Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Then and now

Lately I've been watching a lot of the Masterpiece Theater productions that BBC produces. I love watching them because they are always so well done. A lot of them are screen versions or adaptations of classic books written by authors like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. These productions are usually several hours long, which I like because in addition to being entertained, I become very familiar with the plot lines of classic literature without actually having to read the books. A lot of tmousehese books are so long and hard to understand since they were written so long ago. Our vernacular has definitely changed and evolved since the 1800s, so I'd usually rather watch a well done production than suffer through reading a long book that would be a struggle to understand. I'm just a simpleton when it comes to that sort of thing! ;)

Now that I've given you the back story about what I've been watching, I have a few thoughts about society then and society now and how much things have changed:
  • Fashion: women always wore long dresses and bonnets and men always wore suits with all the bells and whistles like tail coat, waistcoat, cummerbunds*, cravats (or some sort of other neck tie-like accessory) and top hats. In a way, you had a lot fewer choices since you knew you were either going to wear a dress or suit. I wonder what people back then would think of the kinds of clothing that we wear today.
*I always thought it was spelled cumberbun, but it's not! Who knew?! (Not me, at least!)
  • Dating etiquette: courtship used to be so proper! It's definitely not the way people date today because you can get away with things in this day and age that would never have been tolerated in "the old days" like living together before marriage, or even making out. We’re not as proper in the way we speak, either. It seems like people referred to each other as Miss/Mrs./Mr. most of the time back then, and nowadays it's definitely not as common to address the people we know like this, especially our friends.
  • Correspondence: letter writing has definitely become a lost art! Now that we live in the computer era where it's quicker to send an e-mail, instant message or message via Facebook, people don't write letters anymore! When I was a little girl I remember my mom writing/receiving letters each week – usually from her parents, but they switched from letters to e-mails mid-90s.
In a way it's sad because I think there's something so much more personal and "real" about letters/mail, especially when it handwritten. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to write with a quill and ink or with one of those pens with a special metal nib that you dip in ink. Nice penmanship (something else that is slowly becoming a lost art in this computer age) was always something I took pride in before my accident and I think it would've been fun (although more tedious and less practical) to write with pen and ink.


The Redhead Riter said...

I wish I could write the way they did back then and I tried, but my hand has always been just shook too much. Now all I really do is type and I can do that in whatever font I want and it always looks neat and uniform LOL I do love the real ornate ink pens. They look so...elegant and "high society" to me.

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