Doublethinking Lust II: Let’s All Get Mary’d

The reason I picked on Downton Abbey is not because the show is utter trash that no one should ever watch, but because they know the conservative passwords to use to get past the filters. Rather, they know what words not to use, and what visuals to avoid. They don’t cuss, and they don’t show whatever would lie under a bikini.

The plot of Downton Abbey is that the estate is in peril because the father gambled the estate’s funds away in an investment scheme. When he married the mother, his father and her father tied up her inheritance to the estate. That saved Downton Abbey, but now her inheritance will pass to another part of the family, as the heir apparent dies in the first episode. They have only daughters, and daughters are not allowed to inherit the estate. In other words, the plot of this “conservative show” is the errors of patrirachy. This, in a time when it is fashionable to hate patriarchy.

The best chance the family has to keep the mother’s inheritance close to home is to marry Mary (the oldest and prettiest daughter) to the new heir. Mary is not interested in this. She is interested in Pamuk; whom she takes to her bed; which is where he dies. The women of the family conspire to keep this secret, and are successful until a newspaper man discovers her secret and uses the information to blackmail Mary into marrying him. When all hope seems lost to Mary, she confesses her secret tryst with Pamuk to her father; to explain why she is marrying a man the family dislikes. Her father gives the only acceptable response allowed of fathers in the media: A hug.

The show takes pains to point out that if the other circumstances were different and she was an eligible heiress, then Mary could eat Turkish Delights every day and Downton Abbey would be fine! When you doublethink about it: Mary and Pamuk only sinned in response to the other greater sins of the law and fathers.

Let’s do the emotion math: Consider all the players involved, Mary is at most 1/5th responsible. Then there’s Pamuk (Who seduced poor Mary, so he should take half of her half, too. So, 1/10th blame to Mary, 3/10th to Pamuk.) Her father was the one who lost the money (1/5th blame). Her grandfathers locked up her mother’s inheritance (1/5th each). Let’s not forget English law and the pitiless patriarchy that set up this macabre system of law that doesn’t allow women to inherit estates. (Another 1/5th to them.) Wait…that’s 6/5th’s. Let’s consider poor Mary’s situation: Do we really want to assign blame to her? Her part is the smallest already, and doesn’t our reticence to impugn pretty women mean something? Let’s be forgiving (as we are commanded) and strike her 1/5th blame from the record.

When we add all this up we arrive at the inevitable conclusion that Mary is blameless. There’s just a lot of hurt feelings, and poor Mary almost had to do something she didn’t want to for doing something that–though wrong–is not really her fault. You know…when we feel doublethink about it, while we must admit that committing fornication is wrong, we also find Mary did no real wrong.

This doublethink is what passes for good conservative entertainment.

Folks: Don’t lose the point of my posts: That female viewers are the victims, here; that they are under constant barrage. Pointing out that every single song, show, and movie made in the West includes fem-porn isn’t an indictment of women, but of what is going on; that the situation in the Garden has not changed. The serpent is still whispering, “Would it really be wrong?”

I’m not saying Downton Abbey is the worst show ever[1], or that no one should ever watch it. I’m saying watch what you watch. Even the entertainment that is upheld as decent are infested with rebellion and licentiousness. While many things are used in this endeavor of evil, it is fem porn that is ubiquitously used to incite our wives and daughters. I want to encourage fathers that if you see something that you see or suspect is interfering with your family: It is not only your duty, but your joy(!) to turn that crap off. You don’t have to justify anything. It’s just entertainment, and you are the authority.

[1]And I like to like Justified. How is Justified superior to Downton Abbey? Because they don’t justify the sinful choices of the characters. Raylan isn’t better off for his sexual activity; in fact he’s always worse off. The writers of that show are more honest about life than the writers of either Jesse Stone or Downton Abbey. More to the point: I’m not being sold a bill of subversive goods, and no one in my house falls prey to the mindset of Justified the way women do to Downton Abbey.

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14 thoughts on “Doublethinking Lust II: Let’s All Get Mary’d

  1. @Empath

    As long as they put asterisks in the cuss words it should be good to go.

    @Velvet

    After Dalrock linked to me, I started getting some hits from Twitter and Facebook. Then I realized: There are a whole bunch of people who do not know how backwards I am.

  2. I am laughing over how I’m following Cane on Twitter now. Funny.

    Watched three seasons, maybe only two, of Justified with my husband and it just got too violent for me.

  3. As a totally superficial comment, Mary was not the prettiest. Sybil was.

    I am aware she was also the most feminist and “rebellious” one of the lot. I have to admit that there has been a trend of always including a “feminist, spunky” female character. I’d like to see a spunky, feminine, and pro-strong paterfamilias female character for once.

    Not holding my breath for it, though.

  4. @Lace

    Probably not the best choice of words on my part. Mary is the sexiest, not the prettiest.

    All three of the daughters are shown in unabashed revolt that gets washed over by circumstance. While reading about the show for this post, I found Sybil married the commoner against her family’s wishes, and the other sister has taken up with a married man.

    I think your wish is probably fulfilled somewhere. It’s rare, but allowable to portray Bennett sisters in film. The justifiably angry father is not.

  5. Two things, I think.

    1) My husband got rid of cable as of 1 October, and he has been a much happier man ever since. I mostly watched the news, however he just generally hates broadcast TV and the idea that he was spending money to tacitly expose his children to ideas he didn’t approve.

    2) Believe it or not, you may have swayed me a bit about Downton Abbey. I might try to watch it online when the new season comes out, but it will be with a much more critical eye, if I do.

  6. Folks: Don’t lose the point of my posts: That female viewers are the victims, here; that they are under constant barrage. Pointing out that every single song, show, and movie made in the West includes fem-porn isn’t an indictment of women, but of what is going on; that the situation in the Garden has not changed. The serpent is still whispering, “Would it really be wrong?”

    This is a great point, and I think it would be very easy to overlook. You have made the same argument about men and porn.

    I do think there is a line though where the victim becomes all too willing. The subtle things in songs and shows like Downtown Abbey are snares unsuspecting women can fall into. But we also have the very open celebration of divorce by women with movies like Eat Pray Love, etc. I see a distinction there. I suspect there is a similar parallel with men and porn. Fortunately we don’t coddle men and pretend that they are thinking noble thoughts while viewing porn though. Of all of it, the coddling is the most dangerous and cruel.

  7. @Dalrock

    The subtle things in songs and shows like Downtown Abbey are snares unsuspecting women can fall into. But we also have the very open celebration of divorce by women with movies like Eat Pray Love, etc. I see a distinction there.

    I agree with that distinction, and I think publishers recognize it, too. Then I think they do what they can to erode and blur those distinctions.

  8. Think of Downton Abbey as the Brit costume version of Dallas and you won’t go wrong. It’s just a soap opera in a setting that’s the converse of Coronation Street.

  9. I’ll have to disagree with the analysis of Mary. As you later point out she’s not the pretty one. Not all of the sisters rebel (the middle one does not). The youngest I also believe seeks permission for her work as a nurse (though she is a pill about it). And Mary doesn’t prosper but instead gets hammered for her decisions in a way that is a delightful reprieve from the normal. I am basing this only on SI and II. I don’t think its all sweetness and light, but I don’t think it rises to near the same level as say Fireproof.

  10. I think that’s fair. Its hard to be involved in a culture war and like pretty much _anything_ because you are worried the Enemy is sneaking one by you. Which He is. Of course the Boss still wants us to create and tell stories since we seem to be designed to do it. So we are held in a bit of dynamic tension.

    A good example of that is Doc Martin. The sexual morals are all screwed up but the push pull with the man and the woman (she falls in love with him because he fits _somewhere_ on the autism spectrum and is _mostly_ oblivious to her) works very well. And its about a town that cares for each other. The next closest thing to pure happiness and light is the very old now spin-off of Anne of Green Gables about the townfolks and their lives the name of which I forget.

    I mean even the supposedly “redpillish” science-fiction written by associates of Vox is not quite right in the ones I’ve read so far.

  11. Pingback: Things that We have Heard and Known

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