While we’re on the subject …

by Chris Bertram on June 13, 2009

… of philosophical rudeness. BBC Woman’s Hour has “Anne Fine discussing her new book _Our Precious Lulu_”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/whnews/#playepisode1 (12 June episode), a novelistic exploration of step-siblings and their relationships. Anne’s ex-husband was, of course, the philosopher Kit Fine. Her children with KF had certain norms – ferocious argument at the dinner table, utter contempt for table-manners, etc. – and then got to share family life with non-philosopher’s children, her new step-children, who had, er, different expectations.



CTS 06.13.09 at 11:43 pm

Hmm. My children grew up with – according to my daughter – intense (maybe, ‘ferocious’ on occasion) dinner table discussions accompanied by instructions on table manners.

Perhaps the effort to conjoin the two was my error?


Neil 06.14.09 at 1:59 am

One of Kit and Anne’s children is a friend of mine, and the idea that they had utter contempt for table manners does not gel with my experience.


Tracy W 06.15.09 at 7:24 am

Doesn’t this sort of thing always happen? It took me a while to realise that the lack of probing, or any, questions at my in-laws was not a sign that they didn’t care, but a sign that they didn’t gossip.


Ray Davis 06.16.09 at 2:04 pm

The shockingly visceral contrast between assumed standards of family behavior after marriage or adoption has been a trope of exogamous narratives for centuries. Generally it’s played for warm comedy (Midwestern WASP meets Lower East Side Jews and learns that shouting’s how you show real love), but personally I find horror (as depicted in Austen’s Mansfield Park) more believable. 1934’s After the Thin Man nicely inverted the usual formula by making the upper-class in-laws the horror enducers.

Comments on this entry are closed.