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Countess Tatiana Rimski-Premikov lifted the billowing tulle gathers of her petticoat and fairly skipped into the throng. It was to be her first ball, and she had spent the entire afternoon in preparation, standing still for hours as her mother, the Vice-Countess, helped prepare her resplendent costume.

"Tut," the Vice-Countess declared as Marya, the chambermaid, strained to fasten Tatiana's corset, "You've been spending too much time in the pantry. Gentlemen of substance favor not the soft of flesh when time comes for the quadrille."

But these criticisms faded from her mind as Tatiana danced her first waltz with a dashing Fourth Sergeant of the Imperial Cavalry. Everything was so gay! A pyramid of oranges, freshly shipped from the Levant only two weeks prior (and so with just a few patches of fuzzy blue mold), stood on either end of a long credenza laden with all manner of dainties and delicacies. And the lights! Six chandeliers, each carrying thirty candles, threw off a glow of such dazzling brilliance, the little Countess could almost see across the room! As the sergeant whirled her round the floor, Tatiana threw her head back and laughed, scarcely noticing the drop of hot wax that fell beneath her tongue.

Even les toilettes were fitted out with an elegance beyond her wildest imaginings. In one corner of the room was a tower of stacked porcelain chamber pots, enough for every guest to have their own. (Soiled ones were piled in a separate closet, the odor of which, while certainly noticeable, was scarcely as overpowering as the effluvium eminating from the maw of the customary latrine.) The little countess selected a pot and did her dainty business. Then, remembering her mother's warnings about her weight, she leaned over its porcelain rim and pushed her index finger to the back of her mouth, retching forth the smoked sturgeon with bearnaise sauce she had eaten for supper.

Date Written: July 26, 2004
Author: qualcomm
Average Vote: 3.5

07/30/2004 scoop: I'm a little torn on this one. The writing, which is skillful, seems in inverse proportion to the joke, which is flat. Must commune with my thoughts and return after tapping in to my voting yoni.
07/30/2004 qualcomm (4): it gives me great sorrow to learn that the tragic body issues young women contend with have such deep roots.
07/30/2004 Mr. Pony (5): Huh! Got caught off guard there.
07/30/2004 Litcube (4): Indeed, thrown off guard.
07/30/2004 Dylan Danko: I thought this was the kind of thing OSS disliked.
07/30/2004 qualcomm: yeah, it has some elements of what i don't like, with one difference: it's making some actual jokes/points, not just copying a form for its own sake
07/30/2004 scoop (3): I disagree.
07/30/2004 Dylan Danko (5):
07/30/2004 Jon Matza (4): Fat Russian cow; big fat thighs.
07/30/2004 scoop: Let me clarify. The writing here is impressive. In fact I felt a little awkward rating a sample of writing that would take me several grad school classes to master with such a pedestrian vote. That's right I too sometimes feel. I just think that the masterful, immersive period work here dresses up a rather boring joke. A joke, I might add, telegraphed with the dexterity and efficienct of a high-tech satellite array available to a high-tech society like our own with that 2nd graf. The joke just did not make my forg's leg of a heart twitch.
07/30/2004 Mr. Pony: Hey, guys, are we still going forg hunting this weekend?
07/30/2004 qualcomm: i thought the bulimia joke was fine - unexpected and underplayed. it didn't feel like it was supposed to be the entire point of the short. what i really voted on was graf 3, the unmasking of 18th-19th century "delights" (as described in fiction of the time) for what they really were: pallid, laughable attempts at the stunning level of odorlessness we've achieved today.
07/30/2004 scoop: Not much time. Caught me in between sets, bra. I could see how this short could have mad the odorless joke you were talking about if it stayed the course instead of veering off for the eating disorder gag. gotta go. Time to his the shoulders...
07/30/2004 Mr. Pony: I think the "odorlessness" joke, and the bulimia joke are two aspects of the same gag. More accurately, I think one is the mirror image of the other. Look how stupid we were then, look how stupid we are now. Stupid!
07/30/2004 John Slocum: Summer: isn't this a parody too close to the actual style as so worthless, or whatever it is you always write which I can't exactly remember?
07/30/2004 John Slocum (3): Sorry, when I logged on only the first 2 or 3 comments showed. Then I commented, and when I returned to the short there were like a hundred comments. Boy do I feel like a heel. 3.5. I'm taking cognitive ownership of scoop's analysis. Thanks Scoop.
07/30/2004 qualcomm: well, like i said below, or tried to, the difference here is that the joke is not "oh look, he's writing in 19th-century mode." the jokes are: 1) crappiness of 19th century pleasure technology (as exhibited in graf 3); and 2) 19th century bulimia. i don't always give bad votes to shorts that are in some well-established literary style, just the ones where that seems to be the only point.
07/30/2004 qualcomm: though i can't argue with scoop's analysis much, either.
07/30/2004 John Slocum: Yah, I read your comments after I asked the question, but would you mind explaining again?
07/30/2004 qualcomm: GRAAAAAARRRRR
06/14/2005 TheBuyer (0.5): you're welcome.