Thursday, December 17, 2009

MAGGIE PLEADS FOR THE OLD WAYS. Maggie Gallager, considering the Tiger Woods case, says "Sex Makes People Stupid." Gasp! For once she seemed on the same page as Shakespeare, Moliere, and all the greats.

Alas, Gallagher starts talking about "civilization":
This is why we need a little thing called “civilization” to intervene between people and sexual passion, so we don’t leave the young-uns to rely on their own genius to figure out certain enduring truths, like: A married man cannot betray you. You are not a betrayee. You are the co-betrayer...

Sexual virtue is hard. That is why most civilizations through most of human history have invested serious resources in attempting to teach the next generation how they’re ideally supposed to behave.
And that's why nobody had affairs before the Beatles' first LP. Gallagher laments the New Breed of mistresses who call up their paramours' wives and complain. Though she attributes the problem, as is her wont, to sex, the chief object of her complaint is impropriety. She would prefer no one got busy outside the holy state of heterosexual matrimony, but if they must they should be discreet about it. It's an arguable point, but made so much more elegantly by Mme. Armfeldt in A Little Night Music:

If only Gallagher had Mme. Armfeldt's frankness, and words by Stephen Sondheim! But she doesn't seem to know her argument is aesthetic, not moral. I wonder if she'd beat her wings so fiercely if the rich and famous conducted their liasons with the propriety of characters in drawing-room comedies. There were times when that was the fashion, and if transported back to them Gallagher would probably do as scolds did then, and berate poor women for their lack of morality.

Actually she does that too, but probably gets a lot more attention when she uses boldface names.

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