By Deborah Yaffe, Jan 22 2018 02:00PM
Like all Internet-connected Janeites, I had a good giggle last week about the Onion story headlined, “Man Wishes Women In Crowded Bar Would Let Him Read Jane Austen in Peace.”
In the Onion's characteristically deadpan prose, the piece purported to tell the story of Russell Goldin, a Californian – from the oh-so-appropriately-named city of Modesto -- who could barely get through a page of Pride and Prejudice without being hit on by female patrons of O’Donnell’s Pub. “I came here to drink red wine and be transported to the world of the 18th-century British landed gentry, not make flirtatious small talk,” the fictitious Goldin complained.
I suppose I should sigh at the widespread but fallacious assumption underlying the humor: that no man would ever read Jane Austen – at least, not in public -- for any purpose other than attracting women, presumed to be the sole genuine enthusiasts for Austen’s novels. But I’ll give the always-hilarious Onion a pass: In my book, it can do no wrong.