Here at Austenacious, we take Jane a lot of places. So far, she’s been to Hollywood, the Caribbean, Graceland (for the presumable purpose of getting familiar with that other King), and the top of our very own Christmas tree—just to name a few. But one place we could—would not?—not take our dear Action Jane? That massive New World display of machismo and capitalist purchasing power, the Super Bowl.
Luckily, Jane fans worldwide have our backs, and aren’t afraid to take Jane adventuring 140 characters at a time—beginning with country singer Rosanne Cash, the Janeites of Twitter took up the cause of #JaneAustenAtTheSuperbowl like a torch of gentle hilarity, and haven’t let up since.
The entire Twitter stream is here; for the impatient and the Twitter-averse, a few bon mots:
One hopes the unfortunate incident involving the lady’s corset is not repeated on this occasion. (@rosannecash)
The gentleman in the stripes? A known blackguard! I send no compliments to his mother. (@rosannecash)
Some ladies are determined to sport bonnets made of cheese. I must take to my bed. (@rosannecash)
Regarding the Legume Chorale, it grieves me to note that the spectacle exceeds the musicality. (@rosannecash)
Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death, lest I mention the tuck rule. (@heymrmike)
I love a three-point play!” said Mrs Bennet. “A little three-point play would set me up forever.” (@KeethInk)
No one knows how I suffer. Such flutterings of my heart and pains in my head. Perchance too many jalapenos. (@anamcara1004)
Has this sack been all your doing then? cried Miss Cheesehead to her brothers. “Good heaven! how very, very kind! (@itsthebunk)
I have not had the pleasure of understanding football. (@writershouses)
I will not say that your Steelers are dead, but I am afraid they are not alive. (@janiceharayda)
Well played, Austenite citizens of the Internet! Well played.
Like any healthy young lady, I like to take a brisk walk or carriage ride to visit my friends, and stay with them for weeks at a time. Sometimes, though, it’s more like a brisk plane ride. Anyway, when going to Texas, New Jersey, and New York, who better to travel with than my dear companion, Jane?
Here we are in Austin, Texas, marveling at the misuse of our name by “Austintatious Autos.” Carriages have come a long way, though.
Next stop, an afternoon out at the Alamo Drafthouse to see Wolf Man. (It was a terrible movie. Don’t waste your time. Jane would rather be seen with Wolverine if she must be recast in all these postmodern contexts. At least Hugh Jackman can dance.)
While perusing the extensive menu of pub-like food, we were entertained by talking dogs. No, really . . . it was frightening and strangely interesting. Much better than maggoty Stilton and Lydia not paying for lunch.
After a few days of girlfriend time, toddler cuddling, and WiiFit Plus entertainment (AKA, staying with the Collinses minus interesting man problems and plus Rhythm Kung Fu), Jane and I wended our way to New Jersey. We enjoyed Mrs. Osborne’s futomaki rolls and the time with the nieces and nephews. (Yes, Jane, we know you will often have a niece with you!)
We then went to London, uh, I mean New York City. (We are in trade, like Mr. Gardiner. Don’t tell Lady Catherine!) Jane did a double-take when we saw that Jennifer Ehle was currently appearing on Broadway in Mr. & Mrs. Fitch!
But how can one spend time at the theatre when the Olympics are on? All that healthy outdoor exercise and fresh air . . . it just makes us want to fall down mountains! (OK, OK, we’ll stop using that joke. ) Here’s Jane watching men’s alpine skiing. She approves of my new Olympic boyfriend, hunky Norwegian skier Aksel Svindal.
Alas, it’s not all fun and games in town. Jane accompanied me to a conference I was attending for work. Most of the time was spent in dark and air-conditioned conference rooms. However, during lunch the view of Times Square was delightful! Probably more to Miss Crawford’s taste than Fanny’s, though. Miss Price would faint dead away at the sight of Times Square, Jane says, though Lady Susan might find some quiet enjoyment.
Liza Daly discussed how ebooks have helped books become “citizens of the net,” as there are new ways to connect books to readers and readers to authors. Imagine our surprise when this slide appeared on big screens!
Jane said, “Well it’s true ‘I hate tiny parties—they force one into constant exertion.’ One can say anything in social media, and one so often does!” I poked her to be quiet.
And so we flew home to California, having quite failed to catch husbands, but having had a pleasant visit with friends, family, and business nonetheless.
Photo credits: All photos © 2010 Christine Osborne, except for the Twitter image, which was borrowed with permission from Liza Daly.
Dust off your hash marks, kids, and brush up on your “at” symbols; it’s time to adjust your worldview to include the letter U as both a vowel and a second-person pronoun.
This, of course, can mean only one thing:
Check us out, follow us, and watch us try to express our deep enjoyment of Austen with a donut-themed background and absolutely zero lexically legitimate words whatsoever. Plus nonsense tags and constant accessibility! What could possibly go wrong?
(This is the part where we want to say “We’re on ur phone, using ur 140 characters,” but fear that the reference is simply too ancient to even register, like it’s cuneiform or beta cassettes. Such is the dilemma of the modern Janeite. All your base are belong to us!)
See you on the airwaves, or whatever it is we call them these days.
(P.S. What? Who said that?)
Okay, not really. More like: Jane Austen hates other people on Twitter.
At its best—i.e., in her own hands—Twitter sounds like Jane’s kind of thing, the kind of program that might have suited her style and benefited her business: bits of wit delivered to a mass audience, “editors” and “publishers” and all others unaware of her genius be damned. After all, we’d have followed her: wry humor, subtle sarcasm, and bits of local gossip? Sign us up!
It’s all those other Twitterers (Tweeters?) who cause the trouble. Some people really shouldn’t be tweeting in the first place; one look at any of Austen’s novels indicates that, had the technology of the time caught up with the human instinct to share mundane life details 140 characters at a time, she would have picked the over-sharers out of the crowd without a second thought. Just think: Mrs. Bennet with an iPhone (“Waiting 4 hunky rich neighbor to show, can smell the $ now!”). Mr. Collins discovering Twitterific (“Wife encourages me to garden AGAIN, guess she likes the outdoorsy type!”). Even Catherine Morland might not, engaging heroine or no, have been the world’s most fulfilling Twitter correspondent (“Twilight OMG!!1!”). As it is, Jane had an ear for—by which I mean “mocked mercilessly and with great glee”—the indiscreet and the overly familiar; imagine how much worse things would have been for her with 24/7 wifi and a pop-up qwerty keyboard.
In terms of her work, constant microblogging would certainly muck up Jane’s stories. Not sure if one Mr. Wickham is a catch or a cad? “Let’s check his Twitter for skeevy drunk-tweets” may save poor Lydia a heap of trouble, but it ends Pride and Prejudice far too quickly, and then how will Mr. Darcy prove his boundless kindness, discretion, and general uprightness of character? Even if Wickham and Lydia—just to use an example, of course—were able to spirit off into the English night, there’s not much point in sending out the search party if we know exactly where they were and what they were doing at 10:17 and again at 10:24 and again at 10:27. (Indiscreet and over-familiar: your poster children have arrived.) No, far too much is lost in the land of Austen when characters are too easy to find and too eager to tell us what’s up.
So, Twitter: Jane Austen hates you. Not so much from some place of anti-tech “get off my lawn!”-itis as from knowing people—like, humanity—too well and from liking to tell stories where information is sometimes withheld for whole chapters at a time (WHAT?). Good thing she’s got that nice, loopy penmanship to fall back on, no?