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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Random notes

1. My Pakua instructor, Master Eric, has just gotten an advancement - he was wearing a new belt today. He's now a *fourth* degree black belt with a gold line running the length of the belt. (AGL means something special, although I'm not sure what.) He deserves it - he's a wonderful teacher. I'm so happy for him.

2. My bus driver on the way home from Pakua was such a stereotypical Noo Yawker. I mean, he actually said "Fahgedaboudit". Repeatedly. He also honked at people who stuck out too far at intersections and remarked about a doubleparked car ("In Bensonhurst, he'd be on fire already. Fuhgedaboudit!") and cracked off-color Michael Jackson jokes (and apologizing for the off-colorness of the joke.) I sat right up front so I could hear it all. It was fun for the short time I was on that bus.

3. I'm making split pea soup, more or less the way my mom does - beef necks and lots of veggies. I use plain split peas instead of the tubes o' mix, but I like the way mine comes out. My house smells like home.

4. I'm immersing myself in Jane Austen right now. I just finished Pride and Prejudice and am halfway through Sense and Sensibility. And, you know? Mrs Bennet, the eternally silly and stupid mistress of Longbourn had a shining moment that I haven't seen many people notice. It's the scene where Lady Catherine de Bourgh sweeps down to Longbourn to tell Elizabeth not to marry her nephew. And Mrs Bennet behaves beautifully. She's respectful of the lady's rank (and is very pleased to have "a Lady Catherine" grace her home), but she's never obsequious. She gives a tad too much information about her other daughters, but nothing terribly out of line. Otherwise, she's polite and gracious and ignores her ladyship's rudeness entirely. Later on, after Lady Catherine leaves in a huff and without saying goodbye to her hostess, she puts a good face on it. I was rather proud of her there, and wish dear Jane had said something.


Love Austen.
I think that Jane is being subtle. You have to remember that much of the "prejudice" referred to in the title is Elizabeth's (Darcy's flaw more being the "pride"). While Mrs. Bennet is a great source of comedy in the novel, Jane also wants you to understand that Elizabeth's family is good, is loving, pulls together lovingly, in a way others don't the deBourghs being a prime example). We understand Elizabeth to be a generous soul and that had to come from somewhere (i.e., her family). Mrs. Bennet is most a source of comedy when we look at her through Elizabeth's embarrassed eyes. When her daughter isn't feeling superior to mom, though, she does turn out to be a decent human being, fulfilling, fairly gracefully, the role expected of her by her peers.
Of course, Jane also wants you to not forget that the society that the Bennet's exist in is a bit ridiculous, and that is duly noted at the end, when she points out that the Darcy's remain fairly distant from their respective families (though Jane's wording is much more wickedly subtle than mine). One of her main themes is social satire, of course.

Now, you make me want to drag out my old Complete Works....

I think that also comes up with Mrs Jennings. When we're introduced to her, she's written off as vulgar and low, stupid and annoying.

By the second volume, when Elinor and Marianne are staying with her in London, we see that she really is a woman of perception, great kindness and true affection. She takes as much care of the two Dashwood girls as she would of her own daughters and takes a true slight to them (the way their sister-in-law and her mother treated them) to heart. She even had good advice for Willoughby if he could have taken it (sell what you can sell, lease what you need to lease instead of whoring yourself to some rich girl.)

I'm also thinking about Jane Austen's bad boys. A charming lot, no?

Do you mean the one's who are first presented as bad boys (D'Arcy, for example, and, forgive me, I don't have my Austen handy and all the names are escaping me, the romantic lead of S and S) or the one's who turn out to be schmucks (Willoughby, the military man who seduces Elizabeth's younger sister in P and P, etc.)? I do find the D'Arcys fairly charming; I like a bit of attitude in my romantic leading men. But Jane does such a marvelous job with her cads; they are so alive in their caddishness!
I think the "silly" older women are part of Jane's theme of the twisted nature of fashionable society: So many of the women who are celebrated in London are truly awful people, while the Mrs. Jennings are completely dismissed. Willoughby, obviously, would have been happier, as would Marianne, if he had listened to Mrs. Jennings. But, that wasn't the fashionable thing to do. Emma furthers this idea, I think. Emma herself is the middling, fashionable woman of society, so much so that she nearly messes up her own life, along with a few other people.
I really, really have to track down my Austen! (Have you read The Jane Austen Book Club, by the way? Finish refreshing yourself with the real Austen, first. But it is a fun take on Austen fans, like you and me, that you might enjoy.)

I loved that book - especially when she commented on how sf fans are viewed, since Karen Joy Fowler is a fantasy writer.

(I have the world's most wonderful husband. He sees I have an interested in something and he gets me books on or about the subject.)

I was thinking about both Wickham *and* Darcy, as well as Willoughby and Mr. Crawford and Mr. Elliot from Persuasion (I slashed those last. :)) Not so much Frank Churchill or Henry Tilden, neither of whom are actual cads. Nor is Darcy, but he's just more interesting than Edward Ferrars or Colonel Brandon, or even Mr. Bingley.

I'd love to slash Bingley and Darcy but I love Lizzy too much to do it. Unless I postulate that they were lovers conditional upon marriage - which means Darcy would have rejected any girl for Bingley until he himself fell in love.


I have the world's most wonderful husband. He sees I have an interested in something and he gets me books on or about the subject.
I have one of those, too. It is marvelous, isn't it?