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What Are You Reading

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Lancealot, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    These comments remind me (and the dates are interesting) of pre-code movies, which showed a much truer depiction of America in the '30s than the code-enforced movies of '34 and on. Of course, some real stuff snuck into post '34 movies and not all pre '34 ones are gems, but Trixie is a pre-code-movie girl if ever there was one.
     
    ChiTownScion and LizzieMaine like this.
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    In the next volume, we'll see Trixie give Skeezix his first kiss, marking the beginning of his career as a bumbling teen, which will consume the latter half of the thirties. He will, unfortunately, turn his attention to sedate, boring Nina -- who he will eventually marry. But Trixie will go on to a glamorous career as a radio singer, and eventually will serve in the war as a WAC. She hasn't been seen in the strip, as far as I know, since 1957, when she unexpectedly showed up for a visit, causing boring, sedate Nina to seethe with jealousy.

    If I was writing the strip today, I'd totally bring her back and give 95-year-old Skeezix something to think about.
     
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  3. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Man is that true to life. Old girlfriends/boyfriends - even from decades ago - can stir the pot sometimes.
     
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Poor old Skeezix.
    tmgas140508.gif

    And in happier times...
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ⇧ Trixie's analysis and strategy of getting in the club is insanely astute - challenges assumptions, creates a plan of action, and pushes back against objections. There's almost a Kirk Kobayashi Maru to her approach. Also, anyone who wants to move up farther than the first few rungs on the management ladder needs to think like Trixie - all the time.
     
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Just imagine what she could've done with *two* good arms.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  7. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    War, Sebastian Junger. Afghanistan, embedded with the 10th Mountain; 173rd Airborne.
    The more things change, the more things stay the same. Junger seems a caring, perceptive soul.
     
  8. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Revolt of Mamie Stover published in 1951, written by William Bradford Huie

    I found this book by way of Huie's book The Americanization of Emily, which I found by way of the James Gardner and Julie Andrews' movie of the same name.

    The movie is a relatively light look at the soft prostitution of "refined" British women to American officers during WWII and, more broadly, the morality of war and the sacrifice that the common man makes while senior officers issue orders at a safe distance. The book, though, takes those themes much more seriously and is, therefore and not surprisingly, more engaging.

    Which led me to The Revolt of Mamie Stover a, kinda, prequel to The Americanization of Emily as one character carries over, but really, Mamie stands on her own. And stand she does.

    Opening in pre-WWII America, Mamie - a six-foot tall, full-figured, flowing-haired blonde - after a failed attempt at a Hollywood career that led to soft prostitution and a bad encounter with the LA mob, is exiled to Hawaii where she is all but forced into prostitution.

    In Hawaii, at that time, prostitution is an illegal but unofficially regulated-by-the-authorities and well-organized business. The prostitutes' professional and personal lives are tightly circumscribes so as to keep them out of "polite" Hawaiian society - the nice beaches, restaurants, businesses and clubs.

    Mamie - smart and resentful - quickly climbs to the top of her new profession, but chafes at her restrictive social box. While looking for a way out, WWII takes over the island and Mamie's revolt begins as military rules and needs supersede local police control of the prostitutes.

    From here, we watch all the old - and bigoted and prejudiced - social norms crumble as an empowered Mamie, informally under the aegis of the US Military, breaks down every barrier while polite "old guard" Hawaiian society looks on in horror.

    More would give too much away, but two other points for potential readers. The narrator (one assumes the author, but who knows?) describes himself as liberal, but by today's standards, his struggle with seeing "old Hawaiian" society fall is hardly progressive thinking - his inner conflict is powerful commentary. And a warning, the book's quite-regular use of the "N-word" and other for-the-time "normal" prejudices are jarring to our modern views.

    If you can manage that, it's a good, quick read with lively characters and challenging social commentary that - like it or not - reveals a period and place in history without any modern filtering. It is that direct touch to history - its times, norms, argot, prejudices - that makes reading novels from a period so valuable.
     
  9. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    James Jones captured a slight tincture of Hawaiian society set against prewar Schofield Barracks garrison duty
    as seen from the lower echelon with his debut novel From Here To Eternity, which eclipsed James Mitchner's more voluminous opus Hawaii for its stark truth. Huie, like Jones, a Second World War veteran carved literature
    razored by personal experience.
     
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  10. dubpynchon

    dubpynchon A-List Customer

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    'The English Patient' for the fourth or fifth time. I'd love to read the notebook Ondaatje used when he was researching the novel, it was donated to a university last year I think (too tired to google it right now).
     
  11. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Couldn't get to sleep last night so I reached over and grabbed the top item from the three-foot-high stack of magazines next to the bed -- which happened to be the August 1930 issue of "Ladies Home Journal."

    There are few magazines of the Era that changed more completely over the course of a single decade than the LHJ. By the end of the 1930s, under the joint editorship of Beatrice and Bruce Gould, the magazine was a thought-provoking, progressive-leaning, controversy-courting publication that in all ways respected the intelligence of its readers. But the LHJ of 1930 was not this magazine, not yet. It's so far removed from what it would be that it seems like a completely different publication.

    The editor in 1930 was a man by the name of Loring A. Schuler, who must've been frustrated that he wasn't working at the Saturday Evening Post, because he comes across like George Horace Lorimer glaring across the table at his wife and telling her what to think. The Goulds edited the Journal with a sharp eye toward what their readers wanted to know about, whether economic conditions or birth control. Schuler edits on the basis of what he believed white upper-middle-class women should think. Nowhere is this more obvious than a persnickety editorial addressing the tenth anniversary of women's suffrage. Schuler condescendingly remarks that most women don't know anything about politics and don't care anything about politics and therefore those who anticipated that suffrage would lead to a more engaged electorate are understandably disappointed. But that's to be expected, he reasons, since the suffragette generation wasn't raised to know anything about politics. Maybe their daughters will grow up to be more engaged. Yeah, dreamboat, maybe they will. You'll have to excuse me now, I'm off to my YCL meeting. He also gets a bit defensive about the word "feminism," looking forward to the day when, as will the word "suffragette," the word "feminism" disappears from the language.

    Loring A. Schuler died in 1968.

    Other than its retrograde editorial page, this particular issue of the Journal is not as satisfying as it could be in the rest of its content. There's nothing particularly notable in the fiction section, just the usual array of stories about frustrated upper-middle-class women considering a bit of fun on the side but in the end deciding to stay with their stodgy but well-meaning Loring A. Schuler-type husbands. Many of the top authors of the time wrote for the Curtis magazines, but it's pretty much also-rans in this summer-doldrums issue. There's some striking artwork among the fashion spreads, including a two-page layout on the "Spirit Of The New Decade," which, in its design and use of color and its lean, angular figures, has far more to say about the spirit of the Old Decade than that which is now underway. Even the ads in this issue are lacking, although the number of car and motor oil ads targeting a female audience says much about the rising independence of the typical Journal reader, no matter what Mr. Loring A. Schuler thinks about it.

    Incidentally, this issue also offers one of my favorite things about Curtis magazines of the Era -- it has that very distinctive smell that only the Curtis publications exude. I don't know if it's the ink or the paper or the frustration of a Northeastern bourgeoisie unable to accept a changing world, or what, but if they could bottle that smell I'd gladly dab it behind my ears.

    Anyway, on finishing the magazine about half an hour after I started it I was ready to go to sleep, and I was wishing 1935 would hurry up and get here. Poor Mr. Schuler, it must've been a hard life.
     
  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Tea and Sympathy a play by Robert Anderson written in 1953

    I backed into this one after the movie encourage me to read the "original source" material. (My comments on the movie here: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/thr...ovie-you-watched.20830/page-1244#post-2388570)

    While there is not much more in the play than the movie (and the movie builds out a few things not in the play), it was still worth the quick read as, IMHO, these are smartly drawn and nuanced characters that feel like real human beings.

    The quick and dirty is that one of the students at an all-boys bordering school is bullied by the other boys (and with the de facto approval of the boy's housemaster) because he's "different" / because he's not "manly -" he doesn't participate much in group activities, likes to sing, befriends the housemaster's wife, doesn't talk about girls, etc.

    Playing on in parallel is the housemaster and his wife's failing new marriage as she tries to bring out the softer/vulnerable side that she saw in her husband when they met, but that he has tucked away now that they are living at the boarding school where he enjoys projecting a "manly" image (it's subtle, but he appears to be covering up his own inchoate homosexual feelings).

    The bullied boy becomes a proxy for the housemaster's softer side; thus, pushing the housemaster away from both his wife and the boy. As the bullying builds, the boy becomes more desperate to either fit in or get out. In several poignant scenes where the boy's father visits the school, we learn that the father is disappointed in his son for not being "like the other guys," which only ups the tension while pushing the story to a pretty dramatic climax.

    To tell more is to give too much away, but I encourage anyone to watch the movie or read the play as it shows a 1950s America that is, yes, buttoned up, but is also awkwardly trying to deal with issues that will, ultimately, blast into the open in the late 1960s and that we are still wrestling with today.
     
  13. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    Gentleman Officer, Simon Heffer, Books May 2019; The New Criterion
    a review of A Dinner of Herbs; and Going to the Wars: A Journey in Various Directions by John Verney

    Studied British martial insouciance, satire, and the generational nobility possessed by those who fought Nazism.
     
  14. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,355
    Location:
    Chicago, IL US
    Jack Goldsmith's excellent The Mueller Report's Weak Statutory Interpretation Analysis, LAWFARE; 5/23
    The OLC's clear statement rule; misapplication of obstruction statutes to Article II; and the vindictive therein;
    finally, an objective piece of solid analysis and not foolscap rubbish.
     

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