Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ensnared at Dinner by an Impromptu Jane Austen Seminar

This one's for that zealous coven of females in Eugene engaging in the secret rites of their mystery cult dedicated to all things Jane Austen. You know who you are! During a wonderful Italian dinner at my adviser's house last night, my masculine sensibilities, derived from the Roman cardinal virtues of virtus (manly excellence) and gravitas (dignity and seriousness of character), were ensnared by that most insidious of all feminist plots designed to mollify the unbridled strength of men: academic deconstruction of the gender/power dynamics found in the world portrayed by Jane Austen. The wonderful hostess for the evening was a prominent Professor in the English department who has taught graduate seminars on the subject for years. As I listened to the very astute deconstruction of the period covered by Austen, I could not help but reflect back on a couple of my intoxicated viewings of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice in Eugene last spring. The Coven of Austen in Eugene would have been in a total state of bliss hearing this discussion over such a wonderful dinner. The entire dinner was a very good experience for me. However, with respect to Austen, I always become perturbed with the entire social/gender structure of that time. I do not consider the aristocratic men of that period to fall within my definition of actual men, they are weak figures who had allowed themselves to become trapped within a vacuous social structure that emasculated them within the same gilded cage the women fell prey to. The incessant hand-wringing and calculation exhibited by these women over such insignificant men precludes me from having any sympathy for their plight. Any truly virtuous woman would have decried all these men as impious and unworthy of either love or marriage. Out of contempt and utter disgust, I would have marshaled my hordes and purged the entire society with fire and steel. Such a mollified society could not have withstood the wrath of righteous conquest to establish a new social order. I will let my diatribe die here, so you can all rail against my lack of understanding for the nuances of the redeeming value of Austen. Have at it! Be well!