What’s happening with Tucker? I tried watching today but he was clumsily crushing on AOC and it became embarrassing to watch. He’s going to get her elected president, for our sins.

The anti-puberty (aka the hormonal explosion that snuffs out the process that starts with puberty) will come for all of us and it won’t be pretty. It’s not supposed to be pretty. But we should always try to keep it dignified and, ideally, private.

In comparison to the fire he put into a discussion of AOC’s makeup routines, the following segment on Canadian trucker protests was so half-hearted, I started dozing off and almost fell from the sofa.

Book Notes: Jane Austen’s Persuasion

We are reading this novel for my book club. Even though I read it before, I retained absolutely nothing, so it’s like reading a completely new book.

What I don’t like about Austen is that she wrote thesis novels. She’d take a thesis (which is almost invariably that moderation in everything is best) and set out to prove it in the book. The thesis is kind of obvious and deeply non-controversial, and the novels never live up to their full potential because they are subjected to this need to teach a lesson. Austen’s sensibilities are that of the Enlightenment era, and for her art always has to be didactic. It goes in cycles, and today we are back to valuing art that describes reality not as it is but as it should be according to our moral code. Read the article I linked yesterday about sensitivity readers to see what I mean.

Austen’s literary successors – the Romantics – abandoned didacticism (think Brontes) and chose to emote instead of lecturing. Then realists came and started manipulating and teaching moral lessons. Then modernists canned didactic in art for a long time. And now it’s coming back again.

Persuasion shows us the limits of the didactic literary style. The characters, the stories, and the plot lines appear almost identical to the ones we see in Austen’s other novels. It’s all very predictable, superficial but gossipy and easy to read. Structurally, the novel is weaker than Austen’s other work. Cutting the last twenty pages would have improved the novel dramatically.

But hey, without Austen we wouldn’t have Liane Moriarty and the entire genre of mommy lit, so I can’t complain. Enlightenment authors didn’t write much fiction, preferring didactic treatises but what they did write had a gigantic impact on the trajectory of fiction for centuries to come.

Locked on a Whim

Of course, now that people got in the habit of locking down on a whim, everything locks down at the slightest pretext.

Today, there was a bit of slushy, wet snow in the streets. Immediately, the whole town shut down. Tomorrow we are expecting sunny weather, 40°F, and no snow. But there was some slush today, so it’s necessary to close everything down tomorrow. Just to be completely safe. It’s gotten so, I break out in hives whenever I hear the word ‘safe.’

I swear, it would have never occurred to anybody to close not only every school but every store in existence for a minor inconvenience like these few sad puddles we had today.