Pride and Precedence: Fishbowl Entertainment

A continuing series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove

giovanniboldiniafternoonstroll-mm21“I am living in a fishbowl.” One hears this every day. In my case, it is absolutely true. You have no idea how pitiful is my lot.

Do you understand what village life is like? Prying eyes are everywhere, and tattling tongues too. If I stop by the village shop to purchase a length of ribbon, for instance, before I’m home my housekeeper knows both the color and the price. If I splash tea on my gown or stumble into a pothole on the road, even the maid-of-all-work has the details.

It’s as if I must provide entertainment for the masses! If I mention a tidbit of gossip—in passing, you understand, merely testing the waters to see if it is true—what I’ve said is repeated everywhere. What we are having for dinner, where I’d like to holiday, even my opinion of my mother-in-law’s newest hat—which will always be bleak, for the woman has no taste—my neighbors know it all.

This is rather like Reality Television, but without the fame or compensation. Not that I watch reality television, mind you. So vulgar! So tasteless! A debased innovation of your modern age, bringing into prominence those who are hopelessly common.

I, at least, am worthy to be watched. And much more deserving of the residual income to be had from television reruns. Pseudo-celebrities, indeed! The elite are so much more interesting.

If only I had lived in your era. I surely would have a show of my own: Mary Musgrove, Mary Musgrove. And let me tell you, it would be vastly more amusing than the rubbish Charles prefers: Survivorman or Duck Dynasty or Dirty Jobs.

Free-Clip-Art-Goldfish-GraphicsFairy-1024x829And so I soldier on, willingly providing topics of conversation, gratis, for all my friends and neighbors. It’s yet another evidence of good breeding, a thing my father calls noblesse oblige.

Most cordially,

Mary Elliot Musgrove
Daughter of Sir Walter Elliot, Bart.
Future Mistress of Uppercross

Have you discovered Mercy’s Embrace?
Romance, adventure, and Admiral Patrick McGillvary are waiting …

Mary’s “portrait” is Afternoon Stroll by Giovanni Boldini

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8 thoughts on “Pride and Precedence: Fishbowl Entertainment

  1. Susan Kaye

    I’d like to see Mary on Survivor. I don’t watch it but they always send the contestants to hot and humid climes. With all the fanning, she might take flight.

    I’m also hoping for The Baronets of Somerset. All the harping about the help, the catcalls, and the fights at posh restaurants would be fun!

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Mary swatting mosquitoes? Peeling off leeches? Humidity and mud and lack of sanitation? Bring it on.

      I would like to see the pre-Charles Mary on the Bachelor. Reality TV thrives on the cat fight.

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  2. Robin Helm

    Mary on Survivor – Survivor and Sensibility?

    I’m a pastor’s wife. The only people who lived in more transparent fishbowls were my children as they grew up (and even now). They were the minister’s kids at church and the teacher’s kids at school. They were also the principal’s nieces. Sometimes, it was trying, but usually, I ignored it.

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    1. Laura Hile Post author

      Good for you for keeping your chin up, Robin. Unconcern and cheerful confidence defuse those who live on gossip. Although I should point out that Mary would shrug a careless shoulder and inform you that you are not worthy to be watched. πŸ˜€

      I’m waiting for your novel about the reality TV beauty pageant. Because what you saw is a lot.

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      1. Robin Helm

        I read what people say about those shows. Only the stars are paid. People like us who actually made the plot for the show don’t get paid. I see that there’s another beauty pageant show in the works. If they don’t let the girls be themselves, it will take a dive just like ours did.

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        1. Laura Hile Post author

          I think I caught some of that one (again, channel surfing). I stopped to watch because I wondered if it was the show you were on, Robin. Yes, one of the contestants was … uh-huh … a pastor’s daughter. And, you guessed it, her daddy didn’t want her in a pageant. And… she played and sang, dressed beautifully. Did he suddenly become supportive of his “independent, spirited” girl? Well, sure.

          I have learned that stereotypes are a part of life. But when one has the chance to set up a reality show, must one cater to them? Come on, hasn’t the “pastor’s daughter” angle been done to death?

          I was amused to see that dear old dad wasn’t an old fogy. He was maybe 40, movie-star handsome, and while conservative, was not the usual media square. What he was … was a concerned father. (Like what normal American dad wouldn’t be?) So all the “drama” about the “rebellious” pastor’s daughter was dished up in the promos — like that’s a surprise? She wasn’t rebellious, and he wasn’t disapproving.

          Whenever you remember tidbits of your experiences, Robin, jot them down. You will deliver a dandy novel. Because you’ve lived it from the inside out.

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          1. Robin Helm

            There were things happening behind the scenes that were concealed from us. I know about some of them because a crewman and a cast member slipped up and talked.

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            1. Laura Hile Post author

              Better and better! You are likable and are a good listener. Plus, it’s obvious that you know how to keep your mouth shut … being a staff member at a church or school seals that deal! Thus you were the ideal confidant.

              And who knew you’d one day be a writer? Like I said, better and better.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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