In praise of mediocre lovers: TV's most endangered species | Street Jazz

Friday, July 23, 2010

In praise of mediocre lovers: TV's most endangered species

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Watching Grey's Anatomy lately, and the all the new bodice-ripping, loin thrusting advances in medicine that have taken place in medicine the past few years. I have to say that I am very impressed. While true that very few of the medical personnel I have had contact with in the past - oh, I don't know, 20 years or so - quite come up to the Grey's Anatomy standards of physical perfection, I am sure that they are all incredible lovers.

Not that I am gonna ask.

If you watch TV, you will notice that just about everyone is an incredible, talented lover, from college freshmen to vampires to the deans of law schools. Bad guys probably aren't, unless they have recurring roles.

I kind of miss the Average Joe or Average Jane who just isn't that good in bad, or frankly, just doesn't give a crap. Maybe Grey's Anatomy could have a new doctor who is really hot, but try as he might, is just lousy in the sex department - and really can't get any better.

Of course, that would make it science fiction, wouldn't it? Because as we all know, in 2010 everyone is good in bed - you, me, all of our friends, and all of our neighbors. Why, so is everyone in the whole wide world - except for the people we don't like. We just know they're lousy . . .

*****
Quote of the Day

It's all right to have a good time. That's one of the most important messages of the enlightenment. - Thaddeus Golas, The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment

*****

Plantation Princess from Another Planet

If you grew up in the south, you'll recognize some of the folks traipsing through Louise G. Mann's memories in Plantation Princess from Another Planet. Reading her recollections will bring to mind your own. If you did not have the good fortune to grow up around an Aunt Cappy or a Mr. Jimma, or for that matter, a Mary Louise, a.k.a. Louie, Mann, don't miss the opportunity to get acquainted.

Louise Mann, now a Fayetteville resident, grew up on a plantation in the Arkansas Delta during the 1960s and 70s. She dedicates this book to all those dinner party companions from the East who, upon hearing stories of her youth, said, "You ought to write a book." She did, and published it herself. While it's a short read, only 128 pages, every page is, as Aunt Cappy would say, filled with "gusto."

Mann takes readers to her fictitious home town of Shumard. She introduces us to Daddy, a third-generation cotton farmer and ginner, and to Momma, who'd grown up in Memphis, and, in her youth, had been crowned Maid of Cotton. We meet Grandmother McClintock, a tee-totaler who does not appreciate the tradition of a nightly "libation." There are siblings, Katydid and Walker, who have their own interesting traits, and a smattering of neighbors, teachers, even a childhood nemesis. Readers will envy Mann her Aunt Cappy. Her father's sister, Aunt Cappy makes no compromises about how she lives her life. She is fearless whether flying a plane, driving a car, or accepting the loss of a breast from cancer.

Mann comes from a line of women who do not fit the Plantation Princess role "women bred to hostess and write thank you notes." Her mother, after her reign as Maid of Cotton and her wedding was more at home "fishin' and duck huntin' and frog giggin'." Mann's natural wit comes through as she shares her own childhood attempts at being "a good Southern hostess." She entertains her city cousins by leaving one stranded up in a tree and one stuck in a window seat. Mann's reluctantly taking part in the annual Miss Shumard beauty contest becomes a test of wills that almost become blows between Mann and Robert Lee Wilson who is sitting on the front row "snickering."

The men of the family and in Shumard are not left out. Mann recalls ginning season, and evening trips home from weighing the cotton. Her father would often stop along the levy where the kids could lie in the back of the truck picking out constellations. Daddy's adventure hauling the turquoise porta-potty is what he calls, "making memories." Next door neighbor, Mr. Jimma, loves to play practical jokes like delivering a skunk without telling anyone that it had been descented. Instead, he tells Bessie the housekeeper, that if she only speaks in whispers, the skunk will not spray. Of course, the skunk is only one of a menagerie of plantation pets including gerbils, Great Danes, and alligators.

Louis Mann has brought her childhood to life in a series of delightful, often hilarious incidents. She takes readers into her small southern town, and into her family, and her own personality. These are people you'd like to get to know. Plantation Princess from Another Planet reminds me of a quote from Oscar Wilde, "Life is too important to be taken seriously."

rsdrake@cox.net

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