for April 20, 2005
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for today's rant...
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Dialogue And Denial
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman
Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love is a near-lifelong soap opera fan. Many characters and storylines have come and gone, but some stick in the minds of even people who don't watch the soaps. Plainly, the soaps have power and glamour and that indefinable something that make them part of American mainstream cultural landscape; for instance, you are certainly a rube if you don't know who Luke and Laura are whether or not you've ever sat through General Hospital. One thing has always bothered Your Delight about even the best episodes: the writers may be rocket scientists for all anyone knows, but from the dialogue it seems certain the writers have never met any men - even the male writers.
Your Beloved has met a few men, and she's talked to a few others. In fact, she's done a fairly thorough survey of things men do with their mouths and uttering the words "Follow your heart" was not one of them. Let's look at some really problematic word combinations, shall we?
Soap operas are really daytime drinking games, sources of comedy and a way we can all visit with Susan Lucci five days a week. Their plots are full of holes. Their logic is not of this world. Their illnesses and treatments have little in common with real illnesses and treatments. The female characters take the worst traits women can have and bend them into lovely pretzels having little to do with human nature but a great deal to do with product placement. The male characters in emotional composition resemble women in upscale flat shoes; ciphers, if you will. They are worshipped and loathed. They're not really like women, but they're nothing like men. Does anyone know: is that really what women think they want?
- "You'd better realize I'll do anything to protect my family." You're a particularly vicious patriarch in a middle American suit talking to an overdressed refugee from the Ladies' Auxilliary to whom you were married at least twice but possibly three times due to an evil twin/amnesia/underground city debacle nobody remembers (except for the missing love child) and you're going to buy the hospital her husband has single-handedly managed since the early seventies. Because your son needs an MRI. No wonder hospitals are in trouble. They only have one doctor and he's about to get canned!
- "I swore on our love that my father killed that man, and I did it for you." Men swear. Men swear on Bibles. Men swear to high heaven, but men do not swear on "Our Love".
- "...this baby..." On soap operas, long before babies receive names they receive definite articles. Actually, babies all receive the same definite article, which they share until they're born during a sweeps month in the midst of some sort of storm/crash/cave in. Then suddenly, they disappear and return as teenagers - from boarding school or that cave. We assume. When referring to babies not as yet asking for car keys, men in real life are less specific. They will often use words like, "Who's the bald kid?" and, "When can it mow?"
- Soap operas are based on the assumption that rich people have all the time in the world to rush from earth-shattering conversation to verbal pissing contest to tender tongue-lashing and back. Men...go to work. Most of them are not Australian billionaires buying you hotels to annoy your mobster brother, and though he visits that hotel only when he needs staff for a candlelight dinner for you in a previously unseen part of a public park, that hotel runs like clockwork, as evidenced by the peculiar light-jazz trio. And if most men were Australian billionaires - well, perhaps they'd know that blondes following them meant something was up.
- "I've got to do it my way." No, that's what police are for. Men do not run from room to room discussing their emotions, unless it's about a sandwich. If you are watching soap operas and hope to find a man who wants to gaze deeply into your eyes and talk about nothing more than his endless love for you for four, possibly five scenes per episode, wake up. Real men are more fun than this. Sometimes they make you a sandwich - which gives you sandwiches in common, at least.
©2005 Robin Pastorio-Newman
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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