It's easy to believe that all the political correctness and self-esteem stuff is a development of the past twenty or thirty years, or at the very earliest it was fostered in the 1970s, but watching re-runs from the second season of the TV show Mad Men, the show brought up a self-esteem enhancing change in society from the early 1960s that I recall distinctly as being true.
The daughter of the Drapers comes home from grade school on Valentine's Day with an armful of cards. Her mother looks at her swag approvingly, but the little girl says that everyone was required to get a card for everybody else. Betty Draper, played by the lovely January Jones dolled up to look like Grace Kelly, takes a puff of her cigarette and says, "Well, that defeats the purpose."
What schools were trying to avoid is what we can now call the Annie Parisse Situation. 24 people have made their opinion known so far on the poll concerning the favorite A.D.A. on Law & Order, and because the poll allows multiple choices, a total of 37 votes have been cast. Who will come in first is still up in the air, but last place looks like it's locked up by... Annie Parisse.
She has one (count 'em) one vote so far.
Let me say here that I didn't vote for Annie Parisse. I don't hate her. I don't reach for the remote control when it becomes clear she's in the episode. I just wouldn't consider her my favorite, and I am obviously not alone.
It's not that I find her unattractive. She has dark hair and complexion and a longish nose. These are attributes she shares with Indira Varma, and if you've read this blog for more than a week, you know how I feel about Indira Varma.
But whatever it is, the arbiter of female beauty in my cluttered little brain is clear. Those two women are not in the same league. I could vote for her because I feel bad about her being so far in last place, but as Betty Draper would say... that would defeat the purpose.