Pollyanna’s hard, mature edges were surprising.

I always wondered what the original book of Pollyanna was like and so I recently read it.  Unlike the reviews describe and what I’ve seen of the movie, the book is very sophisticated and mature for a kid’s tale.

The Glad game (trying to find the gladness in some terrible situation, the core of the book) is more about clinging to God when all else has deserted you than some kind of in-born natural good cheer about everything, which is kind of how Pollyanna is presented and what her name’s become a byword for.  That’s what Pollyanna’s father was doing when he taught it to her as they stood looking at a missionary barrel with crutches in it instead of a doll, after many barrels with almost literal trash in them.  Pollyanna’s life is brutally hard and her quest to find the light in it is what inspires the rest of the town to suck up their own problems and look for any bit of gladness.

Weirdly I looked up reviews of this book and nobody mentioned the strong anti-divorce message, in which Pollyanna, an 11yo girl, keeps a wife who accepts gifts from other men from divorcing her drinking, cursing, brawling husband and possibly abandoning her children through the Glad Game and also just socializing with the couple’s kids. The husband and wife decide they need to both stop their sketchy, trashy ways and stick closer to each other. Pollyanna is quite aware of what’s going on without anyone having to break it down for her.  She was a missionary’s kid out in California.  She probably saw quite a bit, if the adults around her in her New England small town thought about it.  That’s what I mean when I say it’s surprisingly mature.

I did not count like Pollyanna’s preacher father did, but knowing that there probably are 800 verses commanding us to be glad and rejoice had me crying with joy.  Something to do one of these days, anyhow.

There’s also some very sophisticated and cynical material about Pollyanna’s options as an orphan, and again, I continue to be set down about my preconceptions of “old” books, particularly old kids’ books.

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Why I talk about money frequently.

This is a little widget  from an interesting post about the Obamas’ income showing where your household income is in national percents.

But, brass tacks and all.  Top 1% starts at 430k/year, for 2014 incomes.

Top 30-50%: 55k-85k

Top 25-30%: 86k-96k

Top 10-25%: 97k-150k

Top 6-10%: 155k-205k

Top 5%: 210k-230k

Top 4%: 235k-260k

Top 3%: 270k-320k

Top 2%: 340k-420k

Look at how narrow the ranges are, even for the highest income levels.  It’s really hard to get up into the higher percents even with two incomes.

A brief overview of mass pornography exposure from World War II until the 21st Century, part 1

 

Early Superwife fantasy.

 

Something that goes very unremarked is how many generations we’ve had of pornography exposure being a significant male rite of passage in America.  And how government funding injected enough cash into the industry to industrialize its production.  You can start a timeline with World War II, in which pornography was distributed as an alternative to camp followers and the “gifts” they brought (mostly venereal disease, but also babies).  There were millions of young men exposed to pornography in a mostly or all-male environment.  Then, after seeing hundreds and thousands of pictures of women dressed even less discreetly than the picture opening this post and doing way more than what that lady is, they went home to wives and future wives.

That was the Greatest Generation.

Their sons got exposed a little earlier, magazines under the bed, late teens high school bonding.  But it was already normalized as something a young man might want to do.  It was acceptable fringe.  Not to mention their sons were coming of age in the middle of “free love”.  There was now some idea that it might be ok to try a few of those things in the magazines out before marriage, just not with the girl you planned to marry.

Well, we all have a pretty good idea how the Boomers and Silents handled the influences of mass pornography getting even more normalized and mainstream in their young adulthood.

They were the swingers and nudists and the earliest waves of  what is now called “polyamory” on the secular fringe.  On the Christian-inflected fringe side, they were Flirty Fishers and sisterwivers in the 1970s and 1980s.  There was also the acceptable fringe of taking your date to a pornographic theater, although now that is moving more into Generation X.

It’s hard to accept, but these were the parents of the Millennials and Generation X.  And this is just part one.  Part two is going to note what the consequences were to those Millennials and Gen X’ers.

Might also want to notice that this is an early example of managerialism and modern efficiency thinking, too.