fictional: (regency)
Item: Lord Peter Wimsey.

Sadly Dorothy Sayers wrote Lord Peter mysteries of a finite number, and then moved onto religious plays, and Dante of all things...[and I say, wasn't one infernal poet enough??? I ask you. When the world could have been blessed with tales of Lady Peter (nee Miss Harriet Deborah Vane) and the Wimsey sproglets in WWII to say nothing of Bunter & Lord Peter's engrossing activities in Intelligence as well as those of Viscount St. George alias Jerry (it occurs to me that nickname couldn't have done him any favors in the RAF, now could it???) and his adventures in the Battle of Britain... from where I am sure he effected a daring escape of some kind, Miss Sayers' opinion to the contrary. And Winnifred. Perhaps we might actually meet her. And some more Dowager Duchess wouldn't come amiss. But I digress.]

So, okay, you read all the mysteries, then move on to the continuations by Jill Paton Walsh, then you want more. Naturally, being a person of sound taste and judgement, you proceed to the Wimsey fanfic on the web, all of it being of a surprising quality, but small in number. (Perhaps the explanation of the former lies in the latter.) You watch the filmed adaptations (Strong Poison and Have His Carcase excellent; Gaudy Night unforgivably awful).

And then? What then?

There are numerous directions to go: one can proceed to the incomparable Miss Heyer for the regency worldbuilding tinged with a gorgeous and delightful twenties/thirties aesthetic - (Incidentally Lord Peter's world, and Heyer's Regency are... surprisingly similar, now that I think of it. Including rhythms of phrase, etc.; says something about our tendency to merrily and muddily accept anything prewar and historical as "back then")... and know the path from there is straight towards comedies of manners, and probably on into fantasies of manners. Unexceptionable, what?

But suppose that's not desired... one can go and read inspirational texts... not the spiritual kind (not the chicken soup meaning anyway), but the ones that have their genesis in love. I've got Lois McMaster Bujold at my fingertips... and I remember my last reread of the Sayers oeuvre was in fact a sort of reverse application of this phenomenon -- I was desperate for more Miles Vorkosigan, and clearly the only thing to do was apply poultice of Lord Peter and hope for the best.

However! Ruthlessly back to the original quandary. One could go straight into P.G. Wodehouse say, and maybe after that wind up with a little Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)... and then... maybe a soup├žon of Evelyn Waugh? Or backwards instead and choosing to indulge in a little, as Lord Peter might say, coming over all Galsworthy? I've always meant to give the Forsyte saga another wallop. And from thence backwards to Miss Austen? And then through to Emily Eden's "The Semi Attached Couple" and oh golly, back to la belle Georgette. A person could get dizzy with all this perambulating backwards and forwards in time.

[Incidentally, it occurs to me there is something quite Wimsey-esque to the Doctor and his TARDIS. Screwdriver/monocle, TARDIS/enviable Lagonda, post-(Time)war PTSD -- the arrogance, and the angst over condemning those that must be condemned... the list goes on and on. There's the fun of it all too.

Anyone up for a Tennant-Wimsey remake????

Incidentally, I wonder what pre-WWII era Torchwood would have made of Lord Peter....

...I but stir the pot.]

Thoughts? The important thing is to have a Plan.

Also, I really need a "reading books" icon.
fictional: (palin master)
First, there were the PUMAs. Have you guys heard about these folks? PUMA apparently stands for Party Unity My Ass, (??? Really?) and they seem to be American feminists women of a certain age who feel utterly betrayed by the election, and spend a lot of time totting up grievances about who has suffered more, people of color, or women? (And what about female people of color? They don't seem too bothered. The sisterhood, it seems, doesn't contain them; it doesn't even seem to occur to them that it ought to...?)

In all seriousness, they actually seem certifiably nuts.

I spent a good portion of today rubbernecking the traincrash reading [ profile] palinpumawatch and clicking on through to associated links. Whoa. If you don't want it filtered, go straight to Reclusive Leftist and look around. I think the mod, Violet Socks, or whatever is a deranged fruit-bat, but the real gold (or tragedy, depending on how you look at it) is in the comments, and the community being fostered. Here is a pre-election sample. At first I was mesmerized (and enraged!) but then -- I began to see the heartbreak of it. Because, from my reading, these seem to be women who have sad, sad lives. They talk about marital discord. They talk about giving up everything for their families (occasionally in really bad poetry.) They are among the casualties of the system, right? And their lives are ordinary, and seemingly filled with a host of claustrophobic, petty disappointments. And so this neo-con cult of aggressive mediocrity (Exhibit A: Not!Joe the War Correspondent1) is going to be terribly appealing to them. Something that makes a virtue out of victimhood, that places all the blame for everything terrible that has happened to them squarely on the shoulders of someone else -- much like Sarah Palin, and her post-election, 2012 prep interviews that accuse everyone of being so unfair. At least the bizarrely named NiceDeb who actually compared Obama to Hitler (!!!) is the most offensively wingnut of conservatives; these other ladies seem to be left-leaning? Or believe that they are left leaning? But I don't think the word means what they think it means. Much like their beloved Hillary being named "secretary" of state? Because some of them don't seem to like the idea. Why? Not just too little, too late, but ...the idea of being a man's secretary? ...kinda sticks in the craw, doesn't it???

Um. No.

And yet, there's legitimacy in their quarrel with the world, right? Hasn't socialism/communism failed women in a stunning myriad of ways? Of course it has, just like capitalism, and well, basically every system in the world. It's a sexist world, no question.

And then I started thinking about feminism. Third wave? Radical? Sex positive? Post-feminist? What is the place of feminism in my philosophy?

I mean, not the PUMA way, obviously. Voting the other way for McCain and his "women's health" and Palin, who is NOT a feminist, saying that abortion wouldn't be necessary if young girls weren't "sluts" (yeah, these PUMAs are really pretty weird), dissing on Michelle Obama, who is just pretty awesome, even if she's got the most thankless (if prestigious) unpaid job in the world, AND voting against the man who not only supports a woman's right to choose, and you know, equal pay for equal work, and incidentally, say what you will, is closing down Gitmo, and trying to make government transparent, and is shutting down the secret CIA prisons round the world [And that's just the first three days in office!] cannot be considered left or feminist, in my opinion.

But what can? How do we appropriately deal with a climate of institutionalized and internalized sexism?

Unrelatedly -- but to close with a taste of awesome, via [ profile] rm, author Cathrynne M. Valente makes this post of sheer poetry about our new world.

1 I don't even like Rick Sanchez, but I must admit to enjoying that clip. But this begs another question. I love participatory culture. I think the ability of the internet to give ordinary people a voice, and an impact on affairs is staggering, and awesome (in the old, non-valley sense of the word). And yet, (oh god, am i agreeing with Sarah Palin?) -- we shouldn't be getting our news from blogs! Because there's a difference between reading people's opinions (the Op-Ed page, the Editorials) and the actual news! Is it wrong to want journalists to be, you know, trained? I don't think I've got any right to go to Gaza and be a war correspondent...! And I'd like my president to be smarter than me. I mean, the problem with majority rule is that the majority of people kinda suck, don't they? But if we agree that the Great Man theory of history is wrong...? ...Although ever seen a movement succeed without some stellar spear-heading? I just go back and forth on it all the time. But this just leads me back to one of my central problems -- how does one unite a desire for excellence with an allegiance to the interests of the common person? And the old problem of communism - what is it that binds the intelligentsia and the workers together? But this is another post, for another day...

Windy City

Oct. 29th, 2008 12:32 am
fictional: (doctor traveling)
Hi guys!

Speak to me of Chicago; I've not been since I was about six or so, and I imagine both it and I have changed sufficiently since then to require some new information regarding happy fun times there. I, and the lovely, effervescently delightful [ profile] magnetgirl will be there starting Thursday evening, and leaving Sunday afternoon. This means, among other things, that Halloween'll be spent far from home. Recommendations for things to do, places to spend Halloween, bars, restaurants, sights, etc, would be much appreciated.

I'm giving my paper Saturday morning (at 9am, manifestly unfair, I think) and will be visiting the Newberry Library at some point to look at their children's books exhibit. Other than that - I've not the faintest. Help!
fictional: (Default)
Hi guys! So. Some of you may have seen [ profile] rm's recent post. Just in theory, if I were in need of a male pseudonym - what should it be?

Time Warp

Aug. 8th, 2008 04:02 pm
fictional: (Default)
Time Warp Wives.

What do you lot think of this? I am at a loss. I never know what to make of these people. On the one hand, I admire their dedication to detail. For another, I am really into vanished worlds as well. (Hello, cosplay! Dressing up is awesome. Recreating lost worlds, equally so.) In addition, it's nice to live in a time, where people can be this weird, and not get, y'know, stoned to death or whatever. I support people's constructed, fictional lives, no matter what fashion, as long as they're not hurting anyone, - and it's great that they've been able to find people of like mind to live with etc.

BUT. They are crazy. tin. hats. Like, I get the desire, but not the 24/7 of it all, you know. Obsession can be taken too far.

Here's the other thing. It's like the male-dom thing in bdsm. Like, I've been known to find it really hot. BUT. in sex! Not in real life, right? Politically I find it to be repugnant and stupid. (Femme-dom too, for that matter, but you know what I mean.) For me, the great thing about recreation of these vanished times, means that we can keep the things we like for play, and lose the things we don't. Also I like running water, the internet, eyeglasses & contact lenses, etc etc.

I just don't know.

fictional: (Default)
I am chopping off my hair. At the moment it is quite long, and I intend to cut most of it off, in some sort of radical and new way. I am willing to spend as much money as necessary, but I want the place to be friendly and non-intimidating; at the same time, I want the cut to be really good. I have been going to dramaticsnyc, but while they do well enough for a trim or upkeep, I'm uncertain about their ability to do a really good cut.

Suggestions for places to go?

Thanks in advance.
fictional: (Default)
So I was chatting with [profile] hofnarr last night, and we got to talking about Great Fictional Love Stories. (The conversation went from my saying that I think I would enjoy meeting the kind of people who believe Dangerous Liasons to be a romantic comedy - (there's love, there's amusement - seems perfectly clear to me) and devolved into attempting to list Great love stories in book universes. (We're tripping over the plethora of them in film media, so that's excluded from my search).

What are the really seminal love stories you've read - the ones that stick out in your head, the ones that you read and thought - yes, this is Love with a capital L. They don't necessarily have to be the complete focus of the book, but they need enough time spent on them that they have a profound effect on you. [Example of something that doesn't count: Aragorn/Arwen in LotR - their love story, while taken as read, takes place solely in the appendix to RotK - and is not really explored at all in the body of the novel(s)].

I came up with surprisingly fewer than I thought, considering how much romance figures in most books, and how much I feel my way of looking at the world has been influenced by stories in print media. Here's my list so far:
Under this LJ-cut you'll find spoilers for the following universes: His Dark Materials, The Dark Tower, College of Magics, & Deverry) where the love story I mention is not in pre-existence at the beginning of the fiction. )

Richard & Alec: Swordspoint
Beatrice & Benedick: Much Ado About Nothing
Mario & Tom: The Catch-trap
Jehane bet Ishak & Ammar ibn Khairan & Roderigo Belmonte: The Lions of Al-Rassan
Elizabeth & Darcy: Pride & Prejudice
Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Lion in Winter
Shadow & Laura: American Gods
Eric & Shelly: The Crow
Nan & Kitty (or Nan & Florence, depending): Tipping the Velvet

I'm sure I've forgotten some, so this may get added to later.

Please comment, if you have some additions: I'd love to hear 'em.


fictional: (Default)

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