Yes, these jokes do just write themselves.
Day 63 (continued)
Last week we finally finished three straight weeks of Lady Davers calling Pamela a whore – which I really can’t emphasize enough is entirely too long – and have now moved on to the Master… pouting.
“Pamela,” said he, and made me tremble, “How dare you approach me […] when you see me thus disturbed? Never, for the future, come near me, when I am in these tumults, unless I sent for you.”
[Ariel says: I love how if the situation were reversed, the Master would immediately be like, “My dearest, Pamela, you must be on your period.”]
Pamela asks, reasonably, what did she do?
“You have too meanly,” said he, “for my wife, stooped to this furious sister of mine”
Oh, ok. The Master is just all about subverting Georgian-era English society, so long as an actual woman isn’t acting with autonomy.
After a few pages of the Master and his sister arguing, Pamela suggests a solution to the problem, that I’m just gonna let speak for its Gender Studies 101-self.
“May I, sir,” said I, “beg all your anger on myself?”
Lady Davers sees that the situation is hopeless and decides to leave, and wishes Pamela luck, which amazingly prompts even more anger from the Master somehow. Now he’s mad that Lady Davers is suddenly being nice to Pamela. Seriously.
“Your sex is the devil! How strangely can you discompose, calm, and turn, as you please, us poor weathercocks of men!”
Yes. The women in these books are the irrational ones with volatile emotions that change at the drop of a hat. The women. Poor men.
The Master, Lady Davers, and Lady Davers’ nephew (who is still here on account of being so important to the story?) all take the chariot and depart somewhere, leaving us in our favorite position: for Pamela to muse on the goings-on of the story. This time its the Layla subplot of Fifty Shades of Grey. [Ariel says: Also, the Corinne subplot over in Entwined in You Land where cunts are always greedy and music video premiers are a thing even though presumably YouTube exists in this world.]
Foolish thing that I am, this poor Miss Sally Godfrey runs into my head! […] I want to know more about her [but] I dare not ask him about the poor lady. Yet I wonder what became of her! Whether she be living? And whether any thing came of it?
Amazingly, Pamela treats the “the love of my life had a former lover” subplot basically the exact same way Ana does in Fifty Shades, by largely ignoring it and hoping her man will just happen to bring it up of his own accord, out of nowhere. [Ariel says: Actually, this sounds more like the Evil Cougar storyline, because Layla was an ex-submissive who went crazy. But Evil Cougar was actually someone who Christian loved at one point.]
The others return and it turns out the Master took his sister and her nephew around to all of his other upper-class friends, to hear them all praise Pamela. [Ariel says: Can you imagine how awkward this situation would be now? Like if your mom was kind of iffy about your significant other, so you took her around to all of your friend’s houses so they could tell her how cool he or she is. Okay, fine, fair enough, you did that. But then you go and tell your SO that you’ve done this, and that’s supposed to be fine and dandy? Weird.] Naturally, Lady Davers is now 100% on Team Pamela, because conflict-resolution works most believably when it happens really quickly and off-screen [Ariel says: And through the power of…friendship and peer review?]. Lady Davers and her nephew apologize to Pamela for their behavior, so now we have to come up with another thing to drive the plot through the remaining 14% of the book. Maybe you can guess how the rest of this scene, at least, plays out.
Yup, it’s the mansplaining one. Get ready for a lot of mansplaining.
“Now, Pamela,” [he said], “I hope I shan’t be a very tyrannical husband to you”
This would be like the Grinch saying he hopes he isn’t putting a damper on everyone’s Christmas.
“In all companies she must have shown that she had, whether I deserved it altogether or not, a high regard and opinion of me”
“I should expect, therefore, that she should draw a kind veil over my faults”
And my favorite one:
“I am not perfect myself [but] I will not allow that my imperfections shall excuse those of my wife, or make her think that I ought to bear faults in her”
Once again, it becomes super obvious that a dude wrote this book.
I thanked him for these kind rules.
To be fair, the Master does have an actual decent human reason for being upset at that whole “be angry with me instead of Lady Davers” thing:
“I cannot bear that you should wish, on any occasion whatever, to have me angry with you”
Aw, that was actually kind of swe-
“As if I must soon end my anger, if placed there”
Intriguingly, the Master almost makes actual good point again when talking about how the upper classes are so messed up.
“We people of fortune, or such as are born to large expectations, of both sexes are generally educated wrong. […] We are usually so headstrong, so violent in our wills, that we very little bear control”
But don’t worry, it gets worse.
“The yawning husband and the vaporish wife are truly insupportable to one another […] “Some gentleman can come into a compromise, and, after a few struggles, sit down tolerably contented. But, had I married a princess, I could not have done so.”
And then even worse.
“Had I married the first lady in the land, I would not have treated her better than I will my Pamela.”
Wait, there’s a lower bar than “sneak into her bedroom by disguising yourself as someone else and then try to rape her”?
This newest “this is how man are, so behave accordingly, ladies” rant goes on for a really long time, so Pamela helpfully rewrites the whole thing as a numbered list in case you missed anything. [Ariel says: What is up with the BBGT books and lists lately?]
1. That I must not, when he is in a great wrath with any body, break in upon him without his leave […]
2. That I must think his displeasure the heaviest thing that can befall me. To be sure I shall.
Even weirder, there are a few moments where Pamela comments on these rules and actually gets sort of feminist on his bullshit?
22. That there are fewer instances of men’s than women’s loving better after marriage. But why so? I wish he had given some reasons for this!
Although things are still generally less “important literary milestone in the development of the modern novel” and more “terrifying male power fantasy that people still have to read in college for some reason”.
6. That I must bear with him, even when I find him in the wrong. This is a little hard, as the case may be! I wonder whether poor Miss Sally Godfrey be living or dead!
This list goes on for forty-eight goddamned rules, which I can’t imagine having been tolerable even back then,
48. That a husband who expects all of this is to be incapable of returning insult for obligation […]
Well, my dear parents, I think this last rule crowns the rest, and makes them all very tolerable
I guess that when the prologue said that this book was to educate the sexes, it meant on how to have a terrible, abusive relationship.
Question: Speaking of overrated sexist literature, Ariel and I have been thinking about what book to read next. We’re pretty sure we’re going to read Beautiful Oblivion next, the Beautiful Disaster spinoff about Travis’s brother that I can’t imagine anybody wanted. But that got me thinking, which minor character in a BBGT book would you most want to see get a spinoff? [Ariel butts in: KARA!! EVERYONE SAY KARA!!!!]