helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
[personal profile] helgatwb
This letter appeared in the New Orleans Clarion-Picayune, a few days after the incident in [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's poem "Berettaflies". It is also a response to [personal profile] dialecticdreamer's demifiction: Lab Cooperating With Police Investigation.

***

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am wondering what exactly is being done to find and punish the perpetrator of the incident with the so-called "berettaflies"? I see a lot of smoke being blown about who's not responsible, and who is helping whom, which is important, but a significant percentage of your readers want to know who is responsible, and what is being done to find and punish the miscreant(s).

I have one thing to say to the person or persons responsible for this mess: "Bless your hearts!"

A Concerned Reader


***

For those of you not in the know, 'bless your/his/her/their heart(s)' is NOT a blessing, or a positive message. It is, in fact, a polite, genteel, Southern way of saying: 'fuck you and the horse you rode in on'.

That is, in Southern Louisiana and Texas. It can be used as a blessing, but context and tone of voice is important. It is also a way of saying you hope that they become better people, implying both that they need to do so, and that it would take a miracle for that to happen.

Thoughts

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 05:09 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>> I am wondering what exactly is being done to find and punish the perpetrator of the incident with the so-called "berettaflies"? I see a lot of smoke being blown about who's not responsible, and who is helping whom, which is important, but a significant percentage of your readers want to know who is responsible, and what is being done to find and punish the miscreant(s). <<

During the first several days at least, and realistically more like the first week, the police assigned to this part of the problem will be concerned with identifying the culprits and potential charges as concretely as possible. That's because pissing off soups can be hazardous, so they really do not want to make a false accusation. Once they're confident of the case parameters as best they can determine at this stage, they'll move on.

Mr. Pernicious is a known supervillain, already wanted, and very difficult to pin down due to both his own abilities and his minions. Another day, another sheaf of crimes atop the stack of stuff they haven't managed to catch him for yet. Due to the nature of this offense, the Easy City police will probably reach out to SPOON and discuss the feasibility of planning a cooperative raid.

Stylet is also a supervillain, but much less of a public nuisance about it prior to this. People have been broadly hinting that he should turn himself in and help clean up the mess. At some point in the fairly soon future, the police will make that explicit. They really want to cut a deal with him, because Stylet is the best source of damage control in this case. It is common in Terramagne for supervillains to get the chance of working off their debt to society through constructive use of their abilities, rather than fines or more rarely jail. Stylet is not ready to come in from the cold yet, but I think he will -- he's taking some brisk whacks already, and things still in motion will likely tip the scales within a month or so.

The Spectrum raise more complicated issues. They have been technically considered superheroes in regard to hunting supervillains -- and they're quite effective at finding and cracking illicit labs -- but there have been repeated complaints in the past about their disregard for how much collateral damage they do in pursuit of their targets. SPOON has already crossed them off the list of people to send on assignments, which will shock and upset them. The police will discuss what charges may reasonably be considered and how best to approach the team. A raid is both tetchy in PR (since they have helped some people in the past) and extremely risky combat (since they're all bolt-lobbers). Convincing them to come in for negotiation would be far safer.

If the police get to them first. Enough other people are pissed with all of the offending parties that this is not necessarily a guarantee.

>> I have one thing to say to the person or persons responsible for this mess: "Bless your hearts!" <<

In the case of Mr. Pernicious specifically, that might be a real kick in the crotch. He views himself as the human embodiment of evil. While his standard vulnerability is particular to the Italian folk vernacular (nazars, the fig or horn hands, etc.) there may be other considerations. To wit, this is Louisiana and some people down there are powerful prayers. If I were gamemastering this, I'd probably make it an upshift to the citizen's attack rather than activating the vulnerability proper.

If a whole lot of southern Louisiana is doing this? It helps explain why his luck has recently fallen into the toilet.

>> For those of you not in the know, 'bless your/his/her/their heart(s)' is NOT a blessing, or a positive message. It is, in fact, a polite, genteel, Southern way of saying: 'fuck you and the horse you rode in on'. <<

I have actually heard it used as a blessing, an expression of sympathy, admiration, and as cited above, condemnation. Usually the difference is indicated by context and voice tone. But it may not be used the same way in all Southern dialects. For reference, my momma's people come from Tennessee, and that's a different branch than southern Louisiana.

Re: Thoughts

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 06:44 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
>> I have also heard it used as a blessing, but much more rarely, usually with the addition of 'little', as in 'bless your little heart'. <<

Ah! That is true. "Little" is often a marker for sympathy or approval.

>> I do know that it is used as a condemnation in Texas, as well. <<

Useful to know, thanks.

>> I feel confidant in saying that, used in this context, most of the newspaper's readership would understand that it is not a blessing. I'm going to edit my notes. <<

I agree, anyone familiar with Southern dialect should be able to parse that as a textual slap upside the head.

>> But it is an interesting phrase, because it can be a blessing and condemnation at the same time, <<

Yep.

>> saying that it would take some kind of miracle for them to become better people. <<

Someone once asked about redeeming Haboob. I said it would take a miracle.

And then realized I had someone in that part of the world who listens to God, so if the prompt comes up, I'm covered.

Re: Thoughts

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 07:08 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
*ponder* I think you're right about that. It matches my observations.

Which puts an odd twist on its use with adults, clandestinely implying that they have a childish lack of competence and manners.

This is a fair criticism of the parties at fault in this incident.

Re: Thoughts

Date: Oct. 21st, 2015 05:18 am (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
I know that one impression I got was that it was a way to complain about someone while saying that you *do* really care about them. "Bless her heart, but she'll take your hide off in strips if you're late to one of her dinners".

But then, obviously, it's a way to give a mean or hateful person cover, as well.

Re: Thoughts

Date: Oct. 21st, 2015 05:23 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Southern culture heavily Hint oriented. So Southern dialects offer a great many ways to say slant what people can't -- or don't dare to -- say straight.

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 05:43 am (UTC)
thnidu: plus sign (plus)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Very well said, Concerned Reader.

Yes...

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 06:46 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
<3 I have known folks like that.

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 12:09 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Not even on the same continent as any part of the southern USA, and I got that Bless your Heart wasn't a blessing, except in the sense it would take a miracle.

LOVE this!

Date: Oct. 20th, 2015 01:39 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
"Bless their hearts!" indeed.

Thanks for adding the explanation; it wasn't until I mentioned it to my Yankee husband that I realized that some people would need the explanation.

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