Potpourri today, folks. I took a hot yoga class during today’s blogging time, and my chakras are too aligned to work up much of a head of steam over anything. Besides, we have some good stuff here, starting with…
Jim Nabors, out of the closet at 82. Well, good for him. It’s not like the whole world hasn’t known this for a while. It reminded me of when I first heard the rumor that Gomer Pyle was a ‘mo, as the nomenclature went among grade-schoolers, which I believe I was. The rumor mill said that Gomer had married Rock Hudson in a weekend ceremony.
How would that rumor have traveled in 1968 or so? It was before the internet. A long-distance call required a parental ruling, and certainly wasn’t so you could discuss Hollywood gossip with a distant cousin. There were showbiz scandal sheets, to be sure, but even then they stuck to language like “confirmed bachelor,” which would have flown over the heads of kids. No, it just arrived one day, entire, at the city pool: Gomer Pyle had married Rock Hudson.
Nearly half a century later, he married someone named Stan Cadwallader, in Seattle. Well, congratulations, gentlemen. Better to live in truth, however late in the game it comes.
And speaking of living in truth, may I just say I am growing quite weary of Downton Abbey? I can tolerate a whole damn lot from a TV show, but these soap-opera personality transplants are getting on my last nerve. In the first season, one reasonable criticism of the show was that Lord Grantham was too nice; a man of his station wouldn’t have had personal conversations with his footmen, any more than he would chat with his bedroom furniture. But it was tolerable, because otherwise? Not much of a show. So you can take that liberty, but you can’t decide, in season three, that the lord of the manner has to be a prick, so that we can set into motion plots 7 through 12. Stories flow from character. When the characters aren’t real? Lousy stories.
Also, either shank Mr. Bates in prison or spring him. This Nancy Drew stuff is the worst.
Two stories with a religious angle, one better than the other. The inferior one: Brooklyn and Saudi Arabia have something in common. Modesty police, only these are Jewish.
In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules as well as Wall Street bankers who show up for work in a Brooks Brothers suit. Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.
The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees. Their power is evident in the fact that of the half dozen women’s clothing stores along Lee Avenue, only one features mannequins, and those are relatively shapeless, fully clothed torsos.
I really don’t like this sort of thing. Really. The other story is far more interesting, and you may have seen it making the rounds: How in 1978, a Soviet scientific party stumbled upon a family living in squalid conditions, deep in Siberia, in full retreat from the world. Why? To protect their faith from Commies and Peter the Great, among other things. A great, fascinating read.
Enough potpourri for one day? It better be, because I’m about out of gas for the night.