The Goodman Deal

The New England Puritans used “Goodman” and “Goodwife” – often abbreviated to “Goody”, which we moderns have trouble hearing without fits of the giggles – as perfectly serious titles of address. We meet them, for example, in The Crucible. There are two ways of looking at this. We might think it respectful, as suggesting a willingness to consider everyone good citizens until proven otherwise, or even as detecting a spark of the divine in all men and women. Or else we might find it intolerably smug and self-satisfied. Our suspicion is then that the convention is a mutual admiration society, whereby I agree to afford you the narcissistic pleasure of being addressed as Goodman if you reciprocate and grant me the narcissistic supply that I myself desire. Such a system will, of course, only work if there are people in the neighbourhood that are not vouchsafed the title of Goodman.

Posted on February 6, 2010 at 09:44 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE LONGEST CON, Religion As Emotional Tech

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