Sunday, February 10, 2008

Maybe we're turning into Victorians

Or: What I Learned About the World from Reading Historical Romances.

I learned that sometimes people get *more* uptight over time rather than less.

Victorians, according to custom and any number of novels, were concerned with propriety above all. Certain things were not spoken of and certainly the rougher aspects of life were hidden from young ladies. They were prudes.

Read enough novels and eventually a consumer of these delightful escapes will come across one that isn’t Victorian at all, but set in the Georgian era or earlier, or at the very least has a foul mouthed old grandmother who insists on wearing her wig and powder and scandalizing her adult children with accounts of her wild youth.

What brought this to mind (in a rather random fashion, which is typical for my brain) was this post of mine and what Joshua said about History.

Deeply partisan divide using fear is nothing new… hell, we could take a page from the 19th century if we want to feel better about how bad it really isn’t—

And it got me thinking of all the ways we seem to imagine that things are so very bad when, in fact, they are so very very much better than they’ve ever been. Race relations, economic opportunity, acceptance of diversity and lifestyle that really is unheard of before now, yet we’re supposed to be up in arms about the assault on this or that thing… on freedom and decency.

And I wondered… maybe it’s not just that we’re unaware of History. Maybe it’s that we’ve become prudes. Maybe it’s that our ideas of what *should* be are so constrained and so utterly… straight-laced… that any small violation seems like a slide into disaster.

We’ve never *seen* such negative campaigning. Or such division in politics. Or abuse of our privacy. Or fear of minorities. Or rushes to war. Or domestic poverty and joblessness.


I think we’re turning into Victorians who faint over the too direct glance of a young lady toward a man, while pretending we don’t hear dear Grandmother, with her quizzing glass and powder, expound on Prinny’s well known appetites.


Blogger Ymarsakar said...

See it while it lasts

Victoria sentiments indeed, which is an interesting coincidence. I just got the link today from Tim Larkin.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

There was some other blog posts I wanted to link so, so I just grouped them all under my own blog post, because I kept wanting to talk about it

Meaning there was a Villainous Company post I linked to that was talking about some of the same stuff you were talking about, Synova. And of course some blackfive posts as well.

6:19 PM  

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