Technology and Class Issues

I’m watching a Soviet TV series about the 1930s and it made me realize how much technology is erasing class barriers. For the longest time, people were subdivided into the social class that always hired somebody to wash their clothes and the class of people who washed their own and somebody else’s stuff.

Even in the USSR, in the midst of one of those constructions of the century, there were people who were not going to do their own laundry no matter what, and everybody accepted this is completely normal.

Of course, now there are washers and dryers, so we don’t see doing one’s own laundry as a marker of social class. There is going to a public launderette as opposed to using your own washer and dryer, but it’s not the same thing.

P.S. N and I discussed it, and it turns out that we have only the kind of people who did their own laundry on both sides of the family.

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Classics Club #3: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Aurora Floyd

When I created all that suspense about the novel where I saw a convincing description of love, I was referring to Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Aurora Floyd. Braddon was a hugely popular Victorian writer of sensation novels. She is most famous for Lady Audley’s Secret, a novel that provided Braddon with financial means for life. If you are choosing whether to read Lady Audley’s Secret or Aurora Floydmy recommendation is Aurora Floyd. It was written a few years later when Braddon was a more experienced writer and I found it more original than the more famous first novel.

Braddon had a very interesting life. She fell in love with a married man whose wife was in a lunatic asylum. (It feels like every other man had a wife in a madhouse in the Victorian era). Braddon helped him raise his children by the institutionalized wife and had 6 children of her own with him. One of those children was W.B. Maxwell, the author of one of my most favorite novels ever. This explains why W.B. Maxwell was so hung up on extramarital sexual relations.

Nobody knew that Braddon and her husband were living together without being officially married. When the couple’s servants discovered that their employers “were living in sin”, they were so scandalized that they all gave their notice on the same day. Braddon, of course, couldn’t care less and continued writing her hugely popular novels.

Aurora Floyd perfectly epitomizes the saying, “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go wherever they want.” Aurora Floyd does whatever she feels like, leads a very unconventional lifestyle, yet everybody adores and celebrates her. Aurora’s cousin Lucy is the embodiment of the Victorian Angel in the House and the opposite of the flamboyant, powerful, and secretive Aurora. Lucy’s life is an open book and this is precisely what makes her so insipid. Lucy’s own husband is irresistibly drawn to the much more complex Aurora.

Braddon, whose lifestyle was quite unconventional, pokes fun at the boring good girls who efface themselves to such a degree that nobody would notice if they live or die. Aurora Floyd, on the other hand, is rewarded for being the opposite of the Angel in the House with being loved by her husband with the kind of love that I find unmatched anywhere else in fiction.

I’m putting the rest of the post under the fold because it includes spoilers.

Continue reading “Classics Club #3: Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Aurora Floyd”

Why Do the Conservatives Need the Big Government So Much?

Have you noticed how the Conservatives (the very people who keep insisting that they are against granting the government too much power over our lives) are precisely the ones who keep lobbying for a greater governmental intrusion into every aspect of our existence? Why am I even asking? Of course, you have.

There must be some curious psychological defect that makes certain people believe that the economy is the only area of their lives where they can make their own choices. In every single other area of their lives, the Conservatives remind me of 4-year-olds who start bawling, “Mommy, Mommy Johnny showed me his willie!”  whenever the world begins to look threatening and complex. The degree to which a regular Conservative needs to be protected from life by the big, all-powerfull government is really scary.

Among many recent examples of the Conservative desire to get the government to regulate every aspect of the citizens’ existence is this hilarious bill they are trying to promote in Arizona. Well, where else?

Arizona House Bill 2549 passed both legislative houses last Thursday and is now awaiting approval from Arizona’s governor Brewer. The statute states that:

“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”

The bill was obviously proposed by people who are so completely helpless without the government defending and protecting them at every step of the way, that they even need it to regulate their online interactions.

You’ve got to be all kinds of a wimpy, pathetic little thing to need the government to protect you from people making annoying comments and using “bad words” online. If somebody says something annoying to you on the Internet, surely, you can  just suck it up, grab those long-suffering bootstraps and do whatever it is you always do with them. If other people can get over themselves and live without health insurance, then why can’t you be a grown-up and deal with a couple of “lewd and lascivious” terms on the Internet? Of course, if being among adults is so traumatic for you, then maybe you can avoid going online altogether.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

There is this blogger who keeps verbalizing things I always want to say and never dare to. The walls in my office are papered with printouts of her posts. Here is one from this week: “I love the atmosphere of a public R-1 and I wish I worked for one that had Ph.D programs in my precise interdisciplinary disciplines, but what I have to say to faculty at such places right now is FUCK YOU LAZY-ASS FUCKS!

While the confidence levels of other groups in science have been relatively stable, the conservative drop now means that group is the least likely to have confidence in science. . . Less-educated conservatives didn’t change their attitudes about science in recent decades. It is better-educated conservatives who have done so.

A blogger responds to an idiot who hopes that autistics get “cured” from our “condition” but the idiot is too stupid to understand the response. I hope that she finds a cure for her condition of congenital stupidity.

Why bilinguals are smarter.

Why it is extremely stupid to assume that men are somehow more promiscuous than women. Great post but it’s kind of sad that such obvious things still need to be pointed out to people.

Baby turtles keep brightening up my world with their incredible cuteness. I also love hedgehogs, so if anybody comes across a blog about baby hedgehogs, make sure you tell me.

An anti-Semite and a racist at CalState.

The intolerable hypocrisy of murderous pro-lifers.

It’s good to know that there are people in Arizona who are protesting against the barbarity that has overtaken the state.

How ads aimed at men are constructed. A very insightful post.

Whenever an American university conducts a healthy initiative aimed at educating students about human sexuality, you need to expect some horrifying, idiotic, insulting propaganda coming from unhinged religious freakazoids to get unleashed on that university.  Read the post of the week to see an example.