Tuesday, June 20, 2006

why jane austen was such a good judge of human nature...

Nothing illustrates the almost unlimited European capacity for self-praise than this article in the Los Angeles Times (which I found through this Kevin Drum post). Isn't it neat! -- that while ostensibly praising the American capacity for optimism, Europeans lose no opportunity to congratulate themselves on their "darkness" or "realism" or whatever it is they possess. This quote speaks for itself:

But there is something else too, a quality that is quintessentially American, Scolik said. "In American programs, people have problems, serious problems. In 'Grey's Anatomy,' people are dying, it tells you that life will be very, very hard, but at the very end they get a little hope and there is a way to get through," he said. "In German shows, which we also get on Austrian television, it is mostly a hopeless situation, it is too heavy."
And it only goes to show what I've long believed, that Jane Austen is an unmatched observer of human nature:

"Oh!" cried Miss Bingley, "Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest."
"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them--by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents."
"Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, "must disarm reproof."
"Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, "than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."
"And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?"
"The indirect boast; for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which, if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting." [emphasis mine]

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