Welcome back to LP Minor!

It’s been a while since we last had to play in this sandpit. We’re going to work on sorting out the various problems with LP Major with the site totally locked down for a few days.

Please treat this as a Salon thread, and talk about whatever takes your fancy.

NB: if you are logged into a wordpress.com account when you make your comment, that is the UserID that will show up here. If that is not normally the ID that you use to comment on LP, beware privacy concerns and consider editing the details in your user profile (also your user profile on gravatar.com).

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About

writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

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57 comments on “Welcome back to LP Minor!
  1. _RAAF_Stupot says:

    Since this is a ‘salon’ for a little while, this is what I did this afternoon:

    I flew a WW2 Zero aircraft, and shot down an enemy pilot from the United States. Only virtually, of course. (But the pilot really was in th US).

    Now to something more germane perhaps.

    On the main LP site there was a thread regarding Gillard’s ‘moving forward’ meme. (Is it a meme yet?)

    Today I heard both Abbott & Joyce complaining about this. I thought that perhaps Julia could offer to lay off the ‘moving forward’ if Abbott would agree to lay off the ‘great big new tax’.

  2. Terangeree says:

    “Lazy Sunday” here, missing trains and buses on the way to the Ghibli Museum, where it was a pleasantly expensive afternoon.

    Didn’t fly any Mitsubishis, or shoot down any American fighters, but I bought myself a model of Porco Rosso’s aeroplane.

    On the “moving forward” meme (?), I suppose that it won’t be long before the LNP with a Bishop as their deputy leader will try to counteract it by using “moving diagonally” as a campaign slogan.

  3. Paul says:

    It’s a typical Coalition response. Abbott reckons Rudd was hard done by despite doing exactly the same thing to Turnbull himself and he’s opposed to any and all new taxes…except the ones that he comes up with himself. Hypocrisy and lies; Tony makes them almost an artform.

  4. faustusnotes says:

    nearly finished marking a bunch of assignments for my “Basic stats” class, and found 3 students who’ve copied each other shamelessly (word for word!)

    Unfortunately, the question they copied was done so badly that giving them 0 for it barely affected their marks at all.

    Wankers!

  5. jane says:

    On the “moving forward” meme (?), I suppose that it won’t be long before the LNP with a Bishop as their deputy leader will try to counteract it by using “moving diagonally” as a campaign slogan.

    Or backwards to the 1950s, their preferred direction, Terangeree.

  6. faustusnotes says:

    ooo I didn’t notice that – my screen name has been changed to faustusnotes. Above message was by sg…

  7. tigtog says:

    sg/faustusnotes, that may be what is the data on your current wordpress.com account or gravatar account?

  8. Paul Burns says:

    Its been a wqhile since I read them all again, at least ten years, but do most of Dickens’s novels end in the hero and heoine getting married and living happily ever after?
    This happened in Bleak House and now Little Dorrit

  9. tigtog says:

    Dickens was well aware of the sentimental streak in the majority of his readers, and he deliberately pandered to it IMO.

    He gets away with it because of the social observations made in passing as the sentimental plot progresses, although sometimes he’s better at that than at others.

  10. Paul Burns says:

    Thanks, tigtog.
    Yeah, those awful ones where people have extended death scenes at the end, like Old Curiousity Shop. Dombey and Son was a weepy too, but I think Paul Dombey died about halfway through. I remember shedding tears over it at the time. Seriously. I wuz very moved.

  11. CMMC says:

    Has the LP site been deliberately attacked?

  12. tigtog says:

    By cybervandals with no particular agenda, yes.

  13. Pavlov's Cat says:

    ‘Seriously. I wuz very moved.’

    So was Dickens. Wrote the scene and then walked the streets of Paris all night.

    Great, great writer, but a complete idiot about women.

  14. tigtog says:

    Great, great writer, but a complete idiot about women.

    Something which tends to be obscured by the carefully nuanced performances from any number of stellar actresses in those roles for stage and screen adaptations over the years – they often very nearly almost manage to make Dickens’ women make sense.

  15. Fine says:

    I’m still recovering from my Mongolian trip. Fascinating country – like stepping into another world. We were in camp one night and a young bloke rides in to check us out… on his yak.

    The countryside is beautiful. Hardly any roads or motor traffic, skies full of raptors, the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen. People living in gers, hospitably offering us the most vile tasty dairy products, which you had to drink of course. Fermented mares milk, not good.

    But 6 hours of horseriding a day really takes it out of you. We worked out one day we galloped 10ks. So, you actually had to be a good rider to keep up and I was very glad I’s spent a few months going to the gym.

  16. weaver says:

    On the main LP site there was a thread regarding Gillard’s ‘moving forward’ meme. (Is it a meme yet?)

    Crikey! appear to have bled it entirely dry, at least judging by the responses of their more than usually humourless stable of regular commenters.

    My coterie reacted with astonishment to the extraordinarily banal slogan that ended Abbott’s first ad, so banal in fact that I’ve forgotten what it is. Something about “action”? Like notes scrawled on a table napkin during an extremely rushed power-lunch.

  17. Jacques Chester says:

    I’m still available to consult at reasonable rates 😀

  18. Jacques Chester says:

    The Ozblogistan server also has spare capacity.

  19. Andrew Reynolds says:

    Careful, Jacques – no spamming the forums for business 🙂

  20. paul walter says:

    re Jane’s comment, early. Definitely, “backwards”. Any other mode would confound them.
    “Downwards; ever lower”.

  21. Paul Burns says:

    Re Dickens. He had a rather odd relationship with his wife’s younger sister before (and after) said sister died, didn’t he? Read a very good bio of him some years ago. Anyway it doesn’t really matter. The man was a genius, so every 2oth/21st century sin we might ascribe to him is forgiven, I reckon.

  22. Mindy says:

    Genius is not always an excuse for bad behaviour. But I don’t know much about Dickens so I can’t comment on his behaviour.

  23. paul walter says:

    Paul Burns raises a good point, re Dickens. He remains unpopular with some feminists, for the insensitive way he dealt with his wife when their marriage finally broke down.

  24. tigtog says:

    I don’t know much about his personal life – I often prefer it that way, with authors.

  25. Paul Burns says:

    Dickens gets a pasting because of the insensitive way he treated the women in his life. Probably, though, that’s the way it was in Victorian times. (All history is contemporary history – ie we interpret it through our eyes, not the eyes of the people it happened to.).
    To put it in perspective, Jesus gets a bum rap because he claimed he was God.

  26. paul walter says:

    Yep,
    Paul Burns, gender power relations had evolved to such a dysfunctional point by mid century that JS Mill and a female collaborator who was close to Mill wrote succesful critiques on the very phenomena that Dickens himself unwittingly stumbled across, the Stepfordisation of women thru law and custom, that lead to the first parliamentary reforms re divorce and property rights.
    By a funny coincidence, SBS was doing something on just this subject last night in one of their celebrity genealogy shows, this episode including some quite bizarre references by preachers about women, mid nineteenth century, and their conduct, including a severe put down by one of his hapless wife, who was turned over to the care of rellies when he died, rather than having direct access to this preachers estate.

  27. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Clarification: when I said Dickens was an idiot about women, I was referring to the female characters in his novels, and to the attitude to women that produced those characters and his ideas about them.

  28. Andrew Reynolds says:

    Paul,
    These days he would have just been able to divorce and both of them to get on with their lives without any scandal at all – like many, many people do now.
    Then it was not really possible. Perhaps we should just read his work and not try to pass judgements on what happened under very different social conditions – except to note that we can be thankful those conditions no longer prevail.

  29. tigtog says:

    That’s exactly what I took you to be meaning, Dr Cat.

  30. paul walter says:

    Yes, of course Andrew.
    No one loves Dickens and his cheeky insights more than me. And as we look back at historical processes and accidents that bring about a certain type of socialisation, we begin to understand that in the future, people will look back to our era and ask how we couldnt “see thru it ” either, because unfolding history has not yet unravelled to the extent that all people can completely identify on act on things substantial emerging, as”right or wrong”
    As Pavlov’s Cat just pointed out, it pertains to attitudes and what creates them- they don’t emerge out of a vacuum-but they are pernicious and it takes time to releive people of irrational fears and complexes they are susceptible to, thru conditioning and habituation.

  31. kuke says:

    Harry Clarke on voting green:

    “My disgust with Tony Abbott is so complete that for the first time in 30 years I won’t be voting for the conservatives. “

  32. j_p_z says:

    If Dickens was an “idiot about women,” then he’d sort of have to be an idiot about practically everything human, considering that women make up half of human reality, and are deeply entwined with every single bit of it, female or not. In which case we’d have to wonder why we respect Dickens at all. I mean, for purposes of comparison, ever read anything by Harry Stephen Keeler?

    Which is not to say that Dickens couldn’t portray women “wrong” (if that even has a meaning; in some ways yes, and in others, no.) Was Shakespeare “wrong” about women when he did Lady Macbeth and the Weird Sisters?

    (circles the room three times, walks outside the door and shouts Fuck!, then re-enters.)

    For those purposes, or say for someone like Dostoevski, “wrong” isn’t part of the equation. It’s like saying Pollock’s “Autumn Rhythm” doesn’t really look like an actual autumn in the Hamptons. If you think Miss Havisham is “misogynist,” then U R Doin It Rong.

    I take Dickens, with his comparable energy and fecundity, as being somewhat in the style of Shakespeare: half symbolist (The Tempest), half naturalist (the Nurse in R&J or say Mistress Quickly), and half some other zany hybrid style of his own devising: granted that adds up to 150%, but I wouldn’t say that’s too far off the mark. It’s a weird style that very few can try, more ‘accurate’ people like Austen or George Eliot or Zola were trying to capture something that just isn’t the same.

    Is Pynchon “wrong” about women when he does Katje and Geli Tripping et al? Is Joyce “wrong”? Is Blake even writing in English? No I’d say they’re just working on a bigger and weirder scale, maybe a quantum scale, the one where Michelangelo has no right to say what God “really” looks like in the Creation, but for the purposes of his cosmic composition he’s got to bloody well do *some*thing.

  33. Pavlov's Cat says:

    If Dickens was an “idiot about women,” then he’d sort of have to be an idiot about practically everything human, considering that women make up half of human reality

    *waits for the other shoe to drop*

    *gets bored*

    Okay, how’s this: most of Dickens’ (romantic) heroines, like the heroines of many male writers including some of those JPZ mentions, are mainly projections of Dickens’ own ideals and fantasies and have very little to do with actual womanly life as it is lived. For a more accurate picture of women’s lives of the period you need to read Villette or any one of half a dozen Elizabeth Gaskell novels.

    And here’s another qualification: Dickens was an idiot about all of his female characters who are active/current love interests (eg an idiot about the insufferable Florence Dombey and the even more insufferable Dora) but very sharp about the likes of Rosa Dartle or Miss Havisham.

    Most of his male characters are idiots about their love interests, and the more autobiographical they are the truer that becomes.

    Nothing was said at any point about misogyny.

    (Actually, in fact, I think Dickens loved what he thought women were. He just had some very weird ideas about what that was. Which may explain the tragic mistakes in his own personal life.)

  34. Philomena says:

    j-p-z, that’s the best thing you ever wrote. And I agree with you utterly, for possibly the first time, on anything. Amazing.

    Why is it that women, or girls as it usually is, can so identify with and love David Copperfield, do you think?

  35. j_p_z says:

    Picasso, too, was an idiot about women. Y’ever see “Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon”? I mean, c’mon. Nobody really looks like that!

    Once, in another life, I was watching a matinee performance of “Endgame”, sitting behind two elderly people who I guess had been attracted in by the Seniors Discount.

    One of them said to the other, “This writer doesn’t understand older people at all. We don’t really live in garbage cans!”

  36. Pavlov's Cat says:

    No no no, Picasso was a pig about women. Not the same thing at all.

  37. tigtog says:

    Not everything in novels, plays or paintings is a metaphor, j_p_z. Everybody understands about Dickens’ grotesques, both male and female – they are satirical caricatures and very well drawn, too .

    That was never Dr Cat’s point, and for you to pretend now that you didn’t build a great big honking strawman family from her original comment just so that you could triumphantly knock them down and trample them to pieces is more than a little crass.

  38. Andrew Reynolds says:

    PC,
    Given the rather odd (at least, to my mind) way his mother appears to have acted towards him perhaps that is understandable, however regrettable.

  39. Philomena says:

    “Everybody understands about Dickens’ grotesques, both male and female – they are satirical caricatures and very well drawn, too ”

    Well, I’m not “everybody”. Like most people I read Dickens as a teenager and I never thought of his characters as “satirical caricatures” at all. I believed every word he wrote and every character he created. They all sang.

  40. tigtog says:

    @Philomena, Dickens wrote some, not all, of his characters as blatant grotesques. The grotesques are often, but not always, indicated by having names created by Dickens to comically highlight some prime motivation of their character. This was rather in the fashion of the time, Dickens was just better at it than nearly anybody else.

    The grotesques were the background to his romantic/sentimental protagonists. Like Dr Cat, I tended to be disappointed in the idealised vacancy of the long-suffering heroines and bemused by the obtuseness of the heroes. But I adored the grotesques.

  41. Philomena says:

    tigtog sezs: “Dickens wrote some, not all, of his characters as blatant grotesques”

    But that’s an abstraction. And judgmental. Readers don’t necessarily view his characters in such an emotionally distanced and derogatory way. I didn’t. I don’t. If you don’t abstract in this way then you read Dickens as a master story teller. Ok his female characters may not have been as sympathetic to 21st century sensibility and politics as say those of Thomas Hardy. And who’d have thunk it, his view of women may have been shaped by his personal history, biochemistry and the times in which he lived. So what? This detracts not one iota from why teenagers today everywhere love his fiction, some novels more than others.

    I’d agree “Great Expectations” and its female characters were trying even tedious in parts, but then when you’ve got such wealth to draw on, who’s measuring?

  42. tigtog says:

    But that’s an abstraction. And judgmental.[…] and derogatory way.

    I’m not at all putting forth the argument that you are so vigorously challenging, Philomena. I’m using grotesque as a piece of lit-crit jargon, not as a derogatory judgement of any other sort on the character’s other potentially lovable attributes. There’s also no law at all that a grotesque cannot also be gifted with a fine line in sharp observations or a deep underlying pathos – in fact those are the best grotesques by far. Famous British TV comic grotesques with whom you may be familiar – Alf Garnett, Basil Fawlty, Hyacinth Bucket, Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone, David Brent – great characters who are widely beloved despite their gaping personal flaws.

    You are also persisting in j_p_z’s error of thinking that Pavlov’s Cat was talking about problematic issues with his female characters in terms of today’s sensibilities, when she has explicitly said that she is comparing him to his contemporaries i.e. authors such as Villette and Gaskell who understood the lived lives of women far better.

    P.S. Viewing Dickens as not entirely understanding women does not make him any the less of a master storyteller. Neither Pavlov’s Cat nor I ever said that it did.

  43. Philomena says:

    Ok. Good commentary tigtog.

    But I didn’t think that PC was critiquing Dickens from the cultural pov or perspective of the Brontes or Gaskell, both of whose work I treasure, but from her (PC’s) expressed but fundamentally irrelevant need to be affirmed and represented in fiction, even retrospectively in a way she would prefer, by long ago male writers such as Charles Dickens.

  44. Pavlov's Cat says:

    But I didn’t think that PC was critiquing Dickens from the cultural pov or perspective of the Brontes or Gaskell, both of whose work I treasure

    So you missed this bit? “For a more accurate picture of women’s lives of the period you need to read Villette or any one of half a dozen Elizabeth Gaskell novels.”

    but from her (PC’s) expressed but fundamentally irrelevant need to be affirmed and represented in fiction, even retrospectively in a way she would prefer, by long ago male writers such as Charles Dickens.

    Dear me, have we met? Surely I would remember. Or do you habitually have the impertinence to psychoanalyse (very badly, if you will forgive me) total strangers on the internet?

    If you can get all this out of ‘Dickens was an idiot about women’ without registering that I was not wholly serious (maybe 60%) and was indulging in a little rhetorical hyperbole, then maybe you need to refine your reading skills. Like JPZ you are accusing me of things I have never said, thought or believed.

  45. j_p_z says:

    PC : “No no no, Picasso was a pig about women. Not the same thing at all.”

    Heh heh, very good. I’ll pay that one!

    * * *

    tigtog: “Not everything in novels, plays or paintings is a metaphor, j_p_z. Everybody understands about Dickens’ grotesques, both male and female – they are satirical caricatures and very well drawn, too .

    That was never Dr Cat’s point, and for you to pretend now that you didn’t build a great big honking strawman family from her original comment just so that you could triumphantly knock them down and trample them to pieces is more than a little crass.”

    ‘Crass.’ In a fencing-match about literary aesthetics. Oh, and “strawman family” too. Really. Oh for pete’s sake. And besides, if I thought I had done one genuinely useful bit of yeoman work in years on this blog, I figured it was weaning the lot of yez off the tiresome resort to various “fallacy” rebuttals (like strawman, which is exceedingly tedious) which people habitually punch in like 1960s data cards, instead of listening to the essence of what their opposites are trying to say. Honestly, does everyone in Australia have the exact same high-school debate-team coach?

    I’m going to re-copy this, for emphasis…

    “Everybody understands about Dickens’ grotesques, both male and female – they are satirical caricatures and very well drawn, too.”

    OK, so… “*Everybody* understands…” “they *are*….” Well, if you say so. They were written (and understood) when, exactly? And we’re still reading them (and struggling to understand them) when, exactly? And why is that? After all, we’re not all still struggling to understand Harry Stephen Keeler. Well I am, but it’s a personal failing, and I need to get some help about it.

    Just so I know, since I’m baffled and blinded by strawmen to the right of me and strawmen to the left of me…. what’s Miss Havisham a “grotesque satirical caricature” of? And next question… is that all there is to it? Bonus round: what’s King Lear a “grotesque satirical caricature” of?

    Some of us are talking about art history, and some others of us are talking about art. Geh. Now I’m tired.

    Waiter! A round of Ernie Bushmiller for the house!

  46. ladychristinadesouza says:

    You don’t like Picasso, Dr. Cat?
    I didn’t know the extent of his bad behaviour before now

  47. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Lady Christiane, depends what you mean by ‘like’. I think Picasso was a very great artist and I have stood in reverent awe before a number of his works, including some very, erm, erotic little numbers in Barcelona. And no doubt he could not have produced said erotic numbers had he not been, how you say, a pants man. But I can revere the art while deploring the artist’s shabby treatment of its many inspirations.

  48. paul walter says:

    I was going to rspond to Tigtogs comment concerning,” the vacancy of the long suffering heroines”.
    Pavlov’s Cat has beat me to it. Quite right, if you want to find out what goes on beneath the surface with these vacant heroines, then you have to grab a fistful of Austen, Brontes, Elliot, Gaitskell, etc.
    Those proposing this suggest that women in this era are too much a currency for a sexual economy to prevent them being conditioned to be fanciful and apathetic, hence amenable to being married off or tolerating a poor husband in an era where women had few if at all, rights to redress.
    So, if you are lucky even in our times, sometimes someone will push you toward am alleged womans novelist like Charlotte Bronte, except that when they do, they find a sweep of intellect and vison that even Dickens would have envied.
    And from Jane Eyre we get the first “modern” explication of what a womans”mysterious” life might be actually about and her feelings about all the confinement, criticism and conditioning.
    Dickens could only write from a male point of view; to get a complete picture we had to wait for women’s literacy and literature, often self taught, to take off.
    Subaltern literature is telling a story that has been suppressed; be it the voice of a factory tradesman in a slum, women suffering the worst excesses of a society based on theft, or coloured people explaining that they are not bludgers because theyve collapsed in a heap after working 15 hours a day on one of gentleman Rochester’s West Indies properties.
    The point the feminists further make is that we blokes” ignore” women out of embarassment at the way we treat them.
    Unfortunately there is truth in it, as there is truth in the aboriginal view of history as an antipodean version of”V”. “Othering” seems likely to remain as alive and well as the humans who preform the ostracising.

  49. tigtog says:

    j_p_z – bored now.

  50. j_p_z says:

    “bored now” — well that’s a drag, since the only stakes here are entertainment value — I think the purpose of a stoush like this is just to amuse oneself and others. I doubt anyone’s going to get their License to Critique Dickens revoked over it.

    paul walter makes some good points. At the end of the day, thank goodness for different types of artists with different strategies and purposes. Jane Austen could’ve written a great Western, but you wouldn’t want Charlotte Bronte to write Wuthering Heights. Think of the mess if you had George Eliot or Henry James writing commercial advertising jingles… “Coke, it’s the real thing! But not, so to speak, a true thing; and thus one finds it needful to step back and consider what Coke is…”

    Actually if Orwell had written advertising copy, the world might be a much better place.

  51. paul walter says:

    Yes, you see the George Eliot image, two people swirling in a vortex, then James takes the scenic lane fon one his rambles through the backblocks of people’s memory and consciousness.
    I wonder how Jane Austen would have done Jane Eyre. Emma might likely have been a prototype as well as a rewrite.

  52. Paul Burns says:

    Recently, I had the misfortune to tell a mate of mine who thought he was a genius at writing history (he barely got througfh his honours, from what he tells me) that he didn’t know what the hell he was doing when it came to the writing of history. Not a judgement I would ever rush to make, but after attempting to read several barely readable, under-researched, badly organised, ill thought out chapters of what can only be considered utter trash I felt I had no choice. As with all people who think they are geniuses (a sure sign of the lack of genius) who suddenly find their genius challenged, he weren’t happy, especially when I compared his work to that of a very, very bad second year history student (in non-specific terms) whose work merited somewhere between 5 to 7 out of 20. Understandably he is annoyed at me. But then again, if one doesn’t want an honest opinion on one’s work, one doesn’t show it to people. At least, that’s what I expect when I give people my work to read, either in chapter form from the present book, or even on-line in my blog. Oh, well, them’s the breaks.
    Guess I won’t be hearing much from him in the future.

  53. faustusnotes says:

    you mates with Keith Windschuttle, Paul?

    (says sg, btw, who can’t be bothered logging out in order to comment).

  54. Graham Bell says:

    So, by the sounds of this thread on LP IN EXILE …. it looks like L P – “has gone to the Dickens”

    [Sorry folks, I just couldn’t resist that. Promise I’ll behave myself from now on]

    :-).

  55. Liam says:

    OK ludicrously off-topic anywhere but Mark and Kim may appreciate it.
    http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2010/07/categorical-imperative.html

  56. Paul Burns says:

    Graham bell,
    Guess its because, being in the middle of an election campaign (well, sort of) we have Great Expectations.
    [Maybe i should hide … ?]

  57. Paul Burns says:

    Meanwhile, in the real world some-one nicked one of my good sheets off me backyard Hills Hoist. (I left em out for a week ’cause it was raining. Hard Times.

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