The past several weeks I have spent a lot of free time watching DVDs of the show "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman." It's becoming a bit of a problem. You see, I'm a bit obsessed, and my apartment is not self-cleaning.
I love this show. I am so fascinated by history, not so much what happened, which is important, but how people lived in the past. We have so much technology and convenience now, I find it hard to imagine living without things like microwaves, cars, and hair straighteners. Where the fastest way to get a message to someone who lives across the country is by telegraph or pony express. And the news in the letter is weeks old by the time it reaches its destination. I can't imagine taking weeks/months long trips because it takes so long to get somewhere, or to say goodbye to someone knowing you may never see or hear from them again.
There is a place in Des Moines called Living History Farms, which is like a playground for someone like me. It takes you through decades of progress, how people lived in many different times. I love walking through the houses and hearing explanations of how people went about day to day living. Seeing how women were able to do the cooking and cleaning (yes, mostly just women, just a fact). Fascinating. Really. (Facebook friends, if you haven't seen my album from LHF, it is here.)
I also love the small town feel of Dr. Quinn. Everyone knows everyone else, and there isn't anything like TV or video games to distract, so they have to create their own entertainment. Dances and picnics are a regular occurrence. Now, I realize this is TV, but still. It's wonderful :)
We have come a long way from the world of Dr. Quinn. In some ways. In other ways, though, I feel as if we still have a long way to go. A constant frustration for me, and for Phyllis, who is borrowing the DVDs from me, is the ignorance. Again, I realize it's a TV show, but my guess is that things were actually much worse than they show. On the show, they want people to have compassion for their characters, so they give them some redeeming qualities and things usually turn out decently. Not so in real life. The way that Native Americans were treated is appalling. What gave anyone the right to come in and take the land? And then shuttle these people, who had lived on the land for hundreds of years, into small tracts of crap land and force them to live like white people. Really? They were called savages, but I think anyone with a brain can figure out where that title actually belongs. The show depicts cruelty and discrimination against Indians, blacks, hispanics, women...basically anyone who is different, or does things differently than expected.
And I don't feel like things have changed that much. How often do we make judgments about people before even talking to them? We see them and decide we know who they are before they have a chance to defend themselves. We think with our eyes, instead of using the wonderful blob in our heads. We assign them attributes based on cultural expectations and our own prejudices. We forget that people are people, no matter what they look like. That person you are avoiding because they're not good-looking enough may be the love of your life, while the person you're devoting your energy to may be the biggest jerk in the world. As much as we use our sight, we are blinded by it.
I don't really have anything else to say on that topic. Well, I have a lot, but I think that's enough. I started another more entertaining blog a few days ago. I'll finish that at some point soon. Right now, I have some more Dr. Quinn to watch. :)