I think nearly everyone knows Agatha Christie and her Miss Marple. However, few people ever heard about her rival Miss Silver, an Edwardian governess turned private detective, the character created by another English lady author Patricia Wentworth.
She first appears on the scene in 1929, and plays a rather insignificant role in a story called Grey Mask which is not the best one out of the whole Miss Silver series which comprises 31 books, but is nevertheless important since here we meet Miss Silver for the first time. Her description never varies from book to book though they are stretched over the period of more than 30 years. She stays a neat, quiet lady wearing old-fashioned, awfully decent clothes and possessing "a good deal of soft mousy hair with only a little grey in it."
Patricia Wentworth, a rather prolific writer, apparently lost her interest in the character she created for nearly a decade, but returned to her in 1937 with the book called The case is closed and kept publishing new books about Miss Silver till her death in 1961. While Grey Mask dealt with a topic of secret societies so typical for the 1920s, The case closed is a story of a man framed for murder by his own relatives and it falls to his wife's niece Hilary and her fiance Captain Cunningham to prove his innocence.
This book was followed in 1939 by Lonesome Road, a novel about a wealthy heiress in her late thirties plagued by her insufferable relatives who in the end finds the love of her life. The theme of "middle-aged" romance is persistent in Mrs Wentworth's books, with heroines in their early forties marrying and having children which proves that it wasn't unusual in those times. The other theme is post-Victorian UMC family, the disintegration of the old bands between relatives, the intrigues and jealousies between various family members and the changing face of British society after war.
While Agatha Cristie's stories are often unpredictable, in Miss Silver novels it is sometimes evident from the beginning who the criminal is, but it's very difficult to prove it, and here Miss Silver comes in handy, since everybody trusts her and keeps telling her things they wouldn't repeat to the police. She is often described as the person of razor-sharp intellect and she is admired by the police inspectors she works with who are sometimes men of her own circle such as Frank Abbot of Scotland Yard and Randall March, whose love story forms the basis of the novel Miss Silver comes to stay, published in 1951.
The series creates the world of its own as the characters of one book often reappear in others, in some minor role, plus there are Miss Silver's nieces who never play any active part but their lives are always in the background. One of the nieces, Ethel Burkett is a dutiful wife of a bank manager with 4 children, but her sister has married a man twenty years older for his money and when the money partly disappears after the war and she has to do her own housekeeping, complains incessantly and even tries to leave him because he is "dull" though in the end the family achieves reconciliation between the two.
Herein lies another difference with Agatha Christie. Her books were sometimes rather slippery in moral department, she had a taste for grisly details and even dabbled in occult in some of her stories. Patricia Wentworth usually omits all the descriptions of the agony and death and the books preach unmistakably Christian morals. She makes a clear distinction between right and wrong, especially considering sexual mores. Any sexual relationships outside marriage are sinful (though less for a man than for a woman), and her heroines all go to the altar as blushing virgins.
She also portrays women who use their sexual charms to influence men around them as foolish and wicked and often getting the due comeuppance. Divorce, too, comes in her stories but it's always depicted negatively. Often it's a result of a jealous rival driving the spouses apart and they will reconcile in the end. Good men are invariably chivalrous and will offer financial support even to the wives who abandoned them, but decent women would rather earn their own income than be a gold-digger.
Interesting enough, most murderers in her books are women, sometimes a sort of Femme fatale, sometimes a person nobody would ever suspect. In one story, a formidable old maid is the leader of a criminal gang, intimidating men around her and mistreating her niece. On the other hand, the author portrays enough abused wives living in fear of their husbands, mostly among the lower classes of society.
Though Miss Silver is a private detective in her own right, quite unlike Miss Marple, the books aren't at all feminist with one exception where Miss Silver claims that women still don't have enough rights in society. Curiously though, as the series progressed, in the 1950s, the books grew more conservative instead of less. In one of them, Mrs Wentworth even decried the use of contraception as the means for foolish young women to avoid consequences of their actions.
Not all of the stories are equally interesting, at least I didn't find them so, and the last one in the series which I just finished reading yesterday, was particularly vague. Besides those I mentioned, I especially liked Danger Point (an older aristocratic man whose first wife died under the strange circumstances marries a young girl as he needs her money to maintain his estate), The Chinese Shawl (depicting a family feud between a rich aunt and her niece), Miss Silver intervenes (a war time romance), The Key (a WWII espionage story set in a village), Pilgrim's Rest (a family curse falls on anyone trying to sell the family house), Latter End (a man marries a heartless gold-digger and has to face the consequences) and some others.
I could recommend Miss Silver series to anyone who loves detective stories and is interested in mid-20th century Britain, though I should add that women would probably find them more entertaining than men.
Another Game concept is the idea that all women are "hypergamous" which as I understand, can mean several things. Number one, that 80% of all the women only desire (and have sex) with 20% of all men and the rest of the men go without sex which sometimes leads them to commit crimes and atrocities (see my previous post on the topic).
Number two, that all women desire alpha well, sex, and "beta bucks" that is, in their youth they like to fool around with "alphas" who are apparently all penniless losers so that when the women "hit the wall" (at the age of about 30 since they apparently aren't able to reproduce after this age) they suddenly demand bucks from a beta provider.
Number three, after they get married they all desire "to trade up" and will divorce their beta husband at a drop of a hat, to start chasing alphas again (though at the same time we are informed that alphas aren't interested in the "dried up" women after the ripe old age of 35, but whatever).
Now let's look at these claims more closely. The first one is obviously exaggerated as there are plenty of men who could only be described as "gamma" in Gamer terminology who manage to score with women. Of course, these women aren't exactly the "top tier" and I think herein lies the problem because the Red Pill adherents all want to have only 9s and 10s (They rate all women on the scale of 1-10). So the whole 80/20 divide sounds like a projection to me: the men are basically accusing women of trying to get a better deal out of "the sexual market place" while they are desiring the same thing themselves. They also seem to forget that women don't owe strange men sex, either.
Claim number two is somewhat closer to reality, since modern women are taught that they are sexually emancipated many adopt male mating strategy. It's hardly a secret that it used to be pretty much expected of young men to "sow their wild oats" before settling down with a "good girl". However, this is more complicated than some "feminist imperative" dictating women what to do through their "reptilian brain". In our society, women are encouraged to be financially independent so that they don't need to lock a provider husband as quick as possible. Add to this easy availability of birth control and abortion, and illegitimacy carrying no stigma any more and you get the current situation.
As for number three, you can thank the no-fault divorce for the easy way out of marriage for both men and women.
Now many Red Pill adherents openly proclaim that the "traditional patriarchy" was a much better, stable society while on the other hand teaching men to simultaneously avoid marriage and try to bed as many women as possible using "Game" for these purposes. They also blame women for the fact that the society has changed so much. Further on, they claim that in the past women weren't materialistic, every man had plenty of sex on demand, his choice of virginal young hotties to marry and so on and so forth.
How true are these claims? Obviously in the past there was less open sexual promiscuity since it was frowned upon and many girls did marry as virgins or had only one sexual partner whom they married later. However, this means one thing: there was less sex to go around. Of course, there was prostitution and some girls "who did it" but they weren't exactly the cream of the crop. So if something, men used to have less choice of sexual partners than they do now. Plus, chasing skirts as the only objective in life was considered caddish and severely criticised. Men were supposed to have a higher purpose in life than that.
Considering marriage, in Northern Europe both men and women traditionally married at a later age than in the USA or Southern Europe as this post of mine demonstrates. The reason for it was that the man was expected to be capable of providing for his future wife and children and unless he was independently wealthy, it took him some time to get established. The women they married weren't exactly spring chickens, either as the graph shows. Also, the idea that all the women (especially of the lower classes) stayed "young and hot" as opposed to now when we have better nutrition and dental and medical care, is hilarious. Have you ever seen the pictures of these ladies after they got 6+ children? They weren't expected to look like MILFs and they didn't.
Now divorce is really a societal scourge but who is responsible for the current mess? As far as I can gather from what I read in UK, for instance, before no-fault divorce was introduced, the presumed guilty party couldn't even start divorce proceedings. So if the woman abandoned her husband he could divorce her if he so desired, but she couldn't divorce him. Of course, she could live together with some guy but if she had a child he couldn't inherit because he was illegitimate. When UN was founded after the WWII they introduced the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which among other things, demanded to end the difference in status between children born in wedlock and outside it.
Of course, in 1950s UK illegitimate children got the same rights as all the others. The could go to school, they could get medical help, people weren't exactly throwing stones at them, but they couldn't inherit. So erasing the stigma of illegitimacy was more about destroying the traditional family than helping children. And yet, what do Gamers propose? They teach men not to marry mothers of their children as it gives them a "whip hand" over her. They also want to abolish all the alimony and child support but they seldom talk about abolishing "no-fault" divorce or encouraging women to be housewives which gives men economic power in their marriage.
This all makes me think that they aren't really serious about restoring traditional family at all. Some of them claim that Game used in marriage will stop the wife from divorcing her husband. Divorce is always a disaster so if it can be stopped with some Jedi mind tricks, that's fine with me. However, while it can help some individual man, society on the whole will only change when the laws change. If only all these guys spent so much energy working for a political change as they spend decrying evil Western sluts while simultaneously exchanging tips on how to get them into bed, we'd probably see the revival of Victorian morals by now.
It's really that simple. If you are serious about restoring traditional family there are some changes to be considered, such as making all divorce fault-based with guilty party undergoing some sort of punishment for the breach of contract, reintroducing the distinction in status for children born in and outside wedlock, encouraging married women to be full time homemakers and reinstalling the provision in the family law which makes the husband the head of the family with the financial obligation to provide for his wife and children. Unless it happens, family disintegration will continue, with Game or without it.
Went there last week and came home with lots of stuff, including this skirt (70% wool and only cost me 10.50):
And 6 teacups and saucers, made of fine English bone china:
They all come from different collections, including Royal Albert, Royal Windsor, Royal Standard and Queen Anne. Here are some close-ups:
Aren't they sweet?
We visited a flea market in Delft on Saturday and I saw similar cups for twice the price, so it was really a bargain! The weather has been unbearably hot for the last couple of days, but cooling off now.
Nearly all criticism of the so-called "Red Pill" philosophy or "Game" appears to come from the more liberal parts of the internet and is feminist in nature, like arguing that the Gamers are wrong because they don't believe men and women are equal.
Yet there is one glaring problem with this whole Game stuff which nobody seems to notice: they attribute all sorts of complex problems to sex or lack thereof.
For instance, last year a German pilot by the name of Andreas Lubitz crashed his plane into the mountain. It was later revealed that he had been suffering from depression for years and had suicidal tendencies. Yet the Gamers had their own answer to the riddle: it was because Andreas didn't get enough sex! Never mind that there were reports that he had left behind a girlfriend (or even two) or that Germany is known for its lack of sexual restraint and that prostitutes there advertise their craft in local newspapers and by McDonald's restaurants. These simple facts don't fit the narrative and thus should be discarded.
Two days ago we had a gruesome terrorist attack in Nice. The reasons behind the instability in France are complicated and not of the nature I'd care to go into detail on this blog (here is an article which presents an interesting point of view on the whole problem), yet for the Red Pill theory adherents the answer is clear: it's all because French women sexually desire immigrants! This is what has caused the whole mess!
This is juvenile at best, retarded at worst. Sexual desire can be a powerful factor and we have stories like the one of Trojan War to prove it yet the motivation of human beings is often very complicated and among more advanced individuals above the certain age normally goes further than whether their ahem, genitalia experience any sorts of tingles at the moment, and this is true for both men and women.
Sex is important but contrary to what some internet guru seem to claim, it's not the most important thing in the world and the adolescent obsession with it some folks tend to display is frankly, ridiculous. And no, you won't save the Western civilisation by learning how to pick up sluts in bars, either, though it can make you happy to think so. End of the rant:)
Have you noticed how it's practically never a good time to become a mother? When you are young, you are expected to study and "work on getting established in your career". When you are older, you should avoid having children because they all will be born with all sorts of disorders. There is a narrow window of opportunity somewhere between 28 and 35 when a good middle class girl is supposed to get married and produce a certain number of children, usually 1-2 so that they won't interfere with her career and she can return back to work as soon as possible.
Women having more children than a designated amount will often find themselves at the receiving end of some nasty remarks, sometimes even from the medical professionals (ditto for older mothers though the trend is slowly reversing due to career women getting married and starting to have children later in life).
Though in real life they probably won't go so far, internet progressives will accuse such women of contributing to overpopulation and burdening the Earth with their offspring. Yet while European ladies are expected to restrict the number of their children they are also often encouraged to donate to charities supporting all these "poor children" of the Third World whose women apparently don't contribute to Global Warming by bearing 10+kids each.
With the birth rates in Western countries falling every year we also keep hearing how we need immigrants "to pay our pensions" so essentially we are encouraged to stop reproducing ourselves and pay for reproductive habits of other nations whose citizens then will move to our countries and inherit them.
Yet, Westerners didn't always hold motherhood in such disdain. In fact, it was viewed as sacred duty and poets were writing sentimental verses about the Hands which rock the cradle and so on while artists worked on all these Madonna and her Baby paintings. American women often married young and kept having children well into their late forties and even fifties (as demonstrated in this link). Mothers were respected and had status in society for just being mothers, not for bringing home an extra paycheck or excelling in the world of men. So what happened?
What happened was that individuals like de Beauvoir were suddenly given a profound voice in society. According to her, women found their babies "burdensome" and "maternal instinct" was non-existent. Breastfeeding inflicted "a harsh slavery" on the mother and her own baby was "a tyrant" and "a little stranger". A mother was nearly almost " a sexually frigid" and "discontented" woman whose work is not "directly useful to society" (according to Domestic Tranquility by F. Carolyn Graglia, p.p. 106-107).
However, while it's easy to blame individual feminists for changes in the society attitudes, the massive culture shift from the traditional Western family structure of provider husband and homemaker wife which predates Christianity and has endured for thousands of years didn't happen because some obviously confused ladies started venting their sexual frustrations in public. In fact, while many men nowadays blame women for feminism, it often took government efforts to enact this change.
Google has an interesting 1980s document which highlights the fact that Western governments actively pursued the policies of pushing more women into paid workforce in such countries as West Germany and the Netherlands which had long traditions of mothers being excluded from the burden of providing a living.
It states, among other things that it's the government which provides women with the majority of jobs, that government bureaucracies need "talented young women" and decries "the culture of motherhood" which prevents Dutch women from climbing the top echelons of power. While attacking the Netherlands and West Germany for their "sexism" the document suggest taking countries like Bulgaria as an example.
Well, one should say they finally succeeded, albeit to a degree, since we now have preachers decrying the fact that joint taxation of married couples is unfair since it prevents wives from working (longer hours) and earning more money while the doctors assure women and their husbands that pregnancy and childbearing don't take a toll on a woman's body and she should be ready to resume her duty to economy after a couple of months of maternity leave. And, of course, "traditional patriarchy supporters" calling housewives leeches and "kept women". Heaven help us, because we really need it...
Those Christians who still believe in the natural distinctions between the sexes like to cite Deut22:5 but few will go out further than pointing out that there should be some distinction between the appearance of males and females. Yet, in less enlightened times the verse was understood as to refer to much more than just clothing. As Matthew Henry puts it in his famous Commentaries:
It forbids the confounding of the dispositions and
affairs of the sexes: men must not be effeminate, nor do the
women's work in the house, nor must women be viragos, pretend to
teach, or usurp authority, 1
Tim. ii. 11, 12.
Since our society's ideal currently appears to be unisex, it naturally leads to the blending of male and female traditional roles. Yet, though we have some rise in stay-at-home-fathers this blending has mostly been one-way-street with feminine role diminishing and some tasks disappearing all together. Take the previous discussion on clothes, for instance. It has always been one of the tasks of a traditional wife to take care of the appearance of her family members. She would wash, mend and iron, polish shoes, fix the children's hair, shop for clothes and sometimes make them at home.
Being well-dressed isn't just something which happens randomly, it takes some consideration and experience, knowledge of different fabrics, the eye which can discern quality, planning beforehand when there is an event calling for it, like a birthday party. It all takes time and time is something which most couples with both partners working simply do not have.
Furthermore, things like washing and ironing fall under "housework" and it's something which feminists have traditionally hated. Some people even speculated that the whole feminist movement of the 1960s was motivated by the disappearance of cheap servants so that UMC women tried to push their husbands into the maid's role.
All this was supposed to help women but more often than not it actually led to the denigrating of the traditionally female tasks which started to be seen as degrading and oppressive, or as Betty Friedan so eloquently stated in her famous book: "peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls" (quoted from Domestic Tranquility by F. Carolyn Graglia, p.116).
While feminists like de Beauvoir calling housewives parasitic creaturesis old news, the new phenomenon is that now we have men on the internet who describe themselves as the supporters of the traditional patriarchy in full agreement with her assessment of the housewives.
Nor is it in the man's interest, de Beauvoir continues, "that woman is supported by him like a parasite". (idem, p.107), and these men agree. I have lost count how many times I read about there being nothing to do at home, since we have a vacuum-cleaner (invented by men, so there!) and a washing machine, and how it's really not necessary to vacuum or clean the toilet more than once a month.
Nowadays there is a lot of talk about female submission but it's rarely pointed out that this wifely submission was directly tied up to man's duty to provide for his family. Since he bore all the costs it was only fair that he took all the final decisions. You simply can't have a traditional family with both husband and wife working full time or very close to it and earning approximately the same. Feminists of the 1960s understood very well that even if the law made the sexes equal, the chief breadwinner wielded a tremendous economic power hence they wanted all wives to get a job because it meant financial independence.
The female role in the present day has been largely restricted to motherhood, though even this primary function is heavily under attack, but the traditional definition of the female role would be something like "a caregiver". Women would take care of their husbands, their children, their family members, the neighbours etc etc and it included just as much providing a listening ear and some sympathetic understanding as cooking nutritious meals and running the house.
Moreover, in the Western culture women were traditionally seen as the companions of their men. The law which prohibited divorce ensured that the man couldn't kick out his wife for failure to produce a (male) heir or in fact, any children at all. Even in pre-Christian times the husband was supposed to treat his wife kindly and marital love was praised. F. Carolyn Graglia documents it in her book by, among, other things, narrating the story of a Spartan king Anaxandrias who refused to divorce his infertile wife despite the outside pressure because he loved her. (idem., p. 234).
However, a wife can't properly function in her role unless she is supported by the breadwinner husband since fulfilling all these traditional tasks takes time, that is, unless you agree that vacuuming once a month is a proper way to run a house.
Our church newspaper published a very wonderful article recently. It actually proclaimed that the traditional Western clothing for females is skirts/dresses. It went further to say that the believers shouldn't look like grey clouds in November sky but rather like people invited to a wedding feast.
It sounds like a radical statement nowadays, but not so long ago you didn't have to persuade women to try and look pretty. In fact, when you watch old TV series like I Love Lucy you see that the most quarrels she had with her husband was about her spending too much money on a new hat or dress. 1950s advertisements feature both men and women wearing nice clothes, like this:
Folks used to have healthy pride in their appearance and even housewives would wear nice things at home:
I still keep wondering how did it all go from this to this:
Modern unisex clothing is boring, to say the least. The colours are drab, the style is absent, the fitting either baggy or too tight. 2/3s of the population appear to be wearing basically overalls (what are jeans if not work clothes?) on a daily basis. All this considering the fact that we have an abundant choice of decent clothes on the internet. They must be putting something in the water...