Subversion of Normalcy

“No matter,” I said, “it provides a starting point. You know nothing else that might be relevant?

“Well,” – she blushed again- “not officially, I mean.  I haven’t told anyone else about it.” Shehestiated.  I adopted an expression, as I hoped, of sympathetic encouragement. ‘You see, a few months ago, I got engaged. To a chap,” she added helpfully, as if supposing me unaware that when a young woman becomes engaged it is customarily to a young man.”

From Sarah Caudwell’s The Sirens Sang of Murder, a delightful little British murder mystery (with regrettable adulterous episodes, which, though not graphic, remain adulterous) which I found in a bookstore here in the Philippines for just 25 Pesos, or 50 cents in American coinage.  It was published in 1989, the year before our fifth child was born.  In 1989 the first internet service companies formed, the Berlin wall fell, G.W. Bush took office as president, the original Ghostbusters was cool, The Babysitters Club series was highly popular, and it was normal to assume an engagement would be between a man and a woman.  Normal.


True evil is the subversion of normalcy.

“Defining Deviancy Down (DDD) was an expression coined by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1993. Moynihan based his phrase on the theory of Emile Durkheim that there is a limit to the bad behavior that a society can tolerate before it has to start lowering its standards. In ’93, the senator applied his slogan to the “moral deregulation” that had eroded families, increased crime, and produced the mentally ill “homeless” population. (source) Senator Moynihan was a democrat, and he served as Senator for over 20 years.”

We’ve been “defining deviance downward” a long time (note the afore mentioned episodes of adultery).  It’s slipped to us via entertainment and social posturing.  Christians who are not interested in a ‘thoughtful’ discussion of why sin is sin and not an alternate lifestyle, or why letting children make such momentous decisions as choosing their own gender is child abuse and degeneracy and predatory, well, they are ‘phobic,’ ‘angry,’ driven by fear and anger, hateful.

If you can speak dispassionately of the deliberate foisting of deviancy on children, then you are part of the problem, you are part of the evil that is a blight on our land, culture, lives, and families.

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  1. Frances
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite bits, from The Shortest Way to Hades:

    “You will be interested to hear, Hilary, that it [hash brownie] had a most remarkable effect — even on Selena after a very modest quantity. She cast off all conventional restraints and devoted herself without shame to the pleasure of the moment.”

    I asked for particulars of this uncharacteristic conduct.

    “She took from her handbag a paperback edition of Pride and Prejudice and sat on the sofa reading it, declining all offers of conversation.”

    So what is your impression of Professor Tamar’s gender?

    • Headmistress
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      My impression of Prof Tamar’s gender is that nondisclosure is a gimmick rather than a political or social statement, and I am not sure the author had a specific gender in mind, I kind of suspect she preferred to keep options open for the purpose of the gimmick. Were I forced to vote, I’d be 50.9 % on the side of a rather waspish, fussy, middle aged or older, gossipy male.

      • Frances
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes, I don’t think she was making any statement, just having fun. I don’t think you could do this with any “gendered” language. There’s a Wimsey story where a French woman disguised as a man gives herself away by using a feminine adjective.

        The heroine of Codename Verity undercover in France inadvertently looked left first when crossing the road. The tiny things engrained!

        Isn’t Caudwell’s elegant prose a pleasure! So is Judith Martin’s (Miss Manners) but her fiction didn’t hold my interest, alas.

        • Headmistress
          Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          I remember the Wimsey story. I do like Caudwell’s writing.

          The Visaya dialect, which I am currently attempting to learn, is mildly gendered at times, a heirtage of Spanish colonialism for the most part as it’s mainly the holdover Spanish words which are gendered. Teacher is maestro or maestra, depending on gender, or just a longer Visaya word which isn’t gendered at all (Magtutudlo I think). The word for sibling is gender neutral, and you can only specific sister or brother by adding the word for boy or girl saying, essentially, female sibling or male sibling, but aunt and uncle are the spanish words with the o/a ending. Grandparents are not Spanish words, but keep the a/o end gender distinction (Lolo, lola). But what I find really interesting in all of that is that there is no gender specific pronoun. It’s the same word for he, she, or even it, and also his, hers, and its. The most common form is s’ya, which sounds a lot like she-yah, said together really fast, so practically one syllable.

          Even adults who have lived in the U.S. for years and speak English fluently will sometimes use ‘she’ no matter who they are referring to. They also often catch themselves, but still, the ‘she’ comes more easily to their lips than the he or it form in English.

  2. LAnon
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    We actually discussed this yesterday. It appears that people have gotten the two great commandments backward (Matt 22:36-39). Instead of first loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind (and by extension keeping his commandments) and then loving our neighbor, many chose to love (accept, condone and even embrace their neighbor’s / selfs ) behavior first for fear of giving offense or even because it just feels good and then if there is room left in our heart decide to give our remaining allegiance to God.

  3. Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hear, hear.

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