The Novels

Sociology 500, a Romance (Second Draft) -- The first book in the Economics 101 Trilogy.
Karel and Dan, former American football teammates and now graduate students, meet fellow graduate students Kristie and Bobbie, and the four form a steady study group.

Economics 101, a Novel (Rough Draft) -- My first sustained attempt at a novel, two-thirds finished in rough draft, and heading a little too far south.
What would you do if you and your study partner, with whom you had been seriously discussing marriage, suddenly found yourselves all alone together on a desert island?

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Sociology 500, a Romance, ch 1 pt 1 -- Introducing Bobbie

TOC Well, let's meet Roberta Whitmer. Bobbie entered the anthropology department office and looked around. Near the receptionis...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sociology 500, a Novel, ch 3 pt 6 -- More Random Dating

Previous



Marie and Karel ate lunch together the next Monday, and others of their friends joined them, too.

A woman I'll call Pixie brought up the dating game culture.

"Karel, can you tell me why women have to try so hard to please the guys?"

Karel smiled at the thought that the woman who had asked this apparently considered him far enough out of her range that she would be willing to ask his opinion on the subject. "I don't actually think it's a good idea."

"What do you mean?"

"A person who is using his or her talents to help others and serve God is attractive."

Another woman, whom we shall call Water Sprite, asked, "If that's so, why don't all of us win the beauty contests?"

"Good question. Why do you think?"

Pixie said, "I think you're just telling us not to bother, 'cause we're ugly."

"Well, I've noticed that beauty contests are often promoted to the parents as a way to teach their daughters self-confidence."

"So?"

Marie was listening rather attentively.

"If they have another way to learn self-confidence, why should they bother?"

"'Cause we're ugly, right?" Pixie retorted.

"I've never seen a person with real self-confidence who was ugly."

"There's a point in that," Marie spoke up. "When you're playing a beautiful person on stage, you tend to become beautiful."

Water Sprite said, "Well, you're beautiful anyway, so how would you know?"

Karel looked at Marie and raised his eyebrows.

She stood up. "I'll be right back."

The conversation went around in circles for a few minutes until she returned. As she sat down, the conversation stopped.

Pixie blurted out, "What happened to your face?"

"What you seem to have seen as a beautiful face was a product of makeup and, well, the confidence that I have in the makeup job."

"But, ...," Water Sprite hesitated, "... well, you aren't ugly without the makeup. Just different."

Karel concurred. "Definitely not ugly. There's a different beauty that shines through without the makeup to cover it up."

It was Marie's turn to be surprised. She demurred.

A male student whom we shall refer to as Thor said, "Well, I'm not going to say you're beautiful, but I think you're attractive."

Marie said, "Thank you. I can accept that as honest."

Karel couldn't resist generalizing, "It's a kind of a negative way to say it, but anyone who thinks you are ugly just doesn't count. You really shouldn't care what they think."

While the others sat and thought about that, Water Sprite added two and two and got three. "So, if you think a girl is beautiful, that's the girl you should marry?"

Marie laughed. "That sounds so, one-way."

Thor came closer to the truth. "Then, if I think a girl is beautiful and she thinks I'm, uhm, good looking, we should get married."

Everybody in the small group laughed.

"Okay, I guess there's more to it than that."

"It could be a good place to start." Karel grinned. "But I don't think I'd ask every good looking girl for a date."

Thor grinned, too. "Too many good-looking girls around. I'd never have time to study."

Laughs, snorts, and jeers greeted that.

Marie suppressed her laughter. "Being able to study and work with a person is also important."

Everyone ate silently for a moment.

Pixie asked, "Do these kinds of things get talked about in your country?"

"Of course. Even though most marriages are arranged, we are still interested in whether or not we will like the person that we marry."

Water Sprite asked, "You said you had an arranged marriage waiting when you go back."

"Yes, I do."

"Can't you just refuse?"

"That would bring shame on my family."

"Isn't an unhappy marriage a matter of shame, too?"

Karel thought they might not know something. "In her country, family relationships are based on principles of chattelry. The master of the house effectively owns all the members of the household."

"Like slaves?"

"My father is not a bad man. He doesn't treat me and my siblings as slaves. He does what he thinks is best for us."

Karel asked with his eyes whether he could voice a question about her feelings, and she said no, he shouldn't, with hers.

"What if you don't go back?" asked Pixie.

Marie just smiled an unconvincing smile, tilted her head, and didn't answer.

On Tuesday, it was just the two of them, and Marie decided to ask about the study group.

"Are you sure it's okay if I sit in on your study group?"

"Of course. Everybody's friendly. If we explain that you want to listen to everyone's natural conversations to study the language, some of them will be claim to be shy. But I'm sure no one will mind."

"What time do you start?"

"Some of my friends and I usually get there early, but the study group starts gathering around six thirty."

"Are you sure they won't mind?"

"It's the library. How could they object to your being there?"

But Marie was worried about whether she would be accepted, and decided she should watch the group for a little while before actually joining it. She would go early and find a place in the stacks to unobtrusively observe the group.

She didn't mention her plan to Karel.



Marie arrived at the study area about five to six and found a place in the stacks where she could stand and read, and watch through the gaps between books.

Bobbie and Kristie came in about six, talking and laughing. When Marie saw them, she suddenly felt shy about her own looks, and wondered whether they were part of Karel's study group.

Karel came in a few minutes later.

"Hey."

"Hey, yourself. What have you got on the questions about IQ measurement?"

"Found a study that basically turns the whole question on its edge. The researcher found a field in which the students with high measured IQs all performed poorly."

"Great."

Books were spread out, and from where she watched Marie recognized that there was something more than just friendship between the three. She caught her breath, and Bobbie heard a sigh and caught sight of her hair disappearing behind books. She whispered something to Kristie and Karel in between comments on their studies.

Karel thought a moment and whispered back. And Bobbie nodded. And their conversation continued.



I suppose I should mention, here, that polygamous marriage in the world of this novel had not been banned by the government as it has been in our world. That is, the Supreme Court of the Union of Independent States had ruled that the Constitution reserved family welfare to the ken of the States, and that attempts to unilaterally impose national laws regulating family welfare on territories with their own established governments would impinge on the Constitutional authority of said territory when the territory applied for statehood. What the Constitution denied the national government relative to states, it must also must deny relative to territories.

Well, the ruling was a bit more detailed, but that was the effect.

So polygamy was a part of the history of the E-P movement. But the first E-P prophet delivered many sermons about abuses in marriages and in family relationships before he was martyred. He specifically directed E-P-ist spouses and parents not to play favorites, if they wanted the blessings of heaven in their homes. He also directed the Church to give women full status with men in their communities, and worked to change the laws of the communities in which Church members lived, to give women the right to vote and hold property independently of men.

The second E-P prophet repeated the warnings, and made sure that women had full status before the law with men in the State of Beehive when it was admitted to the Union.

The third prophet told the members of the Church that there had been too many abuses which seemed to be made worse by polygamy, and directed them to seek better solutions to their social problems. With his support, marriage laws for the State of Beehive were changed. In monogamous marriage, the man and wife shared legal responsibility and authority for the family equally, but when a man took a second wife, his authority under law over each family would be limited. And he would still be fully responsible for the welfare of each family.

(I'm leaving out the details of how that worked. The laws appear counter-intuitive at first, and it would take several pages to explain why. I want to get back to the story.)

That made polygamy less attractive to men, but more attractive to women.

Finally, the fourth prophet received a revelation and transmitted it to the Church, that false traditions about polygamy were destroying the Church from within. No more polygamous marriages would be performed or recognized by the Church without express permission from the prophet himself, and he listed all the usual reasons for polygamous marriages as being insufficient.

This prophet urged the individual stakes and wards to develop programs to support women who needed to leave abusive husbands. He was also able to encourage the members of the state legislature of Beehive to strengthen the legal framework under which women could support themselves and their children independently. And he re-emphasized in his sermons the idea that a monogamous man who properly supported his one family had far more glory in heaven than a polygamous man who abused his spouses and children or failed to provide for them properly.

That mostly put a stop to polygamy within the mainstream Church, but there were a few members who left the Church over the issue, and a few others who secretly continued the practice.



Which long aside might help to explain why Marie was suspicious when she saw how well Karel, Bobbie, and Kristie got along.

For the next five minutes, she listened and snuck peeks through the stacks, and what she saw and heard seemed only to add to her concerns. The ease with which they joked and discussed things, the complete lack of deference which the two women displayed, the intuition which was more an ideal in her home country than a reality but seemed quite real here, and the lack of real heat when the intuition failed were all so far beyond her experience that she could not believe that they could be just friends.

(I don't repeat the conversations she overheard here. Words do nothing to communicate what she was seeing.)

When Dan arrived, Bobbie noticed that she didn't seem to be there any more, and Karel stood and looked around the stacks to find her. But she was gone.

"Do you think it was your new friend from the dorms?"

"Maybe. I hope it wasn't. Maybe she'll come later. I think she'd enjoy our study group.

"Speaking of new friends, Karel, you are officially invited to our ward dance Saturday."

"Oh?"

"Kelly's roommate and fellow club member, Cherise, says she'd be glad to have someone to help her help keep the rhythm going."




On Friday, after the dance class, Piers met Bobbie at their apartment and they went to the International Cinema. The movie was interesting, and about half way through, Piers put his arm around Bobbie's shoulders. She stiffened at first, but after a few minutes, relaxed.

Nothing further happened of interest. Bobbie's shift would start soon, so they talked about the movie as they walked back to the womens' apartment. Bobbie found the conversation agreeable, and agreed to go out with him again.

As Bobbie prepared for her shift at the hospital, Kristie, Michelle, and Jennifer prepared for the ward dance. Joel and some of his roommates came, and they left for the dance at the same time Bobbie left for work.

At the dance, Joel's and Kristie's roommates enjoyed themselves. Joel and Kristie also enjoyed teaching each other new dance steps, and some of the members of the ward tried to copy them. Then they split up to teach others how to do the steps for a dance or two, and then they got back together again.

Both Kristie's roommates and Joel's left early, so Joel walked Kristie home. On the way, Kristie thought he seemed a little down, and thought she should probe a little. "Well, I had fun," she said.

"Yeah. Me too. Thanks for letting me monopolize your time."

"Not at all. You didn't really, and I enjoyed it, anyway."

"Dan and Karel deliberately stayed away."

"Maybe so."

"Weren't you sad they weren't there?"

"It's not like we're going steady or anything."

"But you guys really mesh. It's hard to imagine that you aren't."

"We've only known each other for a month or so."

"Do you think it takes time?"

"To build a real relationship? Yes. Of course."

"How many years do you think it takes?"

"Years? Well, maybe not necessarily years. It depends."

"I've got a friend I've known since we were children. We never went out before my mission, but we worked together on a lot of the committees, and we'd dance at the dances. Now she's my regular partner in the folk dance club. I want to ask her out, but the club rules say we can't."

"Why's that?"

"The club is semi-professional, and if members of the club date each other it can cause problems during performance. And it's easy to forget that dance isn't all there is to life, and assume that, since you dance well together, you could live together well."

"Have you ever let her know how you feel about her?"

"She would never let me close. She thinks she isn't very attractive."

"Very few women can admit to themselves that they are attractive, but that doesn't really tell us anything."

After walking a few minutes in silence, Kristie said, "Well, I suggest you consider sacrificing the club to tell her your feelings.

"I couldn't. She'd insist on being the one to leave."

"Then you need to be patient, and try to find a way to build her confidence until she can agree to let you leave so you can date."

"But what if she doesn't want to date me?"

They were at the door of Kristie and Bobbie's apartment. Kristie stopped and looked at him. "That's a risk you're going to have to take if you want to every know how she feels. Do you have any sisters?"

"Five."

"Do you miss them?"

"No!" Joel looked a little sheepish. "Well, maybe, just a little."

"I'll be your sister at school, okay?"

Joel had to think for a moment, then he said. "Thanks. I think I need someone to talk to."



Karel didn't see Marie again that week, and when he went to watch her play practice on Saturday afternoon, he was intercepted by one of the actors.

"Marie asked us to inform you that you are not welcome here."

Karel thought for a moment, then asked, "Could you tell her I just thought we could be friends?"

"I don't think she cares what you think."

Karel nodded apologetically, said a quiet, "Okay," and left.



That evening, Karel crashed Dan's ward's dance. Of course, since he was invited, he wasn't really crashing. He and Dan met the two women at the women's apartment and walked them to the dance.

Any time the dance flagged, the four of them would get out on the dance floor and start a snowball, and the dance was a success.

On the way back to Kelly and Cherise's apartment, Kelly opened up about her worries.

"Dan, I know it's not fair to ask, but am I pretty?"

Cherise held her piece.

Dan stopped and looked her up and down and gave her a wolf whistle.

Kelly giggled. "Stop that."

And all four laughed.

Cherise asked, "How is it you can do that whistle so well, Dan?"

"Ask Karel. I used to hang around with a wild crowd."

"He did. And if he says you're cute, you're cute."

Kelly blushed.

"See?" Cherise said. "I'm not lying to you."

"Why do guys tease me about my looks?"

"Guys are stupid." Cherise replied.

Dan and Karel both said, "Yep."

Then Dan said, "Karel would tell you that some of the very guys that tease you most about your looks are the very ones that secretly like you."

Karel laughed. "And you never did that, did you?"

Dan mugged a look of fake innocence. "Never!"

Both Kelly and Cherise laughed.

Cherise asked, "Why do guys do that?"

Dan sighed. "Self-doubt. Scared that somebody we like doesn't like us."

Kelly was apparently only half listening, or maybe she just couldn't accept what Dan said. "Why doesn't he like me?"

"Who is this 'he'?" Dan asked.

Kelly looked at Cherise and then looked down at the ground.

Cherise shook her head. "Her dance partner is a friend from home that she has been in love with for years. But she's never had the courage to tell him. I think he likes her, too, but she won't believe me."

"In love?" Karel asked absently.

"Well, considering their history, I'd say it's more than a crush."

"Dance partner. I can see why she would not want to mess that up with questions about who likes whom." Karel was still speaking in the abstract.

Dan reached around and boffed the back of his head.

"Beauty is as beauty does, right Karel?"

"Yeah. But I was talking with someone about that recently, and apparently offended her, so maybe I should keep quiet. Why don't people see the truth about beauty?"

"You're not keeping quiet."

"You're right."

"Anyway, Kelly," Dan continued, "you should trust yourself. This is too important to throw away. Remember the parable about the talents?"

"Love is an important trust from God, too." Karel said.

Cherise stopped and gave the two of them a good look over. "Where do they hide guys like you?"

Dan mumbled. "Don't assume too much. Neither of us is particularly perfect."

As they arrived at the two women's apartment, Cherise said, "Look, Kelly, I'll try to fix it with the club members if you want to ask Joel."

Dan and Karel looked at each other and agreed, without talking, to refrain from asking which Joel.



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[This part is not yet backed up.]



[Chapter 3 part 6 is original to the second draft, and is not found in the first draft.]

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sociology 500, a Novel, ch 3 pt 5 -- Random Dating

Previous

We don't really want to bother with the dating they did with others during the first semester, do we?

We do?

Well, if I tell you about that, there are a few things about the world of this novel that I can't postpone explaining much further.

In this world of our vanities, we talk about "alternate history" fiction and such. In one sense, it is second guessing God to make up such stories.

In another sense, according to Mormon belief, God has made a great number of worlds. (See, for instance, the LDS scripture, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, first chapter.)

Our modern scientists have estimated the number of stars in the billions of billions. Maybe you haven't decided whether you believe there is life elsewhere in the universe, but Mormons have reason from their scripture to believe that a great number of those stars harbor, have harbored, and/or will harbor, planets carrying intelligent life similar to our own in many ways.

Maybe it would be unreasonable to consider that none of those have histories that are similar to our own in any respect. Nonetheless, fantasizing about them is no small conceit.

:)

So, the world of this novel is a little piece of my conceit. I'm playing God.

Just in this novel, okay? I mean, isn't that what authors of fiction do, in a sense -- play God in the little worlds of their novels?

In my conceit, the world of this novel includes some continents, countries, governments, cultures, languages, literature, peoples, etc. that parallel those of our world. (It's a lot easier borrowing from worlds that exist than trying to make your own from scratch. 8-*)

It also includes a few continents, countries, governments, cultures, languages, literature, peoples, etc. which do not parallel those of our world at all. And even where the parallels exist, all of the details differ, of course. Just like each individual person is unique, so is each world.

For instance, Karel's real name happens to mean something like what "Karel" means in our European/American context. And it happens to be pronounced sort-of similarly -- maybe I could Latinize it as "Kurh-ih-lha", or maybe as "Karxla". But without a lot of explanation you would read in incorrectly, either way. I can't even pronounce it right.

As you know, I borrowed names for countries and languages, and I'll have to be a bit more circumspect about that from here on.

I'll be introducing a lot of people, and they need names -- Piers, for example. I could have called him "the guy that offended Kristie at that first dance", but that kind of reference really gets in the way of the story. The actual name does not sound like "Piers" at all. (More like "tsih-luh-nuhk".) There is a connection in meaning, perhaps, but a thin one. I picked a name by literary or aesthetic sense -- mostly, he reminds me of some of the characters the actor Pierce Brosnan has played in movies in our world.

So, you should expect the mapping of names to characters you meet in this story to be rather arbitrary and whimsical.

And I've mentioned religions, already, history, also, in oblique ways. All of the mapping has been more than a little arbitrary. I'll need to clarify some of that as I go, but I'm meandering, and this is getting in the way of the story.

So, with that said, I'll tell you something about how things went during the week or so after Melissa Burns asked them about the temple.




That Friday, our four friends were together in Bobbie and Kristie's apartment with their roommates, Piers, and two of Dan's roommates, playing a game similar to Monopoly.

The board arrangement was similar to Monopoly's, but it included alternate paths to make things a bit more interesting. There was also some similarity on property names -- Corollaries to Boardwalk and Park Place were among the properties. The dice were cubes, of course. Cubes are simple. And there were fines and fortunes cards, etc.

Bobbie's shift that weekend was on Saturday, so they could all play until curfew.

(Curfew? It wasn't strictly enforced, but it gave the landlord a reason to call the police when necessary. And it gave the police a legal reason to take a date or friend who refused to go home down to the station for some cooling-off time and maybe a little quiet discussion with a bishop or other clergy of choice, or with the justice of the peace on duty that night, as appropriate.)

"Oh. Saint Harry's Avenue. I own that road." Piers was only gloating a little. "With two duplexes, it'll be 250 WEU."

WEU are Work Equivalent Units. The Union of Independent States in which this is novel is set had completely decoupled currency from connection to arbitrary scarce minerals, and replaced it with a flat fiat definition of one hour of work getting one hour of pay. I'm not going to tell you how they got it to work, but human nature being what it is, it really didn't make that much difference in the stability of the economy.

"Ouch." Kristie laughed. "How did you jinx these dice?" she asked as she passed him the play money.

"Special secret. I hypnotize your hands while you aren't looking."

General laughter and complaining.

A few plays later, Piers landed on New Yancy Boulevard, which Bobbie owned and had placed a hotel on.

"Well, I seem to still be mesmerized," he joked.

Nervous laughter.

Bobbie and Kristie shook their heads. Dan and Karel rolled their eyes. Wendy bit her lip and looked down.

Michelle said, "Nice line, if your aim's a bit off."

Piers dropped his head and chuckled in chagrin. Then he shook his head and looked back up. "I guess I'm really out of my league, here."

Joy dead-panned, "No, we just have four people from Venus playing with us."

For some reason, they called the planet one closer to their sun by the name of one of their mythological goddesses of love, so "Venus" works okay here.

Everyone laughed and the game went on.

Later on, Wendy mentioned that there was a new movie at the International Cinema. Piers picked up on that, although not in the way Wendy had hoped.

"It's a Spanish movie." Well, it was from the country we've been calling Spain. "It's a drama about a matador who was successful in fighting bulls, but unlucky in love until a bull gored him."

Michelle said, "Ouch."

Jennifer asked, "Then what?"

Piers continued, "I haven't seen it, that was just what the synopsis had to say. But the school's ad doesn't mention any explicit love scenes to be careful of."

Nervous silence. Then Bobbie said, "Well, I'm glad the censorship committee won't have to burn any brain cells overtime on it."

"Do you think you'd be interested, Bobbie?"

"Let me think about it. Anyone else interested?"

Wendy was, but she thought patience might be the more salient maneuver and kept her silence. Everyone else said they were busy.


Joy asked, referring to the movie that Bobbie and Karel had gone with Piers to see, "Why did they allow that movie, uncut?"

Jennifer answered. "There were several professors who planned to use it in their classes, and they felt that it would not serve the purpose with the explicit scenes cut out. The nudity really wasn't all that prominent, anyway."

Karel said, "It's not the nudity, it's what was portrayed. I'll agree that the violence inherent in prostitution was clearly portrayed, for people reasonably sensitive to it. It's just that so many people still don't realize that using passion against people that way is violent, and won't see it even when it is clearly portrayed."

Bobbie added, "And if you come right out and say, 'This is violence!' many critics complain about the producer hitting the audience over the head."

That required a bit of thought on everyone's part before the game continued.

The game broke up about midnight, and as they cleared things away, Bobbie quietly asked Karel, Dan, and Kristie if they would mind if she went with Piers. She had thought it out and prayed about it and felt God had said either way would be okay. They all said they agreed with God, it was up to her.

As Piers turned to the door, she said, "Oh, Piers, I didn't answer you about next Friday."

Piers stopped. "Never mind, it's out of my place to ask."

"No. That's okay. I'll go."

"You're not just being charitable?"

"That kind of charity isn't charity." She tilted her head and asked, very slightly pointedly, "But it's not like you're planning on making a pass at me, now, is it?"

Piers chuckled in chagrin again. "No. I think I've repented of that."



Dan was on the activities committee for his ward, which was meeting the next day to make final plans for a ward dance on the next Saturday.

A ward, by the way, is a congregation. I'm borrowing again from the terminology of our world. It's a reasonable translation, anyway, the word in the world of this novel being also used to indicate a subdivision of a city or a subsection of a hospital (or even a person someone must take responsibility for).

Ordinary wards in the world and time of this novel would have had from three to eight hundred members. But their student wards numbered between one and two hundred student members of the Church.

But that's not what we were going to talk about. We were going to talk about the activities committee meeting that Saturday afternoon, and in particular one of the ward sisters on the committee we shall call "Kelly". (Did I mention that members of a ward tended to call each other brother and sister? The ward is all one big family.)

After the meeting, Kelly stopped Dan and asked, "I hear you and some of your friends are taking ballroom dance."

"Oh, yeah. Non-credit. We like to dance, we're just taking it for fun."

"Do you like folk dance, too?"

"Oh, sure. Folk is much more interesting. I'm going to suggest that we take folk dance next semester."

"So why do you like dance?"

"One of my friends, my football buddy, introduced me to dance. He said dance was a lot like the plays we use in games, where you have set places to go and set patterns to get through."

"Really? Do you think so, too?"

"Yeah. Learning the dance steps and routines actually helped me remember the plays better. Helped my coordination on the field. You're grilling me about dance."

"I'm in the folk dance club. Dance is pretty much my favorite thing to do."

"Do you like ballroom, too?"

"I know some. Could we go through some dances before the dance next Saturday? A lot of the ward is shy and won't dance even when they come. It would help if we could lead out."


"Nothing better for getting people dancing than showing them how. I've got time now, how about you?"

"Yeah, I've got an hour. Let's go find an open studio."

So Dan and Kelly practiced a bit of ballroom that afternoon and made a few more plans for their own part in the dance on the next Saturday.



Karel was in the lunch line on Saturday afternoon and noticed a particular student behind him again. He had noticed her behind him in line three times that week, but their eyes had never met, and they had not said hello or anything.

From her features, she might have been from the country I'm equating with Japan. Anyway, if you saw her, you might get the impression she was oriental or Latina.

Since she was behind him again, he thought he might try talking with her in the language that he guessed was her mother tongue. (You won't mind if I substitute Japanese here for effect?)

「この時間帯はよく来ますね。」 ("Kono jikan-tai wa yoku kimasu ne." => "You come here regularly at this time, don't you?")

She started, looked carefully at Karel, then laughed lightly. 「びっくりしました。私の国の言葉がしゃべれましたか。」 ("Bikkuri shimashita. Watashi no kuni no kotoba ga shaberemashita ka." => "This is a surprise. You speak the language of my country!")

「少しだけです。一年ぐらい伝道しました。」 ("Sukoshi dake desu. Ichi-nen gurai dendō shimashita." => "Just a little bit. I was a missionary there for about a year.")

「一年だけに綺麗にしゃべれますね。」 ("Ichi nen dake ni kirei ni shaberemasu ne." => "For only a year, you speak well.")

「いやいや、耳障りでしょう。」 ("Iya iya, mimi-zawari deshou." => "Not really, I'm sure it sounds pretty bad.")

「とんでもございません。」 ("Tonde mo gozaimasen." => "Not at all.") She smiled appreciatively.「そのどこにいらしゃいました?」 ("Sono doko ni irashaimashita?" => "Where did you stay?")

Karel named a city in the southern part of the main island and another in the center, and a small town in a prefecture on a major southern island.

She said she was from a city in the north of the main island, and introduced herself. 「真理恵と言います。」 ("Marie to iimasu." => I am called "Marie.")

That would be "Ma-ri-eh" if it were really Japanese, but, as I say, it is not. In fact, the pronunciation was quite different. (Something like "Sien-hluh-ki".) And the ideographic characters used in her country are not, of course, the Chinese pseudo-ideographic characters we are somewhat familiar with, although they appear similar in construction. But the meanings of the characters with which I have written her name are similar -- "graced with truth and reason".

「Karel です。」 ("Karel desu." => "I am Karel.")

I suppose that's enough for effect.

Karel waved her ahead at the cash register. After she paid for her food, she waited for him. So he indicated some open tables near the windows with his free hand and suggested, 「窓際に座ると思いましたが、…」 ("Mado-giwa ni suwaru to omoimashita ga, ..." => I thought I'd sit by a window, ...")

She replied, 「ご一緒とさせて頂きます。」 ("Go-issho to sasete itadakimasu. => "I'll let you cause me to join you." Or, really, "I'll join you."

When they sat down, she shifted to the language more commonly spoken, the one we have been pretending is English. "So, what is your major?"

"I'm studying anthropology in the PhD program."

"I'm impressed."

"I've been working as an engineer, but we had management problems. So I want to be able to explain to managers why they are wrong."

"Oh! That's quite ambitious. Wouldn't a management program be better?"

"I've looked at management programs, and I don't like what I see. It's kind of new territory, and all of the current theory seems to be oriented towards top-down management."

"Top-down?"

"Where the guys at the top make all the decisions. I know that's the theory in your country, but it only works their when the guys at the top listen to the people at the bottom, and vice-versa."

"How can a manager become a manager without learning to listen?"

"It happens in this country all the time. What're you studying?"

"I'm a graduate student in literature and drama."

"How did you get into that?"

"I took my undergraduate degree in literature back home. While I was working on that, I was a member of the drama club, and I wrote a little play. My club performed it twice, and then someone suggested I re-write it in English."

"So you were pretty good with English then, too?"

"Not really. Is my English okay?"

"Just fine."

"When I went looking for someone who could help me with the English, I met the missionaries."

"I've heard that story before. Taught a bit of English myself."

"My parents didn't want me to join the Church, but I just knew it was right. Anyway, I got a short-term job and studied English while I saved money so I could come here and learn real, vernacular English."

"How's it coming?"

"You tell me. Would you like to read my play? Or come watch us practice?"

"Sure."

So Karel spent Saturday afternoon with Marie and the students that were preparing to perform her play. When the practice time ended, they returned to the dorms together, talking as they walked.

"I know it's a kind of ulterior motive, but Church helps me a lot with my English."

"Definitely. There's no problem with that."

"But I'd like to find more opportunities to absorb non-church English. Do you have any ideas?"

"A bunch of my friends have a study group going, and you could sit in and listen. Are you free Tuesday and Thursday evenings?"

"What time?"

"It ends up being pretty much from dinner until the library closes."

"Can I join you?"

"I don't think anyone will mind."




OHU student wards have something called student families, intended as a partial substitute for the families that the single students leave behind. The grouping is rather arbitrary, but they are asked to befriend each other and take an hour or so out of each week, preferably on Monday evenings, to get together to talk a little about the gospel and have a little fun together.

(Those familiar with BYU will recognize this as essentially the family home evening groups.)

These groups are not enforced, of course, just encouraged. Force would destroy the entire meaning of it. But they are strongly encouraged.

One of Kristie and Bobbie's student family brothers was a man we shall call Joel. (No, this is not a proxy for me. At least, I don't think it is.)

This particular Monday, during home evening, he overheard Jennifer and Michelle asking Bobbie and Kristie what they had learned at the last week's ballroom dance class. So he decided to ask them about it.

"So, you two are taking ballroom dance."

"Yes," Kristie replied, "We have a couple of really cool partners, and the class is pretty fun."

"Do you like to dance?"

"Definitely. It's wonderful. And Bobbie's got her masters in dance."

"Wow. I didn't know that. What kind?"

"I focused mostly on modern dance, which is a bit different from ballroom."


"Modern dance is kind of like ballet, isn't it?"

"Yes and no. We borrow from anything, including the martial arts. It's mostly about using the body to move through space, and to express yourself."

Yes, they have all these forms of dance in the world of this novel.

"What do you think of folk dance?"

Kristie said, "It looks hard, but I'd like to try it sometime."

And Bobbie said, "My compositions often borrow from folk. I think folk is much more interesting than Ballroom dance. Ballroom is way too formal, way too stiff."

"You didn't like ballroom?" Kristie was surprised.

"Oh, of course I enjoy ballroom, but I prefer folk."

"I'm on the folk dance team, myself."

"Oh! And I didn't know that." Bobbie laughed.

"Are you two going to the ward dance on Friday?"

"Just me." Kristie replied. "And Jennifer and Michelle, too, I think. You'll go, won't you, Jennifer?"

"I think so. You're not going, Bobbie?"

"I'm on duty Friday night at the hospital."




This is getting a little long for the blog system. I'll tell you more in the next part.

Previous TOC Next



[Backup and edit history here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/backup-soc500-03-05-random-dating.html.]



[Chapter 3 part 5 is original to the second draft, and is not found in the first draft.]

Backup: Sociology 500, a Novel, ch 3 pt 5 -- Random Dating


[JMR201702251203: backup of http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/soc500-03-05-random-dating.html.]
Previous

We don't really want to bother with the dating they did with others during the first semester, do we?

We do?

Well, if I tell you about that, there are a few things about the world of this novel that I can't postpone explaining much further.

In this world of our vanities, we talk about "alternate history" fiction and such. In one sense, it is second guessing God to make up such stories.

In another sense, according to Mormon belief, God has made a great number of worlds. (See, for instance, the LDS scripture, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, first chapter.)

Our modern scientists have estimated the number of stars in the billions of billions. Maybe you haven't decided whether you believe there is life elsewhere in the universe, but Mormons have reason from their scripture to believe that a great number of those stars harbor, have harbored, and/or will harbor, planets carrying intelligent life similar to our own in many ways.

Maybe it would be unreasonable to consider that none of those have histories that are similar to our own in any respect. Nonetheless, fantasizing about them is no small conceit.

:)

So, the world of this novel is a little piece of my conceit. I'm playing God.

Just in this novel, okay? I mean, isn't that what authors of fiction do, in a sense -- play God in the little worlds of their novels?

In my conceit, the world of this novel includes some continents, countries, governments, cultures, languages, literature, peoples, etc. that parallel those of our world. (It's a lot easier borrowing from worlds that exist than trying to make your own from scratch. 8-*)

It also includes a few continents, countries, governments, cultures, languages, literature, peoples, etc. which do not parallel those of our world at all. And even where the parallels exist, all of the details differ, of course. Just like each individual person is unique, so is each world.

For instance, Karel's real name happens to mean something like what "Karel" means in our European/American context. And it happens to be pronounced sort-of similarly -- maybe I could Latinize it as "Kurh-ih-lha", or maybe as "Karxla". But without a lot of explanation you would read in incorrectly, either way. I can't even pronounce it right.

As you know, I borrowed names for countries and languages, and I'll have to be a bit more circumspect about that from here on.

I'll be introducing a lot of people, and they need names -- Piers, for example. I could have called him "the guy that offended Kristie at that first dance", but that kind of reference really gets in the way of the story. The actual name does not sound like "Piers" at all. (More like "tsih-luh-nuhk".) There is a connection in meaning, perhaps, but a thin one. I picked a name by literary or aesthetic sense -- mostly, he reminds me of some of the characters the actor Pierce Brosnan has played in movies in our world.

So, you should expect the mapping of names to characters you meet in this story to be rather arbitrary and whimsical.

And I've mentioned religions, already, history, also, in oblique ways. All of the mapping has been more than a little arbitrary. I'll need to clarify some of that as I go, but I'm meandering, and this is getting in the way of the story.

So, with that said, I'll tell you something about how things went during the week or so after Melissa Burns asked them about the temple.



That Friday, our four friends were together in Bobbie and Kristie's apartment with their roommates, Piers, and two of Dan's roommates, playing a game similar to Monopoly.

The board arrangement was similar to Monopoly's, but it included alternate paths to make things a bit more interesting. There was also some similarity on property names -- Corollaries to Boardwalk and Park Place were among the properties. The dice were cubes, of course. Cubes are simple. And there were fines and fortunes cards, etc.

Bobbie's shift that weekend was on Saturday, so they could all play until curfew.

(Curfew? It wasn't strictly enforced, but it gave the landlord a reason to call the police when necessary. And it gave the police a legal reason to take a date or friend who refused to go home down to the station for some cooling-off time and maybe a little quiet discussion with a bishop or other clergy of choice, or with the justice of the peace on duty that night, as appropriate.)

"Oh. Saint Harry's Avenue. I own that road." Piers was only gloating a little. "With two duplexes, it'll be 250 WEU."

WEU are Work Equivalent Units. The Union of Independent States in which this is novel is set had completely decoupled currency from connection to arbitrary scarce minerals, and replaced it with a flat fiat definition of one hour of work getting one hour of pay. I'm not going to tell you how they got it to work, but human nature being what it is, it really didn't make that much difference in the stability of the economy.

"Ouch." Kristie laughed. "How did you jinx these dice?" she asked as she passed him the play money.

"Special secret. I hypnotize your hands while you aren't looking."

General laughter and complaining.

A few plays later, Piers landed on New Yancy Boulevard, which Bobbie owned and had placed a hotel on.

"Well, I seem to still be mesmerized," he joked.

Nervous laughter.

Bobbie and Kristie shook their heads. Dan and Karel rolled their eyes. Wendy bit her lip and looked down.

Michelle said, "Nice line, if your aim's a bit off."

Piers dropped his head and chuckled in chagrin. Then he shook his head and looked back up. "I guess I'm really out of my league, here."

Joy dead-panned, "No, we just have four people from Venus playing with us."

For some reason, they called the planet one closer to their sun by the name of one of their mythological goddesses of love, so "Venus" works okay here.

Everyone laughed and the game went on.

Later on, Wendy mentioned that there was a new movie at the International Cinema. Piers picked up on that, although not in the way Wendy had hoped.

"It's a Spanish movie." Well, it was from the country we've been calling Spain. "It's a drama about a matador who was successful in fighting bulls, but unlucky in love until a bull gored him."

Michelle said, "Ouch."

Jennifer asked, "Then what?"

Piers continued, "I haven't seen it, that was just what the synopsis had to say. But the school's ad doesn't mention any explicit love scenes to be careful of."

Nervous silence. Then Bobbie said, "Well, I'm glad the censorship committee won't have to burn any brain cells overtime on it."

"Do you think you'd be interested, Bobbie?"

"Let me think about it. Anyone else interested?"

Wendy was, but she thought patience might be the more salient maneuver and kept her silence. Everyone else said they were busy.

Joy asked, referring to the movie that Bobbie and Karel had gone with Piers to see, "Why did they allow that movie, uncut?"

Jennifer answered. "There were several professors who planned to use it in their classes, and they felt that it would not serve the purpose with the explicit scenes cut out. The nudity really wasn't all that prominent, anyway."

Karel said, "It's not the nudity, it's what was portrayed. I'll agree that the violence inherent in prostitution was clearly portrayed, for people reasonably sensitive to it. It's just that so many people still don't realize that using passion against people that way is violent, and won't see it even when it is clearly portrayed."

Bobbie added, "And if you come right out and say, 'This is violence!' many critics complain about the producer hitting the audience over the head."

That required a bit of thought on everyone's part before the game continued.

The game broke up about midnight, and as they cleared things away, Bobbie quietly asked Karel, Dan, and Kristie if they would mind if she went with Piers. She had thought it out and prayed about it and felt God had said either way would be okay. They all said they agreed with God, it was up to her.

As Piers turned to the door, she said, "Oh, Piers, I didn't answer you about next Friday."

Piers stopped. "Never mind, it's out of my place to ask."

"No. That's okay. I'll go."

"You're not just being charitable?"

"That kind of charity isn't charity." She tilted her head and asked, very slightly pointedly, "But it's not like you're planning on making a pass at me, now, is it?"

Piers chuckled in chagrin again. "No. I think I've repented of that."



Dan was on the activities committee for his ward, which was meeting the next day to make final plans for a ward dance on the next Saturday.

A ward, by the way, is a congregation. I'm borrowing again from the terminology of our world. It's a reasonable translation, anyway, the word in the world of this novel being also used to indicate a subdivision of a city or a subsection of a hospital (or even a person someone must take responsibility for).

Ordinary wards in the world and time of this novel would have had from three to eight hundred members. But their student wards numbered between one and two hundred student members of the Church.

But that's not what we were going to talk about. We were going to talk about the activities committee meeting that Saturday afternoon, and in particular one of the ward sisters on the committee we shall call "Kelly". (Did I mention that members of a ward tended to call each other brother and sister? The ward is all one big family.)

After the meeting, Kelly stopped Dan and asked, "I hear you and some of your friends are taking ballroom dance."

"Oh, yeah. Non-credit. We like to dance, we're just taking it for fun."

"Do you like folk dance, too?"

"Oh, sure. Folk is much more interesting. I'm going to suggest that we take folk dance next semester."

"So why do you like dance?"

"One of my friends, my football buddy, introduced me to dance. He said dance was a lot like the plays we use in games, where you have set places to go and set patterns to get through."

"Really? Do you think so, too?"

"Yeah. Learning the dance steps and routines actually helped me remember the plays better. Helped my coordination on the field. You're grilling me about dance."

"I'm in the folk dance club. Dance is pretty much my favorite thing to do."

"Do you like ballroom, too?"

"I know some. Could we go through some dances before the dance next Saturday? A lot of the ward is shy and won't dance even when they come. It would help if we could lead out."

"Nothing better for getting people dancing than showing them how. I've got time now, how about you?"

"Yeah, I've got an hour. Let's go find an open studio."

So Dan and Kelly practiced a bit of ballroom that afternoon and made a few more plans for their own part in the dance on the next Saturday.



Karel was in the lunch line on Saturday afternoon and noticed a particular student behind him again. He had noticed her behind him in line three times that week, but their eyes had never met, and they had not said hello or anything.

From her features, she might have been from the country I'm equating with Japan. Anyway, if you saw her, you might get the impression she was oriental or Latina.

Since she was behind him again, he thought he might try talking with her in the language that he guessed was her mother tongue. (You won't mind if I substitute Japanese here for effect?)

「この時間帯はよく来ますね。」 ("Kono jikan-tai wa yoku kimasu ne." => "You come here regularly at this time, don't you?")

She started, looked carefully at Karel, then laughed lightly. 「びっくりしました。私の国の言葉がしゃべれましたか。」 ("Bikkuri shimashita. Watashi no kuni no kotoba ga shaberemashita ka." => "This is a surprise. You speak the language of my country!")

「少しだけです。一年ぐらい伝道しました。」 ("Sukoshi dake desu. Ichi-nen gurai dendō shimashita." => "Just a little bit. I was a missionary there for about a year.")

「一年だけに綺麗にしゃべれますね。」 ("Ichi nen dake ni kirei ni shaberemasu ne." => "For only a year, you speak well.")

「いやいや、耳障りでしょう。」 ("Iya iya, mimi-zawari deshou." => "Not really, I'm sure it sounds pretty bad.")

「とんでもございません。」 ("Tonde mo gozaimasen." => "Not at all.") She smiled appreciatively.「そのどこにいらしゃいました?」 ("Sono doko ni irashaimashita?" => "Where did you stay?")

Karel named a city in the southern part of the main island and another in the center, and a small town in a prefecture on a major southern island.

She said she was from a city in the north of the main island, and introduced herself. 「真理恵と言います。」 ("Marie to iimasu." => I am called "Marie.")

That would be "Ma-ri-eh" if it were really Japanese, but, as I say, it is not. In fact, the pronunciation was quite different. (Something like "Sien-hluh-ki".) And the ideographic characters used in her country are not, of course, the Chinese pseudo-ideographic characters we are somewhat familiar with, although they appear similar in construction. But the meanings of the characters with which I have written her name are similar -- "graced with truth and reason".

「Karel です。」 ("Karel desu." => "I am Karel.")

I suppose that's enough for effect.

Karel waved her ahead at the cash register. After she paid for her food, she waited for him. So he indicated some open tables near the windows with his free hand and suggested, 「窓際に座ると思いましたが、…」 ("Mado-giwa ni suwaru to omoimashita ga, ..." => I thought I'd sit by a window, ...")

She replied, 「ご一緒とさせて頂きます。」 ("Go-issho to sasete itadakimasu. => "I'll let you cause me to join you." Or, really, "I'll join you."

When they sat down, she shifted to the language more commonly spoken, the one we have been pretending is English. "So, what is your major?"

"I'm studying anthropology in the PhD program."

"I'm impressed."

"I've been working as an engineer, but we had management problems. So I want to be able to explain to managers why they are wrong."

"Oh! That's quite ambitious. Wouldn't a management program be better?"

"I've looked at management programs, and I don't like what I see. It's kind of new territory, and all of the current theory seems to be oriented towards top-down management."

"Top-down?"

"Where the guys at the top make all the decisions. I know that's the theory in your country, but it only works their when the guys at the top listen to the people at the bottom, and vice-versa."

"How can a manager become a manager without learning to listen?"

"It happens in this country all the time. What're you studying?"

"I'm a graduate student in literature and drama."

"How did you get into that?"

"I took my undergraduate degree in literature back home. While I was working on that, I was a member of the drama club, and I wrote a little play. My club performed it twice, and then someone suggested I re-write it in English."

"So you were pretty good with English then, too?"

"Not really. Is my English okay?"

"Just fine."

"When I went looking for someone who could help me with the English, I met the missionaries."

"I've heard that story before. Taught a bit of English myself."

"My parents didn't want me to join the Church, but I just knew it was right. Anyway, I got a short-term job and studied English while I saved money so I could come here and learn real, vernacular English."

"How's it coming?"

"You tell me. Would you like to read my play? Or come watch us practice?"

"Sure."

So Karel spent Saturday afternoon with Marie and the students that were preparing to perform her play. When the practice time ended, they returned to the dorms together, talking as they walked.

"I know it's a kind of ulterior motive, but Church helps me a lot with my English."

"Definitely. There's no problem with that."

"But I'd like to find more opportunities to absorb non-church English. Do you have any ideas?"

"A bunch of my friends have a study group going, and you could sit in and listen. Are you free Tuesday and Thursday evenings?"

"What time?"

"It ends up being pretty much from dinner until the library closes."

"Can I join you?"

"I don't think anyone will mind."



OHU student wards have something called student families, intended as a partial substitute for the families that the single students leave behind. The grouping is rather arbitrary, but they are asked to befriend each other and take an hour or so out of each week, preferably on Monday evenings, to get together to talk a little about the gospel and have a little fun together.

(Those familiar with BYU will recognize this as essentially the family home evening groups.)

These groups are not enforced, of course, just encouraged. Force would destroy the entire meaning of it. But they are strongly encouraged.

One of Kristie and Bobbie's student family brothers was a man we shall call Joel. (No, this is not a proxy for me. At least, I don't think it is.)

This particular Monday, during home evening, he overheard Jennifer and Michelle asking Bobbie and Kristie what they had learned at the last week's ballroom dance class. So he decided to ask them about it.

"So, you two are taking ballroom dance."

"Yes," Kristie replied, "We have a couple of really cool partners, and the class is pretty fun."

"Do you like to dance?"

"Definitely. It's wonderful. And Bobbie's got her masters in dance."

"Wow. I didn't know that. What kind?"

"I focused mostly on modern dance, which is a bit different from ballroom."

"Modern dance is kind of like ballet, isn't it?"

"Yes and no. We borrow from anything, including the martial arts. It's mostly about using the body to move through space, and to express yourself."

Yes, they have all these forms of dance in the world of this novel.

"What do you think of folk dance?"

Kristie said, "It looks hard, but I'd like to try it sometime."

And Bobbie said, "My compositions often borrow from folk. I think folk is much more interesting than Ballroom dance. Ballroom is way too formal, way too stiff."

"You didn't like ballroom?" Kristie was surprised.

"Oh, of course I enjoy ballroom, but I prefer folk."

"I'm on the folk dance team, myself."

"Oh! And I didn't know that." Bobbie laughed.

"Are you two going to the ward dance on Friday?"

"Just me." Kristie replied. "And Jennifer and Michelle, too, I think. You'll go, won't you, Jennifer?"

"I think so. You're not going, Bobbie?"

"I'm on duty Friday night at the hospital."



This is getting a little long for the blog system. I'll tell you more in the next part.

Previous TOC Next



[Backup and edit history here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/backup-soc500-03-05-random-dating.html.]



[Chapter 3 part 5 is original to the second draft, and is not found in the first draft.]
[JMR201702251203: end-backup]
[JMR201702250622: pre-published-work]
Previous

We don't really want to bother with the dating they did with others during the first semester, do we?

We do?

Well, if I talk about that, I'm going to have to explain a little more about the world of this novel. But I guess I'll have to do that eventually, anyway.

In this world of our vanities, we talk about "alternate history" fiction and such. In one sense, it is second guessing God to make up such stories.

In another sense, according to Mormon belief, God has made a great number of worlds. (See, for instance, the LDS scripture, Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, first chapter.)

Our modern scientists have estimated the number of stars in the billions of billions. Maybe you haven't decided whether you believe there is life elsewhere in the universe, but Mormons have reason from their scripture to believe that a great number of those stars harbor, have harbored, and/or will harbor, planets carrying intelligent life similar to our own in many ways.

Maybe it would be unreasonable to consider that none of those have histories that are similar to our own in any respect. Nonetheless, fantasizing about them is no small conceit.

:)

So, the world of this novel is a little piece of my conceit. I'm playing God.

Just in this novel, okay? I mean, isn't that what authors of fiction do, in a sense -- play God in the little worlds of their novels?

In my conceit, the world of this novel includes some continents, countries, governments, cultures, languages, literature, peoples, etc. that parallel those of our world. It's a lot easier borrowing from worlds that exist than trying to make your own from scratch. 8-*

It also includes some of all of that which do not parallel our world at all. And even those things that parallel our world are different in detail, of course.

For instance, Karel's real name happens to mean something like "Karel" means in our European/American context. And it happens to be pronounced sort-of similarly -- maybe I could Latinize it as "Kurh-ih-lha", or maybe I could Latinize it as "Karxla". But without a lot of explanation you would read in incorrectly, either way. I can't even pronounce it right.

I'll be introducing a lot of people, and they need names -- Piers, for example. I could have called him "the guy that offended Kristie at that first dance", but that kind of reference really gets in the way of the story. The actual name does not sound like "Piers" at all. There is a connection in meaning, perhaps, but a thin one. I picked a name by literary or aesthetic sense -- mostly, he reminds me of some of the characters the actor Pierce Brosnan has played in movies in our world.

So, expect the mapping of names to characters you meet in this story to be rather arbitrary and whimsical.

I've mentioned countries and languages and religions, already. History, also, in oblique ways. All of the mapping has been more than a little arbitrary. I'll need to clarify some of that as I go, but I'm meandering, and this is getting in the way of the story.

I guess I'll tell you about how things went the week after Melissa Burns asked them about the temple.



OHU student wards have something called student families, intended as a partial substitute for the families that the single students leave behind. The grouping is rather arbitrary, but they are asked to befriend each other and take an hour or so out of each week, preferably on Monday evenings, to get together to talk a little about the gospel and have a little recreation.

(Those familiar with BYU will recognize this as essentially the family home evening groups.)

These groups are not enforced, of course, just encouraged. Force would destroy the entire meaning of it. But they are strongly encouraged.

One of Kristie and Bobbie's student family brothers was a man we shall call Joel. (No, this is not a proxy for me. I was not as cool as he was.)

This particular Monday, during the student family home evening meeting, he overheard Jennifer asking Bobbie and Kristie what they had learned at the last week's ballroom dance class.

"So you two are taking ballroom dance."
"Yes."

"Do you like to dance?"

"Bobbie's got her masters in dance."

"Wow. I didn't know that. What kind?"

"I focused mostly on modern dance, which is a bit different from either ballroom or folk."

Yes, they had all these forms of dance in their world.

"Modern dance is kind of like ballet, isn't it?"

"Yes and no. We borrow from anything, including the martial arts."

"What do you think of folk dance?"

Kristie said, "It looks hard, but I'd like to try it sometime."

And Bobbie said, "My compositions often borrow from folk. I think folk is much more interesting than Ballroom dance. Ballroom is way too formal, way too stiff."

"You don't like ballroom?" Kristie was surprised.

"Oh, I enjoy ballroom, but I prefer folk."

"Are you two going to the ward dance on Friday?"

"Just me." Kristie replied. "And Jennifer, too, I think. You'll go, won't you, Jennifer?"

"I think so. You're not going, Bobbie?"

"I'm on duty Friday night at the hospital."

And so it was that Kristie and Joel spend much of Friday evening dancing with each other.

Piers, he had not exactly given up on dating Bobbie, yet. Quite the opposite. Even though Wendy had been careful to let him know she would welcome an invitation for a date from him, he was focused on Bobbie.

Bobbie had mixed feelings about his attentions, but agreed to go to another movie, just the two of them, on Friday. This movie was from the country I have been calling Spain. It was a drama about a matador who was successful in fighting bulls, but unlucky in love until a bull gored him. We won't comment much on the film itself, except to note that there were no explicit sex scenes.

There wasn't much time to talk between the end of the movie and Bobbie's shift at the hospital. But Bobbie found the conversation agreeable, and Piers behaved himself well, so she agreed to go to another movie with him the next Friday.



Karel was neither particularly aloof nor particularly forward in the dorms or the cafeteria. He tended to greet people if their eyes met his, and would talk about the weather and other inconsequentials if it seemed appropriate, if people seemed to want to talk. And when people didn't seem to want to talk, he might not say anything at all, might not even nod.

So he often found himself eating with someone he had just met in the cafeteria line. Or he would eat by himself and study. Or he might sit down by himself and be joined by someone he had previously met.

He was fine by himself and fine with having others around him. Friendly, but not garrulous. As we know, he had played football, and he still looked like a football player. Many women found him more than just good-looking.

He wasn't the oldest resident of the men's halls, but he was the oldest in his student ward.

A ward, by the way, is a congregation. (I'm borrowing again from the terminology of our world. It's a reasonable translation, anyway, the word in the world of this novel being also used to indicate a subdivision of a city or a subsection of a hospital, or even a person someone must take responsibility for.)

Ordinary wards in the world and time of this novel would have had from three to eight hundred members. But their student wards numbered between one and two hundred student members of the Church.

But that's not what we were talking about.

We were talking about what the residents of the women's halls of the dorms saw when they looked at Karel. Undergraduate women students mostly viewed him as a bit too old to be personally interested in. But he was still interesting, and they didn't mind talking with him at all.

Many of the graduate women students, on the other hand, took notice of him, and some had marked him out as someone to try to get to know.

One, in particular, had appeared behind him in line three days out of the last five. From her features, she might have been from the country I'm equating with Japan. If you saw her, you might get the impression she was oriental, or maybe Latina.

Karel had not as yet gone out of his way to greet her, and she had not gone out of her way to greet him, but he had been aware that she was behind him.

Today she was behind him again, and he thought he might try talking with her in the language that he guessed was her mother tongue. (You won't mind if I substitute Japanese here for effect?)

「この時間帯はよく来ますね。」 ("Kono jikan-tai wa yoku kimasu ne." => "You come here regularly at this time, don't you?")

She started, looked carefully at Karel, then laughed lightly. 「びっくりしました。私の国の言葉がしゃべれましたか。」 ("Bikkuri shimashita. Watashi no kuni no kotoba ga shaberemashita ka." => "This is a surprise. You speak the language of my country!")

「少しだけです。一年ぐらい伝道しました。」 ("Sukoshi dake desu. Ichi-nen gurai dendō shimashita." => "Just a little bit. I was a missionary there for about a year.")

「一年だけに綺麗にしゃべれますね。」 ("Ichi nen dake ni kirei ni shaberemasu ne." => "For only a year, you speak well.")

「いやいや、耳障りでしょう。」 ("Iya iya, mimi-zawari deshou." => "No, really, I'm sure it sounds pretty bad.")

「と んでもございません。」 ("Tonde mo gozaimasen." => "Not at all.") She smiled appreciatively.「そのどこにいらしゃいました?」 ("Sono doko ni irashaimashita?" => "Where did you stay?")

Karel named a city in the southern part of the main island and another in the center, and a small town in a prefecture on the major south island.

She said she was from a city in the north of the main island, and introduced herself. 「真理恵と言います。」 ("Marie to iimasu." I am called "Marie.")

That would be "Ma-ri-eh" if it were really Japanese, but, as I say, it is not. In fact, the pronunciation was quite different. And the ideographic characters used in her country are not, of course, the Chinese pseudo-ideographic characters we are somewhat familiar with, although they appear similar in construction. But the meanings of the characters with which I have written her name are similar -- "graced with truth and reason".

「Karel です。」 ("Karel desu." => "I am Karel.")

I suppose that's enough for effect.

Karel paid for his food and politely waited for her. After she paid, he suggested, 「窓際に座ると思いましたが、…」 ("Mado-giwa ni suwaru to omoimashita ga, ..." => I thought I'd sit by a window, ...") And he held his tray in one hand and indicated some open tables near windows with his other.

And she replied, 「ご一緒とさせて頂きます。」 ("Go-issho to sasete itadakimasu. => "I'll let you cause me to join you." Or, just, "I'll join you."

Marie was a drama student. As an undergraduate student in literature in her own country, she had written a play.

She had met E-P-ist missionaries while at university and had joined the Church, rather against her parents' wishes. Now she wanted to re-write her play in the language we are referring to as English, so she was studying drama as a graduate student at OHU in order to become more familiar with vernacular. This was something her parents were okay with.

As they introduced themselves, they seemed to find a lot in common, not in details, but in point of view.

And so it was that Karel went to watch Marie and some of her fellow students practice a play on Saturday. And he invited her to join their study groups, to absorb the language in a natural setting.



Dan was on the activities committee for his ward. One of the sisters on the committee was a woman we'll call Kelly. She was in the folk dance club, and had heard that Dan was taking ballroom dance with some friends.

When the committee met on this particular Wednesday to prepare for the ward dance on Saturday, she asked him about his interest in dance.

"One of my football buddies introduced me to dance. He said dance was a lot like the plays we use in games, to go here and then there."

"Really? Do you think so, too?"

"Kind of. learning dance steps and routines actually helped me remember the plays better, and helped my coordination on the field."

"Are you interested in folk dance?"

"Probably, but I'm pretty busy this semester with the ballroom dance classes and homework. Graduate studies takes a lot of work. Are you interested in ballroom?"

"I've done some, but folk has a much greater range. Besides, ballroom requires you to be so stiff."

"Maybe I'll check folk dance out next semester."

That Saturday evening, at the ward dance, Kelly and Dan danced a lot together.







Previous TOC Next



[Backup and edit history here: .]



[Chapter 3 part 5 is original to the second draft, and is not found in the first draft.]
[JMR201702250622: end-pre-published-work]

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Backup: Sociology 500, a Novel, ch 3 pt 4 -- a Risqué Movie

[JMR201702222152: edits -- Piers ]

Other students came in. One whom we shall call, for no particular reason, Piers, sat down by Bobbie. We have met him before, by the way. He was the one who offended Kristie at the first dance the four went to together, and he was in Dan's stake. {replace}After that, he mostly behaved{with}Now, he was behaving{replace.} himself reasonably well.

[JMR201702222152: end-edits -- Piers ]

[JMR201702222152: edits -- Piers ]

Other students came in. One whom we shall call, for no particular reason, Piers, sat down by Bobbie.{add} We have met him before, by the way. He was the one who offended Kristie at the first dance the four went to together, and he was in Dan's stake. After that, he mostly behaved himself reasonably well.{add.}

[JMR201702222152: end-edits -- Piers]


[JMR201702182003: edits -- More problems. ]

Bobbie blinked first. "Maybe," she said{replace}.{with},{replace.} "but I wonder if Karel is uninterested in thinking about the abuse some women go through."

-------

Bobbie said, "You were right, Kristie. Some of the scenes were scenes I really didn't want to see again."

{add}
Karel was momentarily distracted by Bobbie's choice of verb.

{add.}
Michelle, Joy, and Jennifer, not having seen the movie, just listened.

-------

Dan and Karel nodded. And Karel added, "We just need to be able and willing to admit it if the graphical depictions offend us. And ask if there might not be other ways of talking about the problems, other ways to approach trying to change things for the better. Different people can help in different ways.{add} And I won't be recommending this movie to anyone.{add.}"

[JMR201702182003: end-edits ]

[JMR201702181830: edits -- Yep. Already seeing problems. ]

Karel and Bobbie were sitting together before the ancient technologies class the next Friday {replace}afternoon{with}just after lunch{replace.}, reading their notes and the reference books that formed the bulk of the text of the class.

-------

The two instruments{add} Karel was talking about{add.} were very similar{add} to the ones in our world{add.}. The one I'm calling a piano used a padded hammer to strike the strings. The one I'm calling a harpsichord used a plectrum to pluck its strings. Other elements of the instruments were fairly close in design, as well, and it would take a professional musician from either world to distinguish the differences. The history was similar as well, the plucked instrument being developed before the struck.

-------

Karel wondered whether Bobbie was talking about her own problems or someone else's.{replace}

Before{with} But before{replace.} he could work out an approach to ask Bobbie, Piers {add} had{add.} pointed out a few things that he had heard about the film.{replace} {with}

{replace.}"It does show a bit of the underbelly of society,{replace} {with}," he said, "{replace.}but some critics say it portrays abused women in a sympathetic light. And{add} they{add.} also{add} say{add.} that the movie helps people talk about important social problems. Bobbie," he suggest{add}ed{add.}, "if Karel isn't interested, you could watch it with me{replace},{with}.{replace.}"

-------

Bobbie blinked first. "Maybe," she said. "{replace}B{with}b{replace.}ut I wonder if Karel is uninterested in thinking about the abuse some women go through."

[JMR201702181830: end-edits ]

[JMR201702181547: backup of http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/soc500-03-04-risque-movie.html -- I'm thinking I should pre-backup everything, so it's easier to edit when I see problems.]
Previous



Karel and Bobbie were sitting together before the ancient technologies class the next Friday afternoon, reading their notes and the reference books that formed the bulk of the text of the class.

"Look at this," Bobbie exclaimed quietly. "This picture from the renaissance could be a picture of the living room of one of my friends when I was growing up."

Just as in our world, in the world of this novel there had been a period which many of their academics considered benighted which had been followed by a period they considered one of enlightenment -- a period of a re-birth of the sciences. The term Bobbie used translates well to renaissance.

"Is that a piano?" Karel asked about a keyboard instrument in the picture.

"Piano?"

"Maybe it's a harpsichord. But the skill in the woodworking is as good as any you see today."

The two instruments were very similar. The one I'm calling a piano used a padded hammer to strike the strings. The one I'm calling a harpsichord used a plectrum to pluck its strings. Other elements of the instruments were fairly close in design, as well, and it would take a professional musician from either world to distinguish the differences. The history was similar as well, the plucked instrument being developed before the struck.

You'll excuse the deliberate conflation, I hope.

Thinking about their studies, Bobbie asked, "Do you think you could make a harpsichord?"

"It'd be fun to try. But I don't think I'm doing it without modern tools and materials."

Other students came in. One whom we shall call, for no particular reason, Piers, sat down by Bobbie.

"So, which of the projects are you two going to work on?"

Bobbie grumbled under her breath, "Us two?"

Karel turned to him. "The fibers technologies project?"

"That one."

Bobbie replied first. "I'm going with heavy fabrics. I want to try to weave enough to make a jacket with."

"And I'm going to work on manufacturing paper for writing," Karel said. "It'd be fun to write my thesis on paper I'd made, myself. How about you?"

Piers sat back "I'm just going to make some rope. Anything else will take too much time."

"Busy?"

"Things I want to do, like, there's a film at the International Cinema tonight I want to see."

Movies. Yes. Of course they had movies.

OHU had made it a practice to bring prominent foreign films in and show them in one of the larger lecture halls on Thursday and Friday nights. A nominal admission was charged, to help pay the royalties. Oh, they had royalties, too.

Karel asked, "What's playing?"

Piers named a movie from the country that I'm calling France. It was a bit infamous for containing risqué plot elements and scenes. Picking a movie from our world to compare it to would be difficult -- there would be too many to choose from. And the closest one I can think of might actually be German.

Karel shook his head. "I'll pass."

Bobbie looked up from her homework and met Karel's eyes. "Why?" she asked.

Karel looked back in surprise. "What I've heard about it doesn't sound to me like the moral message is worth the trash it asks you to wade through."

"Trash?" For some reason, Bobbie didn't seem to want to let Karel just dismiss the movie out of hand.

"You know, nudity, sex, violence."

At the time, censoring the movies only occurred in the selection process. The movies were being brought in for academic purposes, and any movie considered worth bringing in would be made available to the students as it was. Otherwise, it would be difficult to deal with the movie at an academic level. Movies that would need scenes removed or such just were not ordered.

"Such things happen in the real world, you know."

"But why should we deliberately subject ourselves to them?"

"Seeing other people's problems can sometimes help us work through our own."

Karel wondered whether Bobbie was talking about her own problems or someone else's.

Before he could work out an approach to ask Bobbie, Piers pointed out a few things that he had heard about the film. "It does show a bit of the underbelly of society, but some critics say it portrays abused women in a sympathetic light. And also that the movie helps people talk about important social problems. Bobbie," he suggest, "if Karel isn't interested, you could watch it with me,"

Karel and Bobbie were challenging each other with their eyes, and Piers suddenly felt the awkwardness of his proposal, but he refused to back down.

Bobbie blinked first. "Maybe," she said. "But I wonder if Karel is uninterested in thinking about the abuse some women go through."

Challenges can be communicated fairly easily without words, through the eyes and with other non-verbal cues, but history cannot. Karel decided to ignore history and refrain from defending himself for the time being. "If Piers doesn't think my presence would be too extraneous." He didn't mean it as a counter-attack, but there it was.

Piers still refused to back down, even though he felt really awkward at this point. "Uhn, no, I guess three's not a crowd."

Then Karel remembered, "Aren't you on duty at the hospital tonight, Bobbie?"

"My shift starts pretty late. What time is it showing?"

"It's scheduled for six o'clock, seven forty-five, and nine thirty. I guess you'll want the six o'clock showing?"

"That's a little tight after the ballroom class," Karel pointed out.

"It's on campus. Six it is. We can meet you at the lecture hall, or you could meet us at the gym at four thirty, Piers."



Piers met them at the gym, and they all walked back to Bobbie and Kristie's apartment, our four friends talking about the dances and steps they had worked on that day. Piers mostly listened and watched.

At the apartment, Bobbie changed the subject. "Kristie, have you got any plans for six o'clock?"

"Tonight? You mean the movie that Piers and Karel and you are seeing?"

"Yeah."

"Just studying."

"How about you, Dan? Are you interested in a foreign movie?"

"What was the movie again?"

Karel told them the name of the movie.

Dan looked skeptical. "Karel, you're one of the last people I'd expect to go see that movie."

"It wasn't my idea."

"Hey, now it's my fault!" Bobbie said in mock indignation.

"You could've sided with me when Piers brought it up."

Piers defended himself. "It's said to be a culturally significant film. And socially important, as well." He shrugged. "You don't have to go."

"I think it sounds interesting!" Wendy spoke up from the kitchen, where she and Michelle were baking cookies.

"You want to come?" Bobbie asked her.

"Sure!"

"Have you seen it, Dan?" Kristie asked.

"Uhm, yeah. Some of the team thought it would be a good movie to see. I don't think they were paying attention to the moral lessons, though."

"I thought it tended to glorify prostitution a bit." Kristie pursed her lips and wrinkled her forehead. "I don't particularly care to see it again."

"You and I can stay here and guard Wendy's cookies."

"Oh, no you don't. These are for a Relief Society social."

Everyone laughed.

The Relief Society is what the Mormon's women's organization is called in our world, and the name of the E-P-ists women's organization in the world of this novel is basically the same.

Karel asked, "So how was it you saw it, Kristie?"

"My aunt took me to it."

Dan was taken aback. "Your aunt?"

"She said it would show me things about men that I needed to think seriously about."

Dan responded without thinking, and he let his sarcasm show through. "Considerate of her."

"She said something like what Piers is saying -- that it's a defense of women who can't defend themselves. But I think it's exploiting the subject too much. And it's pretty explicit in places where it really doesn't need to be."

Joy and Jennifer returned about then. They said they wanted to go bowling at the game center in the basement of the student union building, and asked if anyone wanted to join them. Dan and Kristie said they could do that.

Michelle said she really needed to study, and guard the cookies.

But they all agreed to meet at the cafeteria in the student union for dinner before Bobbie had to go on shift at the hospital.

Bowling translates okay here, although the rules are slightly different. So does student union. But "Wilkie" or "Wilkinson Center" as a name for the student union building would not be meaningful at OHU, for various reasons.



At the cafeteria, they discussed the film.

"Such a sad movie," Wendy said with a sniff.

Bobbie said, "You were right, Kristie. Some of the scenes were scenes I really didn't want to see again."

Michelle, Joy, and Jennifer, not having seen the movie, just listened.

"What are you eating, Karel?" Piers asked. "Do they have anything good here?"

"I take it you don't eat at the on-campus cafeterias."

"Not since I was a freshman and lived in the dorms."

"Let's see what they've got today."

"You told me the nuts and harf salad was good, didn't you?" Dan mentioned.

Nuts, of course. Harf -- well, the animal looked and behaved pretty much like a pig. But it was a reptile, and the meat tasted more like chicken.

Karel read the menu. "It doesn't seem to be on the menu today. Just steak, potatoes, and tossed salad, and cream of onion soup."

Steak. Breet steak. Tasted like mutton more than beef, and the animal looked more like a sheep than a cow.

"It'd be hard to mess those up, I'd think."

"There are the usual sandwiches, too. Soup and sandwich wouldn't be bad."

"So you guys don't want to talk about the movie?" Wendy asked. "I thought it was an important movie. Sad, but very meaningful. We shouldn't forget that there are lots of people living in situations like that all over the world -- tearing themselves apart to put food on the table for their children, and too poor to change jobs or do anything about it. Suppressed and oppressed by the people around them."

Karel looked at the floor. "I just really didn't want to see the graphic portrayal of the services, as they called them, that the prostitutes performed."

"How are they supposed to tell people how bad it is if they don't show how bad it is?" Piers asked.

"What do you mean? Naming the acts in narrative isn't enough?"

"So how did you learn what the words mean?" Kristie asked. "I do think they showed too much. As I say, I think the movie tends to glorify prostitution. But is a verbal description actually less of a problem than pictures?"

Karel shook his head. "I am sure that there will be many men who will see this movie and think that they have a right to demand this kind of behavior from their wives. And many women who see it will think they have to do that kind of thing to keep their men, just because they showed those scenes."

Wendy asked, "But is it wrong for married people to do?"

"If they both agree to it, without any feeling of coercion, maybe it's not wrong. I guess it would be between them and God. But if there are any feelings of coercion, it's wrong. And I mean any feelings, including peer pressure kinds of feelings of coercion, and, but they did it in the movie kinds of coercion."

"I think I agree with Karel, here," Dan said.

Wendy frowned slightly. "So, should society censor this movie?"

Kristie shook her head. "I don't think either Karel or Dan are thinking that. The problem really is that watching a movie is an individual thing. Some people may be hurt by seeing that movie, and some may be helped."

Dan and Karel nodded. And Karel added, "We just need to be able and willing to admit it if the graphical depictions offend us. And ask if there might not be other ways of talking about the problems, other ways to approach trying to change things for the better. Different people can help in different ways."

Bobbie kept the remainder of her thoughts on the movie to herself. "I'd better order something and get back, to get ready for my shift."

So they all ordered and talked about other things, and Michelle, Joy, and Jennifer joined in the discussion. Karel showed his dorm pass when they paid, and they all got dorm rates.



Previous TOC Next



[Backup and edit history here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/backup-soc500-03-04-risque-movie.html.]



[Chapter 3 part 4 is original to the second draft, and is not found in the first draft.]
[JMR201702181547: end-backup]

Sociology 500, a Novel, ch 3 pt 4 -- a Risqué Movie

Previous



Karel and Bobbie were sitting together before the ancient technologies class the next Friday just after lunch, reading their notes and the reference books that formed the bulk of the text of the class.

"Look at this," Bobbie exclaimed quietly. "This picture from the renaissance could be a picture of the living room of one of my friends when I was growing up."

Just as in our world, in the world of this novel there had been a period which many of their academics considered benighted which had been followed by a period they considered one of enlightenment -- a period of a re-birth of the sciences. The term Bobbie used translates well to renaissance.

"Is that a piano?" Karel asked about a keyboard instrument in the picture.

"Piano?"

"Maybe it's a harpsichord. But the skill in the woodworking is as good as any you see today."

The two instruments Karel was talking about were very similar to the ones in our world. The one I'm calling a piano used a padded hammer to strike the strings. The one I'm calling a harpsichord used a plectrum to pluck its strings. Other elements of the instruments were fairly close in design, as well, and it would take a professional musician from either world to distinguish the differences. The history was similar as well, the plucked instrument being developed before the struck.

You'll excuse the deliberate conflation, I hope.

Thinking about their studies, Bobbie asked, "Do you think you could make a harpsichord?"

"It'd be fun to try. But I don't think I'm doing it without modern tools and materials."

Other students came in. One whom we shall call, for no particular reason, Piers, sat down by Bobbie. We have met him before, by the way. He was the one who offended Kristie at the first dance the four went to together, and he was in Dan's stake. Now, he was behaving himself reasonably well.

"So, which of the projects are you two going to work on?"

Bobbie grumbled under her breath, "Us two?"

Karel turned to him. "The fibers technologies project?"

"That one."

Bobbie replied first. "I'm going with heavy fabrics. I want to try to weave enough to make a jacket with."

"And I'm going to work on manufacturing paper for writing," Karel said. "It'd be fun to write my thesis on paper I'd made, myself. How about you?"

Piers sat back "I'm just going to make some rope. Anything else will take too much time."

"Busy?"

"Things I want to do, like, there's a film at the International Cinema tonight I want to see."

Movies. Yes. Of course they had movies.

OHU had made it a practice to bring prominent foreign films in and show them in one of the larger lecture halls on Thursday and Friday nights. A nominal admission was charged, to help pay the royalties. Oh, they had royalties, too.

Karel asked, "What's playing?"

Piers named a movie from the country that I'm calling France. It was a bit infamous for containing risqué plot elements and scenes. Picking a movie from our world to compare it to would be difficult -- there would be too many to choose from. And the closest one I can think of might actually be German.

Karel shook his head. "I'll pass."

Bobbie looked up from her homework and met Karel's eyes. "Why?" she asked.

Karel looked back in surprise. "What I've heard about it doesn't sound to me like the moral message is worth the trash it asks you to wade through."

"Trash?" For some reason, Bobbie didn't seem to want to let Karel just dismiss the movie out of hand.

"You know, nudity, sex, violence."

At the time, censoring the movies only occurred in the selection process. The movies were being brought in for academic purposes, and any movie considered worth bringing in would be made available to the students as it was. Otherwise, it would be difficult to deal with the movie at an academic level. Movies that would need scenes removed or such just were not ordered.

"Such things happen in the real world, you know."

"But why should we deliberately subject ourselves to them?"

"Seeing other people's problems can sometimes help us work through our own."

Karel wondered whether Bobbie was talking about her own problems or someone else's. But before he could work out an approach to ask Bobbie, Piers had pointed out a few things that he had heard about the film.

"It does show a bit of the underbelly of society," he said, "but some critics say it portrays abused women in a sympathetic light. And they also say that the movie helps people talk about important social problems. Bobbie," he suggested, "if Karel isn't interested, you could watch it with me."

Karel and Bobbie were challenging each other with their eyes, and Piers suddenly felt the awkwardness of his proposal, but he refused to back down.

Bobbie blinked first. "Maybe," she said, "but I wonder if Karel is uninterested in thinking about the abuse some women go through."

Challenges can be communicated fairly easily without words, through the eyes and with other non-verbal cues, but history cannot. Karel decided to ignore history and refrain from defending himself for the time being. "If Piers doesn't think my presence would be too extraneous." He didn't mean it as a counter-attack, but there it was.

Piers still refused to back down, even though he felt really awkward at this point. "Uhn, no, I guess three's not a crowd."

Then Karel remembered, "Aren't you on duty at the hospital tonight, Bobbie?"

"My shift starts pretty late. What time is it showing?"

"It's scheduled for six o'clock, seven forty-five, and nine thirty. I guess you'll want the six o'clock showing?"

"That's a little tight after the ballroom class," Karel pointed out.

"It's on campus. Six it is. We can meet you at the lecture hall, or you could meet us at the gym at four thirty, Piers."



Piers met them at the gym, and they all walked back to Bobbie and Kristie's apartment, our four friends talking about the dances and steps they had worked on that day. Piers mostly listened and watched.

At the apartment, Bobbie changed the subject. "Kristie, have you got any plans for six o'clock?"

"Tonight? You mean the movie that Piers and Karel and you are seeing?"

"Yeah."

"Just studying."

"How about you, Dan? Are you interested in a foreign movie?"

"What was the movie again?"

Karel told them the name of the movie.

Dan looked skeptical. "Karel, you're one of the last people I'd expect to go see that movie."

"It wasn't my idea."

"Hey, now it's my fault!" Bobbie said in mock indignation.

"You could've sided with me when Piers brought it up."

Piers defended himself. "It's said to be a culturally significant film. And socially important, as well." He shrugged. "You don't have to go."

"I think it sounds interesting!" Wendy spoke up from the kitchen, where she and Michelle were baking cookies.

"You want to come?" Bobbie asked her.

"Sure!"

"Have you seen it, Dan?" Kristie asked.

"Uhm, yeah. Some of the team thought it would be a good movie to see. I don't think they were paying attention to the moral lessons, though."

"I thought it tended to glorify prostitution a bit." Kristie pursed her lips and wrinkled her forehead. "I don't particularly care to see it again."

"You and I can stay here and guard Wendy's cookies."

"Oh, no you don't. These are for a Relief Society social."

Everyone laughed.

The Relief Society is what the Mormon's women's organization is called in our world, and the name of the E-P-ists women's organization in the world of this novel is basically the same.

Karel asked, "So how was it you saw it, Kristie?"

"My aunt took me to it."

Dan was taken aback. "Your aunt?"

"She said it would show me things about men that I needed to think seriously about."

Dan responded without thinking, and he let his sarcasm show through. "Considerate of her."

"She said something like what Piers is saying -- that it's a defense of women who can't defend themselves. But I think it's exploiting the subject too much. And it's pretty explicit in places where it really doesn't need to be."

Joy and Jennifer returned about then. They said they wanted to go bowling at the game center in the basement of the student union building, and asked if anyone wanted to join them. Dan and Kristie said they could do that.

Michelle said she really needed to study, and guard the cookies.

But they all agreed to meet at the cafeteria in the student union for dinner before Bobbie had to go on shift at the hospital.

Bowling translates okay here, although the rules are slightly different. So does student union. But "Wilkie" or "Wilkinson Center" as a name for the student union building would not be meaningful at OHU, for various reasons.



At the cafeteria, they discussed the film.

"Such a sad movie," Wendy said with a sniff.

Bobbie said, "You were right, Kristie. Some of the scenes were scenes I really didn't want to see again."

Karel was momentarily distracted by Bobbie's choice of verb.

Michelle, Joy, and Jennifer, not having seen the movie, just listened.

"What are you eating, Karel?" Piers asked. "Do they have anything good here?"

"I take it you don't eat at the on-campus cafeterias."

"Not since I was a freshman and lived in the dorms."

"Let's see what they've got today."

"You told me the nuts and harf salad was good, didn't you?" Dan mentioned.

Nuts, of course. Harf -- well, the animal looked and behaved pretty much like a pig. But it was a reptile, and the meat tasted more like chicken.

Karel read the menu. "It doesn't seem to be on the menu today. Just steak, potatoes, and tossed salad, and cream of onion soup."

Steak. Breet steak. Tasted like mutton more than beef, and the animal looked more like a sheep than a cow.

"It'd be hard to mess those up, I'd think."

"There are the usual sandwiches, too. Soup and sandwich wouldn't be bad."

"So you guys don't want to talk about the movie?" Wendy asked. "I thought it was an important movie. Sad, but very meaningful. We shouldn't forget that there are lots of people living in situations like that all over the world -- tearing themselves apart to put food on the table for their children, and too poor to change jobs or do anything about it. Suppressed and oppressed by the people around them."

Karel looked at the floor. "I just really didn't want to see the graphic portrayal of the services, as they called them, that the prostitutes performed."

"How are they supposed to tell people how bad it is if they don't show how bad it is?" Piers asked.

"What do you mean? Naming the acts in narrative isn't enough?"

"So how did you learn what the words mean?" Kristie asked. "I do think they showed too much. As I say, I think the movie tends to glorify prostitution. But is a verbal description actually less of a problem than pictures?"

Karel shook his head. "I am sure that there will be many men who will see this movie and think that they have a right to demand this kind of behavior from their wives. And many women who see it will think they have to do that kind of thing to keep their men, just because they showed those scenes."

Wendy asked, "But is it wrong for married people to do?"

"If they both agree to it, without any feeling of coercion, maybe it's not wrong. I guess it would be between them and God. But if there are any feelings of coercion, it's wrong. And I mean any feelings, including peer pressure kinds of feelings of coercion, and, but they did it in the movie kinds of coercion."

"I think I agree with Karel, here," Dan said.

Wendy frowned slightly. "So, should society censor this movie?"

Kristie shook her head. "I don't think either Karel or Dan are thinking that. The problem really is that watching a movie is an individual thing. Some people may be hurt by seeing that movie, and some may be helped."

Dan and Karel nodded. And Karel added, "We just need to be able and willing to admit it if the graphical depictions offend us. And ask if there might not be other ways of talking about the problems, other ways to approach trying to change things for the better. Different people can help in different ways. And I won't be recommending this movie to anyone."

Bobbie kept the remainder of her thoughts on the movie to herself. "I'd better order something and get back, to get ready for my shift."

So they all ordered and talked about other things, and Michelle, Joy, and Jennifer joined in the discussion. Karel showed his dorm pass when they paid, and they all got dorm rates.



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[Backup and edit history here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/backup-soc500-03-04-risque-movie.html.]



[Chapter 3 part 4 is original to the second draft, and is not found in the first draft.]