Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fiddler on the Roof and Post Modernism

We watched Fiddler on the Roof this last weekend. Fascinating movie. A lot of emphasis on generational change. We talk a lot about the move from modernism to post-modernism, but I can't help but think that we are a bit out of focus at times. There are important implications for such a change, but its nothing compared to changes that have occurred in previous generations. Seeing how the Jews were treated in the 20th century really brings that into focus. I'd guess that my 101 year old grandmother has seen changes far more dramatic than most of us can ever imagine. Combine that with our lack of a sense of history, and we tend to give ourselves a lot more credit than we deserve! Jill and I watched a PBS show on the Flu Epidemic of 1918. Over a half million people died in the US alone. Of course, with WWI going on, the flu spread all over Europe as well (the show discussed this, but not in much detail). It was mind-boggling to think of the President's decision to send thousands of troops to Europe knowing that many would catch the fatal flu bug on the boats going over. They would die without ever seeing battle. He knew it before he sent them! In Philedelphia, bodies were set out on the front porch so the undertakers could go around and pick them up. A different colored sheet signified the age of the deceased.

And we think we face major challenges. Our challenges are much less about life and death. That's the benefit of living in a wealthy society. We can pick and choose our issues, and blow them out of proportion. My respect for my grandparents grows everyday. They didn't get to pick their issues, they simply had to survive them. And they did. And they did it well.