Thursday, June 6, 2013

Postmodern British Literature

Poor young James. He is white, straight, and comes from a comfortable upper middle class background. However, he deserves all the pity of an impoverished street urchin. You see, dear reader, when he was growing up, poor James had the smallest bedroom in the house. Not only did he not have the biggest bedroom, he was also the least favorite of the other children he grew up with. He didn't get as many desserts as they did!

Coming of age is a great difficulty. How will Jane talk to boys? Hordes of boys are interested in courting her, but because of her parents' silly habits, she is unable to catch the attention of the richest, most sophisticated boys that she really wants. Hijinks ensue when she is actually forced to endure the conversation of some of the lesser boys.

Even worse than not being able to get the right girlfriend at 14 is another problem--James is then being asked to learn a profitable trade, or attend a prestigious boarding school. He is unable to consider manual labor, military service, or retail drudgery, the poor boy! He actually has to pack his things up, get a new outfit, and work toward a higher career.

Luckily, Jane discovers that her curious heritage has left her with superior blood. Unlike the lowly masses, Jane possesses a spark of intangible, supernatural virtue, which other highborn souls can perceive. Recognizing her virtue, they snatch her away from ordinary life, elevating her to a different plane. This nobility, Jane learns from a confidant, comes with a responsibility to shepherd those with ignorant blood.

Besides his blood, did James' parents leave him with a secret family memento that unlocks a treasure that only he is meant to have? Did his inheritance leave him with not only supernatural wealth, but also the key to paradise? Woe to the commoner who tries to get that treasure away from him?

Jane finds her way out of her childhood home to join the other blessed children in professional training. Jane makes a new friend, Maryanne. Maryanne has hints of Celtic blood, black or red hair, and strange but funny habits. Not all is well in paradise, though. Oh, no! Jane is saddened to discover that her new friend Maryanne is, believe it or not, not as rich as everyone else there.

James, though, is able to prove his character. While other people may sneer at the rare working-class individual, James actually allows Manfred to be his friend. He even defends Manfred's quality to others, setting aflutter the hearts of many potential mates who are inspired by James' bravery. James has his heart broken by a shallow girl or two, on the broken road to eventually dominate and inseminate Manfred's Celtic-blooded sister.

After proving her character by defending Maryanne's lower social status, Jane is offered an opportunity to join an elite within the elite: a faction of nobles who wants to get rid of commoners. These nobles have even better dresses than Jane does! Jane, a fierce advocate for the common people, not only refuses to join the anti-commoner faction. Oh, no; Jane's character is much loftier than that. Jane sets a powerful example for the reader by selecting a servant or two, and being kind to her servants while they perform menial tasks for her.

Faraway adventure soon pulls James away from executive certification training. Trips are boring, which is why James has the Hat Of Appearing In New Places, or the risible Invisible Sky Ferry Line, to ensure that he isn't bogged down by the transportation requirements of mere civilians. When he needs to find something less dazzling to assist him, a quirky friend is able to provide him with a Box Of Producing Mundane Trinkets (but only on the condition that he completes a side-splitting riddle challenge to earn it).

You wouldn't believe the roguish, sexy, talented men whom Jane attracts with her defiant attitude. Although Jane has always spoken out against blood-determinism, the only man able to win her heart is of the highest, oldest blood. He is a rebel, so that, despite his incredible inborn talents--which were recognized at an early age--his "devil may care" attitude has gotten him in some minor social disrepute among the loftiest of circles. Will Jane overcome her hesitations and allow herself to be swept away by this dashing scoundrel with a secret reason for being so scandalous (he seduces, impregnates, then abandons so many cockney parlor maids as part of a larger scheme to protect his long lost virgin sister from having to work as a cook)?


As they might say, Dickens rolls over in his grave. The triumph of the island aristocrats is to cast responsibility for all their sins upon a few stuffy, easily-identifiable boarding-school bullies. While Dickens' children went hungry, beaten, died in the cold, and labored for the agents of distant estates, the new heroes of British literature are rich neo-liberal reform party members who roll up their sleeves for photo-ops with Indian migrant construction workers before running off to Cambridge for a catered supper with the lads.

Dickens and Thackeray wrote about reality, before being replaced by Austen, Jones, and Rowling, who heralded a return to the pulp dross of Shakespeare, obsessed with chronicling inheritance, nobility, balls, and blood. Human despair and suffering are airbrushed into squabbles over who won at last week's cricket. Under it all, the inborn quality; the ultimate definition and worth of a person and a line: blood.

Bloodborne quality, that ancient curse of the inbred island. Blood, that noxious notion of the imperialistic monotheism that crusaded from Palestine to Rome to London to the unmarked graves of the Chumash and the Yuma.

No comments:

Post a Comment