or the death of manners.
Some time ago I re-read Emma by Jane Austen and was again impressed by how formal their society used to be comparing to the modern one we inhabit. It was formal in the way people dressed and behaved and even husbands and wives spoke about their spouses as Mr or Mrs X, instead of calling them by their first names.
In fact, Frank Churchill was indignant that Mrs Elton, the novel's epitome of vulgarity dared to address Miss Fairfax as simply Jane, when he himself, being engaged to her always said "Miss".
Not only are these times gone, the MSM keep mocking our past, traditions and ancestors in portraying them as reserved prudes who spent their lives adhering to some rigid ritual, without ever experiencing real feelings. Yet, strange enough, period dramas about this supposedly oppressive Western Christian society are a very popular genre indeed.
It is as if people, especially women, can't get enough of viewing the images of the accursed Western patriarchy (I just wish that instead of comparing pears and oranges, i.e., the way the pre-modern, pre-welfare Western society with limited resources operated compared to ours, they'd compare it with similar non-Western societies of the time, but by some strange reason, they never do). I believe that they produce a new Jane Austen adaptation every 10 years, milking the market for all it's worth.
What is it that attracts the viewers so much? Why is it that so many women, dressed day in day out in jeans, t-shirts and sneakers buy the magazines about the life of royalty and discuss their dresses and hats? Is it because they miss beauty in their life? Someone (I believe it was Laura Woods) pointed out that the popularity of Downton Abbey is probably due to the fact that it showed a structured life and so many contemporary families totally miss any structure and order in their daily lives?
Those supposedly artificial rituals people used to follow, served some very practical purpose. They taught people purpose and self-discipline, something which is too often totally lacked nowadays. You were supposed to do certain things on certain times and to wear certain clothes on certain occasions. You were supposed to make an effort to look well and put together, whatever happened and keep your distance from others, which prevented many a quarel.
Our society is too familiar and too casual. It's supposed to be "more authentic" but I believe it is not authenticity but laziness and slovenliness which are behind the modern death of manners. It takes an effort to maintain a healthy weight. It takes time and effort to dress well. It's a lot of work to maintain a well-run household. It takes trouble to teach your children to be decent people. It's much easier to just let go.
The civilisation which becomes too casual risks ending up in the mud huts.