Mama Mia

Curious about the lack of older female characters in fiction and literature or indeed in the culture at all. Where are they? Even when they exist, they may not be so flattering. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice features Elizabeth’s mom as being over the top, desperate to get her daughters married into a good situation. Yet who can blame her? Because the alternative for being a poor spinster in England at that time was dismal at best. She has 5 daughters and no sons who will take care of an unmarried sister. The young women have only their looks and charm and intelligence to help, no fortune.

In fairy tales the mother is just part of the parentage or worse, such as Disney’s version of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. There are older women in the Greek tales and plays: Penelope has alot of action and story given to her in the Odyssey, which is quite beautiful to consider how a wife copes when her husband goes off to war for 15 years or so. When is enough enough?

We saw some really good movies come out of the 1960s and the 1970s that featured real women’s stories, not just “who will I marry” or such. Hollywood has had some good gems despite all the bad examples. Norma Rae┬áis about a woman who helps unionize millworkers and has to cope with raising her children on her own.

Madison’s War

Ah how times change. The More they change, the more they stay the same. I am reading up on the War of 1812, that irksome war that we all had to study in school – that gave birth to our national anthem. The not-talked-about stuff is that we were trying to take over Canada. We figured Britain was busy with Napolean and we could just go up and cut Canada off from any reinforcements sent and/or that Britain couldn’t or wouldn’t send many reinforcements and that the Canadians would joyously want to join the various States united in Washington, DC. But the Canadian populations were quite happy being British subjects off in the hinterland colonies. Life was good for them, thank you very much. Also we were expanding into the Northwest – aka Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, etc. We wanted those lands and we didn’t like the British giving or trading guns with the Indians in those places. The British knew that if they made sure the Indians had guns they would help keep the US from slowly encroaching on British territory. The “official” reasons for the war were not even resolved by the war.

To us today we would think any British ship in the Chesapeake Bay is a bit of an affront. But the U.S. of 1811 was much smaller, not as wealthy and more divided in terms of New England – South – newly expanding West (Louisiana Purchase and more).