The Voices of Men in Praise
Of Jane Austen
Messages c. July 26, 2002


Dear Ash,

My 2001 Christmas Letters are in the mail, and as I threatened, or rather promised, I will add my two cents about the shutting down of the Bulletin Board (sniff)!

I held off making suggestions, but in light of your more complete explanation to Ana and not knowing how all this tech stuff works, I see that I must at least comment.  I don't have a clue about things like "write a Java script to automate the BB".

I find myself in need of being weaned for several reasons.  1) We, (mostly me) have some unfinished business, reports, etc.  I find that I have left several subjects hanging.  2) There may be an instance where we need to set the record straight.  3) We may wish to share our latest discoveries with everyone.  You have proven my point with the post on your Peacock discovery!  See!  And I haven't even mentioned the fact that my Metropolitan and Barcelona tapes arrived and what I thought about them.  Don’t' rush me!

For these reasons I tried to determine how it was best to be done.  First, I thought about a 'Round Robin' - someone starts a letter (email), adds to it and passes it to the next on the list.  Or, I considered just emailing individually.  Or, I thought about a monthly MV e-Newsletter, where you (I volunteered Ash) to gather our notices to include in it. Or, a 'Share Board' to replace the current BB, more like a real bulletin board where you post our 'notices' on a monthly basis, sans conversation which could be done by private email.  Are there any other suggestions that would keep the maintenance to a minimum, because it appears that everyone is short on time?  Sometimes we simply have to share with someone or bust!

I recently learned how to "save" web pages to a file, so I decided to put the entire site on CDs to save space on my hard drive. Since my son-in-law's computer has a CD burner, I was going to burn the web pages on it.  (Wait a minute, that sounds terrible!)  Now that I know you will continue to add and rewrite pages, I should not be in too big of a hurry.  It is just that my nerves could not take it if the pages were to all of a sudden disappear.  After several crashes, I don't trust those wires, modems, and etc.

Do you have any idea what my poor soul went through the other day when it occurred to me that I would have to remove my "MV BB" bookmark?  It was absolutely heart wrenching!  I consoled myself that I could just tuck it away in a corner to keep for old times sake!  I could not bear to part with it!  I did promptly bookmark the rest of the main pages.

I am halfway through Julie's classic posts # IV, and all I can say is that they are priceless.  The pictures you posted of Tasmania remind me of scenes from Snowy River even though I know it was filmed in Australia.  Bless her little ole heart, she is just like us, never having enough time, but, oh my, how she could write!  I learned so much and realize how much more reading I have to do to catch up.  Well, since the board is going (or hopefully only slowing down), I may find a very little more time to do some reading - that is my only consolation!

But, of course, we do not wish to impose - or do we?  Impertinent twerp, aren't I?  Well, at least I can still send-
Love from Linda

Dear Linda,

My title is a line from a Chris Isaak song. Another line from another song is, "I-I-I-I'm the original American boy!" Talk about a discovery—if you get Showtime, be sure to bookmark The Chris Isaak Show. I love it. He plays himself in this comedy series; the show is very low-key; but, it is also very zany. Let me tell you about his analyst, his psychologist in the series. Her name is Mona and she works at the 365 Club in San Francisco. Anyway, in the 365 Club there is this image over the bar of a nude woman seeming to swim in a fish bowl. Actually, it is a closed-circuit TV trick in which the woman is actually in a basement room and her image is projected onto the bowl. That's Mona's job. So, in every episode, we see Chris sitting in the room and pouring his heart out while Mona is perfectly nude, lying on her tummy on this slowly rotating table, making swimming motions, and passing on sage remarks to her friend/patient. Well—maybe you have to be there; but, take my word for it, it is hilarious. That's just an example.

Anyway, it is a wicked thing you do to mention your thoughts on the Whit Stillman films and then withhold them. And that in an attempt to entice me into continuing this Bulletin Board in some form or other. Have you ever worked at the 365 Club in San Francisco?

You hit upon a great truth, we all want to share what we learn. The great thing about the Internet is that we all can do that, not just the credentialed academics. But, I have a lot of other things welling up inside me that I want to share and that is what drives this change. I consider this web site an incomplete failure—which is pretty good, there is a worse thing that can be said—I'm satisfied. But, my attitude is that I can incompletely fail at a whole lot of things, and I can prove it—I want to prove it!

I have been working on a epitaph for several weeks now, and I will post that on August 1. So, don't delete that bookmark before then. Actually, I will place a "What's New" notice on the home page, so you might bookmark that. My major concern is that I won't have you to edit any new additions—gulp!

In any case, you and all the other regular contributors have my e-mail address, so there is no reason to lose touch.

Dear Folks,

Dave is an old-Navy man which is not at all the same as an old, Navy man. He posted here from November 1999 through February 2001. You can access all his postings by scrolling down to his last name in this section of the names index. Here is my abbreviated list.

Dear Board,

Can any kind soul show me how to find postings for the subject Lady in the index?  I've looked under L, C, D, B, and do not find her in the list index under any of those.  The indexing is by first letter, right? (Did she have a maiden name to be indexed under, at all, at all?)

Dear D.J.,

She is indexed under Pride and Prejudice; see under "P". Except, that listing seems a bit sketchy—perhaps I missed some references. I suggest you look under the "postings" for P&P for more discussion. Now that I think about it, I know that there are some non-indexed references because I recall that Julie Grassi once explained to us unlettered colonials that the fact that she was "Lady Catherine" and not "Lady de Bourgh" (as in "Lady Dalrymple") meant that her title derives from a source other than her marriage.

You will probably be too polite to call me "odd" for refusing to make an unqualified condemnation of Ice de Bourgh or Mrs. Bennet. (So, I will say it for you.) That is not to say that I ever deviated, in the teensyest tinesyest way, from taking Elizabeth Bennet's side in every contest—heaven forbid!

Dear Voices,

For reasons I won't go into, this came to me when I was reading the recent articles on the difference between how men & women think and remember:

I knew two people, one man and one woman, who were active participants in the Gulf War.  The young lady, who had worked for me, joined the Marines after graduating high school because "I've wanted to since I was eight."  Hers was a combat unit, though she and the other female soldier, along with some of the guys were assigned "housekeeping" duties (a term that isn't's been in common military use for many years) of cooking, policing the camp and maintaining and repairing equipment.  On a visit home, she came by to say hi.  She answered specific questions about her experiences, but didn't volunteer anything extra.  She seemed anxious to get the discussion out of the way and go on to more "important" things like what everyone she worked with was doing.  I later learned that she had come under "small arms" fire as they call it, but she never mentioned it to me herself.

The man was a member of the Army National Guard and his unit was assigned to ordnance duties in Saudi Arabia.  Unloading supplies and seeing that they go to where they were going.  This man spoke of almost nothing else for several months after his return, focusing on the heat, discomfort and danger. His unit didn't see any sort of "action". (I'm not disparaging him for that.  He left his wife and kids and did the duty he was assigned.  Had he been assigned to fight I'm certain he would have done his bit admirably.)

So what's up with that?  And before you say it's just a difference in personalities, or that the young woman probably acted differently around her peers, I would just like to point out that despite the fact that something like 1 in 10,000 men from the "Viet Nam era"  served directly in that country, I personally have yet to meet a male between the ages of 45 and 60 who didn't claim to be a multi-tour combat veteran. (And only about 10% of those who served did more than one term.  The author of "Born On The 4th Of July" had to have his congressman intervene on his behalf to get back to Viet Nam.)  Maybe it's confined to that generation, but I doubt it.  I could sort of understand it I were some cute young thing, but why lie to a very married 40+ matronly type?

Can the guys enlighten me?

Dear Cheryl,

In my experience, and in general, a typical woman is as likely to be full of herself as is the typical man. My experience with veterans is more interesting and might relate to your observations.

The GI bill was rescinded shortly after World War II and then reinstated for the Korean vets in the early and mid fifties. I started college in 1955 and from then until I graduated, my classmates were about 20% Korean vets. Most of those guys talked a great deal about their military experiences; however, all of that type did not actually see any combat. The actual hostilities ended in Korea in 1952. Still, I listened with rapt attention. I knew one Navy pilot who had flown combat missions and he refused to talk about it. I really admired him but I had to respect his prohibitions.

It was probably because I was so young that combat vets wouldn't talk to me; I say that because when I was more mature, out working, and meeting WW II vets, I found that I could get them to talk about some things. Even then, most subjects were off limits, but at least a guy like that would tell me of things like when he came across a parked German jet plane and nobody knew what the hell it was. Or, that time when he entered the forest, relieved himself, and as he was leaving he noticed a German sentry watching him with his rifle folded in his arms—it was an unspoken armistice. I guess the German was sick of the killing as well.

We often hear that football is like war or war is like football. Football coaches say that, football players say that, Generals say that. But I never knew a foot soldier to say that, I never knew one of them to say that he thought he was in a game. If your friend didn't have much to say, it may not have had anything to do with her sex—maybe she learned the difference between football and war and would rather forget what she had learned.

Dear Cheryl,

I was in the Navy from 1955 to 1959 (.001 % JA relevance), and never was in any hostile action (at least not from our designated enemies).  The only people I have ever met who would talk about combat experiences were professional servicemen.

I once worked for a Publications Manager who was with an airborne unit that parachuted into Normandy early on D-day.  When I learned that and asked him about it, all he would say about it was that it took him seven years to get over it and be able to function like an outwardly normal man.  This was in 1962 - some 18 years later, and even then Charlie P___ didn't seem to be completely over it.

The well publicized dysfunctional lives of some Viet Nam veterans were obvious indicators of the effect of war on people's psyche/soul.

When Sheridan said "War is Hell," he was telling the truth.  Or so it seems.

But what does this have to do with JA, I admonish myself.

Dear Bree (C.S.A.),

I thought Sophie Thompson was hilarious myself, and brought out Miss Bates as she truly was; dear, pathetic, and shoot-until-you-run-out-of-ammunition annoying.  As much as I love Prunella Scales (unrecognizable though she is these days), it was a good casting decision.

Speaking of Emma (sort of) Jeremy Northam's role in Gosford Park includes a chance to sing a number of dance hall ditties from the 20's and 30's. He has a lovely voice and I expect we'll hear more from his musical side in the future. (Otherwise, there's not much to recommend Gosford Park. Even the greatest cast can't overcome a pedestrian script that telegraphs most of its "secrets" in the first 10 minutes.  The movie exists to take pot shots at the British upper class.  But you have to understand a society to skewer it effectively and Altman clearly doesn't.  The idea that any Brit above the social level of a Lucy Steele would deliberately humiliate a total stranger for putting the milk in first is sheer stupidity.)

It occured to me that I was overlooking the obvious in my search for the perfect Lady Susan:  Polly Walker in her Enchanted April mode would be just about right. (Okay, we'd have to lose the Louise Brooks hairdo, but she could wear her hair up, like a respectable widow would.) She's a bit tall, at least for my imagination, but we can't have everything.  Helen Mirren would be a good choice also and it would be nice to see her in something beside a frumpy role for a change.  The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover wasn't that long ago.

Dumb FYI:  I read recently that most of Alicia Silverstone's time and energy over the last few years has been devoted to PETA activities.  I'll refrain from commenting otherwise.

Dear Cheryl,

There is nothing wrong with Sophie, except that she made a caricature of Miss Bates.  But then, I found the whole Emma-96 version somewhat loosely based on our Jane's real novel.  It was sort of a romantic comedy, whereas Emma-95 and the BBC version got more into how the characters really were.  But Sophie's Miss Bates was much the cutest, as was Juliet Stevenson's Mrs. Elton.  However, in the novel itself, neither of these worthy women was cute.

Thanks for warnings about Gosford Park; I am still planning to see it but will not expect much.

Re Polly Walker as Lady Poison, Ashton agreed with us based on her acting in Restoration, which I haven't been able to find anywhere.  We must just be sure Prozema doesn't get her hands on it!

From the Meister: Restoration starred Robert Downey jr. and takes its title from the restoration of the monarchy after the death of Cromwell. Walker plays the part of the mistress of Charles II.

Dear Bree and Cheryl,

Catherine Zeta-Jones
"With only a little shawl, it makes one think that she must catch cold, Emma."

I thought I had resolved this question! Oh well, I repeat that the best choice for Lady Susan is either Sophie Marceau or Catherine Zeta-Jones. Jones would be perfect if we are successful in our negotiations with Andrew Loyd Webber to take artistic control because Catherine has an excellent and proven singing voice.

On the other hand, we could sign Jennifer Lopez. Hm-mm, I hardly know what to think!

I do think that Walker is not in the picture.

Sophie Marceau "You have made her too tall, Emma."

Dear Back In A FlAshton,

Sorry Meister.  If she isn't, she should be in the picture.  Polly Walker has pizazz and the right look.  Your Jones and Marceau not only look dangerously alike, but seem more like college cheerleaders than poisonous adventuresses.  I can't help but think that Ms. Austen would agree with me.  Besides, since Lady Susan doesn't evince any musical talent, why do we need anyone with a good singing voice?

However, at least you did not suggest Cate Blanchett again.  I have purposely kept silent about that!

Since we are coming to the end of the road and all.  I think our main concern here is to prevent P. Rozema from adapting any more Austen novels, or in fact, anything!  Let her work in shipping and handling!

From the Meister: Be careful now! The last time we put Rozema in charge of handling, Mary Crawford handled Fanny Price! Of the four women you mention, Walker is the least talented actress—by a mile. Don't let a woman's good looks prejudice you. In my opinion, Walker also is the least likely to come across as seductive and cruel. I don't know where you went to school, but your spirit squad must have been something to behold.

Dear Folks,

Cheryl lives in the great northwest. Our friend began to post here in February 1999 and continues her posts to this day. You can access all her postings by scrolling down to her last name (Hoffman) in this section of the names index.

As you will see, Cheryl is articulate, intelligent, knowledgeable, and holds strong opinions. Our friend also has the energy of a Julie Grassi or Linda. And, Cheryl will get in your face where needs be and argue long and hard (who does she think she is, a web Meister?) Except—well—Cheryl is nearly always right, especially where the discussion does not center on Marianne Dashwood or Fanny Price.

Here is the first part of my abbreviated list of Cheryl postings.

Dear Folks,

Linda lived most of her life near the Mississippi River except for that short period she worked in New Jersey. Our friend began to post here in April 2000 and will likely post something on the last day of this Bulletin Board. You can access all her postings by scrolling down to her name in this section of the names index.

Linda was taught to use the Internet by Yoda—her ability to find things there is mystical and uncanny. Perhaps her editing skills are better. Einstein tried to explain to her that no signal can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, but Linda defies him with her use of the mouse.

Here is the first part of my abbreviated list of Linda postings.

Dear Folks,

I continue here my abbreviated listing of Cheryl's posts. Refer to Part I. Here is the second part my list. You will find some of them to be yummy!

Dear Folks,

Here is the second part of my abbreviated list of Linda postings (this is a lnk to part I.)


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