Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I've been ruined

I'm alternating reading "Domestic Manners of the Americans" with "Examined Lives", which seems to be about how philosophy developed and is still relevant. It's an interesting read...and break from Fanny Trollope's creaky grammar...but I've found I'm ruined about one aspect of it.

The book talks about 12 major philosophers, beginning with Socrates. Which I keep wanting to read as So-crates...a la "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure". Just like I can't say the word "France" without thinking of how the Coneheads said it on "Saturday Night Live." I'm marked.

It's weird how popular media can warp your brain.

Still, the book's got an interesting background of So-crates in it. And James Miller's style, while still a bit arch, is easier to deal with.

Don't get me wrong; I love what Fanny has to say. And I'm amazed at how people today would fit in perfectly, attitudinally, with the world of 1828-29, especially as regards the power of religion in people's lives...and how it's warping them. Fifteen year-old girls weeping and trembling about their sins. Women dressed in their finest to go to revivals and in-home prayer parties, where they eat, drink, and gossip to their hearts' content. And the men having little or nothing to do with it all.

She notes that itinerant men would walk up to a home, ask the mistress of the house if she wanted to pray with him, and wind up staying till breakfast (all nice and far as we know) because he let her hold a prayer meeting in her drawing room and he proclaimed over the course of 2-3 hours about the horrors of hell and the goodness of Jesus. Then he'd continue on his way with a little money, leaving behind some happily terrified and smitten womenfolk.

I guess Presbyterian preachers were the pop stars of the Pre-Pre-Raphaelites.

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