Sunday, May 3, 2009

We just can't leave well enough alone

Maryn, this is largely in response to you.
So I recently told you that I didn't think that men need to read/watch Pride and Prejudice. I haven't changed my mind. But after telling you that, I posted the following (which is actually only an excerpt) on my blog:
[Go read the post entitled "Wine Glasses, Summer, Zombies, and Laughter"]
So Donal agreed with me. And then Maryn made this comment on my blog:
"I disagree with the "men shouldn't read and enjoy P&P" comment. Totally."
I disagree with her. Then I asked Amy, Lynne, and Mary their opinions and they all agree with me. Men do not need to read or enjoy Jane Austen. I'm not saying that they CANNOT or SHOULD not do it. I'm just saying that I don't think they need to do so. It is a story about women and for women. I think men can learn more about women by talking to women than by reading Pride and Prejudice. I've read that book multiple times and I know guys who have read it. They generally do not enjoy it. And that's okay. I don't like watching Rocky. Why should you like Pride and Prejudice?
And this is mostly getting posted on my had no clue what you were starting when you posted that quotation on your facebook..."
So this is where I (and my intelligent and lovely colleagues Amy, Lynne, and Mary) stand on this issue:
Men do not need to read P&P. They can if they so desire. But they do not need to do so. I should not have used the word "should" in my previous post. I just don't feel that it's really a guy thing. Ben doesn't ask me to watch Rocky with him and my brother doesn't ask me to watch Family Guy with him. (I actually don't know if Ben likes Rocky but for the sake of argument, we'll say he does.) But while they don't ask me to watch Rocky or Family Guy with them, I don't ask them to watch P&P with me.
However, we will watch Gladiator and The Philadelphia Story together. And we can watch the Red Wings together.
But some things belong more to women and others belong more to men.
I'll let you know if Ben has a response.


D.Cous. said...

I actually don't regret having read P&P, although given the amount of flak that I've taken (and continue to take) for saying that I didn't like it, maybe I should have read it and kept quiet.

The fact that so many women adore this single book, which has essentially the same plot as every Meg Ryan movie and a cast of stock characters, is fascinating to me. It's the reason I read the book. It didn't turn out to be a Rosetta Stone to me, allowing me to translate Feminese into English, but I didn't really expect it to. I still consider the book to be something of a window into the feminine psyche, even if the glass is somewhat opaque.

Rina the Cat said...

If men really want to learn about women, they can read "What wives wish their husbands knew about women" by Dr. Dobson.

DaWheeze said...

Well, mostly I was disagreeing with the "should" part of the whole men and P&P. I do think that P&P is worth more than its weight in gold for its social commentary and for what it and other Austen novels did for the development of the novel as a genre. We can discuss that sometime in person if you want.

Donal, you do have a point in the whole Meg Ryan movie thing. However, give P&P credit in being the origin at least. For example, the fact that there are a million crappy fan fiction knock-offs of Star Wars does not detract from the original. You're free to dislike P&P, I just ask that you give it some credit for being an exemplary novel of its kind and one of the first.