Sunday, May 16, 2010

Addicted To Scandal

by Caren Crane

While at the beach celebrating my birthday this week, I picked up a book one of my sisters had brought along. It was The Bolter by Frances Osborne. Osborne is the great-granddaughter of one of Edwardian England's most scandalous socialites, Idina Sackville. Idina was from a very rich family (the daughter of the 8th Earl De La Warr) and she married into a very old and titled family when she wed the handsome (David) Euan Wallace. The young couple were off to a fun-filled, monied and happy life.

Then came World War I.

The War To End All Wars had many unintended consequences, such as decimating most of the titled families of England, wiping out most of a generation of young men and providing an excellent excuse for a group of entitled, wealthy and terribly bored young people to ruin their lives. Idina - beautiful, impeccably dressed, charming and the toast of London - did just that. Here she made the cover of The Tatler with her soon-to-be third husband, the 22-year old future Earl of Erroll. In reading about her many exploits, shenanigans, marriages and divorces, the question running through my mind was: why would she do that?!

It seemed to boil down to Idina's addiction to scandal. Once she had made her untidy bed, she chose not just to lie in it, but to wallow in it and invite others to take pictures of it, write newspaper articles about it and even to turn it into novels. When Euan broke her heart, Idina dug a hole she could not escape. So she turned around and dug even harder. That seems a foreign notion...until you consider other Scandal Addicts. Like who, you ask?

Consider the case of young Lindsay Lohan. Poor Lindsay was (like Idina) once a fair-haired darling of the entertainment world. Talented, beautiful and poised to take over the world, Lindsay broke down under a burden of "too much". Too many late nights, too many parties, too many public dramas about too many men. Once she fell, she kept finding ways to make things harder for herself. Will she dig herself out and over come her addiction to scandal? Time will tell.

There is also poor Amy Winehouse. Amy has been arrested for several things at this point, but she has been noted in past news articles for sticky wickets such as drug abuse, stints in rehab, attempts (along with her now ex-husand) to pervert justice, assault on various random people (fans, photographers, etc.) and crimes against hair, teeth and tattoos. She is an incredibly talented singer, musician and songwriter who should have a long, successful and award-winning career. Will she? The Magic 8 Ball cannot say, for the Force of Scandal Addiction is strong in this one.

I do not count provocateurs such as Madonna or Marilyn Manson as true Scandal Addicts. They certainly display scandalous behavior, but it is calculated to gain them publicity of a very certain type. I am far more interested in those who seem to want nothing more than to rewind life back to that moment before everything went wrong, but cannot find a way to do it. The struggle to win back respect, admiration and love seems to haunt the beautiful and incomplete like Idina, Lindsay and Amy.

Can you think of a true Scandal Addict? There have been many novels written about "scandals" in recent years, including Bandita books Something Scandalous and Scandal's Daughter. Are we, as a society, addicted to scandal? What draws us in and makes us long to gobble up other people's journeys on the dark side? And...have you heard any good scandals lately? *g* Inquiring Banditas want to know!


Christine Wells said...

Happy Birthday, PoshT!!!

Christine Wells said...

Ooh, I got the rooster! He can come and clean house for me. We're all a shambles at the moment!

Fabulous post, Caren and I must say I love reading about the scandalous women of yesteryear, because so often they were kicking over the traces of a stuffy society that maligned them unfairly (although your Bolter seems a different kettle of fish). Not terribly interested in talentless starlets, though. I've always been a mind your own business sort of gal. In fact, if there's some scuttlebut about an entertainer whose work I like, I simply do not want to know about the personal stuff. But I'm in the minority, it seems! Think it might be a case of schadenfreude for a lot of people.

Thanks for the mention of SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER, btw! That was about the daugher of a bolter-type, and she was as much the product of her mother's scandalous past as she was a victim of it.

I feel very sorry for the children of these messed up people. You have to hope they will take their parents' lives as grim warnings!

limecello said...

Hm... very interesting post, Caren. As for scandals... I don't really follow them. :X Am never up on the Hollywood gossip, etc.
Soo... but... a person... ermmm... I've got nothing :X I guess for a while Britney Spears? But she's pretty much back on top again.

Congratulations on the GR, Christine! Hopefully he does help you clean, instead of making the place worse!

limecello said...

Oh yes - and happy belated, Caren! Sounds like you had a nice birthday :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT post, Posh!

Wow, Idina was quite a beauty. I've never heard of her before, but what an interesting life.

I've always thought Elizabeth Taylor was one of those people who was constantly surrounded by scandal. I've always thought her strikingly beautiful and extremely talented, but geez oh man, talk about her own worst enemy in her personal life!


Tawny said...

Happy Birthday, PoshT :-D I hope you had a wonderful weekend!!!

Great list of scandals *g* the one that comes to mind is Britney Spears, who lived a life of such episodic scandal that you had to wonder how long she'd last. I was so heartened to see her climb out of that mess she'd created and that she seems to be past it now. For her, for her boys.

Helen said...

Well done Christine make him work he needs it I think

Happy Birthday I hope it was filled with lots of fun.

That was a great blog I think the Ladies of that era were probably more scandalous than today because things are a lot more easy going in this day and age. I don't keep up with the gossip that is going on around me I am too busy with the family and reading, it is going to be interesting reading about the scandalous Ladies.

Have Fun
Who is still tired after an amazing awards night last night and maybe a couple more glasses of champagne than I normally have LOL.

Kim in Hawaii said...

I think it's a scandal that the Aussies have taken the Golden Rooster hostage.

I am currently reading Bandita Christie's Something Scandalous ... I enjoy reading Regency Romances where Americans upset the ton's sensibilities!

Gannon Carr said...

Happy Birthday, Caren!

I must admit that Britney Spears did seem to be a hot mess when it came to scandal--too much money, fame, etc. at such a young age--but she seems to be getting her act together.

Christine, when the GR is finished tidying up your house, send him my way. I could use some help! LOL

MsHellion said...

I love scandal. *LOL* Some scandal I like more than others.

Britney Spears seems to do a Lindsey Lohan quite a bit.

And I think Princess Di would have fit this model as well--but while she was being a bit of a train wreck, she looked great doing it. But you still felt very sorry for her.

Fun blog. Love the history!!

gamistress66 said...

your post made me think of Elizabeth Taylor right away as well. Have to wonder about some of today's scandal muggers -- are they using it or "addicted" as you indicate in your post or just afraid to face being a normal "just another person"? Seems that there are plenty of those types out there desperately filling the scandal sheets/shows. (what happened to Andy Warhol's famous 15 minutes of fame only lasting 15 minutes?)

Caren Crane said...

Christine, congrats on the GR! Not sure how well he cleans house, though. You may need to hire that out!

Thanks, too, for the birthday wishes. It was a memorable one!

jo robertson said...

Great and provocative post, Posh!

And how cool that you get a double birthday wish from our Banditas and Friends in Oz!

Ooooh, scandal! So interesting and alluring. Generally, I stay away from the messy lives of celebrities, having too much mess in my own life LOL.

But it's hard to avoid. Every time I open my laptop, another tidbit about someone's private life is plastered across my monitor. I tell myself not to look, but like chocolate and ice cream and Pepsis (had to get that in there), the allure is too great!

Like Christine I think the scandals of people long dead are very intriguing because we get to know the outcome -- was the lesson of life learned? But current scandals, like Tiger Woods, are just so sad.

jo robertson said...

Christine said, "if there's some scuttlebut about an entertainer whose work I like, I simply do not want to know about the personal stuff"

So true, Christine! Dr. Big was telling me that one of the women who'd had an affair with Tiger Woods also admitted to being involved with David Boreanaz. I stuck my fingers in my ears and did the "la, la, la" thing. No, not my Angel!

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Caren! And thanks for mentioning Something Scandalous. Last month was release month so I did quite a few guest blogs and several of them were on just this topic.

I do think we are addicted to scandal. We want to know that those celebrities are real people and how better than to see them in trouble. When you write about society in historical romances, you really are writing about the celebrities of their day.

As far as scandal addicts, Brittany comes to mind but so does Michael Jackson. He used to say there is no such thing as bad publicity because it keeps your name in front of people. I wonder if that's really true.

Caren Crane said...

Christine, poor Idina sort of got a double dose. Like your heroine, Gemma, poor Idina was the daughter of a notorious woman. Her mother divorced her father on the basis of desertion. He had taken up with a dancer or something and left the family home forever. Not at all unusual for him to be carrying on, of course, but he was indiscreet, which was inexcusable.

Of course, divorcing him meant Idina's mother was socially ostracized. Idina and her siblings were very young at the time and they were shunned by society. It was all rather sad. Idina tried hard to make a life that (at least outwardly) conformed to society's expectations.

Her husband, though, was as much an adventure-seeker and extravert as she was, and he turned out to be too much like her father. When Euan cheated on her, everyone knew about it. When she had some lung ailment that took months to cure (probably bronchitis that turned into pneumonia) and he was home during WWI, he just left her at home and carried on partying. So sad!

jo robertson said...


Okay, Miss 165 IQ Christine! I had to look this word up. I'm blaming not knowing on my old age forgetfulness. And I know German too! How sad.

Caren Crane said...

Lime, isn't it interesting how some people (like Britney) are able to shake it off and bounce back and others are not? Not sure Britney is actually back, though. Time will tell!

I feel a bit sorry for those who grow up in the spotlight, like Britney, Lindsay and all those other Disney kids. How could life ever be normal? Some pull through, though, and others don't. I think a lot must depend on their families.

Caren Crane said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Lime. It was a relaxing few days and much reading was done! *g*

Caren Crane said...

AC, Elizabeth Taylor is a great example! Of course, she has managed to sail above it, somehow, but she definitely has some demons. More ex-husbands than Idina (who only married five times).

No one could figure out why Idina kept marrying. She had, apparently, countless lovers. Why marry those four after Euan? I've always felt that way about Liz Taylor, too. Why marry them?

I can only suppose each of them must have believed they could find someone to love them who would not leave them. So sad!

Caren Crane said...

Tawney, I was tempted to plop Britney in the post. However, I have read quite a bit about her start in show business and I was on the fence about how horrible her family was.

Since the whole scandal with her younger sister Jamie, when it seemed obvious her mother was letting the 16-year-old have her boyfriend stay with them overnight, I have decided their mother is crazy. I've read the brouhaha about their father trying to seize Britney's accounts, but can't decide if he's crazy or the only sane one in the bunch.

Those girls could have had better parenting, certainly, but they could have had a cougar like Lindsay Lohan's mom trying to party with them. That's just icky!

So, jury is out on the whole Spears clan for me. Not sure yet if Brit will climb back on top to stay, but I hope she at least gets some therapy!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, that is so true about how in-your-face all the goss is now. I only hear about things if they are major enough to be in the newspaper, in Entertainment Weekly or, Heaven forbid, on NPR. *g*

At the beach, however, I was confronted with a pile of gossip mags. Naturally, I read them all. I realized I had NO IDEA who some of those "celebrities" were, which leads me to think they must be on: a) soap operas (which I haven't seen since colllege); or, b) on reality shows (which I don't watch). I have no interest in those minor leaguers at all. *g*

Oh, and you MUST post all about the awards!!!!

Caren Crane said...

Kim, I think the Aussies believe they can train him to do actual work. Har dee har! If P226 can't whip him into shape, I don't think threatening him with a vacuum cleaner will do it. *g*

I agree with you about those barely-civilized Americans upsetting genteel society in London. Such fun! Of course, it was 100 years later, but it was fun to read about Idina and her friend Oggie (Olga Lyn, a singer) tutoring a young Talullah Bankhead on how to diet off her "puppy fat" and how to be outrageous. It obviously worked! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Gannon, thanks for the bday shout on Facebook. I will try to log in there today...really!

Britney. I can't say she has shed her demons. She actually wanted to be famous from a very young age. Of course, she wasn't ready for it and didn't know how to handle it, but I felt less sorry for her than for those kids whose parents really pushed them into the spotlight.

She also married too young (and not very well) and had children long before she was ready. Those girls obviously were not introduced to birth control of any sort!

I feel terribly sorry for her little boys. Christine mentioned early on what a toll all this takes on the kids. Idina "bolted" when her sons were very young (3 and 4, maybe?). They never knew her at all, because one of the conditions her husband put on the divorce was that she would never have contact with them again.

He thought, rightly so, that most women would sacrifice their happiness for their children. He lost that bet with Idina, though she never got over it (or Euan, either).

Caren Crane said...

Ooh, Ms. Hellion, I hadn't thought of Princess Di. Yes, she did get a bit wild and crazy, didn't she? Then again, she was quite young and sheltered when she and Prince Charles were engaged. Unconvinced that was a love match on either side, especially given his ongoing relationship with Camilla!

Yes, she was always lovely to watch. Like Di, Idina kept herself impeccably groomed, even when she lived on a working farm in Kenya. She was not a great beauty, but she was charming and vivacious and drew men to her like flies. Di was very beautiful, but always seemed so fragile to me!

Caren Crane said...

Gamistress, I think many of the "scandals" you read about now are either tempests in a teacup (Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps smoking pot - scandalous? I think not.) or they are someone grabbing for their 15 minutes. Andy Warhol was dead right about that one.

Case in point: Tia Tequila. Now, I don't watch reality TV much (if ever) so I have no idea what show this little nympho was on. I do know, however, that she has popped herself in front of as many photographers as she could find and has tried really hard to insert herself into "celebrity" news. Will anyone know who she is in a couple of years? Probably not. Most people don't know who she is NOW (like me)!

Yes, lots of people grabbing for a tiny piece of fame at whatever the cost. Extra sad with a side dish of gross!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, you are right about the unavoidability. I try to be high-minded and not read the gossip mags at the checkout lane in the grocery store. I am only saved if the line is short! I don't actually pick them up, but I read all the headlines and let my writer's imagination soar. Ack! It is a terrible phenomenon that I love to watch those train wrecks in progress.

I suppose, though, given that The Tatler was begun in 1709 as a journal of society gossip, there has obviously been an appetite for this sort of "news" for a long, long time!

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Christine! Yes, good luck on getting American Idle to do ANYTHING around the house!

Happy (belated) Birthday, Caren!!

I think the appetite for scandal comes from the same place as the inability to look away from an accident as we drive by.

And with celebrities I often wonder if on some level we see them has having these rich, perfect, glamorous lives and when those lives turn ugly some part of human nature gleefully says "Told you (insert name here) wasn't so perfect!"

I tend to agree with Madame Christine. I am not interested in the antics of talentless starlets whose only claim to fame is the scandal they manage to keep going on around them. And the truly sad thing is that many people equate their talent (Or lack thereof) with the self-destructive, scandalous behavior in which they engage. The more trash written about them the more talented they are? I THINK NOT!

And I do feel sorry for the children of these people who have no thought as to the consequences of their actions.

Caren Crane said...

Jo, too funny about your Angel denial. It's true, though! I would rather keep my favorites on a pedestal far, far away from me. If they are happy, I love to catch wind of it, but if they are naughty...not so much. Unless, of course, they launch into full self-destruction. That has the "train wreck" effect on me. So wrong and shameful for me to admit it!

Caren Crane said...

Christie, I have heard the old "there is no bad publicity" adage for a long time. I guess it's not surprising Michael Jackson believed it! Of course, his career suffered with his growing eccentricity, but his untimely death proved that we never had too much Michael. So maybe it's true!

Caren Crane said...

Jo, isn't Christine just too intellectual? *g* Despite all my years of German, I actually learned "schadenfreude" from novels. I think Seinfeld may have had an episode about it. Such a great, descriptive term (and from Old High German, so it's been around a long time!). I think people have always taken delight in the misfortune of others.

It is just such a distasteful thing to have to admit about one's self that most of polite society like to pretend they would never think of such a thing. "Yes, Janie is a terrible gossip. I would never dream of telling tales about Emma's daughter running around with gang members, getting knocked up and giving birth in a bathroom stall. And I would never talk about how her poor little crack baby has suffered!" *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, you have encapsulated the schadenfreude beautifully. I think self-destruction is fascinating to us. We have all made choices, often when we were especially young or vulnerable, that could easily have been something else.

What if you had dropped out of school and run off with that guy who was going to live on the beach in Florida and give surf lessons? What if you had said "yes" to the marriage proposal from the then-starving artist who turned out to be very successful? What if, instead of staying home to do your History paper you had gone to the party where those drunk kids fell off the balcony and died?

There are literally thousands of instances where each of us made choices that seemed to make no difference at the time. But you never know. Any of those could easily have led me or you or anyone down a very different road. Most people who take those darker turns just aren't famous enough to be written about when they make that first, crucial bad choice.

For those who are, we get to read ALL about it!

Virginia said...


Congrats on the rooster Christine!

I think people enjoy scandles because it gives them something to talk about! When it comes to famous people the media plays the scandle up. That is all you here about on the TV. Tigar Woods is all you heard about forever on the TV, they just wouldn't let it rest!

I love reading books about scandle, so maybe I am the same way!

Caren Crane said...

For anyone who wonders about Idina's first husband and lost love, Euan Wallace, here is a link to his picture.

What a handsome Scottish heartbreaker and rich as Croesus!

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, thank you for the birthday salutations! I think reading about the scandal - especially all the gritty details - is satisfying in some strange way. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about dear Idina. She was such an unashamed bed-hopper! Yet, her life was not all sunshine and she did regret not having her children about. Not that the rich Edwardians actually raised their children, but still, it seemed a regret.

It all seems so foreign to those of us not raised in a society so privileged and wealthy that any bad behavior could be excused. So hard to wrap my modern brain around!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOOOO, Posh!
Thanx for the piccie of Idina's lost love, Euan. He was QUITE the drool-worthy hunk, but SO YOUNG looking. Kinda reminded me of Leo DiCapprio.

Hellion, I thought of Princess Di also. So beautiful, so tragic, truly her own worst enemy!

My son and I watched a fascination bio-pic last night about Jim Morrison and the Doors. Talk about scandalous... However, I think Morrison was highly manipulative and purposely cultivated his outrageous behavior. That is UNTIL he lost control of the media circus. Again, so young and beautiful and tragic...

who sees definitely comparison's to Morrison's behavior and the GRs! ;-)

Caren Crane said...

AC, you are too right about Euan being a young'un. He was 21 and she was 20 when they married. What did they know? The same thing we all knew then - nothing! But we thought we knew it all. *sigh*

Jim Morrison is definitely someone who lived hard and fast and burned out far too young. Interestingly, Morrison was born in 1943 and he greatly admired the unconventional philosophies of authors who were Idina's contemporaries, like James Joyce, and part of the literary community of expatriates in France.

He is a hard one to peg: provocateur or scandal addict? I think he was a scandal addict. He did love an audience and he loved to be shocking, but like so many of his contemporaries, he seemed to lack a "stop" button. Those who choose their moments don't seem to suffer that way and can turn it off as easily as they turn it on. The lack of impulse control does appear to be a trend among those who start on the spiral of self-destruction.

RIP Jim!

Anna Sugden said...

Happy Birthday Caren!

I live in the land of Royal scandals and must admit to following them as avidly as everyone else! Scandals of the past are entertaining, but I have not time for the scandals of people who are only stars in their own lunchtime!

Having been through the English public school system (aka boarding school etc) and been exposed to the foibles of the upper classes, I can honestly say that a lot of the stuff you read about in old scandals and about people having to follow certain rules still goes on today!

I too feel sorry for the kids of those mixed-up people. Especially, if they also have silly names to live with too!

Nancy said...

Christine, congrats on the GR! I hope you make good use of his free labor.

Caren, I don't know what it is about other people's personal train wrecks. Maybe they make us feel better about our own lives. Or maybe there's an element of satisfaction that people who seem to "have it all" don't have everything. Like Christine, I tend to disregard modern celebrity scandals, though I find Lindsay Lohan's decline particularly sad since she was such a bright, almost luminous young actress who seemed to have so much potential.

Historical scandals, OTOH, interest me greatly, in part as mirrors of the times in which they arose. I went through a period of fascination with Edward VIII (a disastrous king, apparently) and Mrs. Simpson. Ditto Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. Eleanor of Acquitaine and Henry II (more tempestuous than scandalous). Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville (arguably alienated the Earl of Warwick and triggered another round in the Wars of the Roses--Plantagenets, Fo!) Mary Queen of Scots and Bothwell. Charles II and virtually everyone.

There's a wonderful book about the murder of director William Desmond Taylor, a huge Hollywood scandal of the 1920s. It's Cast of Killers by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick. I read it on a friend's recommendation though true crime as a genre doesn't do much for me. I found it truly engrossing.

Nancy said...

Anna wrote: Scandals of the past are entertaining, but I have not time for the scandals of people who are only stars in their own lunchtime!

What a great phrase!

People who're famous for being famous, you mean? Or not?

Nancy said...

Caren, happy birthday!

Christine Wells said...

Gannon, I'm afraid to get the rooster you need to be the first one to comment tomorrow. He's sort of non-transferable otherwise:)

Well, Posh, I began by appealing to the cocky rooster's vanity but he's too wily for me. He ended by romancing the chickens next door (yes, they actually DO keep chickens next door!) into doing all the work for him. Still, it's getting done.

Jo, that's so true about being interested in a long ago scandalous life because you know how it ends. Germaine Greer was furious when someone wrote her biography for that very reason--they can't show how she turned out (although I doubt very much she's going to change now!)

See, why did you have to go and say that about Boreanz??? I didn't know that!! Snork at the IQ comment! Schadenfreude was quite the trendy term here a while back, a bit like 'the zeitgeist'.

Posh, isn't it awfully sad the way daughters repeat their mothers' mistakes? That reminds me a little of The Philadelphia Story, although of course Tracey Lord got her HEA. Unfortunately, women like the Bolter seldom did.

Caren Crane said...

Anna, I love that expression "stars in their own lunchtime". It says so very much in so few words. *g*

I have wondered how those old mores of the upper class have weathered modern times. I'm sure the poor girls must still be presented to the Queen and have debutante balls and whatnot. Surely they aren't still arranging marriages though? That would be a bit too much to ask!

Though if they were, it would predispose people to take up the old habit of having discreet affairs. Hm...

It does seem as if boarding school would be a fading tradition, but there are probably great schools still using the boarding tradition. I'm glad I had my children home for all these years. I'll be really sad to see the two I have left at home grow up and move out!

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, historical scandals are the best! Actually, we are removed enough from Edwardian times that Idina's story feels historical to me. It's bizarre that all the craziness she and her peers indulged in happened during WWI and between the wars. The world changed so drastically during those few decades and it has never been the same!

I was frankly astonished, reading The Bolter, by the unimaginably vast fortunes some of the British had. Not so much the artistocracy, but the nouveau riche. Yes, the good old tradesmen!

It was also amazing to read of people wealthy enough to keep up old piles of over 100 rooms, with hundreds on staff and also households in town. Sounded quite like the Regency, except for all the motorcars, railways and indiscrimate sex, drugs and dancing. *g*

Plus, there are lots of pictures still around! Some of those women were incredibly glamorous. *sigh*

Caren Crane said...

Ooh, Nancy, Cast Of Killers sounds like a great read! Hm. A Bandita getting me hooked on a book. Sounds like a conversation to be continued...

Caren Crane said...

Anna and Nancy, thank you for the birthday wishes! Y'all know my birthday was on Thursday the 13th, but I like to celebrate a whole month of birthday. I have birthday dinners with friends on Monday and Thursday this week. The party keeps going as long as I can get others to play along. *g*

Nancy said...

Caren wrote: Sounds like a conversation to be continued...

Like, on a holiday weekend? *g* Maybe May 26?

Donna MacMeans said...

Well...I think celebrating one's birthday at the beach and not inviting the banditas to come along is certainly scandalous (grin). I think that sounds like a wonderful place to celebrate. Hope you had a great time!

I wonder if idina is a relative of the Sackville-West line. Lord Sackville was the head of the British legation in America. He needed a hostess and brought along his daughter who was born out of wedlock in Paris to a beautiful French dancer. Scandalous - but a huge success in America where she was the perfect hostess.

Nancy said...

Caren, I think of WWI and the 1920s as historical, regardless of how the publishing industry classifies them.

I saw a fascinating obituary the other day for a woman (aged 107) who played the organ in movie theaters, for silent movies, in the 1920s. Way cool!

A book on my "must read someday" list is Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, which is about the WWI generation in Britain. I have a copy waiting and am hoping to get to it this summer. The one problem with teaching classes in American culture the lack of space for my Anglophilia.

However, I'm warping King Arthur into my class on fantasy and society this fall. I figure a book set in America, co-written by Americans, and a film directed by an American (albeit with a very European cast, including Clive) crack the door enough that I can blast it the rest of the way open.

What's the literary equivalent of C4, anyway?

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I am shocked you let the GR display such sexist and manipulative behavior toward the hens next door. Then again, if they're foolish enough to fall for it...

Yes, poor Idina seemed to fall prey to the same lure of adventure and independence her mother and grandmother did. Her maternal great-grandfather was Thomas Brassey, whose rail company built one in every three miles of the British railway system. Idina's grandmother, Annie, was plagued with chest infections so she had a ship built, the Sunbeam, one of the world's largest steam yachts.

She packed up the family, including Idina's mother, Muriel, and set off for Rio de Janeiro. She had to send her husband and son back to England (and school), but she and the girls (and a large crew), circumnavigated the globe. She wrote a book about the journey called A Voyage in the "Sunbeam" which is still in print.

Muriel and her sisters could hardly have been exposed to adventures such as this and then settled contentedly into Victorian and, later, Edwardian lifestyles. Idina and her siblings were raised very much outside the social norms. I'm not sure she had a chance, really!

Caren Crane said...

May 26th? Sounds like a great topic for a holiday weekend! *g* Actually, I will be off having an Adventure that weekend: whitewater rafting and zip lines through the trees this year. Should be fun!

Caren Crane said...

Donna, it does say in The Bolter that Idina was a cousin of the novelist Vita Sackville-West, so I'm sure she was related to the Lord Sackville who was sent here.

Idina's own father was Gilbert Sackville, 8th Earl De La Warr (pronounced Delaware). Apparently, the De La Warrs were very old aristocracy, having followed William the Conqueror over from Normandy. They had a great old name and properties, but no money, which is why Gilbert married Muriel and her vast railroad fortune.

But back in the day, one Lord De La Warr rescued the starving Jamestown colonists in 1610, was named governor of Virginia and gave his name to the state of Delaware. Not too shabby!

Caren Crane said...

Hm, sounds like Testament Of Youth is also going on my list.

Good job working Arthur into your fantasy class. The Arthurian legends are the basis for so much of the fantasy today! I'm sure whatever the literary C4 is, you will find it and blast that door off its hinges. *g*

Nancy said...

Caren, I forgot to say that Testament of Youthis a memoir, which is one reason it's considered a good source for the period. The sequel, Testament of Experience is less well known.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Happy Birthday Caren Posh! Grins.

Yes, there's a thirst for scandal and I'm not gonna create one by tellin' what I know....

But I HEARD that the Golden Rooster was in a certain Aussie henhouse? You KNOW what I mean?


Nancy said...

Christine, the phrase "romancing the chickens next door" has an ominous feel to it. . . .

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, even better! I love a memoir. Always such fun to delve into other people's minds and recollections.

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, thank you for the birthday greetings. The birthday goes on and on! I actually got cards tonight from my husband and girls. They make me laugh!

As to the rumors about the Australian hen house, I can neither confirm nor deny that any such action has or might take place. Any offspring appearing in a chicken coop next door to Christine in, say, 21 days should not be automatically assumed to belong to the GR. He's not the only rooster Down Under, you know.

Wait a minute, that didn't sound right...

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, we may need to have Donna establish some sort of fund in case a certain someone gets slapped with paternity suits and is ordered to pay child support. That's all I'm saying...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren said: He's not the only rooster Down Under, you know.

Wait a minute, that didn't sound right...


Caren Crane said...

Happy to entertain, Duchesse! Now I must see a man about a pillow...

me said...

I have to read this book, sounds interesting!

I personally am a scandal addict myself, so glad for my family that I'm not in the public spotlight. However one scandal addict I can think of is the lovely young actress Evan Rachel Wood. While out of the major limelight of the tabloids, she has shocked many by dating a much-older Marilyn Manson and then attempting to fend-off rumors of her encounters with Mickey Rourke during the filming of the Wrestler. Now apparently she's back together with(and engaged to) Manson. She's also on True Blood which shows she's into the drama of it all.

Another very popular scandal queen is none other than Shannen Dougherty. The bitch fights, the demands, the drama, the ex husband, the close encounters with Paris Hilton, the Playboy pictures... her list goes on and on.

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