Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter Eight - Part Two

Today, dear readers, you get a special treat!

First - no covert incest!

Second, to help you better visualize what the actual book is like, I've included a quote that is a fairly standard page of uninterrupted Botkin language.  Technically, I should have included the entirety of the first paragraph, but decided to spare you some pointless emotional babbling along with minor slams against the girls who ask Anna Sofia and Elizabeth for advice so we could start at the main point of this section.

Overarching Themes:

History supports us!  If historical families did it, it can't be wrong.

"(...) The idea of their parents being involved in their relationships with boys sounds about as reasonable as arranged marriages.

As normal as this attitude might seem to us today, it's a pretty recent phenomenon.  If we look through history, we see that it's actually only in the last century that parents, and their roles in our lives, have been so thoroughly replaced by friends, teachers, "experts", guidance counselors, youth pastors, psychologists and therapists.

In 1740, 18-year-old Eliza Lucas (later Pinckney) wrote to her father, the Governor of Antigua, on the subject of boys.

'You are so good as to say you have too great an Opinion of my prudence to think I would entertain an indiscreet passion for any one, and I hope heaven will always direct me that I may never disappoint you.  What, indeed, could induce me to make a secret of any Inclination to my best friend?  I am certain I would indulge no passion that had not your approbation, as I truly am, Dear Sir,

Your most dutiful and affectionate Daughter,

E. Lucas.'

It's not just Eliza's language that sounds old-fashioned and alien; the idea that an 18-year-old girl saying these things to her dad today would seem totally weird.  Did this girl just call her father her best friend?  Did she just quote him as saying he trusted her judgement on boys?  Did she just promise that she would never have a crush that he didn't approve, or keep any "inclination" a secret from him?  At the time, though (and in fact for most of history), there would have been nothing unusual about her attitude; it's girls today who would be viewed as deviating from the norm.  Historically speaking, we are the oddballs." (pg. 135)

  • I don't know that Anna Sofia and Elizabeth should be insulting arranged marriages.  The CP/QF groups have reinvented all of the problems of arranged marriages without any of the benefits.
  • Neither Botkin Sister apparently noticed that guidance counselors, youth pastors, psychologist and therapists have been around for roughly 100 years.  Likewise, the number of teachers and "experts" has grown while the ability of parents to access professionals has exploded as literacy rates have improved.
  • I actually knew who Eliza Lucas Pinckney was prior to reading this book thanks to Cokie Roberts' "Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation" about 10 years ago.  Her inclusion in the book made me skeptical that Eliza Lucas Pinckney was as meek and mild as the Botkin Sisters wanted to portray her as.  Based on Wikipedia's article on her, I've answered a few of my own questions:
    • Why was she writing this letter to her dad?  When she was 16, she took over the three plantations located in South Carolina while her dad was dealing with aggression from the English and Spanish as the governor of Antigua.  
    • Why was she denying ever having an indiscreet passion?  I'm not 100% positive, but she married at age 20 after turning down two previous suitors presented by her father.  I suspect he wasn't happy about that and words were exchanged.
  • With those ideas in mind, let's tackle the last paragraph.  
    • Did she call him her best friend? Yes.  Does that mean she was spilling her heart to him every time she needed someone to talk to?  Probably not since he was over 1,500 miles away and I imagine mail took quite a while to get from South Carolina to Antigua and back.
    • Did she quote him saying he trusted her opinion on boys? Yes.  Has Geoffrey Botkin ever said that to his adult daughters?  I don't know - and that's an issue.
    • Did she promise never to have a crush that he didn't approve.... No - she promised not to act irresponsibly.
    • or keep any inclination secret? Yes.  So what?  Her father was 1,500 miles away.  He remained the governor of Antigua until 1747 and she married her neighbor in 1744.  She could have easily been married and sent him a letter letting her father know about the marriage after it was official.
Next post: Basic mind control technique demonstration


  1. I also wonder how much someone in Eliza's era knew she needed to "play nice" with her dad since he had all the power over her life. Just wondering.

    1. I'm not sure. Based on Wikipedia and what I remember from Ms. Roberts book, Eliza was a free agent once her dad sailed off to Antigua. Antigua was under a great deal of pressure from Spanish forces trying to maintain Spain's foothold in the New World so he couldn't leave whenever he wanted to. He had theoretical power but he couldn't enforce it in any particular way. She also may have owned the plantations in South Carolina outright after they were passed on by her grandfather. Plus, she figured out how to grow indigo (most likely with knowledge from West African slaves) in South Carolina.

      For most girls, I'd imagine playing nice was huge. I think Eliza caught a break due to her unusual separation from her father and the death of her mother.