If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you’ll love various “House” series from PBS. It is fascinating to look at 21st century people going “back in time” to the various locations and periods. I have to admit, I don’t know how I would fair living in 1628 in a colony of the coast of Maine, or as a settler in Montana in the 1880s, or even in a Manor House in 1905.
I do know that life would be a lot different both from a social perspective and in regards to manual labor. I think in the 21st century, we are so accustomed to checking out iPhones to see what restaurants are near us or ordering in, or even take for granted to fact that we have running water, a shower and a proper toilet. Although, it seems that going the bathroom was a lot easier in the colonial era and frontier era due to the fact that the clothing was A LOT simpler than that of Manor House, specifically for the women.
However, that aside, I think that these series help us from a modern perspective, reflect upon how far we’ve come (or not) in our society today. Working in retail for my survival job, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that society, especially that of the Manor House, hasn’t really changed all that much. We still have servants in the forms of personal assistants, nannies, and yes, housekeepers. There is a certain snobbery that still exists and no matter how much we try to argue to the contrary, our society is probably never going to change in terms of separating people into groups, classes, etc. It’s a sad reality, but watching these programs has made me more aware that issues never go away. The society may change on the surface in terms of the tools they use to communicate, cook and clean, but emotionally, pressing societal issues are always below the surface. We still treat people who wait on us at restaurants as inferior, we still yell at people in customer service and we still think that our status matters. What we fail to realize is that we are ALL human. Every last one of us has emotions and needs that are so basic to our foundations that it should bring us closer together. If we took some time to recognize our similarities between each other instead of our differences, maybe we’d be better off. Oh, and watch the various series. They are also available on YouTube and Netflix.