Sunday, July 20, 2008

Random and Non Random Thoughts: A Victorian Discussion

A friend sent me some writings that she'd accumulated from various places of various discussions of things Victorian that she found in the blogosphere. The following has been taken from their discussions, when and from where I know not. Some of it is well documented and some of it is just a discussion of family history.

I don't know where these things came from because the links were not active in the document that I was sent, though some of the entries are referenced. For the privacy of those who posted, I removed their names, just because I don't know the original source. (Nothing like finding out you were commenting on a blog that you'd never seen before!) I've left some of the data raw -- so you might find spelling errors and the like.

They clearly appear to be Christians discussing the glorified nostalgia of the Victorian period that occurs within some Evangelical Christian groups. I, too, love the artwork, but as is described in these discussions, my family's experience (including my grandfather's family who immigrated the U.S. from London in the 1880s to find employment mining coal in the hills of Pennsylvania), their experience of the period was vastly different from velvet and lace. They were desperately poor in the U.S., but I am told that this is nothing compared to the terrible poverty they experienced in London.

Blog Host Note: There are some comments that mention drug addiction. If they are discussing the streets of London, I believe that people tend to exaggerate the famed “opium dens” that did exist, but they were not as popular as some sensational writers would have you believe. [One of my husband’s many fields of study includes forensic investigation of drug abuse, and this is his informed opinion based on that data.] There were also many heroin addicts that followed the War Between the States as a consequence of treatment of their brutal injuries, so there were quite a few heroin addicts in the U.S.

Each new person speaking is noted by a rose or bud or bloom.

I have asked this several times in several different places, and never have I gotten a satisfactory answer:

Why is this time frame so looked upon and really REVERED in some Christian circles as the end all be all of modesty and enlightenment?

Frankly, I have no idea why

My grandparents were from the Victorian Era. They held there were many aspects of it that was extremely wicked. Too often things were reduced to certain rules/regulations (as if any of those things could change one's mind and, then, their hearts ) It had a kind of cookie cutter existence to it.

My grandparents held that the era of the Great Depression was much more Christian in outlook and day-to-day life. Rightly or wrongly, I think folks want to point to such-and-such a time and say, See... that is how we should be living Yet, those folks in that timeframe point to other eras The Victorians, for example, lamented for the good ole days as well ...

Those susceptible to perfectionistic tendencies do not realize that each age has its problems and forget that God had them born NOW with all its marvelous technology to use for His glory and His people. It kinda reminds me of folks in the mid 1500s to mid 1600s wanting to secure a Utopia ... it's kinda like trying to sneak past the angels guarding the Garden of Eden ... trying to get to Point Z without striving or starting from Point A ...

I thank the Lord each day for indoor plumbing, cars, my computer, excellent medicines, quality food, etc. ... He chose to have us born NOW ... not then. (Thank You, Lord Jesus ) ... to conquer the issues of today. Frankly, I think any push to return to the Victorian Era is doomed for failure (not to mention goofy)

Sorry ... I'm sure I didn't answer in the politically correct fashion within the circles of conservatism

I think, or at least for me and my limited education, Hollywood paints a certain image. We adhere that this 'image' is truth and most of the time, it's not. It might be partially true. For example, the ladies always look so gorgeous in their ball gowns and the men in their dress of that era, the manners, the social gatherings (dance, almost always a party atmosphere or discussions, or card games, etc., etc. ) We wish for the same, and forget they didn't have running water, a bath might be had once a month, lice was a problem...ewwwwwwww, I think I'll stay here in this era.

Also many think that they would have lived
this life of ease ...
Not so ...
Most of those stories are about the wealthy ...
Not about us average Joes.

Those wealthy folks the movies present could not live the way they did unless they exploited those that had just come over from foreign lands ... They mocked and belittled others that were not of their class ... Then, there were the robber barons that really exploited the middle class ... When folks were hurt while working on the railroads or mining, they were left to themselves ... the employers (who said they were Christian) refused to practice the Golden Rule by taking care of the women left without husbands and their children ... they saw it as an easy way of having more domestic help ...

It was not unusual for every member of the family to be working outside the home (actually, that was never unusual for America since the colonial days) ... in the cities they were working in not-so-pleasant working conditions in the factories ... the hours were long and hard ... and it was very dangerous

[I can't think of the name of the factory in the east where it caught fire and all those women were burned alive ... can anyone else? I'd ask my ma, but I don't wanna depress her]

It was SOOOO bad that many were very frightened that anarchists, Marxists, and communists would come in and take over ... and they were RIGHT to be frightened ... in many respects it was becoming a close call

The Victorian Era has a great deal to answer for ...

One of the things I like about the era, though, was Albert ... her husband ... he was SOOOO concerned about how Christianity had been reduced to a bunch of rules and regulations that he brought the Christmas tree into everyone's home ... Why? ... to cause folks to remember Christ is ever green ... He is with us ... He is the center and the reason for Christmas

Some Links to More Info:

The Triangle Factory Fire
Leap for Life, Leap for Death

Very sad pictures in this next link, along with more of the story:
About the Union Narrative

There are many more links about it.

I think that many folks mix the Edwardian and Victorian Era's in fashion but the fact is that no matter what the era there has always been debauchery and immodesty going on right from the beginning of time.

I think that folks get mixed up in the romance of it rather than the reality of it. Having been a reenactor for nearly 30 years I can relate...there is a romance in almost all the eras really, you just have to be willing to turn a blind eye to the rest.

I think too that most women, especially, are romanced by the gallant and bravado of gentlemen and how a lady would have been treated. The beautiful clothing, the lovely parties. However, the wealthy were a very small minority.

The fact is that most of them were peasants like me. The had to cook their own meals, make their clothes, grow and raise their foods, do their own laundry and probably bathed more often than the elite (playing in cricks and streams and ponds). The elite had lots of perfumes to hide their odor as well as a higher rate of head and body lice because they didn't do their hair very often as those do's were hard and often spendy. They wore tighter clothing to show off as much shape as society would allow and covered what did show with powders and such. Lets not overlook the laudanum that most women (and often men) would carry with them for their nerves.

So what you really had was a group of people that were stinky, sticky, greasy, lice ridden folks that were high most of the time.

That's so romantic (Isn't )!

And so there again....just what is the fascination? Why are so many groups advocating a return to this?????

I think the glorification of the Victorian Era is done out of ignorance (in some situations the ignorance may be wilful ... in other situations it may just be lack of education & being led astray for the agenda of others)