Television review

I never watch movies, so that when I do, they have a tremendous life-changing effect on me, that lasts for hours, even days. Similarly, I never watch television, so that when I did watch a programme last evening I was blown away. In fact, I do not own a TV, but when a trusted reader told me that I must watch something by the Communist Broadcasting Corporation (Canada’s taxpaid guvmint network) I found the Internet link.

They did something sorta neat: got a Canajan suburban family (with three teenaged kids) to live in the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s, &c. Their house was stripped to the studs then authentically periodized for each decade in succession; meals, clothes, chores, &c, starting with war rations. The guineapig family were good sports, and did their best to adopt the mores and manners. They were also rather charming. Mommy bitches a bit about never having worked so hard (in real life, a nurse in our socialist medical system), but is diligent, and witty, and the rest of the family plays along, including girls knitting socks for our boys in Europe, needlework, &c. (The less cooperative, but still obedient older girl does a lovely handkerchief with the motto, “I hate needlework.”) Black-&-white footage is supplied to viewers for some background; and even when the household gets a TV (in 1959), it plays contemporary CBC shows.

Tupperware party; salads in jello.

In the ’forties episode, the family really got into the war effort, and decided to actually like short servings of “meatless pies,” and kidneys in flour sauce on toast. When we win (in 1945 segment) they decorate the house with bunting and our old Red Ensign flag, and look overjoyed. All seem to be coming round to the view that “things were better then,” though mommy still wishes she had her microwave, and didn’t have to grind the meat herself for shepherd’s pie, or look perfect and have tea ready when daddy comes home from work. Even so, she kinda likes looking perfect, getting respect, having her kids turn into responsible “young adults” before her very eyes, including her daughters pitching in for a change, and the family bonding over shared meals.

I will not watch the ’sixties episode.


On my other channel (here) gentle reader may find a very short essay on the very long, involved topic of “place.”

We get glimpses, sometimes, of some spatio-temporal “place,” some little corner of the universe where people are “at home” and things may be taken for granted that aren’t, on other planets. Moreover, there were once times when people lived in places, and there are remote locations where people still do. As I’ve tried to convey by the use of two terms, my definition of a “place” subtly varies from my definition of a “location,” such as one might find using GPS. Place implies neighbourhood and continuous history. It extends beyond family and provides the means by which an individual human is “socialized,” or as we used to say, “formed.”

Formation is a Catholic Thing, or more precisely a “traditionalist” Catholic idea, that like so many others was once generally understood. The alternative to a good formation is a bad formation; there can be no such thing as no formation at all, though in modern liberal thought an effort is made to pursue this “ideal,” working piecemeal on suggestions from the Father of Lies. The rude power of the state (including our nominally “private” megacorporations) is employed to destroy the sense of place, in every place, and thereby create a form of “New Soviet Man,” or Perfect Consumer, who will be not only “Equal” regardless of race creed and gender, but have attitudes free of prejudice, memory, knowledge, intelligence, or any inclination to resist the instructions of his computerized bureaucratic minders. All such “arbitrary” features as the place you came from will be ground into a grey soup in which the individual floats as a grey pea, subject to immolation if he shows signs of colour.

As I say, it is a large topic.