Sunday, November 9, 2008

And a Great Light Shone About Her, and the People Were Amazed

Mary Worth--the character, not the unforgivable comic in which she appears--is many things: a friend, a neighbour, a lover, a mother figure, a condo owner, a meddling old biddy. Today, however, we learn that all these roles are mere disguises for her real identity as an out-and-out medieval-style type of Christ. When Mary dispenses her wisdom,* she is not simply nattering uselessly at people who would probably be better off without her; she is relaying the Word of God to the clueless masses.**

Look at that last panel. In it, Mary shines with an unearthly light as she thunders her condemnation of skating dad Frank, who is relentlessly squashing his daughter Lynn beneath the urgency of his own need for glory.*** Mary is clearly possessed by a force greater than herself. If Frank doesn't listen to her, he is going to end up struck by lightning or, worse, working in retail for the rest of his natural life.

Some may, of course, argue that Mary here represents her namesake, the mother of Christ. However, I am not sure she is passive enough to be the Virgin.**** Saint Mary seems more the type to smile sadly and drop miraculous tears on Lynn's head and less the type to unload the Wrath of God on a cowering Frank.

It is also worth****** noting that Frank's name identifies him as, well, French. A medieval Frenchman would certainly be capable of behaving so moronically that a representative of God might be forced to interfere. ******* Everybody knows that the French are cowardly traitors, after all.******** Down with St. Denis! Up with St. George! We don't care that Richard the Lionheart probably didn't know a word of English! The Maple Leaf forever!**********

I shall watch with interest as Mary rises into the air, glowing with sacred fire, and smites Frank into a little pile of sinful, whimpering dust on the pavement. If all this does indeed happen, we may just get to witness the least stultifying Mary Worth ever.***********

*Don't drink and drive. Don't date two girls at once and expect both of them to be happy. Don't lie to your husband about your own idiocy, you evil, evil woman. Unclean! Unclean! May God forgive you.
**I.e., everyone who is not Mary.
***I honestly didn't mean for that sentence to turn out as icky as it did.
****The matter of the virginity itself is still an open question. Mary does seem to have some sort of relationship with Jeff, but it is unclear as to whether it involves more than chaste dinner outings to the Bum Boat***** and the occasional creaky lovers' tiff.
*****Yes, Bum Boat. No, I am not making that up. No, I swear.
******No pun intended, though pun, alas, committed nonetheless.
*******According, at least, to a medieval Englishman.
********And everyone knows the English have tails, but that's a different story.*********
*********It is entirely possible that I haven't been using as many footnotes lately and am beginning to miss them.
***********A medievalist can dream, can't she?


Michael said...

Just as a note, a bum boat was a boat carrying merchants who sold commodities, provisions, and, er, other things to sailors on board anchored ships.

Back in the bad old days, when ships were made out of wood and men were made out of steel, naval sailors were not allowed on shore when their ships were in port (at least, this was the rule in wartime). So bum boats would come out to the ships to sell alcohol, tobacco, and other goods and, er, services (wink wink, nod nod, say no more) to the sailors.

In Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, Little Buttercup is a bum boat woman.

In these enlightened, post-press gang days, sailors are allowed to leave their ships when in port. So bum boats have become a thing of the past.

Ceirseach said...

On that note, the first time I saw HMS Pinafore, as a particularly innocent 13 year old, I was terribly embarrassed by Little Buttercup because the way she sang her first number convinced even me that she was actually a prostitute.

So, yes. "Buy of your Buttercup, buy!" Hem hem.