Wednesday, 16 April 2008

This is none of my business, but

it does rankle the hell out of me. And it is an excellent example of how a certain type debases, for what ever reason, what was once regarded as a learned perspective.

Magnaverde's Chicago Living Room 2002

Two anonymous comments were left on Decorno's post Status Anxiety: outsized social ambitions in response to magnaverde's comment:
Here's Charles Dickens bemused take on the whole process in Our Mutual Friend:
And now, in the blooming summer days, behold Mr and Mrs Boffin established in the eminently aristocratic family mansion, and behold all manner of crawling, creeping, fluttering, and buzzing creatures, attracted by the gold dust of the Golden Dustman!

That's the nice part about not having any status worth mentioning: you also have no obsequious hangers-on. And if you also have no particular interest in climbing the status ladder in the first place (and here's Andrew Marvel's "me lusteth no longer rotten boughs to climb" comes to mind) it's pretty easy to be happy with where you are in the status food chain. And to me, that's the secret of contentment: setting your standards really low.

Anon April 16, 2008 9:54 AM
Status anxiety is part of competition, and competition is an inescapable fact of life.

Whether you're competing over the number of things you know about someone named Mrs. Fish or how many Famous Writers you can quote (Dickens, Marvel, etc.), it's all competition.

ESPECIALLY claiming you're above it.

AnonApril 16, 2008 11:09 AM
Anonymous 9:54, THATS the way to smack the clawing knuckles of classics quoting social climbers. You go, girl!! Money isn't the only thing we need to defend against intruders.

Ah, the joys of visual aids. Though, quite frankly, I think the two Anons would benefit greatly from a different kind of aid...

Shiny Happy People


Pigtown-Design said...

I read through some of the comments on Decorno... she likes to be controversial. Someone's pretension is another's real life.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

fairfax - Ooh, I like that. Someone's pretension is another's real life.

Decorno said...

Do I? I don't think I made any particularly controversial comment. I do like to ask questions that will get people talking. One of the reasons I enjoy blogging is the kind of conversation and exchange of ideas we can all have. I don't always agree with what people say, but enjoy the exchange nonetheless.

And, well, since it's a topic here, other people must be enjoying the exchange, as well.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Decorno - I loved your Status Anxiety Week posts, they were both interesting and entertaining.

What rankles me, as I have pointed out, is the snideness of some of the anon comments. They aren't an exchange of ideas they are just cheap shots. And are always aimed at either those who are sharing the wealth of their knowledge or those with a different cultural view (i.e., Suzy).
At the best it seems just petty, at the worst it seems bigoted and classist.

Decorno said...

I am glad you liked the posts this week. I thought the comments were great to read (because I am so damned nosey and want to know what people make...)

I hear you, for sure, about the comments. I try not to police comments, as a rule. Most people tend to be quite good at fending for themselves.

However, I have had particularly nasty comments on the blog before that I've chosen to delete. They didn't seem to add value and I wasn't sure the person being attacked was even reading and, therefore, able to bite back. Nevertheless, I do think some people see you as snide (eg., the post about leaving the woman locked up on the bathroom, or writing about cheap customers). I find those posts endlessly amusing because I think blogs can be a handy (and anonymous) expression of our id or our complaints or peeves, etc., and you are well within you right to post about cheap customers and rude people. But I have occasionally seen in comments left in some of my posts referencing that particular element of your blog. I don't agree with them, but I also think they may react to whatever they choose. As I said, I don't police much on my blog because I think you're a fighter and more than capable of snapping back at people who are being snide.

So, this is an honest response, and a sincere one. I enjoy your blog, and am glad you read mine. I just tune out the people being overly caustic. It's not worth the trouble getting in the middle of their dustup. There are so many other good readers/commenters who will also back people up. Things have a way of settling themselves out.

magnaverde said...

I was just alerted to this site by one of my peers. That is, another snooty know-it-all. Of course, that's why I love her. She has standards. And I would much rather spend time with someone who knows more than I do--which she does--than limit my circle to those who think I'm already brilliant & wonderful, not, of course, that there are many of those in the first place. We all have our crosses to bear.

At any rate, if some people think I'm pedantic (which I can be) and show-offy (which I'm absolutely not) around here, where I'm only a guest, they'd hate to be around me in real life. In my family, everybody talks non-stop & when they're not talking, they're reading, and if you read that much, and you don't let the knowledge out once in a while, you can explode, like that guy who who did three beer bongs in a row. I saw the news report on the Internet. No thanks to that. Anyway, I can't help it: I come by the talking thing naturally and, just as naturally, I chose a career where I get paid to talk. Or write. At length. My name is Magnaverde, and I'm a historian.

Anyway, love your site. One year, back when when I was in college, I goofed off all summer long and then discovered, the third week in August, that a sudden spike in enrollment--this was during the Vietnam war--meant that I didn't have a room for the school year. I had no choice but to look in the local paper for a sleeping room in a private home, which was hardly what I had in mind.

In the end, however, I was rewarded for my indolence and procrastination, because my $20-a-week room (with refrigerator access) turned out to be a giant bedroom in a giant Victorian house occupied by a giant Victorian woman. At least, she was tall, much taller than I was, or am. And since she was in her mid 90s--she told me--she certainly qualified as Victorian to me.

Miss porter lived alone in dusty splendor, and my incredible room had been her father's bedroom, and it was still full of the massive gilt-bronze-mounted Empire-style furniture he had bought brand new in the 189Os. And up above the plum-pudding mahogany, the walls were filled with the the preserved remains of the souvenirs of his many hunting expeditions. And I don't mean deer & bear.

There were curly horned gazelles or wildebeests or ilex--even now, I'm not sure what all these are, and I sure as hell didn't know then, but you get the idea--in various states of genteel decay, but right above the bed was a gigantic water buffalo, and on the floor was a moth-eaten tiger rug, head & all. It was the only one I've ever seen.

I'm just sorry to admit that as soon as students started failing class & quitting school before they flunked out completely, rooms closer to campus started opening up & one sunny fall day I packed up my clothes & books & headed across town. It was less than a year later that I went by the house & saw brightly-colored sheets draped over the windows, instead of the ancient wooden Venetian blinds it had had when I moved in. Old Miss Porter had died.

Now, of course, I realize that, if the poor woman had been reduced to renting out her father's old bedroom for $20 a week, I probably could have bought contents of the whole room, rug & all, for a thousand bucks, and promised her that I would treasure it all & take just as much care of it as she had--probably better care--but I was young & stupid, and it never occurred to me to even suggest it. What a fool I was. Now, not a month goes by that I don't think about that poor old lady, and wonder what happened to that furniture--and that rug.

Anyway, House of Beauty and Culture, if I ever get to London, I'll be sure to stop to see you. Your shop sound like my kind of place. M.

katiedid said...

Haha! I think you are my hero. You always have the guts to call it like you see it, and use your own name while doing it.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Anonymous said...

I've given up reading HOBAC. The prose is too fatty.

April 19, 2008 7:14 AM

HOBAC says...

Well, if your ass IS big enough to accommodate your own head, so you should.

Cote de Texas said...

Hi - I love this! Magnaverde's living room is
beautiful - is that from her blog? I"m going to check
it out right now. A tiger skin rug! Oh, to own all the
things we have passed by in life.....
my poor husband and I see our biggest "why didn't we?"
everyday. We live on a postage stamp of a lot 50x100
in a neighborhood where all the old homes are torn
down for new ones - and if you have any extra change
and the old house next door frees up = you buy it and
build a swimming pool or extend your house or at least
design a garden. Our neighbor gave away her house
about 8 years ago for 90k, which was a fortune to us
then. Now, there's a behometh of a house shadowing
over us where we could have had a swimming pool. And
lots now go for 300k here instead of a measly 90k. My
father said to me the other day - why didn't you tell
me, I would have GIVEN you the money for that lot!
Gee, thanks for telling us now.
sorry for THAT boring story.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Magnaverde - you would be more than welcome.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Katiedid - teehee.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Decorno - please do not think for one moment that this was in anyway directed at you, what you do, or how you do it. It wasn't. It was solely directed at the two Anons, whose comments I cited. In part, because I see it as an attitude where anything, regardless of content, of a certain tone is fair game for derision. And, also in part, because I suspect that commenters such as Magnaverde and Suzy (who very sweetly felt the need to justify her comment) will choose the high road (unlike yours truly) and not retaliate.

Those who perceive me to be snide could not be more wrong. Honey, I'm just plain old fashioned mean. It saves so much time. If I wanted to be snide I would be posting little anon comments all over the shop. Though, as much fun as that would be, I would much rather stand by my opinions. Which are not as anon as one would like to think. For example, the doctor's wife?

I hope this has helped to settle things out?

Suzy said...

I love your commentary...and thanks for standing up for me. While I've since realised my "$50 in China" comment was probably grossly misunderstood by most...I'm glad others took it for what it was. I've really enjoyed Decorno's postings this week.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Suzy - I agreed with what you said and knew it would make "them" defensive. I really must find a name for "them". It was very interesting.

Suzy said...

Yes, I think that has been the greatest suprise to me, that everyone has managed to get SO defensive, when in fact it wasn't a personal attack - I outright admitted I was in the same position as the rest of "them"...