Friday, December 14, 2012

Social Experiments We can Learn From

    I probably won't retire to colonial living.I can't imagine that I will give up running water and electricity full time unless I have to.  I know in my heart I am willing and able to do without a lot of luxuries, but I won't just voluntarily become the family hermit.   

     I will continue to simplify my life and stock and store against disasters like hurricanes.  I will continue to acquire and hone skills needed to survive, but I am smart enough to know the romanticized version of Little House on the Prairie and the old west television programs were sets and not a real interpretation of the hard work needed to survive. 

     That is why I so thoroughly enjoyed watching the Public Broadcasting Stations social experiments such as Colonial House, Frontier House and the BBC 1900 House and 1940s House.  These programs are a tutorial in what to do, how it was done and how we as modern people do not fit into the past with modern attitudes.

The British 1900 House is set in a country estate with upstairs privileged manor owners and below stairs staff.  It did not go well with the young people who volunteered and whined because their rights were not recognized and they were not appreciated.  It is available on You Tube.

The Frontier House was fraught with jealous neighbors and snarky women!  Judge NOT ladies!  And yet they did and didn't care who knew it, and the two most well off families failed miserably in their goals and thought they had done the best jobs.  They cheated and they hated their neighbors.  Good tv!
The 1940s House took us back to England with a world at war.  There was electricity and single moms and hard times and they fared a bit better but they too were surprised how quickly they missed their better lives and how hard doing without anything under stress can send the mind into a tail spin of depression and woe.  Still, they had electricity and running water and radio.

     In the after math of a hurricane, the lines of angry people at gas stations and coffee shops trying to get their gas and their electronics charged while huge generators supplied power for news vans to broadcast their anxiety lined the streets was a sad yet honest reminder how cranky we get as a nation when we don't have what we want when we want it. 

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