Good Morning You Hempy Vamps,
The Bagwan has again seen fit to bless us with his insight delivering with abundant truth & light his knowledge of women. However as grateful as I am for his contribution, it must be stated that his remarks are not necessarily shared by “Marzukionline” and it’s production staff. Should you choose to read on you do so at your own peril. Please enjoy:
The term “curmudgeon corner” as it is used here at the Diatribe comes from a physical location – the east end of the bar at the now-defunct Deweys. In fact, curmudgeon corner is more a state of mind that has existed since man was living in caves and sitting around the fire talking with his buddies. I suppose back then, given the much shorter life expectancy you could be a curmudgeon in your 20’s but the topics of conversation were the same.
First you have politics, because even back then someone was running the show. Next you have sports; the favorite at that time was hitting a rock with a stick. Discussing physical ailments was popular even before Obamacare and finally the favorite topic and the subject of today’s lesson – women.
Now don’t expect to be titillated by some dirty-talk about the female anatomy or bizarre sex acts. Curmudgeons by definition have been freed from the vagina force field and can discuss women in a very dispassionate way. All they are trying to figure out is what makes women act the way they do – what makes them tick if you will.
I wanted to go back in history and then fast forward to modern times to show how the curmudgeon’s view of women has evolved. Of course I couldn’t go all the way back to the caveman but I thought that the Victorian era would be a good starting point. There is an abundance of written material from that era when women were thought to be oppressed, second class citizens.
The passage I found to illustrate the attitude of curmudgeons towards women in the 19th Century is a quote from a character in a Victorian era mystery novel. He is 70 years old and he is giving an explanation of why he is reluctant to honor a request from his daughter.
From The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins.
“It is a maxim of mine that men (being superior creatures) are bound to improve women—if they can. When a woman wants me to do anything (my daughter or not), I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life. It isn’t their fault (poor wretches!) that they act first and think afterwards; it is the fault of the fools who humor them.”
Clearly the Victorian curmudgeon held something of a negative view towards women or more specifically, their thought process. He appears to hold out some hope that with time they could improve if we could only control “the fools who humor them.”
So let’s move into modern times and check on the current curmudgeon’s view of women. For this illustration I take a quote from a character played by Jack Nicholson. He skillfully plays the quintessential curmudgeon who is a popular author. He is being cornered by the receptionist at his agent’s office.
From As Good as it Gets (1997)
Receptionist: I can’t resist! You usually move through here so quickly and I just have so many questions I want to ask you. You have no idea what your work means to me.
Melvin Udall: What does it mean to you?
Receptionist: [stands up] When somebody out there knows what it’s like…
[places one hand on her forehead and the other over her heart]
Receptionist: … to be in here.
Melvin Udall: Oh God, this is like a nightmare.
[Turns around and presses the elevator button multiple times]
Receptionist: Oh come on! Just a couple of questions. How hard is that?
[Scampers up to Melvin]
Receptionist: How do you write women so well?
Melvin Udall: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.
Well okay … maybe not a lot of change there. These things take time.