June 12, 2007


Poster courtesy of moviewallpapers.net.

Welcome to Goat Rope's official Frankenstein Week. That story of hubris and of a creature destroying its creator is a lasting theme. Good thing it never happens in real life, huh?

If this is your first visit, please click on yesterday's post. Today's is about both current events and the creator of the story of the creator-destroying creature. We proceed...

Some kids are born with a pretty much zero chance of having a normal life. Whether that's good or bad is a different question.

Mary Shelley, wife and widow of the poet Percy Shelley and author of Frankenstein (see yesterday's post), was a case in point.

She was the daughter of rebel and pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the radical philosophical anarchist William Godwin. Her mother was said to be the inspiration of William Blake's poem "Mary" of which here is a stanza:

'O, why was I born with a different face?
Why was I not born like this envious race?
Why did Heaven adorn me with bountiful hand,
And then set me down in an envious land?...

Her mother died of the complications of childbirth. Her relationship with her father was complex and that with her stepmother was pretty much right out of the story books. She fell in love with the poet Shelley, who was a fixture in her father's home. Godwin, although a philosophical supporter of the idea of free love, disapproved. The couple eloped but did not immediately wed due Shelley's inconvenient marriage to his first wife Harriet.

Far be it from El Cabrero to over-generalize, but marriages between revolutionary intellectual women and high-strung, indebted, and self-destructive romantic poets are not always the smoothest, although they are seldom the dullest. Their own marriage didn't happen until after Harriet drowned herself and it, like most of her life, could have been the subject of a melodrama.

Speaking of drowning, Percy himself did the same in 1822, leaving Mary a rough road to travel as she struggled to raise their children, promote Percy's legacy as a poet, and continue to write. None of her other works (or Percy's for that matter) came close to the eventual popularity of Frankenstein, which was completed in 1817.

SPEAKING OF CREATURES ON THE LOOSE, economic globalization is having a lot of unanticipated consequences. A recent article from Business Week finds the costs to the US of offshoring jobs is higher than previously believed:

...new evidence suggests that shifting production overseas has inflicted worse damage on the U.S. economy than the numbers show. BusinessWeek has learned of a gaping flaw in the way statistics treat offshoring, with serious economic and political implications. Top government statisticians now acknowledge that the problem exists, and say it could prove to be significant.

The argument is almost as complicated as Mary's life, so I suggest reading the whole thing.

WORTH CHECKING. Inequality, poverty and other economic issues are the focus of this week's NY Times Magazine.


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