Thursday, August 23, 2012

18th Century Mid-Set: How different are we, really?!

This week, there was an article regarding the 21st Century Mind-Set, the views and observations of those in college right now, due to graduate in 2016. It's incredible how things change, and what things are considered in or out or all-together obsolete. Below is a sampling:

1) They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to "electronics".
2) Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's father-in-law, not Vito Corleone.
3) Bill Clinton is a senior statesman, of who they have little knowledge.
4) Biblical terms like "forbidden fruit" have no meaning.
5) They have never held an airplane "ticket".
6) They live in a world of instant stardom with self-proclaimed celebrities.

I'm sure it was true for the 18th Century young person as well. There must have been things that were passe, things that were la mode, au currant.
I remember for one example, the story about Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire (1757 - 1808) meeting Charles Fox (1749-1806) a Whig member of Parliament, noted as an anti-slavery campaigner and supporter of the French Revolution. He was a particular advocate of religious tolerance and individiual liberty. The Duchess met him in 1777. He was quite the celebrity, speaking 5 languages, frittering away a fortune as he went partying!

Georgiana became a political groupie of sorts, following him to rallies, and even going so far as wearing clothing that mimiced him and his political ideas. She went so far as to wear a fox tail on her hat!

Regarding medicine and healing, in 1700 many believed that scrofula, a form of tubercular infection, could be healed by a monarch's touch. Today, I can imagine if one touches one of the Royals or famous celebrity or pseudo-celebrity, they may not be healed, but they certainly might feel a surge of excitement, a momentary glow of "I'm part of the in-crowd!"

The wealthy ran to Bath, outside of London, for water cures and big, public dances. Drinking spa water, or bathing in the hot springs was supposed to be a cure all. Today, The glitterati love to visit places like the Golden Door for treatments ranging from mud baths, hot stone applications to colonics, gluten-free foods, fish pedicures (where tiny, hungry fish eat away calluses). Of course, today no one would be caught dead drinking tap water. Heaven forbid!

We may have cel phones and Ipads these days, and beware keeping them too long, and showing them out of style. Then, communications was just as important, though by small hand-written note, delivered immediately or at least as soon as possible. And, the general salon where you could hear the latest gossip. I remember in Amadeus, Mozart exclaiming, "Come on now, be honest! Which one of you wouldn't rather listen to his hairdresser than Hercules?" You can imagine that today, Wolfie would probably love to turn on TMZ or catch

No comments:

Post a Comment