Friday, January 4, 2008

What would Jane do?

(adapted from MPT’s January Tea Times newsletter)

My wife is 55 years old. She loves many things “Jane.” (That would be the late British novelist Jane Austen.) Most of these things are in print (the Jane books, biographies and so on) or on video (the Jane British TV mini-series and, of course, the Jane movies). She calls them “bonnet movies.” But she doesn’t know about the Republic of Pemberley yet.

Two of the hottest things these days are social networking and online video. I’m thinking Jane might be a fan of both. But I might be wrong. On the one hand, Jane wouldn't have to venture too far into the world to experience these things (seems fitting). She could do so with a great degree of discretion (also in line with her style). And she could observe, synthesize and comment as she saw fit (right on the money). On the other hand, she might simply shun the Internet all together. In the happy circumstance that Jane would venture online, I’d direct her first to Republic of Pemberley, an entire world dedicated to all things Jane (and done so with a great deal of taste).

The site began sometime around July 1996 as a spin-off of AUSTEN-L, an email discussion list, and evolved into a message board for fans nutty about the Pride and Prejudice BBC television mini-series. While “the Republic,” as its known to its devotees, does not claim to be the site for all Jane information and discussion, it does claim to be the destination for true Jane “obsessives.”

A tight-knit, intimate community, the Republic aspires to exude a bit of attitude what they characterize as “polite with a bite”—a delicious and wholly appropriate tagline. Its creators maintain the Republic is one of the most civil places on the Internet, a distinction the community prizes and cultivates through emulation of Jane’s own honest, moral and forthright ways. When you resonate with its tone, visiting the site is all the more fun. But beware: part of the attitude involves frankly matriarchal governance. But when you get down to it, it’s all about gushing over Jane.

So stop by the Republic of Pemberley as you sit back and prepare to watch fourteen hours of great Jane adaptations coming to MPT beginning Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. I know my wife will!

Eric Eggleton
Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer

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