I understand Jane Austen

mr darcy goes for a pissOn a recent trip to some decaying, faceless city or other I spotted the following inscription crudely scratched into the wood of a toilet cubicle door:

I understand Jane Austen

It was a very curious thing to write on a toilet door and intrigued, I decided to capture it photographically for further analysis before heading back to the bar.

At first glance it seemed to be merely a bizarre and random piece of pretentious vandalism, perhaps the inebriated and spastic outpourings of some cider sodden student or drug addled hipster.

However it then struck me as being similar to, though less violently vehement than, the “yuppie scum must die” graffiti which Patrick Bateman espies (or himself writes) in Brett Easton-Ellis’ American Psycho – a reflexive and unconscious discharge in sudden horror at the realisation of the hideousness of his surroundings.

It seems to me the author of this particular message was making a desperate and confused appeal to his fellow city dwellers, despairing of the stygian depths in which he believes himself helplessly stranded and powerless against, a rusty cog in the grinding merciless hell of the 21st century world.

Like a delicate flower absurdly sprouting up through miles of festering faeces and commercial plastered concrete, it states with quiet defiance how even in the midst of the baseness and ceaseless mechanised “advancement” of modern life, the author of this graffiti had still managed to cling onto some degree of higher thought.

Why Jane Austen though, I wonder. He could have plumped for Mary Shelley at the very least. Unless “I understand Jane Austen” is some kind of homosexual palare, in which case I may be about to receive some very unusual emails…


  1. Quintus, Mauser of Kālī says:

    No disrespect to the late Ms. Jane. She just never really waxed my crank-shaft as a writer.
    I’d rather make tea and cook for Savitri Devi :) Seriously, though:

    I don’t always get it right. I try not to scrawl my views til they’re relatively water-tight.

    I worry about reading one book fully before moving on to millions of others.

    Ms. Devi died a few months after I was born.

  2. Quintus, Mauser of Kālī says:

    This post was intended to be sent elsewhere. Delete at will. I know I probably put up all sorts of red flags with you. I don’t really care about the meme of some so called gay “culture” (read: decomposing pap smear). I just had to exploit the symbols of where I was. Prozak’s homosexuality article sums up where I’m at with that insipid shit pretty well. I do what I do in private and don’t try to convert people to my lifestyle or whatever.
    It still hasn’t killed me and never will, because I won’t let it. I made a decent handful of friends and served up a nice steaming plate of decadence for your troops. I’m not giving up so much as moving on from what was essentially a baptism by fire.

    thanks for the words, Sir.

  3. Quintus says:

    Jane Austen? Pffpt!

    Try Irvine Welsh sprinkled with a bit of David Mitchell :)

  4. Christina says:

    Hi there. I’ve been reading about certain topics on this website since I stumbled across it after reading something posted on The Thinking Housewife, which I regularly visit and sometimes comment on, though I have never commented here until now. What I’d like to say is that I believe that the choice of Jane Austen may be linked to her, shall we say, decency. I understand that most men are not really big fans of Austen’s work, but it can’t be denied that many of us ladies are. In fact, on Facebook, there is a page that I get updates from called “Heathcliff, Mr. Darcy, Rochester: Literary Heroes” and I cannot ever remember seeing a comment posted on that page by any males at all. With that being said, I assume that since the author of this piece is male, this photo must have been taken inside the Men’s Room (or at least, I hope so!) So perhaps there are some male Austen fans out there after all, and really, I can’t think of why there shouldn’t be. Jane Austen’s stories of virtue being rewarded and the obscene being punished stand in stark contrast with the modern world that has always surrounded me living in the West. Growing up in the 90s and early 2000′s, I found myself often reading her works and watching the films made from them because they presented to me a world that, while not perfect by any means, was much more preferable to my own. One knew their neighbours, how to behave, what was expected of them, and one was allowed to be English without feeling the modern prerequisite quilt that is positively demanded today. So, I think, perhaps, what this bathroom wall graffiti is trying to convey is that in understanding Jane Austen, he understands decency and that it is possible to live in a world where such a thing is prized, but alas for us, we live in a time and place where it is not, and instead cast aside with contempt, called “archaic” and replaced with mass degeneracy.

    1. There are male fans of Jane Austen, but we tend to be less active. Male literary fandom involves brandy, cigars and walking trips with shotguns through the brush. I’d identify one other factor in Jane Austen, which is a Schopehnauerian focus on the necessity of bonding good men and intelligent, noble women together. In all of her stories, good ends up with good, bad with bad, and indifferent in pleasant but useless circumstances.

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