Jane Austen, and simple civility

But first… I do have a confession to make, although I seriously don’t think that it will cause any real issue to anyone who reads my blog. I just feel guilty in an odd way, and feel the need to come clean.

I made a point to fully divest myself from Facebook quite some time ago – maybe it’s been a year now – and I have never regretted choosing not to be a part of that drama-filled, often hate-filled world of comments and likes and opinions and trolls and constant updates of every minute of everyone else’s day.

Giving up FB also meant giving up a few trivial forms of entertainment that had come to occupy some of my spare time. Alright, I admit it – I was sorta hooked on this fun version of Mahjong. I honestly figured that I would just find some other version on Google and play that. I was wrong. Nothing about what I found available was quite as enticing as my old, favorite game. Apparently, my addiction was too strong and I caved. I set up a new FB account just so that I could continue to play that game

There…I’ve finally said it. That little secret has been weighing on me for a long time. I don’t use Facebook for anything else. I have only one friend there, and that friend supplies me with the occasional impromptu picture of two lovely young girls named Miss G and Miss C that I can add to my grandma’s picture file.

Since rejoining FB I’ve added three other games. One follows a similar pattern to my favorite, but it’s difficult, and turns out to be a game theme I really have never enjoyed or been successful with. When I leave this post that game will also be leaving my playlist.

I also found this nifty Cross-Stitch game, which really isn’t a game at all except that FB does entice players to spend coins and gold on patterns. Let’s call it ‘virtual cross-stitch’ for lack of a better description. Patterns are either purchased with FB money, or players can actually download their own pictures that are then conveniently set into pattern form. Although some autonomy is lost as the color choices are set for you, this game is more of a creative outlet for me. My twisted finger joints will not allow me to cross-stitch in the traditional way anymore so this game gives me the illusion of artistic expression without the pain.

Recently I came across a game themed to all things Jane Austen. I believe it came as a recommendation because cross-stitch is also a theme, and you know how FB likes to find and recommend common threads. This little game is all about creating sentimental art pieces and completing Pride and Prejudice themed word search puzzles to earn ‘Janey’s’ – currency – that can be used freely to purchase goods to decorate cottages and fine manor houses. So again I have a silly creative outlet, but I also get to utilize my interior designer wanna-be skills and create my own authentic, or stylized, versions of Georgian society.

It’s a fun, and sometimes funny, pastime. I attempt to keep to what I believe would be traditional outfitting. Many others who play the game take extravagant liberties by mixing tradition with distinctly modern looking (and often rather outlandish) decor. Who am I to tell others that Big Box store commodities like plastic and metal canisters would likely not have been seen in the manor house kitchen in 1800 . Others – what I am coming to call the ‘hard-core’ Austen group – seem to have immersed themselves into this world a bit more deeply than I might choose. I will stand on the fringes of this group and ponder their ability to live so fully in the past.

My point however, and thus a reference to the title of this post, is that this game does include interaction among it’s participants. Games such as those are ones that I have always stayed away from, especially on a social media platform. It’s too easy for the interactive games to turn, to become everything I never liked about Facebook in general: the lack of respect and civility; the over-arching concept that anonymity inspires the ability to speak without filters or to attack at will.

I am new to this game. I choose to remain on the sidelines mostly, reading discussions and observing and learning. It is a new game, still small, and so the sense of civility and respect may simply be a reflection of that. Perhaps the nature of the games theme, and the overt charm and decorum and manners displayed during Jane’s era help to reflect a sense that FB game players can be decent and respectful. I think you can clearly guess that my focus is not just on FB as a platform for nastiness and rudeness. Civility and respect are decidedly lacking in many arenas these days.

Jane’s society, while not perfect in many ways, did observe some basic elements that seem to be missing in our society. Manners for one, and I’ve always felt that the style of language of that time forced everyone to really listen for the point of the conversation. Here I admit that reading Austen can be a struggle as descriptions and dialogue can be circuitous. But, if you really listen and pay attention, the point comes through, often in a pleasantly biting, but never truly rude manner.

Plus, we can’t forget the practicality of fashion in the world of Jane Austen. I find these styles of dress to be the most unencumbered and sensible… entirely more practical than what was to become popular. Maybe it was easier to remember manners and take part in meaningful dialogue without all those stays and bustles and corsets and buttoned-up-covered up-cinched up garb introduced by Victoria.

nfball
from englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Jane Austen, and simple civility”

  1. If you can find a way for Jane Austen’s manners to be the norm on FB I’ll go back to it, but like you, I found my “friend” experiences on FB to be pointless and hurtful. I’ve never played any sort of interactive game, so your experiences are fascinating to me. Thanks for ‘fessing up about your harmless new time waster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect that FB will continue to be off your radar Ally. It is so very reflective of our society as a whole, or perhaps that’s the other way around – things are a mess no matter how you look at it. As to the JA game, I am a bit overwhelmed with so much conversation after avoiding all that for the last year. It is very polite though…

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  2. love it that you felt free confess your love of that game here! 🙂 While we are on facebook as well, I don’t do the games…nor comment on or post things that stir the pot. it’s more of a way for me to post pictures and keep my finger on the pulse of extended friends and family I would otherwise not have a clue as to what they are doing. Mrs DM and I became big Jane Austen fans Last winter. I tracked down every movie I could find on line (that was free) and watched them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Facebook has it’s place, and can be a good medium if used correctly so I would never tell anyone else not to use it if it works for them. It just became burdensome for me, and uninteresting, and very negative – except for a few sites centered on social activism – and it was time to let it go. I can find the places and words that interest me in blogs or other forums, but dang it…I just couldn’t let go of those games 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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