Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Prejudice

While noodling around an online bookstore the other day, I made a rather unsettling discovery. It concerned Mr Darcy, the romantic foil in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'.


When she first wrote the character, Jane Austen could not have anticipated that he would eventually become a cipher for the romantic longings of a billion women across the planet. I suppose he is an archetype of the man with great potential who needs only the attentions of a perceptive woman to realise them. Mr Darcy was, after all, a boorish snob until Elizabeth Bennet cracked his hard shell. Once he saw the error of his ways he became the ideal man. It makes him a beacon of hope for every woman who looked at her lazy, flabby, inattentive boyfriend and thought, 'I can make him change!"


When characters become icons, it's inevitable that they will attract parasites. As such there is any number of knuckleheaded modern "sequels" to Jane Austen's masterpiece. Some are straight sequels, approaching the continuation of his life much as Austen herself would have. Many, however, use Mr Darcy as a springboard to explore issues and topics that only besot the modern woman. Obviously there is a market out there for novels about Mr Darcy + That Thing That's Really Popular With the Ladies Right Now. You'd already know about Mr Darcy + body image issues, otherwise known as 'Bridget Jones' Diary'. And perhaps you've heard of Mr Darcy + cake, in the form of 'Tea With The Bennets of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - An Anthology Of Recipes'? But did you know about Mr Darcy + 'Twilight' , also known as 'Mr Darcy, Vampyre' and 'Vampire Darcy's Desire'?


Of course you didn't. You are a sensible person. But as you can see these things do exist, and they are proliferating. No doubt somewhere out there someone is writing a novel about Mr Darcy meeting Andre Rieu.


I'd like to get in on this cash cow myself, and pen a few of my own "Mr Darcy meets the things the average Oprah audience member identifies with and dreams about" novels. Here are some of my plot scenarios:


- Mr Darcy flees the strict social conventions and stifling repression of Georgian England to find love with a woman he met while going through the half price sale bin at Bed Bath & Beyond.

- Mr Darcy falls in love with a lonely housewife after he buys some of her adorable handmade frog-shaped oven mitts off etsy.com

- Mr Darcy begins a new career as a chocolatier, with a magic receipe that makes chocolate calorie-free and able to erase cellulite and stretch marks.

- Mr Darcy reads 'The Secret', at the same time that plus-sized Minnesota singleton Lori-Jean Splatt reads it, and they achieve a magical connection across the centuries as they both visualise each other as their perfect match.

- Mr Darcy opens a shelter for homeless kitties. But their antics with balls of string cannot fill the hole in his heart, a hole that can only be filled by a codependent cat haven volunteer named Karen Kovlowski.

- Mr Darcy opens a darling little cupcake shop, which somehow does a roaring trade despite the fact that he spends all his time wooing the local passive-aggressive dental receptionist.

- Mr Darcy discovers that his great uncle, Antonio da Vinci, created a fiendish code that explains how the Catholic church controls the world, with the help of the Freemasons and possibly some Rotarians. It's up to Mr Darcy and his bookish but beautiful assistant Britney-Ann to thwart their plot to destroy the world's supply of cheesecakes.

- Mr Darcy hangs out around some designer shoes and watches a Martha Stewart marathon with the cast of 'High School Musical'. And then he does some scrapbooking. With a unicorn.

4 Comments:

Blogger Nerd Goddess said...

*snort*

Very nice. I still don't understand why women have this desire to change their husbands. If you didn't like him when you got married why on earth do you think after you're stuck together that he would? Like him as he is, ladies.

I read your blog regularly but rarely comment. Hullo. My sister is Lizardbreath on Random Meanderings, which is how I found you in the first place.

2:20 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

I think that women believe they can change their husbands because, as Jerry Seinfeld once noted, most men have poor sales resistance. This explains how we can amble into a hardware store looking for a screwdriver and come out with a belt sander, a barbecue and a 2000 litre water tank. Some women obviously pick up on that.

Thank you for reading and occasionally commenting. I don't knew how your sister knows about this blog, but I've come to accept such things as one of the many Mysteries of the Internet.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous fishgosquish_gill said...

Mr Darcy has never really done it for me... probably because no matter which Mr Darcy you are referring to (pre or post Lizzie Bennett), he is a gentleman. If there was a Mr Darcy becomes a chauvinist, then I'd be more interested. Or maybe Mr Darcy, the working class man... suddenly Jane Austen has become much more appealing.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Omnibus Driver said...

Haaaaaaaahahaha! Laughing my butt off in Chicago...

10:17 AM  

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