Carol, one of the newer Roundtablers out of Seattle, Washington, is revisiting a topic that makes us all really think. There is no doubt that we're all living longer than we used to, but do we want to or should we live forever? This time in her post, she has sources including a gerontologist who wrote a book. So don't wait too long before heading over to Carol's blog to provide insight into your opinions.
I am not a reality TV junkie by any measure. I've given up on Survivor, and I get tired of American Idol, and The Apprentice, but there are two types of reality television shows that always reel me in. These are the wife exchange shows, Wife Swap and Trading Spaces, as well as the nanny shows, Nanny 911, and Super Nanny. The wife exchange shows are set up to create conflict that pleases viewers since they match up families with opposing lifestyles and morals. And it is interesting yet frustrating to watch. I find myself wishing the two mother of one family could compromise with the adopted family and meet somewhere in the middle. And then while watching, I remember my childhood and my parents and how normal they were. And it's not just a biased me who is thinking this. My parents weren't/aren't extreme in any way considering they emigrated here 40+ years ago from a country with a completely different culture. They have adapted well and my siblings and I are the benefactors. Wife Swap and Trading Spouses makes me really appreciate my upbringing. I wasn't forced to do things like become a personal assistant to my brother for a future dirt-biking career, nor did I ever have to deal with a materialistic and status hungry set of parents. They weren't overly protective like the parents on one of the shows who didn't let their kids play any sports. One way they may have been out of the ordinary is that my parents had a silent expectation of working hard to get good grades in school, but they didn't punish us or criticize us for not getting 'A's' like some parents.
Speaking of parents, thanks to Nanny 911 and Supernanny, I also now realize that my nephews and nieces are generally pretty good kids. (So were I and my siblings, and that's without ever having gotten spanked or beaten). I can't believe what some of these little kids on the show have turned into. Damien? Is that you? You can blame the parents as well as genetics to a degree, but I always wonder how it gets so out of hand to begin with. I have learned much about childrearing from Jo, the superest nanny of them all, (and I don't even have any kids), but the show pulls at my heartstrings when I see families getting closer as a result of Super Nanny's advice. I suppose the wife exchange programs make each family appreciate their own family more and that tends to draw them closer. Plus, they learn that some of their practices are extreme and learn to adjust based on the differing viewpoint of a mother from a completely different household. This also makes me feel good because beneficial things are happening for people, (although I understand that it's still a Hollywood production).
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that all these nanny and wife exchange shows fulfill many roles. They actually help families that participate with more than instant cash and prizes. That in itself is touching, but they also make us viewers feel better about ourselves and become more appreciative of what we have. Most people don't realize that reality TV can have this effect. I never expected it until I really thought about it.
John Sadowski is Roundtabling away and in this week's post, he would like us to help define a decade, the current one, (Not the album by Neil Young pictured to the left). By defining it, he means labeling it. Our decade is little more than half over but it probably already deserves a defining name and you can help. Have a visit to John's blog and provide your ideas.
Suburban living in the U.S. is pretty much the same no matter where you go. There are variations depending on the local climate, but they're not significant. Malls tend to have the same stores, franchised restaurants are everywhere, and if you look closely, the buildings tend to look the same. In fact, modern day factories, houses, churches, and hotels tend to look a like too. It's not just that they look alike, but they are generally plain. They're put up to make money as quickly as possible with minimal expense. But it's boring and it shows that architecture is generally for the rich and for landmark type projects. Most shopping plazas aren't much to look at.
Contrast that with the great architecture of the Renaissance and from Asia even 1,000 years ago. These were people that had to work hard just to put food on the table. They had to hunt it and skin it and chop it up or grow it, reap it, grind it, mix it, cook it. That was tough work and easy food is probably the reason we all keep gaining weight, but I'll stop digressing there. Keep in mind that this was a world with less people to do work, and ones who didn't live nearly as long. They were probably treated like slaves even if they earned a living. Yet workers didn't just put up buildings. They hauled and carried chunks of stone and then they carved it painstakingly by hand. Then, on many buildings such as temples, churches or even merchant's shops, they sculpted or painted intricate designs. Their artisan skills were used tediously and perhaps they were not as rare as they are today, but they probably were not appreciated for the beauty that they provide. I don't mean to insult modern day architects, engineers, and construction workers. Their methods are for more advanced, but usually what gets put up is the bare minimum. It's just enough to open up shop to start making money off of the establishment. Our society is so into return on investment that corporations and businesses rarely go out of their way to turn their buildings into art that provides a positive atmosphere while perpetuating cultural cues for future archaeologists to uncover.
It's sad that things are so plain today. On one hand, I'm into Scandinavian simplicity in design and form over function, but there's something to be said for handcrafted pieces including buildings, structures and clothes. Luckily, it still takes place today in areas of countries that are not as modernized. But we should consider pushing for a design renaissance of sorts where intricate style and craftsmanship are more common than they are rare. Sure it would be expensive, but wouldn't it be nice?
Seattle's Suzanne, who continually perfects procrastination, is the Roundtabler this week and she is holding a non-denominational confessional of sorts on her blogpost. She has already started off the fun with her list of guilty pleasures and we all listened, (although not anonymously). None of us are exactly holy, so join the rest of us, jump on over to her blog, and fess up to those things you do that you shouldn't, but that you feel like admitting.