( links and personal observations about sexual violence against women )
I absolutely believe everybody else's experiences, people I know and strangers writing brave, brave columns and blog posts. I am just a total outlier, and I really shouldn't be. So I'm signal boosting others' accounts, because I know that I needed to be made aware of the scale of the problem, and perhaps some other people reading this could also use the information.
There has been the most ominous-looking light over north London for several hours now - a sort of copper colour. The sky is covered by a greyish cloud with wisps of whiter cloud drifting across it.
No rain, a bit of a breeze wafting through the trees in the street, but so far, nothing stronger.
The effect is somewhat John Martin-esque, or possibly requiring figures to run through the pocket park behind the house crying 'Heathcliff!' 'Cathy!'. Or at least, the foreshadowingly brooding overture to such.
I assume this is something to do with Hurricane Ophelia, even if so far this part of England is not supposed to be affected. This morning when I went shopping it was sunny and unusually warm, but I put that down to the Little Summer of St Luke.
They walked slowly back towards the villa in silence. Lady Bexbury was conversing of novels with a well-looking fellow of middle years, that to Beauf’s astonishment spoke English with a somewhat Cockney accent though he was as bronzed as any Neapolitan. She made introductions and Beauf apprehended that this was Traversini’s dear companion. Should be entire ecstatic, said Lady Bexbury, would you stay to dine the e’en. Although Beauf felt that all he wanted to do was to return to Naples and brood in his room, or if Julius was around, tell him what had passed, he could not refuse.
Sure it was a very fine dinner, especial had they not been expecting any company. When they had finished, and night had fallen, Lady Bexbury offered that the sight of fireflies among the olive trees was most exceeding pretty, why did Flora not take His Lordship to see 'em? Flora bit her lip, then smiled and said, sure 'tis indeed the prettiest thing, let us go view 'em. And somehow, as they walked towards the olive grove, their hands found one another. Over there, said Flora, that quite menacing red glow? 'Tis the burning mountain Vesuvius: here are lesser fires.
She gestured towards the little sparks of light darting among the olive trees. Indeed 'twas a most exquisite pretty sight. He turned towards Flora and saw his own pleasure mirrored on her face. Mayhap it was the romantic setting; mayhap the excellent wine they had drunk had somewhat to do with it; but he put his arms around her and kissed her as no decent man should kiss a respectable young women before they had reached an understanding. And Flora kissed him back as no respectable young woman should kiss a man that had not already spoke to her papa.
At length they drew away from one another. Beauf began stammering an apology: oh, fie, said Flora, you must have apprehended that I too was quite overcome. She looked down at the ground. 'Twas most exceeding pleasant, I liked it quite extremely, should greatly desire to do it again: but, dearest Beauf, 'twould not be right. I hope, said Beauf, I should not take advantage of your kindness - Flora looked up with a bewitching smile and said, sure I have the greatest confidence in your honour. But m – my godmother has conveyed to me certain matters concerning the sexes –
And, said Flora, drawing herself up and looking like a small Valkyrie, I daresay there are those would condemn her for sullying my maiden innocence or some such nonsense, but I find myself in entire agreement with her that 'tis a shocking thing the way young women are kept in ignorance of matters so very material to their lives and happiness. Why, said Beauf, I fancy my stepmother would be in agreement with such arguments. And when one goes ponder over the topic, 'twould at least be prudent were young women given some warning concerning how some men carry on.
Flora gave another of her enchanting smiles and said, but she avers that young women should also be informed about their own natures: and that they should know that they may find that there is a traitor within the citadel that undermines their resistance to a siege. Beauf looked at her and considered upon this – was it a confession? – that she too felt ardours that might lead them into most improper conduct together. Indeed, Flora said more soberly, I come to an apprehension of her meaning. But she says, too, that does not always import for better for worse &C.
We had better, said Flora, be returning to the villa. She sighed. Flora, said Beauf, dearest Flora, at least say that I may speak again, when we are back in Town and not beguiled by romantic surroundings. She sighed again. You may, dearest Beauf: perchance we may find that 'twas entirely a glamour and you may go find one more apt to duchessing than I. I do not think so, he said. In all our travels have seen none that moves me as much as you. Flora made a little noise, almost a sob, and then turned towards the villa.
The coachman was mayhap a little displeased at being routed out from the kitchen and flirtatious conversation with the buxom Giulia, no hag-like sorceress. But he went ready the horses, and Beauf took his leave of Lady Bexbury and Alf, bowed over Flora’s hand. As he mounted to the carriage, and it began to drive away, he glimpsed, through a window, the fleeting sight of Flora kneeling by her godmother’s chair, her head in her lap, Lady Bexbury stroking the golden curls. Beauf thought that he would have welcomed an attack by banditti as a distraction from his troubled thoughts.
There were no untoward happenings on the road back to Naples. At their lodgings, he found Julius alone – he had not expected Bobbie to be in, but Quintus had regular habits. Is a dinner of some medical club or such, said Julius, seeing Beauf look around, that Quintus was invited to. But, dear friend, you look troubled. Oh, Julius, sighed Beauf, going to sit beside him upon the chaise-longue, indeed I am troubled, for Flora – was’t another woman I would say, goes play the coquette, but 'tis not Flora’s way – Julius put an arm around Beauf in the old way.
Beauf rested his head upon Julius’ shoulder, thinking of all the times they had comforted one another. He was blessed in having such a friend. Surely marriage, especially marriage to Flora, whose own dearest friend was Julius’ sister Hannah, would not come between? Julius remarked that he was going to see a very fine garden the morrow, would Beauf care to come? Indeed he had not seen so much of Julius lately, would be most agreeable to spend time in one another’s company. That would be exceeding pleasant, he said, do you desire my company. How not, said Julius, smiling.
If Trixie only masters turning things into tea cups, her magic shows could get a bit surreal.
Suddenly, a wild episode appears! What do you do? Y'know, there are only three episodes left to complete the season, and it seems that they've all been broadcast or leaked somewhere. Today, you can blame Canada -- apparently Treehouse broadcast episode 24 this morning. Since I won't get those quality download links until after the episode has been broadcast on Discovery Family in the US, I'll wait until next Saturday to put up an 'Episode Discuss' post. Might be Saturday after next, the Pony Countdown clock is reading 12 days to go. Whenever, but in the meantime, should you want some brain candy before hitting the hay (or before work, or during lunch break... your time zone may vary), you can watch episode 24: Uncommon Bond on DailyMotion, here. Hmmm, sounds seems good! Watch it before a bot eats it!
This week's bread: the Blake/Collister My Favourite Loaf, white spelt/wholemeal/einkorn flour, made up with the remains of the buttermilk.
Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 white spelt/buckwheat flour, maple sugar, dried blueberries.
Today's lunch: New Zealand venison loin medallions, panfried in butter, served with sweet potato oven fries, cauliflower florets roasted in pumpkin seed oil with cumin seeds (I think these could have done either with being cooked a bit longer, or broken up into smaller pieces), fennel cut into thinnish strips, healthy-grilled in olive oil, and splashed with elderflower vinegar.
There's another tiny piece I haven't mentioned, but it's the week it is, the year it is, the world it is.
When I went out to the bathroom at intermission, Orchestra Hall had the pre-ordered drinks sitting on a table completely unattended. No staff near the table, no staff even visible. People's names were under the drinks, patrons were milling around. I was appalled. And when I went back in, I mentioned this as a terrible idea, and I said to Lillian, "Sweetie, don't ever, ever, ever take a drink that's been left unattended. You always, always, always watch who has had control of your drink." And she nodded solemnly and said, "Yes."
She is 10.
I did not say "rape" or "rohypnol" or "GHB." At her age, she probably honestly filed it away as "someone could spit in that, gross." But...she is 10. She will be in high school before we know it. And you have to grab the moments you can. You have to take the opportunities. If you sit a kid down for a lecture, here is all the stuff you need to know, some of it will fly past, some of it will not go in. And you will forget to say some of it. If they only hear stuff once, some important stuff will be lost.
I was not that much older than she is when my cousin told me the same thing, always know who has had your drink, do not drink an unknown punch at a party, even if they tell you it's non-alcoholic, maybe especially if they tell you it's non-alcoholic. Watch them make your drink, keep your drink with you, do not leave it on the table if you go to the bathroom, finish your soda, get a new one after.
She is 10.
She is 10, and I hope no one has said Harvey Weinstein's name to her. She watches Big Bang Theory, and I wish she didn't, because it's full of toxic bullshit, and because Mayim Bialik is trying to tell her that if only she's good enough, if only she dresses the right way and wants to be a good smart girl it will be enough. It will not be enough. This thing I am telling her, at 10, about control of her drink, about how to hold her hand when she punches, about kicking for joints and soft places on the body and running like hell, about how she is worth it and never think she is not worth hitting as hard as she can, as hard as she has to: it will not be enough. I cannot promise that it will be. It is what I have. I can give her that my friends think it's amazing that she loves the drums, my friends want to introduce her to the lead percussionist and help her see all the cool percussion instruments. I can give her grown-ups who see a tiny pixie child intent on listening to jazz and want to give her more of the world, not less. Who say, when you go out in the world, this is what you do--not, don't go out in the world.
She is 10, and I told her, never take a drink that's been left unattended.
It will only get more like this, in the years ahead. As the adults, we always want to think it's too early to have to say the words, and by the time we're comfortable, it's too late, they needed to hear them already. We want to protect them from the words, and we can't protect them from the world. So the opportunities come in the strangest places. It's fun when it's "do you know what Cubism means?" This one was not a fun one. But you take the moments you get. She didn't have to dwell on it, she nodded and went on with her evening, which she declared to be joyful hours. It's still lodged in my heart, though. She's 10, she's 10, she's 10. I want that to be a magic incantation, but it isn't.
Oh, David Mitchell, I normally like and approve of your columns, but this one?
Which made me think of pretty much all societies, 'throughout history', where just because there was a belief in a higher power didn't mean that there wasn't massive conflict over: who was the real higher power and how best to worship that higher power. And even when there was a generally accepted overall belief system, there are differences within between schools of thought and practice (cf persecution of Christians or Muslims who are not of the predominant category within a particular nation). Heretics get persecuted at least as much as infidels.
And you may like to think
I know in my heart that had I been brought up in such a setting – say, in Anglican Victorian England – I wouldn’t have quibbled with those answers and would’ve been comforted by them.
That would Anglican Victorian England which a) pretty much invented the concept of honest doubt and b) within the C of E, massive conflicts between High and Low Church, no? Not so cosy.
Paging Mr Blake and the Ever-Lasting Gospel. Written at the same time that a large number of actual clergymen had gone into that line of work because they were the third son and it was a living, and why would anyone trouble themselves over the 39 Articles? and it gave them plenty of time off for hunting.
No doubt Lady Bexbury apprehended something of his reason for the visit: very shortly she said, I daresay you have come see Flora. At present I confide she goes walk in the olive groves – Alone? cried Beauf. La, she is as safe here as she would be at home. There will be none to come trouble her: 'tis most exceeding useful to have a cook in the place that is give out a strega and able to cast heavy curses upon trespassers &C, even is Giulia not so powerful a one as Guiseppina, that was her aunt, used to be.
Beauf blinked: he would have liked to know more of the matter – surely Lady Bexbury did not believe in witchcraft? 'Tis a useful superstition, she said smiling. But away to the olive groves – she waved in their direction. He bowed over his hand and went where she pointed. Sure olive trees were a very picturesque sight – he wondered whether there were artists had painted them – but even more delightful was the sight of Flora Ferraby, in a becoming light gown, a wide-brimmed hat upon her head, carrying a parasol. Why, Beauf! she cried, almost running towards him. Such a pleasure.
Flora dropped her parasol and clasped his hands in hers. Sure 'tis good to see you, she said. And are the others here as well? They remain at Naples, he said, looking down at her: perchance she had neglected one day to carry her parasol or put on her hat, for she was a little browned by the sun: however unfashionable, 'twas exceeding becoming. But, she said, tell me all of what you have been at, for Quintus’ letters only recount such and such an operation he saw, or some anatomical demonstration he attended. We have been here some while.
So, finding her hand remaining in his, he walked with her among the olive trees and told her of their adventures since Venice. But, he said, did she not go about a good deal in Society at Naples? He had been surprized to hear no reports of the bella signorina Ferraby and sighings over her. La, said Flora, we live here most agreeable quiet, sure I became somewhat jaded with the pursuit of pleasure, and sure these Italians are excessive amorous and given to jealousy, 'tis exceeding tiresome when they brangle over whether I go favour one more than another.
But is it not a little dull? Beauf asked. As I collect you have no great interest in painting water-colours, that one might well wish to undertake in such fine scenery did one have the skill. Indeed 'tis not, said Flora. My dear – my godmother is quite the finest company, there is an excellent fine library with a deal of English books in the place, Marcello is entire happy to escort me on excursions to classical antiquities &C – fie, I suppose I should say Signor Traversini, but I catch the habit of informality from Her Ladyship’s old acquaintance of him.
Also, she went on, there is excellent fine conversation of an e’en: Marcello and Alf are quite the greatest friends of Mr MacDonald, in constant correspondence, sure 'tis good serious discourse such as I have been feeling the want of. For from early years I was used to hear Papa and Mama and their company talk of matters in Parliament, and questions of business, and it feels home-like. And oh, have you heard? Papa goes be knighted. Entire well-deserved, said Beauf, my father the Duke holds him in quite the greatest esteem. Oh, 'tis an entire mutual esteem, said Flora.
Beauf looked down at Flora. He had seen more beautiful women, women with all the feminine arts of flirtation, but none of them had affected him as Flora did. Oh Flora, he said, I find myself in an ever-increasing fondness for you, sure I cannot suppose my father would make a deal of a fuss whosoever my choice lighted upon, he is not that kind, but I confide he would welcome a closer union with your family, there could be no objection, indeed I hazard 'twould delight my stepmother. Dear Flora, I should be honoured would you be my wife.
Flora dropped her head and gazed at the ground, and let her hand slip out of his. Oh Beauf, she said after what seemed like an exceeding lengthy silence, sure I am entire aware of the great honour you do me, and indeed I find myself in great liking towards you. But, she said, and then paused again. I know, she began again, that 'tis considered quite the highest achievement of a young lady to attach a fellow of your rank; but – oh, dearest Beauf – 'tis that matter of rank and being a Duchess in due course, gives me pause.
Why, you could not but adorn such a position, cried Beauf. Indeed, replied Flora, I hope that did it come to it I should do all that was proper: but I am in some concern that I should find it most immense tedious. There are duties and responsibilities, and sure I think some of 'em I could contrive to quite well. But I think of all the doing the polite, and making agreeable, and sure I do not attain to have my – godmother’s capacity to smile upon bores and laugh at weak jests, I entire lack her skills of diplomacy.
I see, said Beauf, that I have come about the matter very abrupt – 'twas not thus that I meant to proceed, but it has been on my mind ever since Venice, that I have seen no woman that I like so much as you and that I should desire to be wedlocked with. Flora gave him a wistful little smile and said that sure they were still yet young and perchance 'twas an entire glamour cast by these romantic parts, and mayhap did they go look at one another on a chill foggy day in Town, 'twould be another tale.
Article in today's Guardian Weekend by a bloke whose wife earns a lot more than he does in a high-powered job, and he is stay at home dad. And it's not egregiously annoying, but I was taken aback by this line, which is a quote from something else:
The post-industrial economy is indifferent to men’s size and strength
The guy in question was a journalist and his friends do not sound as though they were pursuing careers as stevedores, miners, steelworkers, etc etc, before the economy took a downturn. They had office/creative-type jobs.
And surely it's been true for quite a long time that, just as the majority of men have not been called upon to defend their country in arms, the majority of men have not been working in fields where size and brute strength were necessarily particularly relevant.
This is a point I tend to think of when I see some man sounding off about women can't [X] or there has been no female [Y], and I think, you know what, mate, I don't suppose you're all that fit for doing [X], and on the basis of your Facebook post/tweet, I don't think you're the new [Y]. They take the credit to themselves for any achievement by a man that demonstrates, they suppose, the ultimate superiority of their gender, rather than having a component of chance and opportunity (cf V Woolf on J Shakespeare).
Which I don't think is so much the case with women? if we cite e.g. Ada Lovelace, or Serena Williams, it is more to say, well, actually, women can.
After a month, I hope Episode Discuss posts will be so far off the top page that it'll probably take the tag to find them, so about a month after posting the cut will be removed. 8^) Sometimes I go back and drop in little extras into the posts, like comics and links to the music.
Broadcast starts at 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which should work out to 4:30 pm UTC, 8:30 am PST and maybe about 11:30 PM Down Under. Confused? Look at the PonyCountdown widget on the community page! At the moment there are just 5 hours left to go.
Written by Josh Hamilton.
For those of you following Twitter, you can follow writers Nick Confalone (Hearthbreakers), Mike and Will Fox (The Gift of the Maud Pie), Joanna and Kristine (Gauntlet of Fire), Dave Polsky (Rarity Takes Manehattan) and Jennifer Skelly (Buckball Season). Other twits in the early morning chorus may include the likes of Meghan McCarthy, Jayson Thiessen (Supervising Director of MLP:FIM), Andrea Libman , the voice of Dragon Lord Ember Ali Milner, Big Jim (storyboard work, voice of Troubleshoes and Director of MLP:FIM), Mike Vogel and Josh Haber. The hashtag to watch should be #MLPseason7.
( Review for episode 23, Secrets and Pies, below the cut. )
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Watch Secrets and Pies on DailyMotion in 1080p here.
Download links for Secrets and Pies: (I'll fill in the blanks as soon as I find them)
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They're all mkv format files.
Read all the transcripts, including that of Secrets and Pies over here on the MLP wiki of transcripts.
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The links to official channels and purchasing DVD's and episodes are now in the community sticky.
Julius had always been there, from the days of the Raxdell House nursery-set. It had been Julius to whom he had disclosed, weeping, how very dreadful he had found his early days at Eton. They had shared boyish explorations of their changing bodies. But that was – according to the way of boys, was it not? not continued into maturity. And yet: had not his father spoken to him of the exceeding cruelty of the law regarding the carnal commerce of man with man? And the terrible popular prejudices that affected the ability to alter that law? So there were fellows –
It was somewhere between a joke and a proverb among their circle that, did you find yourself in puzzlement about anything that was a matter to do with people and the relations between them, the person to apply to for enlightenment was Lady Bexbury. If she did not see at once what was ado, she had an uncanny capacity to find out. He should ask her, when next he went to take tea at their lodgings: but preferably when Flora was elsewhere. Even if Flora had often snorted about the ridiculous desire of Society to keep young women entire innocent.
La, said Lady Bexbury, pouring Beauf tea, sure I have known Marcello this age, was a protégé of the late Marquess my husband, had him educated &C. And indeed he is of the disposition, that is what we say for fellows that incline to their own sex – though there are some that will incline to both - but he would not do any harm to a fellow; has a dear companion that remains at their villa near Naples. Would not force himself upon one unwilling. 'Tis entire the case that such fellows may manifest quite the finest mutual affection.
What Beauf could not ask Lady Bexbury – not yet, it might come to it – was why he, himself, should feel something very like unto jealousy at how very impressed Julius showed with Marcello Traversini? Perchance it was because he had always supposed himself Julius’ preferred friend just as Julius was his. But lately it seemed that Julius was ever about some expedition with the Italian, showing little interest in the various doings of Beauf and the others. But, he thought, we all go our own ways: sure Quintus has the entrée to dissections &C, that one would not wish to attend.
As a result of these puzzlings, Beauf had not made any declaration to Flora by the time all came to depart from Venice. Their paths lay in different directions, but all would remeet in due course in Naples. Julius showed some inclination to go with Lady Bexbury’s party, but then minded that he had the entrée to see certain gardens, and introductions to horticulturalists and botanists that 'twould be uncivil to cut. Beauf recollected what his stepmother would say about sorting her thoughts and giving matters time and determined to see how time and absence affected his feelings for Flora.
Although there were further adventures and escapades while travelling south, Beauf did not find himself forgetting Flora or dismissing their time together in Venice as a mere flirtation, inspired by the romantic spirit of the place. Rather he found himself considering that there were entire prudential arguments for the match. While the Ferrabys were not of aristocratic stock, they were wealthy, very well-thought-of, widely received in Society: Lord Nuttenford had had no objections to Harry’s suit to his youngest sister. They were quite the greatest friends of his own parents. His stepmother would delight in such a lively intelligent daughter-in-law.
It almost came to a quarrel one day betwixt Beauf and Bobbie, when the latter remarked thoughtfully that not only did one confide that Miss Ferraby would come exceeding well-dowered, surely Lady Bexbury was likely to do something very handsome for her god-daughter. They might have come to blows but that Quintus offered to take Bobbie to see some collection of medical curiosities to which he had the entrée, and Julius drew Beauf aside to walk in a fine garden that Traversini’s recommendation had opened to him. Beauf fumed to the sympathetic ear about how very vulgar Bobbie sometimes showed.
The quarrel was made up: one could not keep up a quarrel with Bobbie, he was too easy-going, but nonetheless Beauf felt somewhat of a reserve towards him for his remarks. Even had Flora herself commented so very disdainfully on Bobbie’s conversation, or lack of it. Indeed he could not imagine her inclining to him however fine a dancer she thought him. He was in some mind to endeavour to sound out the matter with Quintus, who might know somewhat of his sister’s mind, but something held him back. It was too early to put the matter into definite words.
At last they came to Naples. Beauf found himself chafing against the reception they received into Society there, the necessity to go do the polite, the asking after parents and family and old friends in Bella Londra. Sure ‘twas all most exceeding hospitable and kind, but yet he found himself in a considerable impatience to go visit Lady Bexbury at the late Marquess’s fine villa, without making it into a general excursion. Bobbie had already found a congenial set to frolic with, Quintus had savants of medicine to discourse with; and Traversini had come to welcome Julius to the city.
But in due course he was able to take a carriage out of the city and along through exceeding fine views of the bay and the volcano, to the very fine villa Bexbury. On his arrival he found Lady Bexbury reclining in a chair upon the terrace, scribbling at somewhat on her traveling desk. He dared say that she was still obliged to keep a hand upon the various philanthropic enterprizes she was associated in. La, Lord Sallington! she cried. Entire delightful! Come have some refreshment. Even in his impatience to see Flora, he could not resist that famed charm.