What I love best is how eloquently the characters verbally respond when faced with social faux pas, insult, or scandal. They respond in a way that would lead the author of the insult to believe that they are in fact thanking them for the insult, and have even been wishing for it for quite some time indeed. For instance (spoiler alert!), take the Season II finale. There is a scene in which Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen) insults his hosts, the Crawleys, by proclaiming (in the manner of the times) that he is too cool to play an after-dinner round of charades. "Do you enjoy these games, in which the player appears ridiculous?" he asks of the Dowager Countess (the awesome Maggie Smith), the matriarch of the family. She replies, "Sir Richard, life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous!"
That's right Sir Richard....now get back in your box.
Sublime phraseology like this is such a contrast to the often cynical ridiculousness of modern living. I'm sure that the escapism of it has everything to do with the success of Downton Abby. It tickles me to no end. You can find more examples of this from days gone by (when insults had class) here. If you're like me, you will be secretly hoping for the day that you might actually get to put one of them to use.
This contrast of the sublime and the ridiculous has been appearing on my sartorial radar lately as well. I am almost reluctant to sully the aforementioned references to Downton Abbey with this next montage, but for the good of us all, I'm afraid I must.
They are actually trying to bring back the bare midriff trend. I find myself stricken with the vapours.
|From Left: A wedding dress (!?!?) by Allure, Kristen Stewart on the cover of Elle UK, and Gwyneth Paltrow at the Emmys.|
I mean really.....I feel I truly must protest to this nonsense. I'm sure many of you, like me, remember the first incarnation of this atrocity in the 90's.
|Heather Locklear on Melrose Place in her crop top.|
Ugh, not again!
Now let me set the record straight. I am not some prude, a revisionist historicist pining for the "good old days" of Victorian ideals. Nor am I a hyper-religious born-again, a lover of the rules (both the book and the actuality), or someone who believes in malarkey such as not wearing white after labor day. If you want your belly to stick out at a nightclub, a beach picnic, a rock concert, the mall...you go right ahead. I have no quarrel with you. But the dresses pictured here are event dresses. It is as if someone in a position of fashion power is threatening to kick it up a notch, and in the worst possible way. It makes me wonder what we have done to deserve this.
My position is this. If you are going to an event that requires a dress or gown, you will undoubtedly be faced with the need to carry on polite conversation with people you have never met. Such is the way with these things. You will have to network a bit, like it or not. Can you imagine trying to discuss your position on the impending collapse of the Euro, or worse yet, the state of affairs surrounding women's rights in Afghanistan, while your bellybutton is poking-out? Girl, please. By the end of the night, I daresay you would be wishing that people were just staring at your boobs, instead of mistaking you for just another
Take this, for example.
|Topshop sun dress 38 GBP|
To have the opportunity to be invited to an important event or gala = sublime
To show your midriff at said gala or event = ridiculous
And now I fear that all this talk of indecency has grown tiresome. In fact, I find myself quite overcome.
Do excuse me, I'm afraid I shall have to remove myself to my rooms to lie down. Will someone please summon my maid?