Thursday, July 26, 2012

7/26 - Almost August

The front page is acting up - this will be at blitz speed.

L4: Why on earth is LW4 asking the Prudecutor this question? Surely the correct expert would be Estelle Getty - or is she even still alive? At any rate, this is a technical question, and does not merit a measured response.

L3: The Prudecutor is more or less on the right track here, but does not see far enough to the correct solution. Although LW3 does not deserve this good fortune, the easy solution is for F3 just to duplicate the present he buys for M3, give it to H3, have H3 pay for it and give it to LW3. A little incestuous, but isn't that fitting?

L1: Rehiring the nanny would be the supreme feminist gesture - of the branch of feminism that would replace patriarchy with matriarchy if it could. After all, N1 never took an oath not to cheat on LW1, whereas H1 did. And it will serve brilliantly to demonstrate the lack of need for men in the world. If these ideas appeal to LW1, then she should hire away. But the Prudecutor's suggestion of giving H1 a second chance is entirely wrong on all fronts.

L2: LW2 ought to read Emma and attend to the debate between Emma and Mr Knightley over the question of why and/or how Frank Churchill might manage to visit his father despite the objections of the aunt who rules his life. Emma maintains that it is difficult for a young man who has tempers to please, while Mr Knightley is all for the young man standing up and announcing that he would gladly sacrifice any pleasure for his aunt's convenience, but that it is his duty to visit his father on the occasion of his marriage, and that he intends to leave on the morrow. He thinks it would actually raise Frank in the Churchills' esteem, for they would know they could always count on him to do his dfuty by them as well as by his father. Emma is highly entertained, and convinced that only Mr Knightley, who has always been his own master and has never had to manage anyone else's temper, would think it possible to make such a declaration.

Moral: "If he would say so to her at once in the tone of decision becoming a man, there would be no opposition made to his going."
            "No," said Emma, laughing, "but perhaps there might be some made to his coming back again."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7/19 Shock! Horror!

The Prudecutor actually came close enough to getting one right that I might actually give her a B+ for one answer. It may take me almost the entire next week to recover. Another 4x200 (with bonus):

L3: Here we have the dreadful occurrence of the Prudecutor managing not to get one wrong when the letter in question was not a complete softball the way some others have been. Some people are Natural Survivors who do their causes all the possible good in the world by being Out and Visible on the Front Lines. LW3 is not. A little more about the benefits of Choice Feminism, or skepticism about how LW3's unwilling and unenthusiastic participation could conceivably help the cause could have improved the answer, but basically it was on the right track. And, as always, I raise an eyebrow when the Prudecutor launches off on an assumption that the working world is so homogeneous that the same Corporate Culture is to be found in all working environments.

LW3's shaming coordinator would do well to take a page from the example of Virginia Trant in The Big Crunch. Shame is to be applied to those who don't contribute to the endless round of charitable collections undertaken by wives whose straying husbands leave them with little else to do (besides helping murder their pregnant schoolgirl mistresses), not to survivors who recognize that their contributions are better off remaining monetary.

L4: What interests me here is that the Prudecutor completely fails to make even the tiniest nibble at the most interesting piece of information in the letter. F4 is insisting that BM4 appear in less than all her usual hirsute glory for the wedding. That would seem to be the vital clue. One recalls when She Who Must was squired for an evening out and an unimpressive dinner by an old flame, Chappy Bowers. While the meal itself was less than inspiring, it was Chappy who gave SWMBO pause by using a coupon for the meal and trying to get a reduction on their bill because they didn't eat the bullet-hard potatoes included in their Selection of Vegetables. A man who would do that would very likely be the sort to investigate the contents of a woman's shopping basket, and that simply would never do.

As for the wedding-related problem, who the flip cares? This is LW4's greatest concern? If it were not for having so many friends who practice in the Family Division and do divorces, I should tell LW4 in clear and ringing tones not to marry F4. But I am too kind to my friends to advise so.

L2: Here there are clearly established procedures (or certainly ought to be) for what W2 can or cannot do given her position and the situation. It would appear from L2 that OP2 is positioning himself so as to take most particular advantage of the lifeguards' situation as they enter or leave their chair. But this requires definite confirmation as being a strong point in W2's favour should she choose to take direct action of the sort indicated as being her preference in L2. Given the Prudecutor's fondness for the idea that all employment cultures are alike, it is almost strange that here she chooses to take a more individual view of the situation here at hand. But this is enough of a technical question that it hardly seems fair to put as a question to the Prudecutor. W2 should do what she is able to do to remedy the situation, and perhaps one might understand if she were to go a little beyond what is most strictly permitted in the situation. It is like Emma Woodhouse wondering if she went beyond what she could say about another woman when she told Frank Churchill she thought Mr Dixon sent Jane Fairfax's pianoforte.

L1: Now one can practically hear all the wolves gathering at the door to proclaim that what occurred was absolutely not rape, at least in the more recent encounter. The Prudecutor actually starts out on somewhat safe grounds, though slightly inexact about implied consent. But then, while it is far from me to be out of sympathy with the Prudecutor or anyone else who cannot stomach the thought of intimacy taking place with her (or his) partner for life without the assistance of the prior consumption of at least a bottle of wine or preferably two, she must allow that not everybody is like herself. LW1 and H1 clearly are not. They are entitled to their own agreement. And I cannot help but wonder what is wrong with being punctilious, a quality surely in great demand among many couples trying, in the face of considerable difficulty, to conceive offspring.

Where I shall tackle LW1 is on two fronts. First, is it so clear that H1 violated their agreement? This led to an agreement that he shouldn't be afraid of coming close to me in similar situations as long as he asked my consent. From LW1's description of the recent encounter, it's hard to say what constitutes what. Is starting to kiss her always a sexual advance? Did her conduct have anything to do with the situation becoming sexual? This is most unclear.

But I feel on firmer grounds questioning whether the situations were so very similar as LW1 maintains. C1 went to a friend's wine tasting. That event was supposed to so comparable to a night of party and drinking? Who organizes such wine tastings? Who gets that drunk at them? From LW1's description of the recent encounter, even if we overlook any possible effect on the relationship of six years of marriage, it sounds as if she only realized her state of inebriation when she could only recall half the encounter. How reasonable is it to suppose that H1 ought to have recognized her drunkenness and how sober is he supposed to be in the agreement to be able to be competent to make such a determination?

I have no quarrel with the couple having an agreement, but think that the agreement needs to change. As to whether or not the couple ought to divorce, of course they ought to divorce. Claude Erskine Brown is in desperate need of a brief. When he is briefless for too long, he starts looking for young lady barristers to take to the Opera. And we all know what happens then.

Moral: "As a bacchanalia, the Blind Tasting ranked very little higher than an afternoon out with the Temperance Society or a vicarage tea party."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

7/12 - Waiting for August

With Homocentric August so near, a continuation of the reduced format may serve to build anticipation for more thorough examination.

L1: The Prudecutor entirely misses that the marriage in question has continued to sail along for a considerable period of time - nearly two years - without complaint or perhaps even comment. LW1 does offer some little thing by way of explanation that (s)he appears to weigh Pros vs Cons and the Pros tend to be in the ascendancy - but if anything, this only induces speculation about the natures of the participants' first marriages. Of course, if one recalls the main parties in Thripp v Thripp, who for three years communicated with each other only by means of brusque and insulting notes typewritten on an old Olivetti, one supposes that LW1 might be able to continue the marriage, stomach cramping and all. But this is such a softball for the Prudecutor (who still managed to foul it away) that it really ought to have been L4 instead of L1. Having some sympathy for those whose stomachs are inclined to cramp, I shall pay LW1 the tribute of hoping that a good portion of the divorce settlement is spent upon some means of investigation into exactly why (s)he had previously been so inclined to retain the marriage so long as had already been done.

L2: Now L2 really ought to have been saved for August, when the obvious response would have been that of course it is only naturally for the homophobia of FMIL2 to manifest itself in the form of an illness as self-willed and self-determined as that of Mrs Churchill in Emma. For the life of me, I cannot account for why the Prudecutor chooses to waste her focus on whether FMIL2's ailment is or isn't an Officially Recognized Disease. That seems to be at best tangential to the difficulty that LW2 will be running the household entirely to suit FMIL2 until the woman's much-anticipated death in the (one might hope) near future.

The Prudecutor also completely fails to pick up on LW2 wanting to find a cute way to make the request in the invitations. This is an indication (perhaps even another indication) that LW2 lacks the right frame of mind for matrimony. Besides, as one who has headaches after sharing the elevator with a charming but overly perfumed neighbour, I posit that not only is cute entirely inappropriate but even the most mature and fact-based request will likely produce backlash. Or is this something LW2 might enjoy - whether openly or otherwise?

L3: This letter would have been even greater fun in August. While I imagine that the Slate commentariat will be referring to LW3 as male, I'd have enjoyed treating LW3 as a female closeted heterosexual - rather like the way Claude Erskine Brown thought Dave Inchcape duped him into supporting his application for a place in Number Three Equity Court when it was really Mizz Lizz Probert who had deviously emphasized to Claude how any hint of anti-gay discrimination on his part would lower her opinion of him.

Why did LW3 consult the Prudecutor? I suspect fear of being told off by Mr Savage. But LW3 needs an Esteem Boost, and Mr Savage links to an excellent piece in that vein demonstrating how anyone squicked isn't worth LW3's time. It goes a bit far - refusing to acknowledge that a considerate potential partner might decline to continue the relationship after disclosure without DTMFA entering the picture. And Mr Savage almost regards being HIV+ as a blessing or an enhancement. Still, a little of such philosophy will not be in much danger of going too far. LW3 is entitled to certain considerations, and should not shoulder all the blame when some belongs to nasty others.

L4: LW4 makes me recall Emma Woodhouse when she and Frank Churchill discuss the state of affairs between Jane Fairfax, her benefactor's daughter (then Miss Campbell), and Miss Campbell's then fiance Mr Dixon. Mr Churchill is able to disguise his admiration of Miss Fairfax's playing behind Mr Dixon's preference for it over that of his fiancee. Miss Woodhouse thinks that hard on Miss Campbell, thinking it worse that the preferred musician was her particular friend, that the incident would be prone to continual repetition. I shall invert the sentiment somewhat to comment on how delightful it must be to have a particular friend who is both loud and overweight, in order to shine by comparison.

Here what the Prudecutor misses, besides that the offender is M4 and not MIL4, is that apparently the misbehaviour of M4 was limited to a single occasion. What, one wonders, was so unique about that occasion? Has M4 gotten away with disgraceful conduct before? What did or didn't B4 or S4 do in defence of his or her wife? Is SIL4 the only victim of M4's childish mistreatment? And then, after establishing the problem as occurring during one visit, LW4 uses the present tense. Too muddled.

Moral: "One would rather have a stranger preferred than one's very particular friend; with a stranger it might not recur again, but the misery of having a very particular friend always at hand, to do everything better than one does one's self."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

7/3 - 4 x 100

L4: The Prudecutor actually does fairly well here, calling out the bullying of W4/SIL4 and wondering what W4 does to show an interest in LW4's activities of choice. But one goes beyond that to wonder how on earth LW4 got to this point in the first place. Surely people in D/S relationships who choose to carry it out of the bedroom ought to disclose the fact in the first place. LW4 perhaps needs to request such a contract, with one important exception written in. Otherwise, the obvious answer clearly is seven letters long and begins with the letter D.

L3: It may be one thing not to say anything to a pregnant woman doing something that might increase health risks to her potential future child. But to extend that to a regular vomiter is taking delicacy to a new extreme. Just don't follow the line of discourse the Prudecutor recommends. The "lovely young woman" with her "bright future ahead" reeks of Standard Issue Soft Soap. Be kind but firm, state the facts, offer what assistance with which you can follow through, and leave the ridiculous shibboleths out of the conversation. They come across as condescending, not the right note here.

L2: This is what LW2 gets for having gone along without initiating the Sexual Preferences Conversation well in advance of marrying. Her use of the term vanilla might indicate her familiarity with the writings of Mr Savage, yet she consults the Prudecutor probably through fear of being told to dump her husband. Somehow I don't see where her "kinkiness" comes into this. But her final five words practically constitute a dumpable offence. Divorce would be kinder to H2, who could start again with a suitable partner. But LW2 won't, so let her try to fudge her way into improving their marital relations.

L1: The Prudecutor omits to ask why LW1 has been trying to revive a relationship with F1 and SM1 when the whole thing is clearly just window dressing and empty show. F1 might perhaps be forgiven for his marriage to SM1, as aging men supposedly cope badly with living as singles. But the Prudecutor is right; SM1 goes beyond the pale. Things should not have reached this point. An attempted reconciliation is a drastic step in the wrong direction when LW1 ought to be urging F1 as strongly as she can to divorce his wife now, not bringing F1 for visits.

Moral: "A friend's work is never done." (Winona Ryder in Heathers, in the bathroom after lunch.)