Saturday, June 25, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - 2005 South Korean Version

Daddy-Long-Legs Film Poster

Well, most of this post is taken from the Wikipedia website on the Korean film version (2005) of Daddy-Long-Legs, but I'll take what I can get:
Daddy-Long-Legs (Kidari Ajeossi) is a 2005 South Korean romance film. It was one of four Korean movies screened at the 2006 International Fajr Film Festival in Iran. The story is loosely inspired by the novel Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster . . . . Young-mi Cha (Ha Ji-won) . . . is a young woman who has lost her parents and [is] struggling to fend for herself. She receives the assistance of a stranger who pays her university fees and sends her gifts. She affectionately nicknames her benefactor "Daddy-Long-Legs."
Like all tear-jerking Korean dramas, this one ends in complex, improbable, unpredictable, confusing tragedy:
Young-mi . . . investigates her "Daddy-Long-Legs," eventually learning that her current job and accommodations were the decisions of the radio station's director. She confronts him, but it turns out that the director was only acting on behalf of his younger brother, who chose to provide Young-mi with her school fees and asked that she be given her current job and his house to live in. It turns out the director's brother is Jun-ho, who is also the writer of . . . [a delayed] email [that "details a love story written by the . . . owner of the house" about someone who has been "diagnosed with a terminal disease which would cause" loss of memory and then death]. Jun-ho had [by the time the email arrived] . . . lost all of his earlier memories of Young-mi when they were students together and he [had] loved her from afar . . . . Young-mi is devastated by this news. She reconnects with Jun-ho and they spend as much time together [as possible] before . . . [he] relapses and . . . dies.
Jean Webster herself would be confounded!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs on stage just last year . . .

John Caird

Jean Webster's epistolary novel Daddy-Long-Legs has seen stage and film versions, most recently by the director John Caird onstage in New York City just last year, as witnessed by Alexis Soloski, "Review: In 'Daddy Long Legs,' an Orphan With a Mysterious Benefactor," New York Times (September 29th, 2015):
The story begins as Jerusha Abbott, the eldest orphan at her New England asylum, receives the news that a trustee who calls himself John Smith has agreed to fund her college education. This John Smith demands that she send him a letter once a month, letters that he will never answer . . . . Because she has had one small glimpse of him (from behind and in poor light) and knows him to be tall - and further imagines him old and gray - she calls him Daddy Long Legs . . . . [His] actual name is Jervis Pendleton, [he] isn't so geriatric after all and . . . the affable impertinence of her letters has made him fall in love. Soon he is contriving to meet her, without ever admitting his philanthropy, and taking a more active role in steering the course of her life . . . . To watch Jerusha awaken to love and literature is a great treat . . . . Seen through modern eyes, the story does have its creepy undertones, though . . . [it] avoids the merest hint of sexual suggestion, which does a lot to de-sleaze the relationship . . . . But it's still unethical that Jervis woos Jerusha without disclosing his identity and at least a little disconcerting that this protofeminist tale ends with its plucky heroine rewarded with marriage to the man who has manipulated her for the past five years. Maybe she should write a letter of complaint.
Hear! Hear! An excellent summary! Fits the book, too!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shi'ite Cleric Sabah Shabr: "Islam Was Spread by the Sword, So What?!"

Sabah Shabr
Google Images

The Memri report for October 13, 2015, Clip No. 5486, shows Shi'ite Cleric Sabah Shabr proclaiming: "Islam Was Spread by the Sword, So What?!"
Sabah Shabr: Most Muslim countries were conquered violently, by force. Few are the countries conquered any other way. The people of Medina converted to Islam voluntarily. When the Prophet Muhammad made his hijra to the city, Islam was already prevalent there. It was not conquered by force. But Mecca was conquered by force. Iraq was conquered by force, and so were Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and the countries of north Africa. Most Islamic countries were conquered by force . . . . Some may claim that Islam was spread by the sword. That's true. Islam was spread by the sword. So what?! Allah's true religion should be spread by the sword, by force. If you cannot talk people into converting to Islam, they should be made to convert by the sword. Such is the command of Allah. There is no need for all the sycophancy, and all the attempts to appease the Jews and the Christians, by saying: "Islam was not really spread by the sword. We had no other choice" . . . . [It is not that] they had no choice. They conquered the . . . countries by force. This is our duty according to the shari'a. This is the meaning of voluntary Jihad. What does voluntary Jihad mean? That the Islamic army marches on the lands of the infidels, and proposes that they convert to Islam. If they agree to become Muslims - fine. If they refuse, they are told that they should pay the jizya tax, if they are from the People of the Book. If they refuse to pay the jizya, they should be fought. If they are not from the People of the Book, they don't even get a chance to pay the jizya - either they convert to Islam or they are killed. There is nothing wrong with this . . . . [So, let] Islam be spread by the sword. There is nothing wrong with Allah's true religion being spread by the sword. The Christians and the Jews who live in Muslim countries must pay the jizya poll tax. They pay it annually, but the Islamic ruler can tell them to pay it monthly, or every six months. They pay in accordance with their financial capabilities. They cannot live in the lands of the Muslims for free.
Aside from these being the actual words of a Shi'ite cleric, this could easily have been uttered by the Sunni Islamic State! Remember these words: "If you cannot talk people into converting to Islam, they should be made to convert by the sword." In other words, if you can't win an argument rationally, use violence!

Thus Spake Sore Loser!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dear Enemy: Opposite Sex

In Dear Enemy, the sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs, Jerusha's friend Sallie McBride speaks of divorce and sex:
There seems to have been no reason for her divorce from the ordinary point of view; the marriage just simply didn't work. They weren't friends. If he had been a woman, she wouldn't have wasted half an hour talking with him. If she had been a man, he would have said: "Glad to see you. How are you?" and gone on. And yet they MARRIED. Isn't it dreadful how blind this sex business can make people? (Jean Webster, Dear Enemy, 1915)
Jerusha's friend, anyway, can speak rather directly about sex - even though she's speaking of marriage. And an interesting choice of wording there, for marriage: "sex business."

Jerusha, by the way, is happily married to the man of letters . . .


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Thing" as Euphemism?


I promised a little bit of research on a particular meaning of "thing" - and I have only a little to report due to other duties. But I did check my OED and found that the first recorded use of "thing" to mean "privy member, private parts" was 1386 in Chaucer (page 309, middle column, Oxford English Dictionary, 1971 edition).

More recently - in the 19th century, anyway - Angela Heywood was appalled to hear women refer to a man's "thing"! Appalled, that is, that women didn't use the real word, but chose such a euphemism ("Foul-Mouthed Women," Voices of the Nation, Caroline Field Levander, 1998, page 43).

Now, set your mindset on a hermeneutic of suspicion, recall that the protagonist of the novel Daddy-Long-Legs called her 'benefactor a "Thing," and think at least bemusedly about this possibly euphemistic insult.

That's all for now . . .


Monday, June 20, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - The Thing!?

I'm still pursuing my hermeneutic of suspicion toward Jean Webster's epistolary novel Daddy-Long-Legs, and see what I've found:
26th March

Mr. D.-L.-L. Smith,

SIR: You never answer any questions; you never show the slightest interest in anything I do. You are probably the horridest one of all those horrid Trustees, and the reason you are educating me is, not because you care a bit about me, but from a sense of Duty.

I don't know a single thing about you. I don't even know your name. It is very uninspiring writing to a Thing. I haven't a doubt but that you throw my letters into the waste-basket without reading them. Hereafter I shall write only about work. My re-examinations in Latin and geometry came last week. I passed them both and am now free from conditions.

Yours truly,

Jerusha Abbott
Jerusha calls her benefactor a "Thing," even capitalizing the term! What does she mean by this objectification?

Some reflections tomorrow . . .


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Drawing Daddy-Long-Legs Out

The date is November 15th in the story, and just before sealing one of those required letters to send to her 'creepy-crawling,' benefactor, Daddy-Long-Legs, Jerusha suddenly adds:
PS. I know I'm not to expect any letters in return, and I've been warned not to bother you with questions, but tell me, Daddy, just this once - are you awfully old or just a little old? And are you perfectly bald or just a little bald? It is very difficult thinking about you in the abstract like a theorem in geometry.

Given a tall rich man who hates girls, but is very generous to one quite impertinent girl, what does he look like?

Time passes, and no response, leaving Jerusha to complain:
9th December

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

You never answered my question and it was very important.


I have it planned exactly what you look like - very satisfactorily - until I reach the top of your head, and then I AM stuck. I can't decide whether you have white hair or black hair or sort of sprinkly grey hair or maybe none at all.

Here is your portrait:
But the problem is, shall I add some hair?

Would you like to know what colour your eyes are? They're grey, and your eyebrows stick out like a porch roof (beetling, they're called in novels), and your mouth is a straight line with a tendency to turn down at the corners. Oh, you see, I know! You're a snappy old thing with a temper.
Jerusha is clearly attempting to draw him out . . . so to speak.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs - First Letter

Artwork by Buttercup

I'm still looking into Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs (1912) and thinking about the eccentric trustee who demands a monthly letter from her in return for the money he gives to fund her studies. Her first letter from college is posted "24th September," and being a somewhat impertinent girl, she writes a somewhat impertinent letter, which I excerpt:
I wanted to write a letter first just to get acquainted . . . . [because it] seems queer to be writing letters to somebody you don't know . . . . Mrs. Lippett [told me] I must take care to be Very Respectful . . . [but] how can one be very respectful to a person who wishes to be called John Smith? Why couldn't you have picked out a name with a little personality? I might as well write letters to Dear Hitching-Post or Dear Clothes-Prop. . . . I must say, however, that when I think about you, my imagination has very little to work upon . . . . [but] I've decided to call you Dear Daddy-Long-Legs.
Jerusha - or better, Judy - thus shows herself to be a handful, so if Mr. Smith expects to control her, he might find the process enervating, even futile.

But I bet he will try . . .


Friday, June 17, 2016

Pirate Jerusha

Jerusha, who prefers to be called "Judy," writes one of her dutiful letters to the strange benefactor who wishes to be called "John Smith," but who is really "Jervis Pendleton," the same "Pendleton" whom Judy knows only as an older brother of a classmate.

But perhaps she suspects something about these names, for she does complain that "It's the silliest thing I ever heard of, not to know your name" - meaning, of course, that she does not know his name.

She signs off with "Affectionately, Judy," but there is that skull and cross bones - at the letter's opening - for us to speculate on. And is "Cap'n Long-Legs" a pirate captain, one who might have designs on Judy?


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Daddy-Long-Legs: Illustrated

Spider-Like Illustration
Google Images

There it is for you all to see and perceive through my perseverance - precisely 'focused' on Jerusha Abbott's imagination - the girl's sketchily recollected first encounter with the trustee who so spider-like wove strands of networking to catch her in that webbing.

More to come . . .