husband to whom she was still attracted? Some may be concerned with the exact circumstances of his indulgences, but I shall let the point pass.

The Prudecutor, who cannot see beyond the pun provided by the situation, misses these points as well as LW2's suddenly balking now over visible toenails. If it's really appearances only that matter to LW2, she's certainly in a position to lay down the law. However, I suspect she'd be much happier divorcing H2 and outing him as far and wide as a cross-dresser as she can.

L3: LW3 reveals that she has been spending a lot of time with BFFFFF3 to help BFFFFF3 recover from the caddish treatment of XBF/BFFFFF3. Now this, if anything does from this week's fairly paltry selction, has a Lifetime Original Movie written all over it. As most of the Lifetime Original Movies have about as much variation in them as Ariadne Oliver claims for the plots of her novels, it makes no difference which one.

What the Prudecutor misses in her eagerness to label BFFFFF3 a leech is that LW3 has, at least in the probable interpretation of the poor wounded soul, led BFFFFF3 on, perhaps in a big way. They have spent a lot of time together. Presumably this is unusual. Very likely it's one of the reasons LW3 is so eager to go on holiday with H3, but obviously, being a kind and tactful woman, she has never breathed a word to BFFFFF3 that their excessive number of spa dates have begun to cause stress in LW3's marriage. Being extremely distressed, BFFFFF3 has doubtless required indulgence in a good deal of venting. She likely has also required considerable encouragement, which is likely to have taken the form of agreement with vents on the subject of the worthlessness of XBF3 in particular radiating out to cover all men in general - and, by extension, H3, of course.

LW3 is lucky this one hasn't turned into the BFFFF version of Strangers on a Train. But in any case, her duty is clear. She cannot possibly violate the Chick Code so egregiously. Just as it is entirely permissible or indeed commendable to dump plans made months previously with female friends when a woman is single should a sudden opportunity permit to receive the attentions of an eligible man (as borne out by at least episode of The Facts of Life), it is equally a married woman's duty to ditch her husband and take her jilted BFFFFF on holiday with her instead. There is no way around it.

L4: LW4 omits the most important part of the letter - Arsenal or Chelsea?

It all comes down to which is easier to replace - a good potential date or a good dentist. On recent form, I'd recommend keeping the dentist, but chacun a son gout.

Moral: "And help Ryan to walk in the way of the Lord - support City, not United."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6/21 - Avoiding the Real Issue

Although the Prudecutor is overall in better form than usual this week, she still manages to bypass the main concerns in each of the situations. And this time it's in a more-noticeable-than-usual way.

L4: LW4 makes no mention (or it is edited clean out) of how she and GH4 generally relate. Is he one of those Mediterranean Stereotypes who would not give any credence to the opinions of anyone with the "inferiour" set of plumbing? Is he in general a rational person, capable of respectful discussion and disagreement with LW4? How do they generally resolve issues on which one of them wants to take Course A and the other opposes the idea? Has the move to Greece made him more Greek than he was? One might also wonder why LW4 thought the Prudecutor the best person to consult - if H4 won't listen to his own wife, why on earth would he listen to and respect the opinions of another woman?

H4 reminds me potentially of Christos, the aging houseboy in Robert Rodi's Kept Boy (and the dour reminder to the title character, who predecessor he was, of his possible future). A determined full-time flamer in the States, Christos habitually no sooner sets foot in his native land than he begins to transform. A short time after the beginning of any visit, he's smoking vile cigarettes and speaking only in a disinterested bass grunt. It could well be a Greek thing.

In light of LW2, the only LW of the four whose gender is not implicit, I shall reserve comment on the point that same-sex marriage has become far more Scandinavian than Greek.

As for the Prudecutor, this is bordering on Operation Brokeback Ambush. Yet she still manages to come out with better than usual marks on the day.

L1: Here the Prudecutor is actually quite subtle while being oblivious at the same time. LW1 completely makes no mention of her interactions with NGF1. She appears to have a fairly tiny window from which to view how he treats his daughters. Why is he so largely absent from the bulk of the letter, as well as being seen by the Prudecutor only as an obstacle? (I refuse to speculate on the "likelihood" that any referene to NGs1 imposing on LW1 will result in a harsh reprimand.) And why is the Prudecutor so little interested in the accuracy (or otherwise) of LW1's description of NGF1?

Where the Prudecutor is being subtle lies in her attempt to advance her gynocentric agenda. Like a rape victim being oh-so-careful not to call what happened to hem rape, the Prudecutor attempts to instill great sympathy for the poor little girls so deprived of A Mother's Love that they latch onto a Largely Disinterested Neighbour who simply happens to have the right plumbing. This is much more subtle than just coming out and accusing NGF1 of abuse, and the hint later on when the Prudecutor speculates about the potential reprimand is much along the same line. By advocating a sensible (if shortsighted) course of action, she further advances, likely bringing LW1, whose sensibilities the Prudecutor seems to be picking up and encouraging, along with her.

LW1 has two possible courses of action. One is to follow the Prudecutorial course and report the monster to the appropriate local authorities. The other is to Find Him A Wife. With so many straight women desperate for a man as there always are, this ought not to be that hard if the task were undertaken by anyone with some marketing flair and LW1's motivation to get the girls out from being constantly underfoot. Many women would be willing to put up with some less-than-desirable traits in exchange for such a situation, especially those susceptible to the claims of Little Girls Who NEED a MOMMY.

I draw my advice from Marianne Dashwood. The gentle reader will well recall Marianne's scorn when it is suggested to her that Colonel Brandon's interest in her raises speculations in the Middletons and their set. When Elinor responds to Marianne's claims of the Colonel being infirm and too old at 35 for matrimony (typically tactless being uttered in the presence of Mrs Dashwood, five years Brandon's senior) with a speculation that, while 35 and 17 might best have little to do with matrimony together, a woman of seven-and-twenty might suit him well, Marianne blithely dismisses the possibility that a woman of 27 could ever feel or inspire affection, and might be willing to accept the duties of a nurse in exchange for the provision of a wife. She herself would view such an arrangement as no true marriage, but the world in general would be satisfied.

L2: LW2 must be an admirer of Dame Agatha to be so willing to take a murder-suicide in hes stride. How innocent, one wonders, was MBF2? Not that he deserved to be murdered, but does LW2 know the whole story to be so blithely acquitting a murderer of wrongdoing?

While there is nothing particularly wrong with the Prudecutor's recommendations for the future, she does appear to miss the boat about the past and perhaps present as well. What did LW2 and M2 do about the situation at the time, and how have things been with them since? Perhaps more importantly, why is there no mention of S2's other parent? Surely ze might be consulted.

This whole letter reminds me of Elephants Can Remember, in which the mother of the fiance of a young woman whose parents died in an apparent murder-suicide asks Mrs Oliver, the young woman's godmother, which parent killed the other. Of course the Nosey Parker had her own agenda.

L3: One possibly important question is whether a romantic and sexual relationship between roommates is contrary to the spirit of the university's housing code. Yes, countless same-sex couples have availed themselves of this little advantage of Presumed Heterosexuality for generations, but LW3 might have some interest in being scrupulous about more than just the letter of the law.

But what is of prime interest to me and apparently of none to the Prudecutor is how the dynamics of the relationship between LW3 and CPB3 played out. LW3 apparently met CPB3, came out, was met with self-loathing disapproval, and yet has since proceeded to flirt and make out with CPB3 and even then some beyond that. What the what?

LW3, to his credit, is not attempting to camouflage wanting to date CPB3 behind a veneer of Helping Him Accept Who He Really Is. But the maelstrom of conflicting ideas will just give him the migraine. LW3, there should be many perfectly self-accepting young gay men available to you. Some of them will even be as hot as CPB3 (and sneaky of you to try to slip in that crafty one by not mentioning as much, but, as he clearly isn't emotionally appealing, your really wanting to date him must suggest that he's physically your type, which probably doesn't augur too well as a combination for which one might desire that the relationship go smoothly through the next academic year). You are not an Emotional Social Worker. Don't date the Closeted!

LW3 almost reminds me of the young straight Christians who try to Rule Shark their way around virginity mandates by resorting to a different orifice. No.

Moral: "They were sweet and pleasant in life, and in death they were not divided."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

6/14 - Round Table Discussion

We'll try something a little different today.

Representing Northanger Abbey - General Tilney
Reprensenting Sense and Sensibility - Sir John Middleton, Mr John Dashwood
Representing Pride and Prejudice - Mr Bennet
Representing Mansfield Park - Sir Thomas Bertram, Mr Price
Representing Emma - Mr Woodhouse, Mr Weston, Mr John Knightley
Representing Persuasion - Sir Walter Elliot

L4: LW4 is seething about H4 "postponing" Mother's Day, and would like Father's Day revenge.

Mr Weston has some sympathy for LW4. He recalls how the first Mrs Weston, now deceased, while not immune to the charms of matrimony, longed still for the benefits that had been hers of being Miss Churchill of Enscombe.

Mr John Dashwood expresses concern over the expenditure desired by LW4 in the celebration of what was an entirely artificial holiday invented solely for the purpose of screwing hard-inesting property-holders out of their insufficient supply of capital.

Mr John Knightley is too concerned over the social system that takes children away from their parents and puts them into foster care in the first place. He and Mrs Knightley agree that they could never think well of anyone whon proposed or accepted such a solution (looking at Mr Weston).

Sir Thomas Bertram reminds Mr John Knightley that a superfluity of children and a want of almost everything else might make any parent resort to the kindness of strangers.

Mr Price considers agreeing with Sir Thomas (his wife's sister's husband) but decides to remain quiet and pour himself another glass of wine.

General Tilney thinks the fostering of unrelated children rather feeble and wet.

Sir Walter Elliot sides entirely with H4. LW4 is surely graced beyond her station (as, he is convinced, was Lady Elliot in her time) in having such a husband, and Sir Walter could never see the point in any holiday dedicated to wives and mothers anyway.

Mr Woodhouse cannot agree with Sir Walter, and think it grievously wrong of H4 to neglect any attention due to a lady. He is only glad that LW4 is no longer a bride, as that would magnify the offence.

Mr Bennet wonders if LW4 and H4 might be interested in augmenting their numbers through the addition of the two, or perhaps three, youngest Bennet daughters.

Sir John Middleton cannot comprehend H4 at all. He revels in holidays, all of which provide him with excellent excuses to throw a ball or at least a dinner party.

PFCE advises LW4 to show the children that scorekeeping can never begin too early, a most important life lesson.

L3: LW3 has just survived a difficult visit from F3, and asks a strange question.

Mr Price can see nothing at all wrong with F3's conduct. However, as he never bothers to read any of the greeting cards he occasionally receives, he advises LW3 to save her penny.

Mr John Knightley finds the idea of the remembrance of the day being confined to a card considerably appealing, given Mrs Knightley's devoted fondness for elaborate celebrations.

General Tilney marvels that LW3 should be attempting such independence from her father, a move which he considers extremely unwise.

Sir John Middleton thinks that F3's odd humours must be the result of living alone for long years without liking it, and thinks that more constant society would improve his disposition.

Mr Woodhouse cannot imagine how any father could possibly speak so to his own daughter.

Mr Bennet cannot fathom F3's conduct. If he liked LW3, he'd never have behaved in such a manner, and, if he didn't like LW3, he wouldn't have visited her.

Sir Thomas Bertram cannot approve of F3's conduct, but cannot approve of LW3 failing to do her duty by F3. He points out how Fanny Price always remembered her duty to her Aunt Norris.

Mr John Dashwood thinks that a sum of twenty pounds, such as he was recently tempted to offer his stepmother for the relief of herself and her daughters, vastly superiour to a card.

Sir Walter Elliot marvels that LW3 apparently was not in the habit of doing anything more to mark the day.

Mr Weston believes the original error to have been making up only a party of two for the purchase of the automobile in the first place. Like the ball at the Crown Inn, such an event required the presence of a greater number of counselors, such as Miss Bates, with her unparalleled genius for finding happiness in virtually any situation.

PFCE advises LW3 that she really is selecting the most trivial point on which to focus, and chides the Prudecutor for not inquiring into exactly how SF3 heard about the occasion in question in sufficient detail to spark the controversy. Almost very neatly concealed by LW3.

L2: LW2 would like to intervene on F2's behalf if at all feasible in the matter of alimony.

Sir Walter Elliot sides entirely with F2 as a gentleman in distressed circumstances. He presumes that F2 has already mortgaged as far as possible without selling, and advises him to quit his estate if need be and even allow it to be let to another. It was entirely right and proper for F2 to consult his favourite child (whom Sir Walter assumes LW2 to be), just as his own favourite, Elizabeth, made the useful if insufficient suggestions of not refurnishing the drawing-room, cutting off some unnecessary charities and not bringing Anne her usual annual present from London.

Mr John Dashwood has nothing to say and wishes to leave the room to make sure that Mrs John Dashwood is not getting any interesting new ideas. He is thankful that his mother-in-law, Mrs Ferrars, resolutely opposes divorce.

Mr Woodhouse thinks it very sad that the couple have parted, but cannot comprehend the financial aspects of the case without Mr (George) Knightley's explaining it to him.

Mr Price marvels that F2 could have afforded the divorce at all in the first place.

General Tilney glories in F2's inadequate foresight in choice of a profession, the Army being always secure.

Mr Weston cannot entirely regret a total separation if it's for the good of the children. He is used to unreasonable demands, but thinks F2 surely has some legal recourse.

Sir Thomas Bertram thinks F2 precipitate in his consulting LW2, which ought to have been an absolute last resort.

Sir John Middleton can't comprehend the thought of divorcing, and wonders whether a bit more company would have fixed P2s' problems.

Mr John Knightley cannot approve of divorcing a wife, especially after undergoing so many of the miseries he imagines F2 to have suffered. Not marrying in the first place would have been something different.

Mr Bennet calculates that, whatever the amount of alimony, especially if she took Lydia and Kitty with her, he would be barely ten pounds per annum worse off without Mrs Bennet than with her. If he knew any pretty young women to replace his wife, he might be interested in the idea.

PFCE thinks this is a technical question.

L1: LW1 doesn't really like having a pre-gay son but resents F1's bullying more.

Mr John Kinghtley feels for LW1 somewhat, as he wants his boys to be hardy and cannot entirely approve of his father-in-law's treatment of them. He also would not have taken Miss Woodhouse without her thirty thousand pounds, but then he was a younger son.

Sir John Middleton thinks the boy will get anything untoward beaten out of him once he goes to school; what else are schools for?

Mr Price thinks LW1 is a wimp who ought to apply the strap himself.

Mr Woodhouse cannot understand why anyone would play roughly with boys or expect them to "man up". He is always careful, when little Henry or John asks for the use of his knife, to tell the little boys that knives are only for grandpappas, and marvels that they like their uncle's tossing them to the ceiling and catching them.

General Tilney will have to base his response on the information yet to be received about which of the men involved served in the Army, but he can hazard a guess.

Mr Bennet would be so overjoyed to have a son that he would not care about the boy's orientation. However, while Mrs Bennet would be even more overjoyed, she would insist on heterosexuality in him because of the entail of the family estate.

Sir Walter Elliot thinks that baronets may do as they please, so long as they pass on the estate as whole as they received it.

Mr John Dashwood only wishes that his wife's brothers had both turned out the way S1 appears to be headed. That would have enriched Fanny considerably.

Sir Thomas Bertram, concerned about the dues owed to society, would not sanction truly improper conduct were his son to exhibit such. He would always provide the lad with the maintenance that was his due, but would be wary of personal support of conduct outside the boundary.

Mr Weston would be naturally loath to see ill will in the treatment of F1, but cannot approve of LW1's attitude in the slightest, thinking that LW1 ought to be as proud of his son as any father could be.

PFCE advises LW1 and W1 that they have less time than they think in which to become comfortable with the possibility of having a gay child and indeed even the actuality. These days, middle school is not uncommon. Should they find that they cannot become comfortable, they would be better advised to be consistent, buy S1 off, and give him something to reject clearly and unconditionally rather than dangle conditional approval that finds him caught up in the web of seeking their approval for decades before he has the sense to give up.

That will serve as moral for today.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Almost 25 Words or Less

L1: So the Prudecutor bases everything around her grandfather. That says a lot. The real problem is how to establish fullest reasonable safety while avoiding turning the law into Mommy Suspicion Culture. Beats me.

L3: This is a question? There really needs to be some advisor dedicated to corporate problems of this sort. At least it illustrates that Business Etiquette is a different species entirely from Human Etiquette, whether or not Mr Messy would agree.

L4: Why on earth would such a person with such a problem consult the Prudecutor? I could see him asking the Prudecutor how to act around CW3 after a dream convinced him there was some hidden connection between them, but this question really belongs to Dr Westheimer or someone of that ilk.

L2: Now, here the Prudecutor goes completely off the rails, although even without fumbling this one she was well above her usual average for the day. The reply starts out reasonably with a wish for more bipartisanship in personal relationships. But then the usual Prudecutorial Overreach kicks into gear. There is not a scrap of evidence to show that LW2 thinks RF2 arrived at his conclusions honourably. If anything, LW2 might be argued to be maintaining that an intelligent and well-educated person's repugnant political positions were almost certainly arrived at through other than honourable means. Yes, LW2 is actually silent on that point, if he thought it mattered, but that's the easier way to be able to argue the case. And there's certainly a case to be made that calling him a "great guy", which LW2 does not do, would be a stretch.

The interesting things here are two points on which the Prudecutor says nothing. RF2 requested a campaign donation from a friend. What ON EARTH would Miss Manners have to say about that little breach? That must be out of bounds in any book, surely. But the deeper point is that LW2 has already made a fairly clear statement by not eagerly raising the question as soon as the candidacy was announced of how he could contribute to his friend's push for victory.

This leads me to the point of the interesting dynamics of the friendship. Why does LW2 feel obligated to contribute? If he has such strong views of RF2's politics as to be repulsed by them, why has he such a subservient attitude that he feels so obliged? And why does the Prudecutor think that LW2's views are so completely unknown to RF2? Does she think that a person of RF2's stripe would have nothing to do with an opposite number? What seems curious to me is that LW2 is so ready to cave. It almost suggests the classic current theme of one major political leaning being of the take-no-prisoners, never-back-down-or-compromise variety while the other goes the route of appeasement and always searching for a middle way. Curious.

Moral: "...Mr Palmer is always going about the country canvassing against the election... but poor fellow! it is very fatiguing to him! for he is forced to make everybody like him."