January 3rd, 2011

I Couldn't . . .

On Issues Manifesting at Inopportune Times

I'd like to make it clear from the start that from here on this entry will make no mention of popcorn. There have been many fine blog entries, books, and essays written on the subject of popcorn. This is not one of those.

So, the comic I'm in research mode for now is set in the Victorian era. Whenever writing characters from a particular period or world, I consider it essential to know as many of the most basic aspects of living as I can. Alfred Hitchcock said he didn't like period films because he couldn't imagine the people using the bathroom, and I can understand where he's coming from with that statement. How, when, and if someone eats breakfast, whether they need to go outside to urinate, the accepted forms of social meetings, all the things that affect routine and how someone acquires knowledge and information throughout their lives, these things affect who people are. I feel like a lot of modern fiction is falling away from this, that characters are too often treated like the tireless, unfettered characters of a video game.

One of the books I ordered from Amazon was Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flanders. It's been relatively informative, but I'm kind of missing the wonderful impersonal books on the Middle Ages by Joseph and Frances Gies as the tone of Inside the Victorian Home is a little weirdly defensive. From the introduction;

Men were the source of funds, but it was women who judged other women, women who (to the rules of men) made the decisions that activated and continued the social circles that made up the lives of most families. Although there are several fine books on the role of men at home, this will not be another of them.*

And the footnote;

*The role of men is only one of many elements I have been unable to encompass and still have a book of manageable length. Domestic life is protean, and any reader will, with no effort at all, be able to come up with a dozen fields of equal importance that I have not touched on. The bibliography will lead interested readers to books on many more subjects.

Jeez, okay, Flanders, relax. You don't want to write about men, you don't have to write about men. It's cool, really. Er, and, you know, if you hadn't brought it up I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it . . .

Then, from Chapter 1: The Bedroom;

Throughout the period, as well as being rooms for sleeping, for illness, for sex*, and for childbirth, bedrooms served . . .

And the footnote;

*It has been suggested I am more interested in S-bends than I am in sex. For the purposes of social history this is so, and I do not plan to discuss sex at all. There is a great deal to say on the little we know about the Victorians' attitude towards sex, but I am not the person to say it.

Wow. Okay. Um, all right then. Very articulately put, ma'am.

Now I've kind of involuntarily gotten this impression of a woman about whom a number of people have said she is uncomfortable discussing men and sex. Which I think works out to something almost opposite of what she was trying to establish in her little bonus arguments. It's more information than I was looking for anyway.

But now that she's broached the subject, I can't help wondering if she's lonely and bitter. Don't worry, Judith, I'll keep reading. Unless you don't want me to.

Twitter Sonnet #219

Geese the size of ants swarm out a soft egg.
Stem cells flutter down on the packed dance floor.
This year, everyone gets an extra leg.
So now release the glitter mad Time Boar!
Ice hands screw onto dry velvet arm stubs.
Blue scorpions chase Benny Hill to Rome.
Angels batter balls from the blue sheathed Cubs.
Intestines gift wrap a healthy young gnome.
Metal skinned guards fall to Elvis Presley.
Unshaven Supermen glare at the sun.
Useless stars boil water and parsley.
Magnums vanish after a new small gun.
Rabbit motes can trip the tallest gamer.
Barrels bend for hamsters round the aimer.
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