Wednesday, January 09, 2013

IT'S OUR OWN STORY EXACTLY! HE BOLD AS A HAWK, SHE SOFT AS THE DAWN.

Acculturated is a new dispenser of culture war ordnance that yells "WHY POP CULTURE MATTERS" from the masthead.  Connoisseurs of the genre will find it a little bit Culture 11 and a little bit Speculative Rightwing Ladymags The Perfesser Wants Created.

One thing the Acculturati like to talk about is Downton Abbey. (Here's a thing where Emily Esfahani Smith twits Simon Schama for calling it "snobbery by the bucketful." "The scenes take place in and out of a manor inhabited by tony aristocrats," sniffs Smith. "Its appeal is aesthetic. As an art history professor, Schama should know this." I'm pretty sure she's not kidding.)

And in case you thought Jonah Goldberg had farted the last word on the subject, get this: Ashley McGuire lets us know up front that she's sophisticated and Has Agency --
I’m no dummy. My last order from Amazon included The Feminine Mystique, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, and Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics.
-- But she watches crummy TV shows. Why? Not merely to relax; that'd be common.
I simply think that I (like my fellow educated female consumers of garbage television) am looking for intrigue. Intrigue that gives us something to talk about. Something to think about. A framework to ponder our sex. 
Television is a sort of social barometer, and as women we are particularly inclined to take the temperature of our society and it how it views us and treats us.
Those days when you were a kid and imagined TV shows really spoke to you and your generation? That's why you have this coming to you -- McGuire pondering her sex:
It’s a sort of lifeline to any woman drowning in the thick waters of modern culture... 
Indeed, the show evokes wholly contrary thoughts about womanhood and feminism. As I watch the show, I find myself fighting between two selves. One side of me hardly envies the women of the era, when marriage was a woman’s only ticket in life, when the corset still grasped the fashion industry, when one make-out session with an exotic boy could ruin your prospects for life. 
But then one side of me envies the women of Downton ever so slightly. Envies the thought of my husband referring to me as “her ladyship.”
In previous sub-generations, ladies who didn't want to live in Dallas might yet have envied the women of Southfork and dreamed of falling under the spell of courtly if amoral J.R. Ewing. But when the show was over and the Asti Spumante drained, I don't think their fantasies spurred them to social analysis like this:
Are we happy with where we are? Do we demand enough of men? Do we demand enough of ourselves? Can we do better than table flipping in Jersey or ten plastic surgeries? Are we really that much better off today, or are today’s television shows any indication that there is still much work to be done?...
The women of Downton want driving lessons, they want jobs, they want the vote. But are there things from that era that we have thrown away that might have had value?...
If only we had cars and servants with crisp aprons! Clearly society has failed us.
Did respect for a woman’s reputation keep men in check and protect ourselves from winding up like Ethel, pregnant and scared? Did good-old-fashioned esteem for women raise the odds of winding up like Anna and Mary, wives who had been thoroughly woo’ed by good men?    
We'll never know now; there's no time machine to whisk us back to the days when women were thoroughly woo'ed and could do without that spinster's toy, the Vote. Ah well; there's still a little Red Bicyclette left, and a page where one can send eloquent essay-length distress signals that Ross Douthat may pick up. In the words of Martin Mull: It's not that great and it's late and once again, honey, you lose.

148 comments:

  1. Another Kiwi11:20 PM

    First Joberg and now McGuire. I have to admit that I am genuinely surprised by the new Dowton Abbey salient in the culture war. Interesting that she sees herself as one of the "miladies" and not one of the "staff" which, statistically, would be more likely.
    If you'll excuse me, I have a sex to ponder.

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  2. whetstone11:23 PM

    "are today’s television shows any indication that there is still much work to be done?"

    Golly gee, that depends. If it's "Real Housewives," it indicates "yes." If it's "Nashville," it indicates "people like melodrama, this one has Connie Britton and she kicks ass, and Powers Boothe is J.R. reincarnated." If it's Piers Morgan or Erin Burnett, it indicates "burn the whole edifice to the ground in a cleansing fire."

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  3. Spaghetti Lee11:24 PM

    Those days when you were a kid and imagined TV shows really spoke to you and your generation?



    Well, I used to imagine that; these days, I fear it.

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  4. Is it time to remind everyone of the medical doctors who used electricity and the dildo to calm their miserable patients during this same era? Or to remind the writers of this glurge that it is still possible to be "thoroughly wooed" today, but somewhat less likely that you will be knocked up without recourse and thrown on the street. Also, too, please refer all complaints about how women are not womanly enough for chivalry these days to India, rape of women in because that's exactly the argument of the pro-boy's club. That if the woman in question had maintained her feminine modesty and prayed a little harder she wouldn't have been killed.


    aimai

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  5. Fats Durston11:57 PM

    McGuire's comments remind me of when I saw Gosford Park in the theater. If I remember correctly, there's a long tracking shot that begins in the basement among the lowest of the servants, catalogs their miseries, and then moves to chronicle the indignities inflicted upon the higher-ranked servants, and then finally maneuvers to show the paraphernalia that makes the upper class the upper class, the products wrought by the social inferiors' sweat and tears. At that point the woman behind me gasped and gushed, "What beautiful silver and china."



    I wanted to jab her in the eye for missing the point, but I expect she didn't much enjoy the movie.

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  6. Megalon12:17 AM

    "Are we really that much better off today"

    Yes. I don't understand how anybody who isn't a reactionary, a cretin, a wanna be noble or a misogynist could say that you aren't.

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  7. smut clyde12:57 AM

    Television is a sort of social barometer, and as women we are
    particularly inclined to take the temperature of our society and it how
    it views us and treats us


    She might be better off with a sort of social thermometer, then

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  8. Spaghetti Lee1:00 AM

    I’m no dummy. My last order from Amazon included The Feminine Mystique, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, and Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics.



    Honest question: who do you suppose this passage is for? The most rock-solid Tea Party wingnuts will either not care or snort with derision ('The Bible's got all the ethics you need, young lady!'), and liberals will, well, snort with derision, once she gets started on the 'man, aristocracy sure was great, wasn't it?' shtick.


    This is such obvious no-really-I'm-a-centrist ass-covering on her part that I can't imagine anyone's fooled. I'm kind of fascinated by this whole group, people like her and Ross Douthat and Rod Dreher: they write for people who are relatively modern and liberated but need someone to tell them to feel guilty about it. I think it's one of the few genres where there are literally more authors than readers.

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  9. DocAmazing1:03 AM

    Naturally McGuire figures she'd be one of the aristocrats. As has been pointed out about past-life regression enthusiasts, no one ever seems to have been pig farmers or cesspool diggers in their former existences. It appears that no one watches Downton Abbey and fantasizes about being scullery workers.

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  10. DocAmazing1:05 AM

    With the democratization of health care, we expect our patients to undertake their own dildonic therapy.

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  11. I get it now! Conservatives, lacking empathy, can't relate to the characters. They can't put themselves in another person's place and so can't imagine what they would do in a different setting or period or world. So they have to come up with some other justification for watching TV shows and movies, especially if their subject doesn't reinforce their values.

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  12. DocAmazing1:06 AM

    She might get obsessive over which type is the most accurate, IYKWIMAITYD.

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  13. They always assume that they would be the upper class, rather then the servants. Ironic, since their ancestors probably were servants, or at least peasants rather then the gentry.

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  14. Hey, you're the doc, Doc.

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  15. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:42 AM

    Intrigue that gives us something to talk about.
    In this case, it's "intrigue by proxy", fed to her through the tube.

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  16. That may be the worst pitch I've seen since Mitt Romney tried to simulate human feeling at the RNC.

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  17. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:44 AM

    To me, it's an even more pathetic gambit. "I'm smart, I ordered these books" does not equate to "I'm smart, I read and understood these books."

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  18. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:45 AM

    But what of S.E. Cupp?

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  19. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:48 AM

    In the meantime, the bozos at NRO and Reason are "the help"... Mitt Romney probably laughed his ass off every time he parted with them. Hell, compared to Sheldon Adelson and Chuck and Dave Koch, Mitt Romney was "the help"- they probably made him enter throught the kitchen because he was a "mere" multi-millionaire.

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  20. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:50 AM

    It appears that no one watches Downton Abbey and fantasizes about being scullery workers

    Those watching the miniseries adaptation of "Gormenghast" were notably different in this regard.

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  21. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:51 AM

    I dunno, how could it fit there when her head's wedged up there?

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  22. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:52 AM

    Ya know, the simple rejoinder "we have antibiotics" should suffice.

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  23. Well, certainly conservatives and libertarians never imagine themselves on the bottom. That's the essence of Romney's delusional asshole comments about the 47% and Bill O'Reilly's delusional asshole comments about the death of the white establishment. As I wrote recently elsewhere, libertarians have the mentality of feudal lords; they scream about the tyranny of the king, because he might interfere with their "freedom" to oppress the serfs.

    I've watched Downton Abbey, and a few of my friends love the show, mostly as a guilty-pleasure highbrow soap. (Lisa de Moraes calls the genre "crunchy gravel dramas.") But then, we'll also discuss the class dynamics and how their portrayal can be a bit rosy, and how any students watching the show as "history" should really see it alongside PBS' great reality show Manor House... (Oh, and read some history books. That's how we commies roll.) It all gets back to a recurring theme here – the enjoyment of art on various levels and different ways. For instance, personally, I'm strongly against monarchy as a form of government, yet somehow I can still enjoy all those Shakespeare plays with kings. Hmm.

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  24. smut clyde2:04 AM

    If only the US had had its own period of extreme wealth inequality in the early 20th Century -- they could call it "The Gilded Age", perhaps -- so they could make their own TV series devoted to the lives of the privileged elite.

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  25. Apes don't read philosophy.

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  26. Did respect for a woman’s reputation keep men in check and protect ourselves from winding up like Ethel, pregnant and scared?

    Oh totally. That's why Ethel didn't end up pregnant and scared.

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  27. smut clyde3:04 AM

    Social barometers are useful things, of course. For instance, you can use them to determine the height of a social building.

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  28. Snarll3:44 AM

    Do you think, though, that she understands that to have a husband who calls her "her ladyship," she'd first have to marry a very specific kind of husband? That it's not just an ad-hoc term of endearment/veneration that all well-brought-up boys ought to use?

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  29. coozledad4:38 AM

    Barney: "A lot of things have gone out of life since those days."
    Andy: "Yup. Like typhoid"

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  30. Jay B.6:11 AM

    They do, but they don't understand it.

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  31. Jay B.6:12 AM

    Or the amount of tension at a dinner party.

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  32. Jay B.6:18 AM

    And what's really interesting is that she cites these books as totems of her intelligence, but then doesn't actually talk about them. Just like I read Ulysses, which is why I'd like to discuss the tattoo on that chick's back.

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  33. Alexander von Humbug6:25 AM

    Oh, stop pressuring her.

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  34. Alexander Von Humbug6:34 AM

    The rest of the site is a frothy mix of fail. Take the "About" page, which, after four grafs of Comp 102-grade blather, presents its first blockquote ... from ... Paglia! (Oh, and lookee here -- Paglia's the guest on podcast numero uno!)

    Or the "Meet the Editor" text: "A graduate of Dartmouth College graduate, she was editor of theDartmouth Review." Reminiscent of the Fall's Birmingham School of Business School, only with less drunken rage.

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  35. Pope Zebbidie XIII6:42 AM

    If they didn't understand it, why do you imagine they choose to live the way they do?

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  36. This is such obvious no-really-I'm-a-centrist ass-covering on her part that I can't imagine anyone's fooled.

    I believe she is fooled. I wouldn't be surprised if she really considers herself a well-informed (and well-intentioned) centrist, and undoubtedly thinks criticisms of her shallow opinions stem from reactionary polemics.

    You find this a lot in America, where education is political and attention-spans are gnat-like.

    I suppose this is historically a challenge for social progressives--the more you gain, the further you get in time from horrendous conditions, the more difficult it is to keep moving because the threat is not so obvious anymore. Complacency sets in as amnesic nostalgia floods the brain.

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  37. ...but the DO understand Nietzsche.

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  38. Pope Zebbidie XIII6:51 AM

    You've already got an aristocracy and it is just as unlovely and unjust as the British version.

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  39. Yeah, one with a red tip.

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  40. fraser7:40 AM

    So yet another version of "If women like Fifty Shades of Grey that proves modern feminism is a pathetic failure that ignores women's desire for total subjugation."

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  41. "Well, certainly conservatives and libertarians never imagine themselves on the bottom."

    Oh yes they do, if you know what I mean. But it's a secret.

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  42. Aimai7:59 AM

    Look, I loved the wire and the sopranos but I never in a million years wanted to enter either world. Downtown abbey is a soap opera with a foreign setting--the past--and that makes it intriguing. It doesn't make you a wanna be snob if you enjoy watching it. Maybe the costumes and the focus in the upper class sets the bar kind of low but the real unreality of the show is the same for any reality tv show: in real life the action and the dysfunctional relationships would be punctuated by hours af tedium even for the upper class.

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  43. BigHank538:13 AM

    And learn how to smile at him while ignoring the maid-swiving and prostituting. No cure for the clap back then, and there's no way in hell you're getting the house if there's a divorce. Stiff upper lip, honey!

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  44. Haystack8:14 AM

    Your ladyship, as you requested, I've instructed the grounds crew to chase those damn kids off the estate lawn.

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  45. BigHank538:16 AM

    I like to ask these rosy-past knuckleheads one question: "When was Novacaine invented?"


    That usually gets them to shut the hell up.

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  46. BigHank538:25 AM

    Nothing like contradicting your own point in a single sentence. Guess she got her money's worth out of that Dartmouth degree.

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  47. Aimai8:27 AM

    I'm going back toy electric dildo point upthread.

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  48. mortimer9:04 AM

    Wow, a right-wing online cultural magazine with eminent writers like Mark Judge, Ben Domenech, Glenn Reynolds and assorted right-wing credentialed young women (imagine, a Robert Novak Fellows in *cough* Journalism!) who "rate our culture and the kinds of messages it sends out every day." Stroll through some of their emissions and you see that they're trying not to sound too nuts, but then you walk right into lines like That desire for union with God is why we crave sex and it's like having one of those conversations with the guy next to you on the bus who seems normal until he drops his first "praise Jesus!" into a conversation about recipes.

    Cheap Shot #3,477: From the front-page bio of Emily Esfahani Smith, the site's editor: A graduate of Dartmouth College graduate, she was editor of the Dartmouth Review.

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  49. sharculese9:06 AM

    Well, to be fair, Nashville regularly makes me want to scream, but I keep watching it for pretty much the reasons you articulated. Lamar Wyatt is no Cy Tolliver, but it's good enough.

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  50. sharculese9:11 AM

    "Hi, I'm a hip, educated young women with my finger on the pulse. That's why I've just ordered this decades old feminist tract that people's moms find dated so I can put it on my shelf and never read it."

    Also:

    Did respect for a woman’s reputation keep men in check and protect ourselves from winding up like Ethel, pregnant and scared?



    A brief examination of the historical record would show that the answer is "no, not really, not ever." Look, In a way, I respect what this Ashley McGuire is trying to do. Being a one-person antidote to the whole of women's studies is an ambitious project. But don't you think it out to involve some, y'know, studying.

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  51. didn't all of this get worked out during the great 'saved by the bell' critiques of the early 1990s?

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  52. mortimer9:14 AM

    So the new thirty-something personality marker is your last Amazon order? What if instead of books, you bought some Prevacid, a USB hub, and a sex toy? What would that signify (hypothetically speaking since I really wouldn't know anyone with such an order)?

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  53. DocAmazing9:16 AM

    Yeah, but they don't make very good television. I mean, Donald Trump?

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  54. MikeJ9:18 AM

    And to this day nobody knows why they print that "33" on it.

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  55. Also, too, please refer all complaints about how women are not womanly
    enough for chivalry these days to India, rape of women in because that's
    exactly the argument of the pro-boy's club.




    or to any one-horse american berg where sports is king.

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  56. sharculese9:20 AM

    hell, just go onto reddit and do a search for 'falsely accused'/'bitch deserved it'

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  57. glennisw9:34 AM

    Shorter Ashley McGuire: "Class differences? What's that?"

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  58. satch9:36 AM

    Wingers seem to be trying to prove that they can LIVE Nietzshche without the work of understanding it.

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  59. edroso9:36 AM

    Not to mention Genet's "The Maids" and Vian's "The Empire Builders" (which, to be fair, has a happy ending).

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  60. Carry On Burning Sensation

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  61. satch9:48 AM

    True, Aimai, which makes me admire Julian Fellowes a little for sending in the character of Martha Levinson to tweak the establishment. Maybe some of our commenters from far flung points in the Empire could comment on how they see that character, but I'm sure that the addition of Martha allows Americans to enjoy the gowns, morning coats and china while maintaining a bit of "Ain't we REAL" superiority.

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  62. paleotectonics9:57 AM

    That you were Romney's campaign director?

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  63. Robert M.10:01 AM

    Gah! I performed a literal facepalm when I read the sentence.


    One might usefully contrast Lady Mary's indiscretion with the Turkish diplomat with Ethel's fling with her officer. Ethel can't find work, and is left doing her best Fantine impression in the village; Mary almost had to accept a marriage proposal from a handsome, rich man she didn't love!


    FFS.

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  64. "Those days when you imagined that television spoke to you and your generation?"

    Well, yeah... I always aspired to being as witty as Morey Amsterdam, having a wife as hot as Mary Tyler Moore, and to being able to trip over a hassock as gracefully and athletically as Dick Van Dyke.

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  65. Mary Anne and Ginger spoke to me, I'm sure of it!
    ~

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  66. RogerAiles10:23 AM

    Ashley McGuire. Sounds like an adultery website for the Disney Channel set.

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  67. RogerAiles10:31 AM

    Lud Julian is already cranking it out. Steve Carrell will star as Mewland Marcher.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/downton-abbey/9707244/Julian-Fellowes-writing-American-Downton-Abbey.html

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  68. RogerAiles10:35 AM

    Romney's campaign director wouldn't know what to do with the USB hub.

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  69. RogerAiles10:43 AM

    Elsewhere on the site, Mark Judge avers "That desire for union with God is why we crave sex...."


    http://acculturated.com/2013/01/08/god-sex-and-the-universal-longing/

    I'm flattered, Mark, but not really interested.

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  70. sophronia10:47 AM

    Oh come on. What is all this Real Housewives of Blahblah nonsense if not point-and-laugh TV about our American aristocracy and what a freakshow it is? And everybody seemed to love that "King of Versailles" movie. The problem for conservatives is that we don't make TV shows where we view our aristocrats as sepia-toned valiants upholding the Lost Cause against the filthy masses. At least not outside of the South, anyway.

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  71. Acculterated features podcasts:

    Podcast #1: Camille Paglia interviewed by Emily Esfahani Smith and Ben Domenech

    No, I didn't click the link.


    Oh, and Ms. Smith calls the Wall Street Journal the "erstwhile" defender of the 1%. Erstwhile? So under Rupert it's become more like Mother Jones.

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  72. I would like to point out that Ashley McGuire is a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. It's depressing that such a thing exists, and that someone would describe herself that way.

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  73. casino implosion11:02 AM

    I watch it, and fantasize about being a gardener and hating the patronizing master of the house. But I'm a leftist.

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  74. zencomix11:03 AM

    "That desire for union with God is why we crave sex...."



    Isn't that what Sam the Butcher told Alice on Downton Brady right before he got her pregnant?

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  75. sharculese11:12 AM

    Uh, it's an electronic doohickey. Throw a bunch of money at it and victory is assured. That's a he (and obviously it's a he) needs to know.

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  76. Oppression seems like a weird way to esteem women.

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  77. Well, at least Mary didn't get pregnant, and if she had, I'm sure she could have taken care of the "situation" with a Summer jaunt to Switzerland. Unless the heart attack occurred before consummation...

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  78. Yeah. It's kind of an easy question to answer unless you're a moron.

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  79. A few years ago there was a big divorce case in England which just floored the remnants of the aristocracy in which the wife took half of everything and they kept bleating "but it was in custody for the next generation!" and "that serving dish is 20 generations old!" Too bad. So sad.


    aimai

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  80. Or at least better acting.

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  81. Podcast two: Emily Esfahani Smith and Ben Demenech interviewed by Camille Paglia.


    Can you guess what Podcast 3 will be?

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  82. BigHank5311:36 AM

    Did any of the upper crust in Gormenghast come to even a close approximation of a happy ending?

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  83. BigHank5311:39 AM

    I had no idea God was hiding in there.

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  84. John D.11:40 AM

    I've just had an idea for a zany new movie script, or even a possible sitcom: Downturn Blabbey.

    The premise has young up-and-comer Blabbey McGuire at an editorial meeting for the "hip," "new" conservative 'intelligentsia' website
    she writes for, when all of a sudden, her Fairy Godmother (or God or a
    Magical Negro or a talking horse or some such thing) appears and offers to grant everyone present a wish. Since their current discussion centres around how easy women had it back in the "Good Old Days" of glossy period porn/soaps like Downton Abbey, they all immediately wish that they could be transported back in time to live the Good Life themselves, and then magically return to the present day in order write about it! "This'll really show up those feminists!" squeals their editor, Ross Douchehat. So Ross, Blabbey, emerging "hot," "new" talent Sippy Cupp and their mentor, a razor mawed, liver spotted old harridan named Shlamille Haglia, are all instantly zapped back to Ye Olden Days...

    ...and find themselves on the bottom rung of society, working the nastiest and filthiest jobs imaginable in he household of Lord and Lady Bastard. After about the 20th savage beating during her first morning alone, Blabbey begins to realize something is not quite right: "Whuh-why aren't they calling me 'Milady?'" "Where are the cheetos?" sobs Ross, who can't understand why the aristocrats aren't interested in hiring him to write about how wonderful they are. "What need have we of such foolishness?" snaps Lord Bastard. "Grovel before your betters, worm!" (The latter remark accompanied by the vicious whip of a riding crop across Ross' fat face! Bwah!) Meanwhile, Shlamille is carted off to the nearest sanatorium (i.e. Madhouse!) for not being properly deferential to the menfolk.

    But it's only when Lord Bastard breaks Blabbey's arm with a fireplace poker and she's brought to that era's version of a hospital that the laughs really begin!

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  85. Mr. Wonderful11:42 AM

    "punctuated by hours of tedium even for the upper class."


    ESPECIALLY for the upper class. Does anybody here actually want to live in that house? It would be like living in--and having to care for--the Met. Does it sound like fun, spending a good portion of the day *getting dressed for various meals*?

    Then again, what do I know? Those peoples' lives--upstairs and down--seem defined by Duty. Maybe that's not tedious.



    In any case, mazel tov, Roy, on discovering Acculturated. It must be nice, knowing there will always be a site brimming with intelligent nonsense when one's deadline looms.

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  86. BigHank5311:43 AM

    Say what you will about Camille Paglia, but I'm sure she knows what the definition of 'erstwhile' is.

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  87. John D.11:44 AM

    Intelligent-sounding nonsense, perhaps, and even that might be a tad overly generous.

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  88. Mr. Wonderful11:44 AM

    But that's the beauty of it. Oral AND rectal in one convenient location.

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  89. BigHank5311:47 AM

    Oh, I'd rate it up there with KKK regalia and Nazi armbands: if someone is willing to walk around publicly declaring themselves a worthless asshole, isn't that really a public service?

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  90. Mr. Wonderful11:48 AM

    Yeah, but come on. It was a fabulous kitchen.

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  91. Leeds man11:52 AM

    "Downtown abbey is a soap opera with a foreign setting"


    Coronation Street with broad-brimmed hats and corsets.

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  92. Mr. Wonderful11:53 AM

    It would be funny, by which I mean "profound," if it turned out to be that simple: that conservatism selected for those in society who, for whatever reason, lack empathy. The "values" and theories and etc. come afterwards. Wanna make a living as a bully or a sadist? Become a cop or an army drill instructor. Just don't have that capacity to sense what others might be feeling in this situation or that, and looking for like-minded colleagues? Become a conservative. You don't have to be rich, because it's not about the money. It's about feeling okay being just a teeny bit sociopathic.


    Tell me that doesn't explain everything.

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  93. tigrismus11:54 AM

    That desire for union with God is why we crave sex



    HOT.

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  94. sharculese12:06 PM

    Did you really think a tv show could get away with being popular without generating a bunch of essays about how it's secretly a repudiation of the New Deal, the sexual revolution, and the Enlightenment?

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  95. Coronation Street with broad-brimmed hats and corsets.


    High praise through some parts of the Coronation Street run...

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  96. sharculese12:13 PM

    Going Back to Electric Dildo Point would be a fabulous title for an sf novel.

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  97. montag212:20 PM

    It is, from the standpoint of creating dramatic tension and cohesive narrative, difficult to write about the contemporary American aristocracy because they are so frightfully dull (a point rammed home minute-by-minute in "The Queen of Versailles"--the laughs in that film come from the principals' bemused and genuine struggle to understand why simple money-grubbing isn't worthy of awe and respect, or that the dismal prospect of having to rough it in a $12 million mansion because they might lose their $75 million mansion, a place seemingly dedicated to monumental bad taste, is the stuff of unintentional self-parody).

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  98. Another Kiwi12:23 PM

    Trouser talk, dude.

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  99. montag212:25 PM

    Oh, do I ever want to see their treatise on "Breaking Bad," then.

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  100. sharculese12:33 PM

    Just for fun, I checked, and according to my cursory cursory search Breaking Bad is Pure Hedonistic Liberalism.


    Mark Judge laments that it's not realistic because Walt White never engages in any trite reflection on where God was when he got the cancer: http://acculturated.com/2012/08/06/god-cancer-and-breaking-bad/


    EE Smith thinks it's neat, but worries that it's crowding out space on TV that could be filled with positive messages about the Indomitable Power of the (White) Spirit like The Impossible: http://acculturated.com/2012/09/19/the-unbearable-grimness-of-tv-and-film-today/

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  101. Another Kiwi12:40 PM

    The Romney campaign manager would use them as desk ornaments.

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  102. montag212:49 PM

    Oh, dear, Judge's take is one I should have expected, but didn't. But, hell, it's not as if God is completely absent in this drama--somebody's prayer was answered in the episode with the Penitents....

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  103. redoubt1:03 PM

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who'se looked at Downton Abbey thinking, "In about fifteen years this will be the Cliveden Set headquarters."

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  104. Leeds man1:09 PM

    Après Elsie Tanner, le déluge

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  105. redoubt1:10 PM

    Going Back to Electric Dildo Point
    lost Jefferson Airplane track

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  106. Watch Joseph Losey's The Servant.

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  107. redoubt1:22 PM

    Dickens with typhoid.

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  108. wileywitch1:25 PM

    It would be interesting to hear her explain by why she bought a feminist that is 49 years old. Could be wrong, but I doubt that she's studying the history of feminism.

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  109. One side of me hardly envies the women of the
    era, when marriage was a woman’s only ticket in life, when the corset
    still grasped the fashion industry, when one make-out session with an
    exotic boy could ruin your prospects for life.


    But then one side of me envies the women of Downton ever so slightly.
    Envies the thought of my husband referring to me as “her ladyship.”


    It's as if the only women in Downton Abbey are the ladies of the family.

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  110. Or he could use them to recharge Mitt, albeit slowly.

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  111. MikeJ1:45 PM

    A cumming of age book. The Judy Blume book they'll *really* want to ban.

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  112. tigrismus1:49 PM

    A trickle-down charger?

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  113. zencomix1:49 PM

    The man never drank a Duff read a book in his life.

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  114. M. Krebs1:51 PM

    Or a remake of Zabriskie Point.

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  115. Well, they're the ones who count.

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  116. drkrick2:50 PM

    No thank you.

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  117. drkrick2:53 PM

    Give enough of them typewriters and they can write it!

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  118. drkrick2:57 PM

    Nonsense aspiring to sound intelligent?

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  119. drkrick3:04 PM

    The 1% may be a bit too broad-based for the current WSJ.

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  120. It might help if you were also a D.H. Lawrence fan.

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  121. only with less drunken rage.


    I dunno, have you ever been to Hanover, NH?

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  122. I've never been so flabbergasted since the time the preacher's daughter took me up into the steeple to show me the Holy Ghost.

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  123. Of course it's a desire for union with God. And the best part is, your partner never gets offended when you shout out God's name during the act, like he does when you shout out some other dude's name. It's genius.

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  124. The GOP keeps giving it the old college try, though.

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  125. Yeah, while "Dallas" and "Dynasty" were popular back in their day [pauses to shake cane at whippersnappers], I just don't see "A Koch Would Like to Buy the World" having the substance to support an ongoing serial narrative. "Next week: a trip to the secret Koch shrine to Stalin, maker of the family's fortune, goes disastrously awry." Maybe a TV movie, or a miniseries, but not a series.

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  126. Philip Kafka Dick4:13 PM

    Do Randroids Dream of Electric Dildo Sheep?

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  127. That desire for union with God is why we crave sex, so I'm guessing Podcast 3 will be assorted gasps and grunts.

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  128. tigrismus4:23 PM

    Phrygian moan.

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  129. BigHank535:26 PM

    God, yes. Drunken rage is the reasonable reaction.

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  130. slavdude6:05 PM

    And don't forget, Aristotle was *not* Belgian. (Man, I feel old now....)

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  131. aimai6:47 PM

    As I recall during one of the "living like they did in the past" reality shows the woman who got stuck with the job of being the maiden aunt of the aristocratic family nearly went nuts with all the nothing to do. Oh, here it is: The Edwardian House:

    Cold Comfort"May 14, 200250mins1x04Hunting, shooting and fishing were the mainstay of country house life and the master has no desire to duck out of these Edwardian activities. While the men get back to nature, the women at home begin to question their roles in Edwardian society. Sexual restrictions particularly affect Avril, the unmarried sister of Lady Olliff-Cooper, who has to bear the discomforts of being single and dependent.

    The new scullery maid looks like she will have no such problems - already she is the object of the hallboy's affection. But living as they do under the same roof, the relationship must be kept secret if they want to keep their jobs.

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  132. aimai6:48 PM

    You aren't looking deep enough.

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  133. aimai6:51 PM

    You know, you can pretty much get your husband to call you whatever you want, if you pick a good husband.

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  134. Sgaile-beairt8:45 PM

    maybe they can get Sarah Hoyt to write about agatha Christie for them next....

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  135. Sgaile-beairt8:49 PM

    thats why they kept running away to kenya to go shooting & flying & fucking....l'ennui, toujours l'ennui!!

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  136. Sgaile-beairt8:55 PM

    especially at this time of the year....some bad, bad (COLD) memories!!

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  137. Sgaile-beairt8:56 PM

    especially if your both in the SCA....

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  138. Sgaile-beairt8:57 PM

    no but its part of those ;Podcasts from Hell" series w Kim du toit that Roy was positing i bet....

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  139. Well played! (Plus, can't have an alicublog thread without aimai bringing in the electric dildo.)

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  140. Julia Grey4:06 PM

    "Did respect for a woman’s reputation keep men in check and protect ourselves from winding up like Ethel, pregnant and scared?"



    Wait. This is a nonsensical question on its face. Since Ethel ended up pregnant and scared, respect for women certainly didn't keep THAT man "in check."

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  141. Julia Grey4:09 PM

    Or, "How to throw up without having to stick your finger down your throat."

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  142. Julia Grey4:13 PM

    Welllll, it WAS beautiful stuff. Purchased at a steep human cost, yes, but I don't think it's a crime to be overwhelmed by the gorgeousness...that was ALSO part of the point.

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  143. Julia Grey4:20 PM

    "liberals will, well, snort with derision"


    I snorted because she hadn't read any of those books yet.

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  144. Julia Grey4:32 PM

    Oh, I was so disgusted with the way Fellowes had her hunched over her food, eating with her mouth open. Please. A woman of the American moneyed elite of that era would NOT be that gauche, even if she was New Money. She would have learned basic table manners long, long ago.


    She might very well have tweaked and poked at the English verbally, and that was fun and "realistic," but _Cora's mother_ would have known how to conduct herself at table!

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  145. Julia Grey4:39 PM

    Great minds, etc. (I came in late.)

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  146. Wasn't Tony Aristocrats a minor mob honcho operating out of Bayonne?

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