Inspired by George Orwell's lengthy discussion of some pulpy hack nobody remembers today (Dickens)i, here's something my wide cast net drug up :
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Institute.
He was heading to Mr. Smith's office. Mr. Smith, the C.E.O., self made man, the big shot, but it was not something unusual for Jason to see him, since Jason, even though he was just twenty-eight years old, was still a top salesman who brought in multi-million dollar sales almost at the drop of a hat. His latest was an eight or possible ten million dollar profit on a building that every other realtor swore would go down in flames in this economy. Jason had assumed that he was asked to come in because there would be a big bonus to go along with his very nice commission check. As he checked in with Mr. Smith's secretary, he noticed that coming out of the side door, it was she! Clearly he was not supposed to see her nor was she supposed to see him.
Shit, he said to himself, and he had to look around to make sure it was just to himself and he had not said it out loud. Nobody was looking his way, which meant that he had not said it. Good, and now his mind quickly flashed on the problem at hand. He had passed along that photoshoped picture that got Fred fired, and he knew that he had two other actual problems (she called it sexual harassment, but they were just jokes). But after Fred was fired they gave her two weeks of paid vacation that did not count for her vacation time, and he thought it was all over. Now she was coming out of Smith's office and she looked at him, and this he could not believe, it looked like she smiled at him: no it look like she smirked. Not possible, he thought, not possible that they would fire a moneymaker like me because of a few jokes. Oh well, I guess I will be getting a slap on the wrist. Maybe sensitivity training? Yeah that's it. Ok, I will be contrite and do what ever they say. No harm no foul.
She had looked at him and smiled or perhaps smirked because she knew what was in store for him, and she liked everything about it. She had gone to HR after the last incident and was ready to demand either they fire Jason as well as Fred or she was going to sue and she knew that she had all the evidence she needed to cost all of them money, big money. With the evidence she had, even a crappy lawyer would win the case. How she got it all out of the building was almost a spy novel, but she did it. HR sent her up to see Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith did not patronize her. He didn't call her Caroline; he called her Ms. Fritz and explained that the company had followed all of the rules, and would if she insisted fire Jason, but he said that he would like to try to save Jason by sending him to a sensitivity training center that was unique and would change Jason. He reminded Caroline that the company had a very strict policy dealing with harassment, and that the policy had been followed and would continue to be followed. Initially Caroline was against what she said was a slap on the wrist, but Mr. Smith told her to take two weeks to visit the facility and Participate in the program and if she did not think that this would convert Jason, then we would go ahead with the firing. What can you lose? It is a two week paid holiday, that I believe you will really enjoy, he said. It won't be deducted from your vacation time, so it should be all good. Caroline, now reflecting on her at the sensitivity training center, thought that she should have taken her remaining two weeks vacation so that she could have two more weeks at the facility. It was really fun, and she thought that it would do the trick on him. She only wished that she could be there for his training, but as Mr. Smith said, that would be unethical, unethical but really fun. All of this was said with the smile or was it a smirk.
"Mr. Smith will see you now," said his secretary. Jason entered the office and as soon as he saw the corporation counsel, he knew that his speculation had been correct. Worst case, I get a new job. Better take the sensitivity training being offered. Perhaps even less of a slap on the wrist, but she was smirking a lot, so it will have to be pretty big. I can live through this.
"Jason, sit down," said Mr. Smith. "You are here because your behavior has been childish and to put it mildly, self-destructive. We have clear policies here, and because you were not were treated with more consideration than seem proper in retrospect, your behavior has cause all of us great problems. Your antics have messed up a lot of lives. However, since you were not the greatest culprit, I can still provide you with consequences that will not require me to terminate you." Mr. Smith was dead cold as he spoke.
"You know that three instances should make me fire you, and Ms. Fritz was somewhat insistent that I should do it, but you are young and you make us a lot of money, and after conversations with Ms. Fritz, I can offer you a deal. If you agree to attend a one or possibly two-month training sessions at the Sensitivity Institute of America, and if you pass it, we will take you on again. We will pay the very substantial fees necessary for you to attend this institute, and you will have to pass. On the other hand, you could refuse or drop out of the program. If so, we will fire you for cause. Ms. Fritz will sue you, and having seen the evidence she will win, and she will break you. Real estate is filled with women, and when they read what you have done, your chances of getting another good job will be very small, and women customers will stay away from you in droves. He then pointed to his corporate counsel and said, "What is more, Jim tells me that your last stunt might be criminal."
Jim now said, "If you would like to wait until tomorrow and discuss this with your lawyer and bring your lawyer in here, we could do that. If not, here are the papers for you to sign. They say that you will make arrangements to go for a one or two month maximum training session, and that you will take care of notifying everyone who needs to know that you will be out of contact for that period. Let me reiterate, you will be totally out of contact. Do you understand? You will not be able to call, e-mail, or use your cell. In fact, you will have no access to the outside world at all." Jason said nothing.
Mr. Smith chimed in, "This is a program I attended, and it served me very well. It is tough and you will hate it while you are going through it, but it will be well worth your time."
Jim said, "Do you want to think it over and bring in your lawyer tomorrow?"
Jason replied, "I am a big boy. I can sign it."
Mr. Smith smiled to himself and thought that there were soon to be many people who would know for sure whether that was true or not. He quickly thought back to his time in the institute and realized that he wasn't the biggest boy there but he held his own. Actually, he was never allowed to hold his own, but he did measure up. He thought to himself, hell while I was there, but the memories are sweet.
Jim said, "Here is your non-disclosure form. You are never allowed to talk about the treatment center. It uses a form of therapy that could easily be copied and it does not want competitors to get it."
Jason signed the form.
Mr. Smith said, "Good, then a limo will pick you up on Friday. Pack nothing, a uniform will be provided for you as well as all of your personal care products." Jason should have been leery about that, but he was just so glad that it was sensitivity training that he could bull shit his way through that none of the words that were being thrown at him sunk in.
Bill said, "Now you should come in tomorrow to clear up all remaining business, but take Thursday off to clear up anything you need to get your personal life ready for the trip.
Friday afternoon came and Jason came down to meet the limo with a small bag. The limo driver, a man who looked like a linebacker, stopped him and said, "Dude, where are you going with that?"
Jason replied, "It has meds and stuff."
The driver replied, "You were not allowed to bring anything. That was part of the contract you signed and I have to power to turn you away and declare that you have already failed the program."
Jason said, "But all it has is my toothbrush razor, aspirin, and..
The driver replied, "You have two minutes to go back to your apartment and take that back, or I will leave without you. You will then need to face your boss."
Jason ran back. He got into the limo with two other men and off they went to the airport where they were met and placed on a private jet. The three joked about this being the life and then exchanged stories about what got them heading for the institute in the first place. They should have known they were being taped, but the cocktails and wine was good, so they didn't think much. It was after dark when they got wherever it was that they were going. They got off the plane and, like rock stars; they went directly into a waiting limo. They were so impressed that they didn't notice that they could not reopen their doors or windows. They drove for a period of time; they did not know how long, and finally came to a stop. The doors were opened for them and Jason looked back and saw that they must have just come through the large gate that was now closing in the middle of the road. The gate was the only opening through a massive stonewall. He faced what he thought must be the back of a very large building and the limo driver, the same as the one who picked him up, led them into the building. Jason was told to go into the first door while the two others were told to continue down the hallway.
Jason went into a small room. It was totally empty and totally white except for a high wooden counter that he realized was the reception desk. Behind that counter he saw a very pretty receptionist who smiled and told him to step up. This was getting better and better he thought. She asked him for his id, and he presented it to her. Again she smiled, but it was somewhat off-putting for him. It was almost like a leer, like she was undressing him with her eyes. Again he thought cool. I may get lucky here. No wonder Mr. Smith recommended it. She smiled and said, "Welcome Jason, you know why you are here?"
He nodded, and she continued. "This facility is designed to get to your heart and emotions more than your brain, so the activities will be very active with a lot of role playing. As such you need to sign this form which acknowledges that you have waived your rights to privacy." She seemed to wink again, and Jason nodded and signed the form.
She said, "This form acknowledges that nothing done to you will injure you in any permanent way, regardless of how strenuous it is." Oh great, he thought as he signed it, we are going to be doing hikes and rope climbing. He didn't bother to read the part that mentioned discipline and that corporal punishment was part of the program.
She smiled again, and said, "Your program is one month but up to two if you need remedial work, (she seemed to be leering again, but Jason thought it was flirting) and once you step behind the door you agree to follow all of the rules until you pass the course. If you fail the course or choose to leave before it is over, your employer has already told you what the consequences are." He nodded again and she smiled and said, then I will buzz you in and Kielbasa will give you all of the rest of the information you will need.
Jason went through the door, which shut with a clank, into a locker room. Once inside a stark naked man, who was clearly waiting for him, stood up and walked over to Jason putting out his hand. Jason was shocked and said, "Dude, I know it's a locker room, but could you cover up just a bit."
Kielbasa laughed and said, "Nope and in a second neither can you." Jason just stared at him, so he continued. "You just signed a form that said you have waived the right to privacy and in this institute that means that no man, either staff or internee has the right to clothing. For the one month you are here, you will be bareassed unless you are put in a costume for educational purposes. I have just about a week left in my training, and I have not had an article of clothing on in all that time. Once you get used to it, its not that bad."
Jason just stared. "Look, you are here to experience what women experience when they are sexually harassed. So, just remember that you will be pushed way passed your comfort zone."
Jason now said, "I got to think." His head was spinning.
Kielbasa said, "You cannot wait too long. You are expected at work in 20 minutes and you need to strip, lock up your clothing, and learn the basic rules. So you really should strip down now, or you should decide to leave and face the consequences of your actions back home."
"Shit" said Jason, "I got to piss. Where is the men's room?"
"The urinals are in the facility near the showers, but you cannot go into that area unless you are in proper boys attire -- meaning naked. So if you want to piss, you have to strip or you have to go home. There is a men's room out there if you want to use it as you wait for the limo to take you back home." He paused and said, "I think you know you have to do this, so the faster you do it the better it will be. It will be totally safe, you get into it with your fingerprint and only you can open it. Try putting your finger on the dots of any of the lockers."
Jason kept pushing until on popped open. He took off his jacket, and said, "What kind of a name is Kielbasa? Is it polish?"
Kielbasa replied, "Kind of, it's a polish sausage. You will be given a name based on some part of your anatomy when you get to work today. Look at my dick."
"Shit" said Jason. Kielbasa's dick was long and thick and uncircumcised. Jason had to admit it did look like one. Jason also noticed that he was shaven completely around his crotch. His chest had a normal pattern of black chest hair leading to his happy trail but the happy trail led to a bald patch. As much as Jason wanted to look away, the combination kept forcing his eyes down to Kielbasa's dick and balls.
Kielbasa continued talking and Jason continued to take off his clothing, and all the while he tried not to look at the other man's sausage. "Women are judged as pieces of meat, and here you will be judged in the same way. As soon as you have stripped, I will be giving you a tray of five cups of coffee and a coffee pot that you will be taking to your five immediate supervisors. They will give you a full-scale examination which will include instructions as to how to shave your pubes and other body hair, so that everyone else's eyes go right to your junk just the way yours went to mine. They will tell you how cute you are and that they are just doing this to help you. There are two messages that they want to get you to feel, and these two messages will be reiterated throughout your stage here. The first is for you to feel how women feel when they are reduced to being seen as nothing but tits and asses, and they also want you to recognize that they do like looking at the male body and that you can have enjoyment in being a sexual being. Part of your job will be to get to be comfortable with your body and other men's bodies so that you will start taking care of it and doing things like going to the doctor and not getting into stupid bar fights with other guys.."
"How can being looked at by five guys teach me that?" said Jason as he finally made it down to his boxers.
"Guys," laughed Kielbasa. "There are no guys there other than inmates like you and me. Your bosses will all be women and they will all be wearing business attire. You and me, we're the sex objects."
Jason stopped dead, and for a moment, he almost chose to go home, but who would believe him if he went home and told this story. He did not know where he was. He had no proof that he was ever here. He would get fired, and never get another job in real estate. Jason took off his boxers and put them in the locker and was about shut it when Kielbasa said, "Make sure that everything you own is in there. Once it is shut, you will not be able to get anything out for one month just like nobody else can get in." Jason pause and quietly said goodbye to clothing and hello to forced nudity.
Jason said, "ok, lets get this party started. Which way do I go?
"Follow me. Now here are the rules you have to know or you will get disciplined. I assume you did not notice the form that says that breaking rules will bring corporal punishment. Its just spankings or paddling's, but it is embarrassing because women will point it out. The first thing you get paddled for is covering up. If your hands go over your crotch, you will be paddled. If you try to push away the hands of a woman groping you, you will get paddled. If you resist a paddling, you will get triple paddling and if you do it a second time you will fail out of the program."
They had now made it to the shower room. Jason looked for toilets or urinals but all he saw were the showers and they had a sign that read, "Anyone pissing in the showers will receive a maximum discipline session. Jason said, "Dude, I really got to piss. Where can I?
Kielbasa said, "I have to too. Walk with me." And he walked over to a row of concrete cubes about two feet high and four feet across. As he got closer he realized that there were cutouts on both sides in the shape of feet to show him how to position himself over the center of the cube which he now saw was a copper bowl with a drain. When they placed their feet in the slots two things happened: first water began to rinse the sides of the bowls slightly, and secondly lights from the ceiling and from in front of them that were directed at their naked bodies.
"Don't tell me," said Jason, as he felt the light him and he looked at his naked reflection in a large mirror across the room. "There are women watching us in the room behind the mirror right now."
"Yep, but it does not stop there," said Kielbasa. "It is also streamed on the in house net so that anyone who wishes to watch you on her lap tops or on a big screen tv can do so. Now you have to learn to piss without holding your dick since that could be said to be covering up. So just let it hang, and it will come."
"How is this supposed to help us, or is it just humiliation? What could possibly be the rationalization for this one?"
Kielbasa replied, "Any number of women have been the victims of men cutting holes into their bathrooms, or putting in little cameras, and then posting the videos or just sending them to their friends. When we hear it, we laugh about it. Now we have to spend a month or feeling what it must be like to always worry about who is watching when you take a leak."
Jason now blushed a bit because he knew that was the last straw the got him sent here. Fred had bugged the women's room, but Jason had sent some of them out not thinking anything about it. He began to worry about all the other stuff and how he would feel now that it was going to be done to him. While there was a lot of fear, there was a lot of sadness to and not just sadness for what was going to happen but that perhaps he had been doing some bad things. As he could not hold it any more, he began to piss as did Kielbasa. At this psychological moment when they both were done for the most part, Kielbasa put his hand on behind his neck and began to gyrate his hips so that his dick began to bounce up and down. He said to Jason, "Remember, do not touch your dick even to shake it off, so figure out a way to do it without your hands."
"Or, a nice lady could do it for you," said a voice from outside of the shower room. The receptionist had entered the locker room and now as walking into the shower room. She was the one in the short skirt; the one Jason thought was undressing him with her eyes. "Oh, you are even hotter than I thought you would be. Nice buns, boy, and that dick. What is that a beer can between your legs?" Jason was blushing now.
These unfortunate four thousand words are merely the "first page" of the first chapter of a lengthier opus, penned by an anonymous author for an anonymous repository of such pulp. Practically speaking, a very Dickensian example of the Literotica Novel, just as much an institution as the British Novel. It even has its subdivisions and whatnot, the above is the "femdom" subdirectorate, to go with the Victorian British Novel. Because really, the correct approach when dealing with a square absence is to divide it up into numerous parts and then write up side-by-side comparisons of both. It's a great way to fill many pages discussing what could have been six lines in the Greek original.
Moving on, I find this bit quite delightful for its very broken construction. Consider :
I. As far as money is concerned, the general view of the author is that money... doesn't actually matter. This is Socialism through and through, Orwell (like Wells) would be, or at least should be well proud. Here's a decent quote to illustrate what I mean :
Dickens, who had not the vision to see that private property is an obstructive nuisance, had the vision to see that. 'If men would behave decently the world would be decent' is not such a platitude as it sounds.
So, the anonymous author of this later, humble contribution to the British novel has in fact had the vision to see that private property is an obstructive nuisance. Perhaps vision and seeing are too strong words, the process at work seems to be moreover blindness, so complete an ignorance of how the world actually works as to appear either wilful or somehow hypnotic, yet nevertheless it's what it is. Leaving aside the "decent" part, which seems to have survived poorly the passage of time, how is this world supposed to actually work ?
No word. The author hasn't thought things through that far.
Suppose I am in the business of making money, as I happen to be. Suppose some guy makes me a lot of money, as the main character is proposed to be making. Suppose somebody doesn't like this guy, the main character, for purely unrelated reasons. Such as the guy being a drunk, or a socialist, or not enough of a socialist, or a horrible father or someone who believes the Earth to be banana shaped. Or whatever else.
All this so far is fine and dandy, I can see it. Now, suppose I care.
The whole thing breaks down. Why would I care ? I do not, in point of fact, and quite pointedly at that, care. Why should I ? Why would I ? What sense does it make what-so-ever ? The whole thing's handwaived, by recourse to a bicephal aborted abomination.
The first head, presenting itself with visible encephalocele, proposes that somehow a bunch of women are involved in the field. Presumably, also working at the business of making money. Nevertheless, somehow, magicallyii they are going to disregard the goal of the entire thing for the sake of... what exactly ? If an alleged businesswoman isn't apt to hire a mysogynist that'd make her money, that may make for an excellent femiwomaniii, but it would make no sort of businesswoman.
Apparently aware that this argument is going exactly nowhere, the author has prepared a second head, which presents itself with synophthalmia, is that Dad will come and force it be so. Just like that, Deus Ex Machina, there's going to be a law and a court and it'll force everyone to be like women want and expect everyone to be! This, the author firmly believes, actually dispatches the matter, permanently. Because yes, being rich means that someone else writes the laws for your use, somehow, and yes, we all care. Profoundly, deeply, the church has somehow won (in imagination) the battles it has actually lost in the field, and is now in charge of temporal matters. I will be deeply interested in what the ecclesiastical court says about my financially productive employee, I won't simply man the stockades and shoot anyone that moves, especially if wearing brightly colored vestments and complicated hats. Which is totally how it actually works, except nowhere in the world. But that's okay, the author only meant the US. Except for Durham, North Carolina. And everywhere else.
So basically, the whole structure here would be that I wouldn't dare shrug my shoulders to both of these : the first because someone'll then make false accounts and put forth accusations of "a lack of empathy", which apparently is like the end of the world or something ; the second because... uh... things! Things will occur! The problem with this scammy approach to managing other people's willing suspension of disbelief is that you can't actually force them into it. There's no manhandling of the willing, you can't blackmail someone into actually wanting anything.iv
What's left is then this nonsensical, improbable world created by someone who does not apparently understand how money works, or what it's for. Nevertheless, whether understood or not understood, money is for controlling economic activity, towards which end it works superbly. Willy-nilly a good chunk of economic activity is also social activity, and so yes, money is a tool of social control. Towards which end it also works superbly.
To consider just how superbly money works, notice that Orwell's paradise has been achieved : random derp with nary a clue - his beloved "common man" - is now firmly of the belief that private property, if it exists at all, is no more than a nuisance. Sure, this apparent belief is born out of blind ignorance, but it is nevertheless a belief, and unless I'm misreadingv that would seem to meet the bar. What has this achieved, if not a more perfect enslavement of that said common man, to the means of production ? The lower class that aspired to higher status a century or two ago were actually threatening, and at times actually dangerous. The lower class of today, that eagerly swallows Buffett's bullshit about how he "isn't paying enough tax", constructed so that their sons may never amount to anything like a challenge ; the lower class of today, that actually believes class is a thing of the past and they may use my familiar name is in no position to threathen anything. Not even itself. Property, it turns out, has never been as secure as when it "didn't exist". Good call, Orwell.
II. As far as women are politically concerned, the very naive view of the author revolves essentially around society as two islands : the island of man, and the island of woman. Let's leave aside that this could never be the case, that insularity strictly (and obviously) limits the possibility of maturity, and in point of fact if they're islands they can only be the island of boy and the island of girl. As amusing as this confusion might be, to a classical mind, let's leave it aside.
Consider instead how the war among these islands is supposed to work. So, female braves, holding the ramparts to their beloved island, ὦ νέοι, ἀλλὰ μάχεσθε παρ’ ἀλλήλοισι μένοντες, and most importantly μὴ δὲ φιλοψυχεῖτ’ ἀνδράσι μαρνάμενοι... which brings forth my taste for recounting an ancient Romanian joke. The rooster starts chasing after a hen. The hen starts running away reflexively. As it's running, it's thinking : "If I stop, he'll think me a slut. If I outrun him, he'll think I'm stupid. I guess I have to trip."
How long is the island of girl going to hold out ? Obviously if it holds out too well things will end and there'll be no further history to recount. This is the case for all sexuate species, not just mammals, not just humans : the female may be built to resist initially, but no female is built to resist to the bitter end. On the contrary, the female is that fortress built to fail, and for very good reasons at that! Kissinger's "fraternizing with the enemy" quip doesn't even do the thing any sort of justice. In fact, the "war of the sexes" can not be won for the very simple yet perfectly good reason that female defense is made to fail, not to succeed. It's a valve, not a cap.
So, what's going to keep all these girls participating in the male peep show from running off with that one dude ? Some sort of "gender spirit" ? Only men could possibly imagine this is how groups of females work, which is why a harem is so informative an institution, for those select males that can actually afford one (which, since private property is nothing but a nuisance, means "everyone", right ?)
More on point, what is going to keep the whole thing from collapsing onto itself at the first breeze, and emerge turned inside out like one of those conceptual solids in abstract geometries (which is exactly what all this nonsense is). Suppose I'm there, and I'm naked, and some dressed chick is trying to be funny about it. Except my nudity is not cumbersome to me. Why would it be ? I care nothing for the social convention (which the author proposes went away anyway), myself, and for that matter the tradition was to make war naked anyways. My nudity is perhaps cumbersome to her, in which case she's going to stammer and blush, which will amuse me, which will further embarass her, which is a perfect basis for sexual relations ; or else it won't be cumbersome to her, which pretty much means we're sexually intimate - but notice that we'd be sexually intimate on my terms.
This isn't a matter of social convention, sexual biology is sexual biology and fixed as such for all time by mechanisms well outside the grasp of "progress" (yes, there are such things! gasp!) If you're well read enough to know the sad end that met the various psychosexual experiments run by the socialist kibbutzers in the 60s and 70s Israel, with girls raised by women who were raised by women to be nude and unashamed of it reverting to the fundamental coy behaviour in spite of "not having a way to know about it" all this is just as much lolz at the expense of the unknown British novelist. If you're not that well read however... here's the thing : humor is not for everyone. Humor is a pastime of the upper classes.
III. As far as logic is concerned, the whole piece is an exercise in dressing up the very simple proposition that "has the dog bit you ? bit it back!" Seriously, this is how things work, if HIV gives me AIDS the cure consists of me going into the capsid and... giving it AIDS back ? How does that work, the damned thing doesn't even have T cells.
But no, everything's the same, and men being like women actually means that if the female natural response is to blush in a certain circumstance (which is not a biological marker of sexual receptivity, in that pre-ovulation the female does not display this mark, oh, no, take this burning science away, only politically acceptable pseudosciences allowed here!!!!), then men put in that same circumstance will equally blush. Because yes, totally, gender dimorphism never happened and it's an evil lie of the bourgeois imperialists anyway. It was created by Emmanuel Goldstein!
I'm so much the better for having read these great English language novels. This stuff's worth stealing - exactly as much, exactly to the degree and exactly for the reasons Orwell imagines Dickens to be worth stealing. Armed with the wisdom I collected here, should my car ever run out of gas on me, I will forthwith proceed to run out of gas on it! Ha-ha-ha!
IV. As far as decency is concerned, the general moral notions being contemplated by the author run something like this : "it is okay for the holder of political power to force unwelcome personal change in individuals whose misfortune is to live there". This purely stalinist view of education happens to be directly applicable : removing the false part (no, women are not in charge of society, currently - nor were they ever historically, except for dead but not yet buried empires like Cixi's or Irina's) one could figure that sure, educating women to be whatever men want them to be, or need them to be, or prefer them to be, whether they want to or not, is perfectly fine by this author.
The first part of that statement happens to be true, women are in fact malleable by nature for very good reasons, which certainly aren't entirely cultural, and live the misfortune of not actually owning their own body as a matter of course - it belongs not just to itself, a problem shared with men, but also to their children, and in a greater sense to "society", because any shortage of men can be remedied by an alteration of sexual mores, but a shortage of females can not be remedied in any way shape or form : the maximum number of children born in any one year is exactly equal to the total count of ovulating females in that population. One man can father as many children as he can find women to work on it, but one woman can only produce one child a year no matter how many men are working on her.
So yes, it does happen to be the sad lot of the female human that she's not wholly her own thing, and perhaps this puts some extra pressure on the already difficult proposition of being one's own mind. Nevertheless, all the indignities of nature aside, it seems a bit rich to add that "willing or unwilling" rider in there. It's not something I'd do, not because I wouldn't know how, but specifically because I do : I also know how well it works, and quite frankly it isn't worth the hassle.vi
In any case, there doesn't seem to be much decency involved in this. I don't know what your own definition for that word would be, but as best as I can see decency means "exercising restraint so as to allow something to evolve along its own lines"vii, which readily marks it for an universal good : there's enough bad novels in the world made rotten by the author's inability to follow credibly the evolution of characters that one'd not want actual reality sullied by more of the same nonsense. Let things take their own course, that's I believe not only the core of decency, human or general, but actually the very fundament of being conservative.———
- The pretense that Dickens is anything but Sandra Brown for the 1880 generation, or more broadly the pretense that there exists such a thing as the "British novel", perhaps represented by him, Jane Austen and a bunch of other equally unreadable pulpmongers for lack of preferable alternative is exactly what they mean by jingoism. Yes, I understand that the French novel is an institution, the Russian novel a dream, the German novel a bildungs. I understand that it'd be nice if the garbage island on the fringe of Europe could have produced a novel of its own. And yet, it couldn't, as shown by the fact that... it didn't.
Pretending the contrary doesn't help anything. That pretense, as laughable on the face and as improbable on any terms as it finds itself, could nevertheless have been deemed useful back when it feebly supported a bulwark made out of much better structured and way more persuasive pretense in different other fields. Back in the day when fifty English officers were pretending to have "conquered India" and perhaps even China, the pretense that Dickens and Austen created The English Novel seemed almost passible by comparison. These days, with Scotland the larger half of the Realm and about to gain independence, with England reduced (for its great victory over Hitler) to a sort of 2nd hand Puerto Rico (just barely, not even worthy of being proposed the statehood the United States keeps trying to bless that dominion with) - these days all the pretense feuilletage seems scarcely worth the trouble.
Historical forms are what they are. Some nations are ready when these happen, some aren't. As a result, some nations participate, some don't. The fact that the subsaharan African nations (admitting such existed at the time) were asleep during the Age of the Cathedral can not be remedied. In point of fact construction started in 1100 on exactly 0 African catedrals below the Sahara, and this fundamental point can not be altered after the fact. Never, in no manner, through no process, it's cut in stone. Think of Woodstock : if you were 12 yo when it happened, you didn't participate. No ifs and buts about it : no tits, no lowered balls = no invite. If you weren't there you weren't there. Nothing to be done about it now. It came, it went, it was a party then, during its time, that you missed out on. That's that.
The Age of the Novel, introduced early by the Spaniards (who then didn't amount to anything in it, much like they didn't end up amounting to anything in the Age of Sail, in spite of introducing that early as well) was in full bloom by 1700 but coming to an end together with la belle epoque, a timetable which caught many small or young nations entirely unprepared. England was small, Romania was young, neither were apt to join that party. Both pretend, retrospectively, to have participated, and both claims are worth about the same. (This is also why that "Great American Novel" isn't forthcoming - but at least John Squarejaws has the sense to admit he wasn't there, something John Bull can't quite bring himself to, lest Shakespeare feels lonely in the English language Republic of Letters all by himself or something.)
- Perhaps because they're women and women are irrational agents, apt to act contrary to their own purpose ? Such regurgitation of the message the writer purports - for the benefit of everyone, including his own conscious mind - to be writing against while nevertheless holding it as an utter, profound and ultimately unexamined conviction wouldn't be all that exceptional after all. [↩]
- I nearly went for "semiwoman", in recognition of the idiocy pseudo-feminism, but anyway : being a woman may be whatever you wish it to be. Barefoot and pregnant, pin-up vamp, anything else or otherwise. You might not be my sort of woman, or his sort, or your mother's sort, or your daughter's sort, and that's all fine, nobody asked any of us anything.
Nevertheless, being a businesswoman puts business before the woman. It does, it has to, it's how it goes. If you're unable to put business, as it works, before the womanhood, however you define it, you simply can not be a businesswoman. At all. And no, you don't get to define the whole word, or the meaning of business merely because you added a suffix. Business is business, it exists and it's worth doing exactly and strictly because, exactly and strictly for as long as it means something outside of your intent. It's not like pretense, where a girly can hold up a spray can and pretend it's a microphone, and she's Madonna. It's actual reality, you're either in business or you aren't, it's not something that lives in imagination - not anyone's, not everyone's - but an actual thing.
Obviously a woman might see an angle in business that some man missed, and become rich for it. This happens all the time. However, she has to see something that is actually there, she can't simply imagine some nonsense and expect to matter on those grounds, that's just not how business works. Pushing a point, perhaps it could even be the case that women as a group may be more apt to see classes of angles that men as a class are apt to miss - the nonsense of such a proposition tends to become readily apparent when widely practiced and universally important fields such as business are contemplated, and for very good reason - but I very much doubt this has actually happened at any point in history on any sort of notable scale. [↩]
- I'm aware the US marketing plague is trying, but that on its own doesn't mean too much. They've been trying all sorts of things of late, and with similar success. [↩]
- I'm not misreading, it's merely that Orwell, as any good socialist, has failed to properly consider the implications of his "ideas", let's call them that, unmeritedly as the word may be. Then, when confronted with the practical failure those "ideas" engender, he stands ready to ammend them. Into another thing of the same nature, which is to say ill conceived gunk that will fail the test of practice again, later on. But hey, at least "it's working" now, for lack of proof that it really isn't working. And once that proof is produced, Orwell, like any good socialist and like Microsoft's tech support department - with which they actually have a lot in common - stands ready to "fix" the problem. In the manner already discussed, of course, but nevertheless, at least "it's working" now. For lack of proof that it isn't, and on it goes. [↩]
- Understatement of the year, that. If anything can in ready practice approximate the epic scale of Greek tragedy, it is then this attempt to format the unwilling. Bear in mind, should your curiosity push you to try it, that it is a blinding sort of thing, which only the most averted, calm and prepared eyes can even observe, yet it is a lifetime sort of doom, which you're entirely unlikely to be able to either compress into less time or at all escape. In short, you're risking your life for a chance at a glimpse at something you might or might not see, and in any case may not even understand. There's better things to do with one's time. [↩]
- Indecent behaviour is exactly opposite to this principle : it entices men to pursue women they wouldn't "naturally", creating an "artificial" structure in a group to the detriment of the actual structure it'd have taken given a chance.
Commonly decency is defined as some sort of conformity to general practice / accepted mores, but it'd seem to me that's merely defining the elephant by the color surface of its skin. [↩]