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Author Topic: Do you think actual Victorians would get any of this?  (Read 878 times)
Clym Angus
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« on: April 18, 2016, 07:23:48 pm »

Now I really really don't want this to turn into a fire fight. I'm warning you all now I will jack my own thread and dive bomb it into the depths of hell and right up the tail pipe of Satan himself if I have to....... Finger on the trigger, people!

Disclaimer out of the way. I've been reading with interest some of the recent historically related sociological papers reproduced both here and generally around the internet. I have been realising with some disquiet that there is a very good chance that your average Victorian whilst recognising our least outlandish members in the street, would find little to nothing in common with them should they strike up a conversation.

I don't especially see this as a bad thing but the word "parody" shoves its way into my brain when confronted with this most pressing question. I fully understand that we are not "re-enactment" never intended to be, and never will be. The hats ARE wonderful and I do love a bit of tweet the fact remains I am finding more and more of Victorian society, bullish, short lived, unmerciful, cruel, hard, dispassionate, class ridden, sexist and despotic.

Put simply we picked a bitch of a time period to rehabilitate! Maybe that's the ironic I'm looking for and to a certain extent fell in love with. Almost sending up the Victorians by showing those long dead people "what they could have been" if they were a little more forward thinking. Again I feel this subject is too big for my brain.

Maybe the jokes on us, maybe the jokes on them. I'm quite sure however that there is a punch line in here somewhere and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Sorry for the Deep Monday post.
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Crescat Scientia
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Fabricator and temporally confused.


« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2016, 07:41:16 pm »

Mid-late nineteenth century England, Europe and the United States were particularly unpleasant and brutal times and places, to be sure.  There is little in common between the idealized fantasies of today and the cold, raw, and rather ugly actions of back then.

I do not, however, object to the cherry-picking of certain hopeful aspects which did exist at the time, which is to my mind the kernel of steampunk.

We are not re-enactors.  Even re-enactors are not truly re-enactors, as the rigorous and vigorous debate in the history museum world reveals.  We all interpret for our own ends, often quite alien to those of the people we incarnate.

I do not mind this.  We do what we do for the people of today.
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Living on steam isn't easy.
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Have you heard?  It's in the stars, next July we collide with Mars.
-- Cole Porter

That's not sinister at all.
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Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2016, 08:17:08 pm »

Every historical era has it's flaws. The victorian era is at least flawed *and* interesting.
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Crescat Scientia
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 09:06:16 pm »

Every historical era has it's flaws. The victorian era is at least flawed *and* interesting.

Oh, they're all interesting, I find, when examined.

Even the "boring billion" is interesting on some deep levels.
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Madasasteamfish
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09madasafish
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2016, 09:52:05 pm »

Well, really it depends on your own sociol-political viewpoint and the individual 19th century person you're comparing yourself to. I mean despite us approaching the 19th century from a 21st century viewpoint (with its' "enlightened" ideas of racial, gender and sexual equality and the like) there are an interesting number or parallels to be drawn between 19th century political and economic thinkers and modern politicians (a good example of this is the worryingly similar rhetoric from the current UK govt. on welfare spending, and the 19th century idea of the 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor), and likewise there were a surprising number of "enlightened" figures to be found historically in the latter part of 19th century (when is actually when a lot of the ideas which drove the social and political changes of the 20th century really got going, e.g. feminism, socialism, trade unionism, etc.).

People often forget how enlightened our ancestors could be, a mean a good example is some of the educational films and literature shown/distributed to America GI's who were to be stationed in Britain during WWII, which (along with teaching them the workings of our pre-decimal currency and some slang) warned them about British attitudes towards 'race relations', specifically the lack of any official segregation in Britain (which still prevailed in American society), and the fact that most British people would treat any American serviceman equally, regardless of his race (there are even accounts of fists fights between White and Black American servicemen over demands to introduce segregation in pubs near their bases, where the local British civilians joined in and fought with the Black GIs).
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river rat
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2016, 10:21:25 pm »

No I really don't think they would. Our mannerisms and even language has changed quite a bit. There's is a big difference between the way things were when I was growing up to what it's like today. Here in the states 40 years ago punching someone in the head would have gotten you a stern talking to. Today you'll get counseling and anger management classes. And no, I'm not promoting punching people. Nor is it a habit of mine. Forty years ago taking kids with you to bars was no big deal. Today you'll get into trouble. When I was in school other classmates would bring in guns all the time. Show and tell, hunting season, what I got for Christmas, nobody thought a thing of it. I made a gun rack is shop. No big deal. Today? Say the word 'gun' and be lucky if your not suspended. There is lots more. But that'll do to get the point across. That's just forty years. Two hundred years? Most of us are better educated. I'm talking the basics. ( well except for my spelling and grammar. I haver an IQ of 140. And to this day have never got the hang of it.) We're healthier and are used to better medical treatment. Home or professional. And we are more open and straight forward about adult subjects. Plus we don't have the class structure they had back then. So no. Even in our finest steampunk regalia they wouldn't get us at all.
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Inflatable Friend
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 12:23:15 am »

No, no they wouldn't.

Just as the Victorians looked back in time and remade what was a pretty horrible time into something relevant, noble and romantic (the chivalry/mediaeval revival) so we look back at them and remake their pretty horrible time into something hopefully relevant, noble and maybe even occasionally romantic.

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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 08:50:34 am »

The sad part is that there are plenty of modern leaders trying to get us BACK into those desperate times  Roll Eyes There's more than a few truly powerful private businessmen in the US, who are trying as hard as they can, politically, to bring us back to the days of the "Robber Barons."  Child labour, you say? They say: why not bring it back? No minimum wage? They say: wouldn't that be wonderful? Abolish taxes altogether! They say: Woo hoo! Law of the Wild West for the country and Gangs of New York for the city!  Roll Eyes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robber_baron_%28industrialist%29

But I will shut up on that...  It seems to me that there are plenty of people who'd love to go back those terrible days, if we're not careful. Perhaps a subconscious nostalgia for the past we all carry around in the pocket.

On other things... I'm not sure we're are that different.

In terms of morality in private and public, it's more a matter of how we present ourselves. How much do we hide in the closet. How much do we cover up our "misdeeds." The thing is, we are a lot less discreet nowadays, especially when you're Tweeting your unmentionables to the public every half hour (and while on the job!)

Heck. 40 years ago, really wasn't that far back for me  Wink There's a couple of things that bother me. Not everything in the past was terrible, and not every new rule we invent today is actually good...

For example, while I understand that today we protect children a lot more than we did 40 years ago, I fail to understand how we can justify subjecting out children to violence in the media, while being downright ridiculous when policing our children's dress habits in public schools.

Also, a curious modern phenomenon I saw developing in the last 25-30 years: I fail to see why a 30 year old man marrying a 40 year old woman is somehow a "moral dilemma," as it seems that the only proper maximum age difference for dating or marriage nowadays is exactly 4 years, 11 months, 29 days, 23 hours, and 59 seconds, after which the older member in the couple (typically the male) will be deemed a "paedophile" and then be shunned by society. This regardless of age, such that the same applies to the 80 year old woman marrying the 90 year old man (as if you could tell the difference between the two).

In the meantime, our daughters are having sex and getting pregnant at the age of 13 often with older boys all the way up to age 18.  HOWEVER, in the peculiar case that an 18 year old boy is older by say... 6 months than a girl, age 17, and said boy has intimate relations with said girl, then he is now found to be in contempt of the law, and then will be incarcerated for Statutory Rape, Relations with a Minor, and needs to be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Makes a lot of sense to me-Not. Who is making these rules? 21st. C morality? Or maybe I'm just an old fart who clearly belongs to the 20th. C.?

« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 08:53:24 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged

J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 09:18:49 am »

Put simply we picked a bitch of a time period to rehabilitate!

The thing is, old chap, that I don't see why the Regency Period, or better yet, the Renaissance Period for that matter, would be any better in terms of social equality, justice and peace for mankind! 

The punch line on the joke is, that as you go further back in time, the worse things tend to get.

The Romans were considered to be "oppressors" by many. After all they killed people for sport in the Colosseum. But from the perspective of the Romans, the "barbarians" were being saved by being conquered and brought into the empire.

Iron age, you say?  Why yes! Very peaceful northern forested lands. If you don't mind being tied with rope, have your throat slit with a knife and thrown into the bog as a routine sacrifice to the gods.

Native America, you say?  Very beautiful.  A true paradise.  And the Spanish were terrible oppressors to the Aztec, establishing slavery at first and replacing their native religion with Christianity, which admittedly was itself a form of oppression and control.  But Christianity somehow didn't seem so dark to the people in the Mexican vassal states who were paying tribute to the Aztecs during the time of Cortez' arrival, especially when considering the habitual process of being conquered and having to pay for their loss by providing people for human sacrifice among many other things. What? You mean you don't have a rack of skulls outside of your local temple?  How uncivilised!

Slavery. War. Racism. Rape, pillage and plunder. Disease. Cruelty. Incest. Unmentionable evil acts.  Check, check, check, check, check, check and check. All present before the Victorian Era, and not necessarily in milder form than found in the Victorian period.

Uh-huh. Yeah... If given the choice, I'd probably choose the Victorian period over many other eras which preceded the Industrial Revolution.
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morozow
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 11:24:18 am »

Put simply we picked a bitch of a time period to rehabilitate!

Uh-huh. Yeah... If given the choice, I'd probably choose the Victorian period over many other eras which preceded the Industrial Revolution.

Only if You'll be a citizen in the Metropolis.

And if we choose, to the question of when, definitely need to clarify whom.
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Sorry for the errors, rudeness and stupidity. It's not me, this online translator. Really convenient?
Atterton
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Only The Shadow knows


« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2016, 06:35:51 pm »

There are things I like about the modern era, which still show up in the "Things you don't like about the modern era"-thread. It's about your preferences.
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Hez
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2016, 02:15:43 am »

A lot of things about the Victorian era were quite nasty. But it was also time poised on the brink of change.  People were starting to fight for prison reform, abolition, sufferage, free schools for the poor, protection of children and animals, the right to unionize and the right of women to advanced degrees. 
They didn't win all those fights during their, or Queen Victoria's, lifetimes but they started.  And that is the hardest and most important part of any struggle against the status quo.
It wasn't an easy time to live but their world, their technology and their minds were expanding. 

Would they "get any of this?" 
Many would run screaming simply because they haven't had the time it takes to accept an amount of change that would shake their world to the core.  A few would be delighted with many things. 

None of them would approve of baseball caps worn backwards.


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