On Being Lydia Bennet


In 1997 my heart broke and I decided to give up writing.

Sure, you can read that again.

Look, I’d been at it for 12 years.  And I mean seriously, even though sometimes we couldn’t send novels out because we lacked the $8 for postage. But still, by that time I had written 10 novels (8 in the same universe) and come in second in two contests.

My first short story got a personal rejection, but after that I was stuck in bad-photocopy-land.  I used to fill a big plastic bin of rejections every March because I was circulating 60 stories on average.

And then our writers’ group decided to send out submissions to a writers’ contest (I think in NM) and I sent out two novels (both finished) that I’d worked on and polished.  They were both rejected in the elimination round.  Meanwhile my friend who had dashed off a proposal (and never finished that novel) won the contest.  She’d been writing seriously for … three years.

It wasn’t that I envied my friend.  I just decided that I was doing something wrong, that something about me was intrinsically non-saleable.  (I wasn’t even wrong, as such.  Friend’s proposal was far more accessible.)

I’d always wanted to be a writer, and now it was impossible.  So I gave up writing.

It might have been harder, honestly, but Dan was traveling five days a week and I don’t sleep when he’s not home.  So I was stumbling drunk with sleep.

But even though I’d realized that I’d never be what NY wanted (and boy, was I right!) I also wanted to be around writers, to write, to learn, to spend sometime with adults, even virtually.

I looked around for fanfic I could write.  This was a little problem, since I don’t watch TV.  And while it’s theoretically possible to write fanfic in a show you never watched, it would probably get weird.  (It got weird, anyway.)

I tried to find Three Musketeers Fanfic and ran away.  It was ALL slash and also let’s say “only fandom that runs to foursomes.”  But the worst part — which tells you a lot about me, alas — is what offended me: they were all about the Disney movie.  The idea that Porthos used to be a pirate, or that D’Artagnan had an affair with the queen (for heaven’s sake) was woven all through.  THAT I couldn’t take.

So I found Jane Austen fanfic, which is always mostly Pride and Prejudice fanfic.  For those of you who only know it through the execrable movie with Keyra Knightly she of the flat chest and stupid expressions, or from the movie set in 19th century TX, you’re doing the work the same disservice as if you only knew Starship Troopers through the movie.

Honestly,if I read one more fanfic that makes a comment about being fools in love, I’m going to reach through the screen and…. uh… nevah mind.  “Break fingers” is probably indicated.

Jane Austen wasn’t writing about being “fools in love.”  In fact, she was not a very romantic writer.  Or I should say her romance was more realistic in that people marry for all sorts of reasons, sometimes zany.  What she was mostly was someone with a sharp eye for folly, but one who still loved humanity nonetheless.

The book might be mostly inaccessible unless you’ve made a study of the era and/or are willing to work harder.  Even I find myself going “Wait a minute, why is saying that wrong? It’s the logical thing!”  Let’s say their manners and morals are sometimes bewildering.

I think well of the A & E miniseries which is fairly accessible and fairly respectful of the book.  I watch that when I have a cold or can’t function.

So I drifted into a fanfic group, and eventually got thrown out of it by implying that Mr. Crawford (whom I gang pressed to marry Kitty) might have a taste for being whipped.  No, it wasn’t even that blatant.  When they met I had established that he was excited, mostly by danger, which is why he had previously run away with a married woman.  And Kitty has gone bonkers and is threatening him with a gun which makes him fall in love with her.

I simply had a scene in which a married Kitty is coming into the house (secretively) with a whip and tells Lizzy that it’s to subdue unruly pillows.  (Honestly, I wasn’t visualizing S & M, just the threat.)

Apparently this was too hot for that site, the story was expunged and my log in terminated.  Which meant I bounced into another site and posted the same story.  (In retrospect, you can tell how not-sleeping I was.  Printed it out recently, and it’s borderline incoherent on the word level.)  No one cared about how risque I was.

I stayed with that site ten years, and I honestly learned more there not about writing per se, but about the tastes in story of normal human beings, than anywhere else, ever.

On the site I was “adopted” by a family of five women who’d taken on Bennet girls personalities.  Because they were all taken, I had to be Mrs. Bennet.

Honestly, they offered me the chance to be sensible.  Charlotte.  Sensible, me?

I became Mrs. Bennet because she’s sort of a grown up Lydia.

Today I was meditating on the book and the personalities of the women and I thought “Good Lord, I AM Lydia.”

Think about it, I open my mouth when I should stay quiet. I have a weird sense of humor.  I don’t bow to the dictates of my society. And I am running away with indie, which is probably as bad as running away with Mr. Whickam.  If not worse.  I understand ALL the proper society is VERY properly scandalized at me and after 18 years and 34 books I ADMIT TO including a for-hire book which made someone else’s career, a Prometheus, a Dragon, two collaborations with bestsellers, my first book being a finalist for the Mythopoeic, I’m not a real writer, and not qualified to be at panels at cons.

Isn’t it amazing that the people who fancy themselves anti-establishment are the most hide bound of mannered ladies, just in a different way.  “No, no, deary.  You must challenge convention like everyone else.”

All the PROPER LADIES will look down on me.  Why, I have no reputation left! (Snort, giggle.)

Oh, yeah, the rest of the story: eventually I decided to try my toes in the publishing water again (seriously, if I had the ability to send my younger self a letter.  Never mind.)

I wrote Darkship Thieves, which was rejected sometimes with furious letters, and I had NO IDEA what they objected to was the Libertarianism.  Eh.  I iz dense and don’t get these social signals well.

Eventually I went to a workshop met an editor and sold the Shakespeare trilogy and since then we’ve been trundling along in this hell-bound basket.

I’m bringing some of my Austen stuff under Alyx Silver.  Only one out right now.

The whole point of this post, though, is that while most women of an intellectual bend identify with Mary Bennet, I am apparently and forever much closer to the scandalous and imprudent Lydia.

Well, you know, if you can’t fix it you must embrace it.  I’ll snort giggle in the face of the proper ladies of science fiction and go on in my socially-unapproved way.

Because sometimes, it’s the best you can do.

249 thoughts on “On Being Lydia Bennet

    1. Exactly. Some years ago I was in a taverna on a small Dodecanese island, idly chatting with some young Greek guys who were just out of the army. They were quite anti-American, slamming anything the US had done or that they imagined we’d done. When they wound down and looked at me to respond, I told them (this int’s verbatim, as it was quite a while ago), “The thing is, no one in America notices or cares what you think about us. It just isn’t important us that you like or dislike us–we don’t care even a little.”

      They were speechless, and not a little upset that their opinions meant less than nothing to us.

      1. i don’t remember the exact quote or who said it, but i read somewhere something like …
        The Germans act like they own the world, the British own the world, and the Americans don’t care who owns the world”

      2. If they care enough to wage actual war over it, they should be killed.

        Otherwise, I got a fanfic to either plan or shelve.

      3. Whit Stillman’s Barcelona, two quotes:

        Fred: I think it’s well-known that anti-Americanism has its roots in sexual impotence, at least in Europe.

        Woman: You can’t say Americans are not more violent than other people.

        Fred: No.

        Woman: All those people killed in shootings in America?

        Fred: Oh, shootings, yes. But that doesn’t mean Americans are more violent than other people. We’re just better shots.

        1. I think it’s in FROM SEA TO SEA that Kipling recounts a conversation he had with an American in Tokyo about the reputation of the American West for shootings. He was told, more or less, that if a gunslinger ‘drew’ on somebody who wasn’t ‘on the shoot’, it was considered bad manners and the gunslinger was sure to be shot by the general sense of the room.

          Why this is inferior to relying on police has always escaped me.

          1. In theory, police and courts permit the distancing of the resolution, and can moderate the escalation of feuds. In practice, criminal justice reform is a crock.

      4. And so VERY much stupidity and pain and suffering has arisen when Americans care about what the rest of the world thinks of us.

  1. On “being …” Some years back I took one of those online quizzes. “Which Founding Father are you?” Came up with John Adams. I didn’t know much about John Adams. Federalist, Second President, and that was pretty much it at the time. Then I saw 1776.

    “Because you’re obnoxious and disliked, John.”

    And suddenly all became clear. 😉

    1. I’ve never found you obnoxious. My dislike for you is purely impersonal universal misanthropy. 🙂

        1. I’m rather fond of John Dickinson, myself. I will note that Samuel Chase (Old Bacon Face) was the first high official to be impeached.

          Why Dems are backing off the push to impeach Kavanaugh
          Rep. Jerry Nadler, slated to be Judiciary Committee chairman in the new Democratic-controlled House, has now backed off threats to impeach Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That’s a wise decision, especially when you recall what happened the first time the House impeached a Supreme Court justice, 213 years ago.

          Samuel Chase joined the court in 1796. He was a revolutionary war patriot and a sharp legal mind. He was also a man of strong views and strong words (and striking appearance: tall and florid, nicknamed Bacon Face).

          Chase was a die-hard Federalist, the conservative party of the day. He had presided over the trial and conviction of muck-raking journalist James Callender under the notorious Sedition Act, and a trial of armed tax resisters (they had threatened a federal marshal, which bucked their offense to treason).

          Chase lectured grand juries on the dangers of “mobocracy” — which he equated with the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson.

          Unfortunately for Chase, the election of 1800 was a blue wave. Jefferson won the White House and his followers flipped both houses of Congress. Only the federal judiciary remained in Federalist hands. …

    2. Ah, 1776. Infinetly more clever and relevant than HAMILTON.

      “Franklin did this, Franklin did that, Franklin did some other damned thing. Franklin smote the ground with his cane and out jumped George Washington, full grown, and on his horse. Franklin then electrified them with his miraculous lightning rod, amd the three of them…Franklin, Washington, AND the horse…conducted the entire revolution together.”

      (Franklin, musingly) “I like it”

      1. “I have determined one useless man is called a disgrace, two useless men are a law firm, and three or more useless men are a congress and I have had enough of this congress.”

        I was sold right there.

        1. Too good to resist posting, from the reason article:
          “Tickets for Hamilton start between $179 and $199, with high-end tickets going for $849. Once they hit the secondary market (A.K.A. scalpers) you’re looking at between $650 and $1500 on Stubhub. Is this because it’s the best musical on Broadway? Or is it because Hamilton is this season’s most fashionable way to signal liberal respectability and status among the One Percenters?

          This isn’t speaking truth to power. This is power telling the rest of us what truth is. There’s nary a hint of self-awareness as those only vaguely aware of poverty and toil through a sociology textbook deign to lecture us little people about America’s ‘real values.’ That’s what’s wrong with America in the current year.

          The election of Donald Trump and the leave vote in the United Kingdom aren’t just political decisions. They’re a cultural revolt against the pomposity of upper-crust liberals who don’t have to live with the consequences of their own values. Hamilton is where the modern day Marie Antoinettes tell unemployed forklift drivers to eat cake.

          Off in the distance, the sans cullotes are sharpening the guillotine. The aloof nobles catching the latest performance of Hamilton have no idea they’re about to be cast—much against their will—in a bit part in Les Miserables.”

          1. From what I can gather the core difference between the two shows is that the authors of 1776 took pains to make sure that everything their historical characters said was something they wrote or were quoted as saying…with the exception of the songs. The authors of HAMILTON took pains to make sure that everything their historical characters say is something the authors overheard at a Manhattan coctail party.

  2. while it’s theoretically possible to write fanfic in a show you never watched, it would probably get weird.

    Theoretically possible? I think the entire last season of Castle was fanfic by people who’d never watched the show.

    Yes, it was weird.

    1. No, it was worse. Most fanfic, however inept, is a labour of love for the original property, or at least for something the authors love in it or see in it. CASTLE’s eighth season was so clearly a ratings-chasing shakeup that it could only have been done by people who simply didn’t care about what the existing audience loved in it.

    2. I’ve actually read and enjoyed fanfiction by an author who hadn’t seen the original show. Of course, me being die hard shipper probably helped with that.

      1. me being die hard shipper
        Emphasis added.

        Die Hard shipper? You’re not one of those arguing John and Al had something more than brotherly love going on, are you? Or are you one of those claiming there was serious subtext in the relationship between John and Hans?

        John/Hans – are they actually two sides of the same person, opposite faces of the coin?

        1. No, I’ve never actually seen the movie Die Hard. The most I know of it is from Larry Correia’s Christmas Noun stories.

          1. John would not have been there if it had not been for her, but I do not believe what he is going through just for her. He is one who will do what he believes to be right even at great personal cost, and abandoning 30 hostages to their fate would would not be right. He goes that extra mile because Holly is one of those hostages and his heart carries him past what he would otherwise have been able to accomplish.

    3. You mispelled Star Trek: Discovery.

      It was also directed by people who never watched any other ST series. It eschews every common ST filming trope from lighting to shot design.

      1. I’ll admit that I’ve never actually scene it, but the mere fact that they were trying to call their chick “Star Trek’s first black captain” told me all that I needed to know about how respectful things would be of the series’ history.

        1. Ah, I don’t think they said “first black star fleet captain” as the Main Character wasn’t even a captain.

          Mind you they did goof up when they called her the first “Black Star Trek Main Character”. 😈

          1. Huh? I can see sense in identifying Uhuru as supporting status in the original series. Bu what was Benjamin Lafayette Sisko on Deep Space Nine?

        2. Next you’re going to tell me C. J. Cherryh, Ursula LeGuin, and Ann McCaffery (among others) were all women to deny recent Nebula and Hugo winners status as the first women to win the formerly sexist awards.

      1. My first exposure to ST fanfic was in the “Best of Trek” collections from the fanzine in the 70s. Some of it was quite good and occasionally amusing (the two mirror, mirror type stories involving the crew and the cast trading places between the Enterprise and the set were great).

        1. Especially the second one. William Shattner trying to negotiate with a Klingon captain while the computers tried to translate his puns…

      1. That is the goal.

        “If we’ve brought a little joy into your hum drum lives, then we feel our hard work ain’t been in vain for nuthin’. Bless you all!”

  3. Not Lydia. Not really.

    At least in my reading, Lydia was scandalous, etc., because she was basically selfish. In the epilogue, she was described as sponging on her relatives at every opportunity, after her family had turned themselves inside out trying to get her out of what (they, at least, were sure) was an untenable position.

    You strike me (as a literary analogue, at least) as an Elizabeth who met her Darcy-analogue very late. Unconventional as a matter of *principle,* and because she is Odd in a society that has no clue what to do with an Odd who is both female and not possessed of large amounts of property (ie, not rich enough to be eccentric). More like her father than her mother, in other words.

    It would be painful to be an unmarried thirtysomething Elizabeth, but there are worse things. And (in our literary analogy) at least you did eventually find a way to your love. There are different kinds of lucky.

    1. You could not convince me that Our Esteemed Hostess resembled Lydia, as Lydia is utterly self absorbed.  (‘But of this answer Lydia heard not a word.  She seldom listened to any body for more than half a minute, …’ from chapter 39)  I cannot imagine Lydia writing anything that did not somehow center on Lydia.  I agree that Elizabeth is a better likeness, an ODD capable of wit, observation, self-reflection, self-correction and growth. 

      Lydia was a spoiled and undisciplined by an overindulgent mother of very little understanding.  Her father looked on the sillier members of his household with amused detachment, not taking any serious steps to see to the better formation of his younger girls.  (Elizabeth attempts to explain to him when attempting to persuade him to prevent Lydia from going to Brighton, this had costs to the elder daughters.)

      Darcy was correct in observing that it speaks well of the two eldest daughters being so sensible in light of the family in which they were raised.

      1. Agreed.
        I trust that though our hostess may consider herself, like Lydia, to be wild, fearless, and imprudent, she does have at least slightly more sense . Lydia was obsessed with nothing more serious than fashion and flirting. She entirely lacked understanding that she was being used and would have been dumped as soon as Wickham got bored with her. No gentleman, respectable or not, would have had her as a wife after that. With her history, reputation, qualifications, and the kind of connections Mr. Wickham did have, she was headed straight for a London whorehouse. Such unspeakably horrid prospects are not stated, but rather clearly hinted.

        1. I doubt that readers at the time would have had to have Lydia’s probable fate spelled out for them.

  4. This morning I left off reading with Elizabeth in Lambton, the Gardiners’ wondering about her relationship with Darcy — and having yet to receive the letters from Jane.

    This reading a number of comments have jumped out, one in particular from the twenty-fourth chapter, where Elizabeth is addressing Jane:

    “… There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense.”

    No Austen is no sentimental romantic.

    1. Austen had to develop the skill to write admirable characters. As anyone who’s read her juvenilia knows, ludicrous idiots were her natural metier.

        1. Oh, you mean likes Mr. Collins, Ms. Bennet, Mary and Lydia? Lydia has absolutely no sense of shame.

  5. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books. And I liked your “alternative ending”. Looking forward to more!

  6. The whole point of this post, though, is that while most women of an intellectual bend identify with Mary Bennet, …

    Oh, dear no.  Mary has pretensions of intellect, but she is pedantic.

      1. And some not so young. I’ve been working to stifle my predilection for pedantry for decades.

      2. I recently read Pride and Prometheus, which has a much older Mary Bennet falling in with Victor Frankenstein and his construct, and she’s gained a lot of sense since she was younger (since humiliation is a fairly decent teacher.) She’s still unmarried, but at least she has some interests.

        I’m not sure if it’s a good novel, since the author couldn’t subvert the books as much as they wanted to, but at least they loved the source material (which the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies manifestly did not.)

        1. I wish I could find it again, but I read a wonderful fanfic in which Mary Bennett runs away (in a non-romantic sense) with the Eighth Doctor.

          I think the author smoothed out a lot of Mary’s more objectionable edges, but overall it worked, and was still loving to the source material.

    1. More to the point, she’s intellectual in an attempt to make up for being the plain one. She’s not bookish for the love of books.

      Jane Austen told family members that Kitty married a clergyman and Mary, later, did no better than one of her Uncle Phillips’s clerks, and “was content to be considered a star in the society of Meryton’.” So there is some hope that she managed to curb her worst faults. Still, no matter the level of society, it does not argue for intellectual interests.

      1. Which I think is where a lot of the identification with Mary comes from: she’s the plain one. For those of us who grew up insecure about our appearances, it’s much easier to identify with that than with someone like Elizabeth who never has the slightest doubt about her own worth. I can even identify with Mary’s intellectual pretensions to make up for it: when you’ve got the worst case of acne in the school, it’s easy to run from activity to activity looking for a talent where people will appreciate you so that you’ll be SOMETHING more than “the ugly one.”

        I also always pitied Mary because it seemed like the “worthy” members of her family considered her hopeless. For all the talk about how all three of the younger Bennet girls were “very silly,” they only ever talked about trying to improve Lydia’s and Kitty’s behavior. That suggests to me that Mary had simply been dismissed as beyond saving.

        1. I don’t think that was quite it. Mary’s silliness, while obnoxious, was also unlikely to ruin her sisters’ prospects or hers. Lydia and Kitty, on the other hand, were quite different kettles of fish.
          I think Mr. and Mrs. Bennett decided to prioritize in order of danger.

          1. I honestly do not think that Mrs. Bennet was sensible to the dangers except when it appeared that the worst had occurred, and that recognition was discarded once she learned that Lydia was to be married.

            Mr. Bennet does appear to have learned a little, in that Kitty was never allowed to visit the Wickhams.

        2. Not hopeless. Worse than that. Insignificant.

          She wasn’t given up on, she was simply ignored. So she tried to find something to make herself stand out, and everyone ignored that, too.

  7. One of my mother’s co-workers was raised in Hong Kong. His father had been a low-level diplomat for the Nationalists, and they were fortunate to get out of China alive in 1949. He (the co-worker) said that _Pride and Prejudice_ made perfect sense to him, once he sorted out the laws of entailment. Because that’s how his parents’ world had been, and how a lot of things in China still are. Mom’s Indian (dot) co-worker said something similar. (Re. the A&E mini-series and the novels.)

    1. One of the Victorian-enthusiast Facebook groups I belong to is run by a young lady from India, who adores everything Victorian, and especially by 19th-century lady writers, like Jane Austen, the Brontes, and Mrs. Gaskell.

      1. Kaoru Mori has done a manga series, “Emma,” about a young man in the 19th century from a good family who falls in love with an acquaintance’s maid. It’s an interesting chain of influences: Age of Steam to Japan to the US.

        1. Mori is a self-identified Anglophile, Japanese style. The illustrations are marvelous in their attention to period detail.

          (Note: there is a crowd sourced fund drive for the dubbing the Anime adaption into English.)

            1. I *love* the artwork in A Brides Tale. I have an online friend who raises/rescues the type of horse the one family raises and we both have a passion for ethnic embroidery and design. The detail of the drawings makes each book a treasure.

    2. I read a review of P&P by an Indian who read the first line and flashed back to the wedding where a little old lady, introduced to him by his mother, instantly observed that he probably should be married, and he froze, knowing she had a niece or granddaughter in mind — he felt SO MUCH for Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley.

        1. Is this a lot like my rejoinder to people claiming intentionally having anchor babies is a myth that they need to go to Thompson General in El Paso and watch the games of trying to give birth in the US/transport women in early labor back to Mexico?

  8. “I tried to find Three Musketeers Fanfic and ran away. It was ALL slash and also let’s say “only fandom that runs to foursomes.” But the worst part — which tells you a lot about me, alas — is what offended me: they were all about the Disney movie. The idea that Porthos used to be a pirate, or that D’Artagnan had an affair with the queen (for heaven’s sake) was woven all through.”

    Aacckkkk! I wish I could say that surprised me, but it seems that all people do is watch the film versions…most of which are garbage that bear only a vague resemblance to the novel (the 1973-4 two-parter by Richard Lester the one exception). If you want to write fan fiction, you have to know the material!

    Not that fan fiction ever interested me. The milieu, yes…but those particular characters are already spoken for. Maybe a story about gentlemen of the Cardinal’s Guard, trying to forge a modern state in the teeth of a weak King, his faithless Queen, and those lawless ruffians in his Musketeers. Not to mention the vile Lady deWinter (the REAL villain of the novel, if you’ve never read it).

    (Come to think of it, that sounds pretty interesting…. 🙂 )

    1. My fanfic idea was to have the Cardinal’s Guard sponsor a team of people with extraordinary abilities: the inventor Cyrano de Bergerac, Gargantua, Roland (reawakened from long sleep in the Pyrenees), and the archangel Michael, sought out by Rochefort and de Winter under the direction of Richelieu to thwart an evil plot of Michael’s brother Lucifer. I don’t think I could justify having Richelieu wear an eyepatch, though.

      1. The other problem with any sort of non-fantasy historical fiction is that the heroes are bit players. We know how the Thirty Years War turns out (messy).

        1. Hollywood loves remakes. I expect they’ll do Die Hard any time now. Whoopi Goldberg will play John MacClane, Ellen DeGeneres will be her wife Holly, Rosie O’Donnell will be Hans Gruber, and Nakatomi Towers will be the Trump Casino.

    2. When I was in a production of Iolanthe, I asked everybody what their favorite fairy tale was for the lobby biographies. And almost every single person cited a Disney version (with specifics.) I… like source material. So that was a bit distressing.

      1. Along with the Little House series, my favorite children’s books were the two Alice books by Lewis Carroll. I loved the puzzles and word play.

        My family was ODD, and the only Disney film I saw on large screen was Mary Poppins. I did not see any of the Disney adaptation of Alice until an adult. I am glad of it.

        (I also did not follow Michael Landon’s TV series based on the Little House books, the few episodes I did see were just not right.)

        1. They were NOT. I adored the books, was meh or less to the series. Pa didn’t look anything like Michael Landon. He looked rather more like the actor they cast as Mr. Edwards. And … (rest of rant edited for length. Dinnertime.)

        2. What do you expect when they thought Southern California and Old Tucson could double for Minnesota?

          (OT was one of the backup locations for filming on Little House on the Prairie and it’s spinoff. That’s why one of the pre-fire locations was named Kansas Street. A lot of the costuming for the show was lost in the fire as well.)

          1. I’ve been to Old Tucson, and it doesn’t look anything like Minnesota. I’ve seen some color eps of Gunsmoke, and some of the scenery does NOT look like Kansas. Matt seems to be getting down old Mexico way, too. Oh, wellllllllllllllllllllllllllll…

            1. Yep. I never thought that Gunsmoke was set anywhere in Kansas. Particularly in Dodge City – I had been through there several times, as it was a good place to stop, stretch, and get some lunch on day two of the drive from Globe (Arizona) to Downs (Kansas).

              1. Then again, they had a United States Marshal playing cow-town constable. Realism was not A Thing.

            2. I’m not sure if OT was a back up for Gunsmoke, I think that was all SoCal. It was a backup location for Bonanza as well.

              If you look at photos of 1860s Tucson, Old Tucson doesn’t even look like the Tucson it was built to emulate.

              Part of that is construction done for productions after “Arizona”, part of that is the damage from the fire, part of that is the lack of a navigable river (which Tucson proper doesn’t have any more for a few reasons).

        3. I never saw any of the Disney movies. I heard about them over the years, often from other children having lunch pails or other Disney tie-in paraphernalia, or their TV ads, which were quite common.

          I was a child in the 1960s. My mother got the idea in her head that I would *love* a TV show Disney made. I think it aired on Sunday nights. So every Sunday night I got herded into the living room and parked in front of the Toob. All of the shows were about animals (boring) or mildly retarded children (also boring). After determining that not even taking away toys could force me to watch that show, she relented and I didn’t have to watch it any more.

          No, not exactly going to make a Disney fan there…

          1. Now, I like Disney. I don’t mistake hm (or them) for High Art, but a lot of them are fun, and most of them are head and shoulders above whatever else is being animated, with the sole possible exception of Studio Ghibli’s output. I do find it hard to forgive them for what they did to Pooh, and what they have done (is it three time now?) to The Jungle Books. OTOH, TARZAN was lovely fun,,and if it deviated from the book, has there ever been a film Tarzan that didn’t? This one was, at least, fun.

            As to favorite Fairy Tales….my all out favorite version of any of the classics is ROSE DAUGHTER, because having fallen in love with the Beast, she gets to keep him.

            1. Disney wrote for the audience he perceived, one few beyond Walt imagined. Afterward they stuck to a working formula and even the the money was touch-n-go.

              As for favorite fairy tale, there is an embarrassment of riches in the Andrew Lang collections alone. I am rather fond of East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon, but wouldn’t discard the tales of Curdie and his Princess.

      2. This, I will defend– because retelling fairytales is what they are all about. That’s why there are so many different variations of the same story, even before you start assuming that the similar stories are “really” the same story.

        One would wish that folks who love stories enough to act in them would read consume a few more, though, yeah.

        1. Except that the Disney versions tend to get set as a standard, so people don’t even know of the possibility of variation.

          1. Of course, it’s the “my grandma’s version went -” of our generation.

            Anybody who’s told a story to a five year old and changed A SINGLE BLEEPING WORD knows my pain. 😉

        2. When I was little my favorite book of fairy tales was one that not only had the story, but a short explanation of the different versions of the story, pointing out central themes that remained unchanged from version to version, aspects that did change, why they changed and a small bit about the archetype that the story fell into. There were some that had versions so different that they might as well have been different stories entirely.

          1. Yeah, well, you get some strange lumping in. I’ve seen “Vasilisa the Beautiful” labeled a Cinderella variant. And the silly geese who say “Rhodopis” is the oldest known Cinderella variant because she’s identified by her shoe. You might as well say that “The Water of Life” is “Snow White” because in both a huntsman takes someone into the woods to kill, and then spare the victim.

        3. You won’t get an argument from me about some of their retellings. (Hunchback still gives me WTF? moments when I look at the source material. Apparently they hewed closer to the book for the stage play, and it’s not for kids.) I especially like things like Tangled. But yeah, for the most part it’s “You liked this? Didn’t you know there’s so much more out there?”

            1. Though the heroine running off with the hero is more common in The Maiden in the Tower types than the witch catching them a la Rapunzel.

            2. Those at least had *some* kid-friendly material to begin with. The original Hunchback has everybody die except the poet, the goat, and the social-climbing guard (who isn’t kind like in the movie.) Boiling lead is involved. Even the King of France (who is a complete jerk) dies. You’ve got lust and greed and all the Seven Deadly Sins on display. And somebody at Disney looked at that and thought “Let’s make this a kids’ movie!”

              1. Lovely, just lovely. But, still, having read some ‘original’ Grimm brother’s stories who would have thought that they could be turned into the cotton candy equivalent of fairy tales?

        1. I don’t have a specific favorite, but I keep going back to all the possible permutations of “Little Red Riding Hood” for thematic material. I also got The Turnip Princess collection of raw fairy tales, and those are pretty wild. As in, most of them are not satisfying as complete stories, since they weren’t polished up like the Grimm ones were, but there’s interesting starting points.

    3. I wish I could remember what the animated series I saw that was a pretty good translation of the books, at least from a young teen’s perspective.

    4. The ‘70’s Lester productions were pretty special. Also, the only thing I’ve ever seen Rachel Welch cast in where she wasn’t overmatched by her part.

      The first of the two was the better, but both are pretty good.

      The problem with expecting people to read the book is that it is translated from French, often indifferently, and was written in the cadences of the Victorian Era, which are radically different from what people are accustomed to.

      1. Yup. I’ve long considered Charlton Heston’s Richileu to have been the best acting he ever did. It helped that the part was written true to the book…and that was respectful of the real man, one of the greatest statesmen of France.

        1. The scene with Michael York using his carte-blanche death warrant against him–whereupon he has his “revenge” by handing d’Artagnan a blank commission as a Lieutenant of Musketeers (and they both know the poor kid will HAVE to take it himself, for none of his friends will touch it)–that was MAGNIFICENT. A beautiful scene, and perfectly played on both sides.

            1. Sigh. I well recall seeing it in theatre on first release, a double bill of Three Musketeers with (sneak preview) of Blazing Saddles.

              I see it is available on Amazon Prime and I’ve seen the pair as a single DVD release. Wonderful fight choreography, both slapstick and serious and completely credible: this ain’t Errol & Basil, these are real fighting men. Terrific costumes, too, although I’m not expert enough to vouchsafe their period accuracy.

              Michael York, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Frank Finlay, Simon Ward, Christopher Lee … and the ladies are gorgeous too! Good supporting performances from Joss Ackland, Spike Milligan and Roy Kinnear make this pair a near flawless film.

              1. Charlton Heston on playing Richelieu:

                “One of the best speeches I’ve had this side of Shakespeare!”

                  1. ….we basically have Prime and Netflix, with free CrunchRoll, instead of having a TV subscription.

                    For folks who AREN’T doing that, I spoke in short hand and smudged it. (again!)

                    1. Okay, that clarifies. The TV I would want to watch things on does not access the house wireless, on the TV that accesses the house wireless I don’t want to watch things other than news. So we don’t stream.

  9. If you want to add a cinematic version to your list, I recommend Bride and Prejudice. The main characters are from India and the travel is between India and the West, by jet, but the storyline is unusually close to what Austen wrote.

      1. I am not so sure it was anti-development as it expressed a disdain for the practice of resort developers to build cookie-cutter establishments with a few nods to the locale and moreover the tourists who acted if they were getting an authentic taste of place.

    1. You and me, we can hang out in the never-watched/read it corner. Wonder if they’ll shun us? 😛

      1. well. I might have seen an ad or surfed through (A&E? PBS?) when one could do that in the old cable days. I recall silly empire style dresses. They can have them

        1. Ah, but you are forgetting that in summer, the ladies would dampen the chemises under the light-weight dresses to make them translucent. Or so I have read. The backlash to things like that led to Victorian styles (aka “Legs? what legs?”)

          1. So wet t-shirt contests are a traditional part of our culture, because the anglophiles go way back in US history.

          2. Not backed up by the facts. The closest we have from the period is someone writing, once, that some women wore muslins so thin that it looked like they did that.

      2. Whew… Now I don’t feel so bad. I’ve always intended on reading, but never got around to it, and now it’s kinda become a thing. Like my having never watched the movie Titanic. Nope nope, ain’t gonna watch it. Already have a plan to have “Died having never watched the movie Titanic” carved into my gravestone.

        1. “Aren’t you going to see Titanic?!?!”

          “Nope. Spoiler alert … The Boat/Ship Sank. It was very cold. People Died.”

          Did see it on TV when it finally got there. I was right. The boat sank …

          1. I am a fortunate person. I tuned through the movie on TV and saw the only five minutes of it that I had any interest in catching.

            Gaelic Storm is a good enough band to tolerate even (some) that film.

    2. You might enjoy Louis L’Amour’s I Haven’t Read Gone With The Wind.  It is one of the 20 additional poems in the revised editions of his 1939 collection Smoke From This Altar

      (A note: On searching to make sure of the titles I found a site which includes Louis L’Amour’s ‘occasional’ reading list.  In his reading list for 1937 L’Amour includes Mitchell’s GWTW.)

      1. For some reason was a bit of a fight to get it to boot right, but now Huzzah! What’s odd is a messed up the first install, (misread a setting) so I did a format/reinstall and both installs and figuring out my mistake took less than a half hour. Remember planning on using much of a day installing Windows or Mandrake?
        For the Geekish, (Here? you don’t say!) it is a Gigabyte A320M motherboard, AMD Ryzen 3 2200G APU(3.5-3.7GHz 4 core cpu with 8core 1100MHz Radeon GPU), 16GB (2x8gig) of AMD centric DDR4 RAM 960gb Solid State Drive, and a Cooler Master 750w power supply, stuck into a Thermaltake Core V21 case with Linux Mint 19 Tara 64-bit OS using Mate.
        It’s real quiet.
        And so far, real fast.

        1. I am basking in awe that none of that trips the Weird Al “I’ve got 100 gigabytes of RAM” spectrum, it’s “just” a nice machine.

          Good Lord, we live in a time when sixteen gigs of RAM doesn’t signal “Hi, I spent more on this computer than on a car.”

          This is….wow.

          ❤ ❤ ❤

          1. I recall the time I was in line at either HEB and an 8 gig thumb drive was part of the impulse buy paraphernalia on the right hand side. I grabbed one and told the, about my age cashier, and teen aged baggers about the first hard drive I ever installed in a computer. It was a Quantum Bigfoot and although “Cheap” it was still a bit over MSRP (iirc it was $300.00) and was a whole 1 gig to replace the 500Mb drive that when new was even more, and the kids bagging looked shocked at the prices and slowness of the PC (K5 200MHz AMD (upgraded to K6 300 later) / 500mb then 1 gig hdd /16mb later upgraded to 32mb ram, then 128mb / and iirc it ran to $1000 for initial custom build).
            I was watching Smarter Every Day getting his new custom PC and the company has made boxes with Terabytes of RAM. I think those were for a simulator at NASA. House priced PCs with multiple CPUs with the 8 core Intels etc

            1. Oh, hell, I remember when 256k was a lot of memory.

              Well, come to that, I remember, vaguely, a period when computers took up entire rooms, with another room for the necessary extra air-conditioning…but I didn’t use computers personally when I was 9.

              But I was courting my Lady when she bought her first computer; an Apple II. And played the original WOLFENSTEIN on it. So I’ve been along for most of the ride.

              1. We learned on the Apple IIe with color monitors in High School.
                Our first computer was a Commodore Vic20 the folks got free with purchase of a sofa. Now Dad has an HP Win10 pc and a Win10 tablet.
                He hates 10 with a purple passion.

                1. My first computer experience was in a system they dished out to all of us in the field to do our TV programming scheduling on sometime about 1987 or so. Kid you not – it was a home-brewed program thought up by someone in the bowels of the military broadcasting system. The only way that the outlet I was assigned to at the time managed to make sense of the whole thing was that two of the guys assigned to the det at the time were proto-geeks. And they managed to get the system up and running for us.
                  In retrospect, it was like someone being presented with an automobile, the owners’ manual, and a copy of the drivers’ licence requirements.
                  “Here – teach yourself how to drive and get a legal license. Good luck to you!”
                  They did eventually send out a computer geek from HQ to teach us how to set all of this up … about two years after we had figured out all of it for ourselves. (MSgt. Steve Hull. On his return from that TDY, he became a casualty in the Ramstein AB airshow disaster.)

            2. My first hard drive was a 10 MB (Yes, you read that right 10 whopping MEGA BYTES!) that a friend had tried to use a drive-space enhancing tool on and thought it went tits-up, so he gave it to me. I was able to low-level format it, re-partition, and WOO HOO!!! I wasn’t running off of 360 KB Floppy Disks any more!

              It’s amazing how far computers have come.

  10. > libertarianism

    Yet they were the same publishers who, not that long before, had published Robert A, Heinlein, Keith Laumer, Beam Piper, A. Bertram Chandler, and George O. Smith…

    Frankly, it would have taken me a lot longer to catch on than it took you.

      1. But the editors get paid whether the book sells or not…

        It’s the agenting thing that confuses me. The agent doesn’t get paid unless the story sells, yet I’ve read so many stories about agents who couldn’t be bothered to send a story anywhere. And the people complaining weren’t all newbies or midlisters, either.

        1. Because the agent works for the publisher, not the writer. If a publisher is going to be upset at getting a book that’s “one of those right wing books” (Sentence actually heard at a con. BTW it wasn’t. I’d read that book) then the agent will accept it in order to “kill” it.)

        2. The agent has a lot of authors. Ones that don’t get as much bang for buck are bottom of the pile. (This is one reason why a new author doesn’t want a top-notch agent for the stars.)

          Also, BEWARE agents who charge reading fees. That’s where they make their money.

  11. You might like to know that David Lee Summers was doing some promotion of the mass market paperback of Straight Outta Tombstone last weekend at TusCon.

      1. So long as they spell your name correctly on the contents page it is free publicity, and offers a chance at picking up a few new readers.

        I like cash in hand, myself, but I am an accountant.

        1. Accountant? So THAT’S what’s wrong with you.
          ‘splains a lot
          I kid
          My richest cousin (took accounting at community college and ended up a CFO) tried to retire this year. 30 years with Indian Casinos. The company talked him into running a new start-up they have totally not related to his previous job.
          You are doing it right when the employees cry at your announcement and the company doesn’t want you going away either.

          1. I’ve started to wonder how much the world (and our individual lives) would improve if everyone took and passed a community college accounting class.

            1. He is a big proponent of taking a two year course in something practical (not just accounting) and paying for it as you go. It works better in real life than degrees from “The Right Places” and gives one a grounding in getting things done.

            2. Going off of how bad my high school screwed it up? Not much better.

              I found my report card from that year. I got a C.

              My parents have been running the books for multiple organizations for years, their accountant dang near does their taxes for free because it’s all done but the laws for her to do them, and they made sure I was doing stuff the way it is really supposed to be done…..

              1. Ha! I remember “economics” from high school. It may have been part of another class. In any case, I remember thinking that I was dumb because it made no sense at all. How does borrowing money automagically make *more* money the more times you borrow it?

                Thirty years later I have an “ah ha!” moment and realize that for whatever reason, they were feeding us Keynesian notions… you know, the sort where every dollar of unemployment paid out returns a dollar fifty to economic growth, breaking windows makes people richer, and perpetual motion is real.

                1. They could simply build classes around Milton Friedman’s Free To Choose:

                  Ten videos, each an hour long, with accompanying book.

                  Not that the Teachers’ unions would ever permit it.

                2. Asimov, after doing astronomy, physics, biology, history, and Biblical scholership, turned his attention to economics in the mid ’60s. And after reading most of the major texts, declared it was all wishful thinking and fakery.

                  I’d reached the same opinion a few years before coming across his, but I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one who saw the Emperor had no pants…

                  1. Considering how “well” Asimov did in many of those other subjects (the ones about which I happen to have some knowledge) it’s no surprise that he’s equally off base when it comes to Economics. The problem comes, like it does when politicians get into the game, is that economics often doesn’t lead to the “right “conclusions (i.e. the ones that their politics insists must be there) and so they rig up an “explanation” that sort of uses the language of economics to dress up the conclusions they want to reach as though they were actual economic analysis (when they’re anything but).

                    Sowell, of all people pointed out that even Marx could reach the right answers when performing actual economic analysis. Of course Marx would then follow that with a “yeah, but” and make up some nonsense to get the “answers” he wanted to get.

                    Too many of the “high profile” economists out there don’t take a cold hard look at the economics but instead let their politics dictate their “science”. This is not a phenomenon limited to economics (cough, Union of Concerned Scientists cough), but it’s one for which economics can be particularly susceptible largely because so much of political policy had direct economic consequences. Indeed, this conflict between political incentives and economic realities is a recurring theme in Sowell’s work. (Why, yes. I have been reading–well listening on audible–a lot of Sowell, along with Friedman, lately.)

                    1. Back when Bill James was first inventing SABREmetrics, before Moneyball made it respectable, he often had to explain the philosophical distinction between what he was doing and what sportswriters did. Where a sportswriter would assert “Ted Williams was the greatest hitter who ever lived” and assemble the statistical evidence to support that, SABREmetricians would first ask, “What would be the characteristics of the greatest hitter who ever lived?” and then search the statistical evidence to identify which hitter best matched the standard.

                      In politics, political journalism, political economics, etc., too often the practitioners first determine their conclusion and then assemble the statistics to support that conclusion (although in our modern, enlightened “woke” era they sometimes merely assert “You just do it” as if Life was a Nike commercial.) This commonly leads to bad results which are always attributed to wreckers, kulaks, counter-revolutionaries and greed.

                      I have found James’ writing highly illuminating of human thought patterns and fallacies purely because it is in a subject area which just doesn’t matter.

                    2. I still think Mack Reynolds nailed it, when one of his characters observed that if economists could guess better than random chance even 51% of the time, they should all be millionaires. (back when that was a lot of money)

                    3. Economists’ strength lies more in explaining what happened than what will happen. As for being wealthy, that depends on how much spare capital you have for investment, doesn’t it?

                    4. That’s like saying that if physics were valid physicists should all be able to win the lottery since the motion of those balls is determined by physics.

                      How well specific companies will do or won’t (the “become a millionaire” aspect) is not what economics is about. Most complaints about economics are straw men claiming economics is something it’s not. Economics is not business administration. It’s not personal finance. It doesn’t give “answers” in terms of either of those. What it can do, when one does an actual analysis, is give an idea what effect policies or activities are likely to have on the economy as a whole.

                      For instance, take a common example. One can argue that a tariff on imported steel protecting steel producers from low-cost foreign competition can make steel businesses more profitable and “save jobs” in the steel industry. Yay, right? Well, maybe. The problem with that is that you’ve increased (or not decreased) the cost of steel to everyone who uses steel, that means businesses using steel must use more resources to obtain that steel, diverting those resources from other uses. Which means the benefit to steel producers is a cost to others and the jobs “saved” in steel production are very likely lost elsewhere. (Those jobs are scattered here and there in small lots which don’t have the political power of a concentration in steel industry.) So, while the protectionist tariff might be great for the steel production industry, it’s not so good for the economy as a whole.

                      I would strongly recommend reading Sowell’s book “Basic Economics.” It’s accessible in that it’s generally free of jargon and avoids math and charts while using lots of real world examples to illustrate the concepts.

  12. If I identify personally with a literary heroine, it would be with Flora Poste, of Cold Comfort Farm. Although – not an orphan and a slip of an 18-year old, I am terribly strong-minded, organized, generally know what’s best for the less strong-minded, do not suffer fools like Mr. Mybug, want my way in most things, and write prose which has a slight tendency to turn purple. Or at least – pale lavender.

  13. And I am running away with indie, which is probably as bad as running away with Mr. Wickham.

    Worse, my dear, worse. Indie isn’t going to marry you. EVER.

    Paying you money instead of demanding it doesn’t make up for that.

    1. *snicker*
      I’ll take the money, thanks.

      Along about the time after I retired from the Air Force, i concluded that working here and there as a temp, mostly, was like whoring, after being unhappily married. No pretense, no show of loyalty involved – just show up, do what the client asked, pocket the paycheck and go away.

      Yeah, I’m brutally cynical like that.

      1. Funny, that’s what I liked about temping.

        … As long as there were good instructions to go with the job I was supposed to do.

        Jobs without instructions are the worst.

        1. The most important skill I ever learned on the job was a way to get somebody who was supposed to teach me something to SLOW DOWN when I wasn’t understanding.

          I learned to say “I’m sure you are telling me right, but I’m also sure that you are leaving something out, because this doesn’t work. It’s probably something dead simole that you do without thinking about it because you’re used to this process. And so you didn’t tell me to do it, becausemyou do it without thinking about it. So, please, because I’m a dummy, walk me through it one more time s-l-o-w-l-y.”

          And, sure as fate, there would be a keystroke they didn’t tell me to do – like ‘hit enter’ – because they didn’t think about it. And they never got mad at me, and didn’t get embarassed either…because I’d say “I bet in three months I won’t think about that either.”

          1. I used that approach all the time. The “I’m an idiot, please walk me through it again, s-l-o-w-l-y …” OTOH I was on the other end of the equation. Someone was calling to say “something wasn’t working.” Invariably, we’d start over & midway they’d go, “And …”, pause, “oh, oops. That is what I forgot to do.” My answer “Glad to help.”

            1. Works a treat in code walk-throughs. Someone has a problem that is avoiding solution, explaining it to someone else often reveals the logic flaw.

              Sure, you may look foolish for missing a simple bit, but there’s the compensating win of making it work.

              1. Code walk through … Tell me about it! How well I know!!!

                “What in the *heck* am I missing? It shouldn’t be doing that!!!!” Two or 3 hours later … “Fine!!!” … “Hey can you look at this with me?” … “So *this* is what it is doing, & *this* is what it is supo … Oh, uhh, thanks, figured it out …” AND people used to wonder why I talked to the stupid code. I mean really. If talking it out loud to someone else works, why wouldn’t talking out loud to myself (or if you will, the computer) help? It did, 99.99% of the time. It was that .01% …

                It’s even MORE (well was) fun when you’d “give it a rest”, go home, then AT Oh God 30 AM, figure it out. Still doing that, although getting rarer, & I’ve been retired & not programming for almost 3 years.

                1. The particularly hateful problems were where the problem wasn’t in the code, which turned out to be correct, but in the documentation for the compiler or library.

                  I was trying to make a bash script work once. Finally got bogged on one problem with a tight enough deadline that I persuaded my employer to authorize a tech support call. SCO’s minimum support charge was something like $500.

                  I explained the problem, and after half an hour or so the flunky came back and said, “Oh, that function isn’t implemented.”

                  “What do you mean? It’s right here in the man pages.”

                  “Yeah, we didn’t have any documentation written, so we shipped Berkeley man pages.”

                  SCO was a System V derivative…

                  Well, at least I found out why my code wasn’t working, though explaining to higher management why their $500 didn’t fix things was complicated.

                  1. Gee, never gotten tech support response:

                    1. Compaq – “Not allowed anymore.” Trying to make the 5.25″ drive the primary drive VS the 3.5″ because the installation from the larger floppies required it to be the main drive.
                    2. from SCO that essentially was “Nope, can’t do that.” Installing SCO Xenix on Pentium.
                    3. dBase “Oh, that is a bug we fixed. You can’t do that.” Why working code won’t compile anymore …

                    So, nope, never ran into that problem, ever … /sarcasm tag jic

  14. I may have to read Pride and Prejudice one of these days. I think I’ve always grouped those books with the couple that I was forced to read in high school or junior high… Um… Wuthering Heights… maybe.

    1. I was assigned it multiple times in school. But unlike The Great Gatsby, which was the other novel that I was assigned to read multiple times in school, it’s a lot of fun.

      1. Are you saying The Great Gatsby is not fun.

        Pistols, Sir, in the morning.

        (says the guy who still loves The Scarlet Letter and treats it as a touchstone/basing framing).

        1. I just read it, for the first time, a couple of months ago. “Fun” is not a word I would use. It was astonishing how revoltingly trashy nearly all the characters were—and not entertainingly trashy like Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair; just nasty. Until then I had thought Tess of the d’Urbervilles was the least pleasant novel I would ever read.

          1. As a general rule I do not like entertainment with no redeeming characters (although I don’t find Nick revolting) which is why things like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad make no sense to me.

            But Gatsby does because it is not a celebration of such people but a cautionary tale, Nick escapes and Jay doesn’t because of obsession with something bad (Daisy).

            The book does a good job of portraying both getting lost in life and the ability to turn away. One cannot help but wonder if the Jay represented in the notes his father shares with Nick at the funeral had stayed in the west if such ambition would have found a better path.

            I will also admit these day I see it presaging much of the coastal versus heartland fights today. It makes me wonder just how old that conflict is. Even the shallow “sophistication” versus simple nature of the conflict is present.

            1. > no redeeming characters

              Gibson’s “Neuromancer” had that problem. Had any major character been eaten by a grue I would have cheered.

              On the other hand, listening to the audiobook many years later, I realized there were two characters who very nearly redeemed the story; Maelcum and Hiro.

              Their total presence in the book consists of a few pages; their entire interaction was a couple of lines. In a book where most of the characters were scum, Maelcum was an honorable man, doing his duty as best he could. Hiro was an innocent, he had been programmed like a meat machine.

              I don’t think Gibson actually intended them to come out that way; they were just minor supporting characters, and we don’t know them by what Gibson said, only by what they did. Which I missed the first couple of times, since they were incidental to the main story. I’m pretty sure Maelcum was supposed to be a loser and Hiro was supposed to be scary.

      2. Depends on the teachers. There are books that I read and like before being assigned them in school, and again (long) after, but never during.

      3. The Great Gatsby was one of those strange books we read in high school where most of the class actually liked it. Not everyone in the class seemed to be reading the same story – a few of the boys claimed that there was a whole series of complex metaphors at the start that made the exact events of the ending obvious from the start, others had an elaborate backstory for Gatsby that they pulled out of seemingly nowhere that was actually fairly interesting, but there was less complaining about it than any other book we’d read and a lot more interest it in which created some fascinating discussion. And then there were the debates about the symbolism of the cover…

        1. I hated it and wanted most of the characters dead. I hated it so much that I persuaded the teacher to accept a historical research project instead of a Gatsby review or analysis. The resulting research project is where I formed the conclusions that lead me to think that the historical opinions most have on Prohibition are garbage.

          In hindsight, Herb does have a smidgeon of a point. That would have most likely have been completely alien to me when I read the thing. My natural willingness to isolate myself in order to avoid people behaving dangerously still means that I do not find the narrator/observer character very sympathetic. I would prefer reading about Chekists murdering the entire cast.

          1. “formed the conclusions that lead me to think that the historical opinions most have on Prohibition are garbage.”

            Out of curiosity; What conclusions? In what way?

            My take is that the lesson we have totally missed out of Prohibition is that if a law doesn’t work, repeal it.

            1. My highschool research was done from a rather good University library in a historically culturally Dry part of the country.
              Conclusion A) 1920s Prohibition was in a long chain of problems, assumptions and decisions going back centuries. Okay, a century and then probably at least half of another. With hindsight of a decade or two more thinking on American history, the whole casual chain probably additionally has to be understood in the context of the stresses of finding ways for a bunch of aliens to live at peace with one another.
              Conclusion B)
              This was not of trivial political interest during the latter part of the nineteenth century. During a period when there were people robbing bank to raise funds to restart the civil war, Wet-Dry was one of the heated, open political debates. I personally became convinced that that the Wets and the white supremacist terrorists were in bed together, but I also think the same of labor and white supremacist terrorism. I think McGovern versus Wallace was the communist supremacist terrorist supporters winning over the white supremacist terrorist supporters. I also come from a very Dry sympathetic cultural background.
              Conclusion C)
              Modern chemistry, the size of the chemical industry, and the simplicity of ethanol makes complete restriction physically impossible these days. (This does not necessarily apply to more complex drugs with a more intricate synthesis pathway.)
              Conclusion D) Success or failure of National Prohibition should be evaluated by considering the goals of the movement behind it. When I look through their list of goals, I see two categories. 1) Batshit. 2) Ultimately successful. A batshit goal would include their incorrect thinking about susceptibility to alcoholism. These days we take for granted that police and law are somewhat effective in preventing the retail sale of alcohol to minors. This is something that the moderate elements of Anti-Saloon League supporters might have been willing to accept as a compromise. It may have to be graded as a success. (The counter argument is that the real cause was child labor laws hurting buying power, and changing ideas about minors that could be tied to mandatory schooling.)
              Later Conclusion E) The distribution of the historical political fights does not, in my eyes, support a common assertion about the Catholics being the center of gravity of the matter. I understand that the US is still a nominal Protestant majority/Catholic minority culture. The locales in question were cosmopolitan in the sense of generally having representatives of two or more cultures, or of a common American culture previously merged from multiple cultures. They were not cosmopolitan in the sense of all having a significant but minority local Catholic population.
              Later Conclusion F) If you look at the post, say, 1920s pop culture, pop history, or recent public school history, they talk about the 1920s, and they talk about the big cities. The movie people may at times come from small towns, but they all settle in a big city, and pretty much assimilate to the oral history of that big city. The histories that are most widely publicized seem to weight highly the big city experience, and probably to a disproportionate degree might include discussion of the Catholic experience, often from a perspective sympathetic to Catholics. One day I hope to visit the site of Cromwell, Oklahoma, which history indicates was burned to the ground after a dispute involving National Prohibition. Oklahoma’s political violence in the twenties and thirties involved more than just National Prohibition.
              Later Conclusion G) This is mainly thanks to information from Sarah. The history I read in school said that anti-immigrant sentiment involved claims that the immigrants were dirty. That history also said that those claims were unjust, that we moderns should entirely condemn. Trying to put my head in the mental place of people of the time, there would have been just reasons for perceiving things that way.
              H) You are correct to say that laws that do not work should be repealed.
              I) This was done very long ago. I’ve learned some about research since then. I need to find time to redo this research, to see if I still think my conclusions are supported, to evaluate my sources more critically, and to have an actual bibliography. Years back, someone here asked me for sources, and I was not able to provide. I was severely ill at the time, and now I’m recovering I have some more urgent things to get in order.

                  1. That presumes a viewpoint recognizing Catholics as being Christian. 🙂

                    I hadn’t felt the need to specify the manner of the ‘Catholics as center of gravity for Prohibition’ hypothesis because from previous discussions here, and things I’ve seen elsewhere, the ‘Prohibition was primarily Anti-Catholic’ argument has always seemed to come up. I took it for granted that it was a default explanation, and that I didn’t need to outright restate it.

                    1. There are some arguments that I have seen (sorry, I’ve already had a glass or two of my chosen evening white wine so my google-fu is slightly impaired) that the immediate drive for WWI-and-post-war prohibition was more of an anti-German thing. The immigrant, and even long-established German communities were all about beer gardens, about relaxing on a Sunday with a good mug of local brew. (Lots of examples in local history, including some which are still active social clubs, like the Beethoven Mannerchor in Southtown San Antonio, whose club premises contain a very nice beer garden and historic 9-pin bowling alley.) A lot of the big national beer breweries were German-owned, (that is, owed by immigrant Germans or second generation German immigrants) which really got up the nose of the native American/Anglo/Puritan ruling class of the late 19th and early 20th century – especially when it came to fighting WWI.

                    2. Yeah, that does have some possibilities. We know the ‘fake’ Progressives had been deep into Wilson’s anti-German push, the tech for the post Whiskey beer boom was German, and the Germanies were a very significant sources of immigration. Wilson fanatics could have plausibly seized on Prohibition as a cause that they could push over the top, and take power with.

                      As for anti-German sentiment being a motivation for the Anti-Saloon movement, I would want to do some research. We have lots of different kinds of German immigrants, and I’m not sure what behaviors they had where, and how much tension with others occurred as a result.

                    3. It was one of multiple factors, just like the multiple factors in ACW. If you didn’t want to support it for one, they’d find something that wouls tip you ovrr. You can see the reverse of the process in “Bush lied about WMD” as though WMD were the only reason to go after Saddam.

                1. I was not perfectly clear on that. One of the current narratives explaining Prohibition is that it was motivated by Anti-Catholic sentiment.

                  A small Protestant only town in the back of beyond is not going to split heatedly into Wet and Dry factions because of Catholic immigrants in, say, Chicago. It may be that my suspicions about the center of gravity of the Anti-Saloon League are incorrect. It may be that my sense of religious demographics in America is incorrect. And Wilson’s ‘fake’ Progressives were definitely up to a bunch of stuff in the big cities. And while my sense is that the progressives of abolition, suffrage and Teddy Roosevelt were distinct from Wilson’s ‘fake’ Progressives, it could be argued that they were fundamentally the same.

                  Whatever the true cause, we would expect the Catholics to have perceived it as Anti-Catholicism. Because the New England Calvinists were not fans of the Catholic Church, and had a strong influence on the US. We would expect that perspective to be disparately promoted in modern historical narratives, whether or not it was true, for four reasons: 1. Catholic influence on city oral histories, which would influence the city based intellectuals whose perspectives are most promoted in traditional publishing. 2. It fits with a Zinnian take on US history. 3. Catholic Priest historians, research partly funded by the Church, might try to cover the experience of the Church in America, and not adequately dive into perspectives and models indifferent to or hostile to the Church. This might be important if relatively few people otherwise study the history, especially not systemically. 4. To some extent, the popular sense of history is shaped by movies. Movies heavily made, as least as far as establishing the genre in Hollywood, by people who were close to the period in time, and who would have been influenced by big city oral histories. Look how long after the Civil War it was before Shelby Foote produced his history.

    2. I confess a similar reluctance, until Nero Wolfe’s recommendation convinced me to try it.

      In The Mother Hunt, in chapter 12, Archie says, “Dol and Sally had been responsible, six years back, for my revision of my basic attitude toward female ops, and I held it against them, just as Wolfe held it against Jane Austen for forcing him to concede that a woman could write a good novel.”

    3. Pride and Prejudice is a very different novel from Wuthering Heights.
      The former is, mostly, a novel about reasonably competent people who make mistakes and learn from them. The latter is, mostly, a novel about terrible people being terrible to each other.

    4. Oh dear me no. Austen’s writing is no more like that of the Brontë sisters than Dickens wrote like Mark Twain.

  15. Whenever I visualize world peace my mind’s eye fills with the scenery of Luna.

    Peace! I Hate The Very Word!
    By Sarah Hoyt
    I’m angry. I’m very angry. Yes, I know you like me when I’m angry, but I’ve been roaming the house yelling “Sarah Smash” while cats, sons, even husband get out of my way.

    Because I’m very, very angry. And I can’t do anything about it, which means it turns inwardly, in a sick feeling of despair.

    I think a lot of us are there.

    So, sure. The Democrats probably stole the Arizona state seat, and might flip another one or two in the next week, including the one in Florida.

    Don’t shout “no voter fraud” at me, because if there were no voter fraud, then the “recounts,” even given a messed up election process, would go to equally to either side. Right?

    But there is voter fraud. What’s more, we have a system designed to enable voter fraud: from people being signed up to vote when they get a driver’s license, with no proof of citizenship, to early voting to vote by mail.

    All these systems are rife with the possibility for fraud, including foreigners (legal or not) voting, and people who don’t exist and the dead voting. …

    1. “They have treated lightly the injury to my people: ‘Peace, peace!’ they say, though there is no peace. They have acted shamefully, committing abominations, yet they are not at all ashamed, they do not know how to blush. Therefore they will fall among the fallen; in the time of their punishment they shall stumble, says the LORD.”

      “Because they led my people astray, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace, and when a wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, say then to the whitewashers: I will bring down a flooding rain; hailstones shall fall, and a stormwind shall break forth. When the wall has fallen, will you not be asked: ‘Where is the whitewash you spread on it?’ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: In my fury I will let loose stormwinds; because of my anger there will be flooding rain, and hailstones will fall with destructive wrath. I will tear down the wall you whitewashed and level it to the ground, laying bare its foundations. When it falls, you shall be crushed beneath it. Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.”

  16. Well, you have admitted to having hidden somewhere a properly rebellious book that assaults convention the way proper ladies do and refuse to release it. 🙂

  17. “No, no, deary. You must challenge convention like everyone else.”
    Yeah, conforming to non-conformity has been one of the idiocies of the left for decades. (And possibly of humankind since Creation.)

    1. Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t NEED to follow ME, You don’t NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re ALL individuals!

      Crowd: Yes! We’re all individuals!

      Brian: You’re all different!

      Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

      Man in crowd: I’m not…

      Crowd: Ssssh!

    2. But, see, that all they’ve GOT. That’s the proof they have that they are Smart People.

      Oh, some of the…a lot of the upper ranks, frankly…believe their bullshit because they want POWER, but most of them just don’t want to admit that they are ordinary. They KNOW most people look at a Jackson Pollok (Pillock) and say ‘so what?’ , so THEY have to think he’s a genius. They know the common man, given his druthers, wants a split level ranch and a muscle car, so THEY have to ‘know better’.

  18. To your own self be true. Maybe you’re Sarah, maybe you’re Lydia. Maybe you’re like so many of us and suffer from multiple character disorder. Or is that multiple disordered characters?

    Socrates said that, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Yet the Left won’t even examine their emotions, much less facts, because they think experiencing them is the end all, be all of life. Thank goodness you’re still allowed to think about your choices in life.

    1. One of the major failures of the Left is that they heard the mental health professionals say “emotions are real” and interpreted it to mean “let it all hang out”, when a good mental health promwill tell you that what it means is, you have to deal with emotions, especially when they push you to do wrong things. Emotions are real, in that they must be taken into acount. That doesn’t mean that giving way to them is always, or even often, right.

      1. “You never show your feelings. You must be repressed.”

        “No, I just don’t believe in airing laundry in public.”


        I don’t want to watch other people melt down, so I do my best not to inflict my problems on you. Nor do you want to see what a truly Angry Alma looks and sounds like. Really do not want to know.

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