Mrs. Gaskell

Seems unlikely and decidedly odd that over the past (approx.) 20 years I’ve known a number of COEXIST people made (or fashioning themselves) of similar fabric. Who, unprepared and innocent, can deny the lofty value of coexistence? Getting along is a good thing. I approve.

But, there is an implication, usually in a subtle (not always) suggestion that the one or ones waving the COEXIST banner expect concessions from others. Since I wasn’t looking for an argument (well you may doubt), I didn’t immediately pick up the “now wait a second” hold-out. It is easier to go along to get along, isn’t it? And even a nigler like me wants appreciates some respite from hammer, tongs and anvil of debate.  

Now on the other paw there is the useful if burdensome notion of an informed citizenry being able and ready to question assumptions, including the noblest. OK. Would we say an uninformed citizenry who don’t question is better? Easier to govern?

Or is governance easier with ignorant folk steered by power? Taking a look at assumptions about citizenship and government is good to do every so often, though as a steady habit might link up with suicidal depression.

Taking a look-see at out sacred cows is wearisome and worrying, but not the worst thing to do once in a so-ever.  

Now back to COEXISTENCE. Lovely noble idea it is. Let there be peace and good feeling. Yay for that1 But then I raise my druther forepaw having to point out that the more ardent proponents of COEXIST I’ve known have been singular in their view that we (important it is we) do this and how it needs to be done.

Well, fine, and I’m sorry it’s taken me decades to gumption up to make the call, but here it is, “empty slogan.”  

I’m actually at war with actually, actually, but only because it’s actually used too often actually. Look and listen for it. You’ll hear (more than see, I do declare) actually stuck into conversation and descriptions on a regular basis where it adds nothing to understanding or information.

I’d ask, what’s the difference between being in the Twin Ports or on the Iron Range compared to puffing up the statement saying you’re actually there? I’m actually in Ohio is how much better than being in Ohio. Try some actually jousting and see what you think, will you agree or actually agree? Tough call for some, actually.  

A curious sight I see unexpectedly with some frequency is an older man with his ponytail tied back in a bunch or bun shape. I view this with fondness thinking of a guy hanging onto his ponytail as if keeping it will lead him back to a youth left behind fifty years earlier. If only, but no volume of wishful thought seems to impact the progress of the clock.

On the other hand, had the French Revolution given us a metric 20-hour clock and 10-month calendar then anything might be possible unless/until some new power (China a possibility, or even Saudi Arabia) has a new scheme of measure in its own script that will bring joy, peace, and uniformity for the masses. If only.  

When I was in high school we had an old-fashioned thing called declamation where a speaker spoke clear and steady to give each word the territory it needed to be heard and understood. I suggest this possibly regressive practice be returned (I’d force or require it if I was able) to anyone on an airline staff who has to speak into a microphone to make an announcement. “The blazzan f’r pass gers toin to Chi-mango preeepair to eerily board hat gay ate noon.”

What’s missing from PA announcements is often not important as what’s there. A bored speaker who doesn’t have to worry about being understood. They get paid for gibberish with a mental defense you can “look it up on the screen.” Not caring (including those in charge not involved beyond logos and lip service) caring about performance perpetuate announcements that would get an F in sophomore speech class.  

Different standards brought change, like this from the patriarch files. “Well,” said Miss Pole sitting down with the decision of a person who has made up her mind as to the nature of life and the world, “Men will be men. Every mother’s son of them wishes to be considered Samson and Solomon rolled into one – too strong ever to be beaten or discomfited – too wise ever to be outwitted. If you will notice, they have always foreseen events, though they never tell one for one’s warning before the events happen. My father was a man, and I know the sex pretty well.”

If you’ve any ear at all you likely noted the quote doesn’t sound contemporary. For one thing, it contains no colorful repetition of foul or curse words. Care to guess when? No need. I’ll out with it. The quote is from Mrs. Gaskell, popular in her day and readable (even revived) in our time.

So, from what era is the quote? Before the U.S. Civil War, the all-male world of inflexible dominion and domination. Yet, there’s Mrs. Gaskell allowed and recognized. For sure, she was not popular and acclaimed as MR. CHARLES Dickens. No one was, really, but in that supposed Dark Age of repression there was Mrs. Gaskell well received for her work, Cranford. Reprinted and still in print, I can recommend it as entertaining and well written, though in a less profane manner than is current.

Interesting, too, as Cranford is a female society where it’s no surprise when a leading lady calls men inferior.  

I plead inferiority myself. I have clocks blinking on appliances I’ll never set and from which I’ll likely never remove the protective film. It’s protective. Why remove it? I doubt gender factors in, but as a contemporary explanations suggest, I’ll go with that and see how it works out. And, having used graminivorous in a sentence Mrs. G. bested me.