Carrying on where I left off yesterday, wodehousian characters, for instance, were always knocking back hefty drinks, punching policemen when drunk, proposing when drunk, making speeches when drunk.
We find them hilarious and don't stop to think much of the should-they, or how-should-the-college principal-have-reacted, or even is-this-behaviour-really-alright?
Its all clearly meant to be make-believe, mad stuff to make us laugh, and as far as we are concerned, fantasy.
In actual fact, if my father, husband, son, or brother (this behaviour is almost always male) were to punch a policeman when drunk, or go up on stage and deliver a speeech when drunk....I would be embarassed out of my mind. I would be really upset, and angry with them for making a public spectacle of themselves. I would expect a lot more self-control, and I don't think I could easily think, indulgently, "Boys will be boys". I would probably think, "Boys who act like mindless animals should be treated as such, till they learn otherwise"....!!
I don't know if Wodehouse wrote so casually because he thought those actions were socially/ morally neutral, or whether he was just writing as was once described, "as if all of life was a musical comedy", with a lot of crazy madness, a lot of tangles, fun, and all coming right in the end.
In actual fact, things don't always come right. They tend to get more tangled. Men who drink and punch policemen would land up in jail, mow down sleeping pave-ment dwellers, get dependant on alcohol, ending up with gastro-oesophageal diseases and end-stage liver cirrhosis, and alcohol induced delirium , dementia and paranoia....to name just a few!!
Its not a musical comedy...its more like a sordid tabloid story, or if more tragic,a Russian novel.