Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And no Kelly McGillis in sight

I fear my knowledge of the Amish is based mainly on 'Witness'

The modern world intrudes on the Amish

And the closest in this piece to a young woman was a teen in some Nike trainers who was in fact a Born-Again Christian.

Ethical Man and his travels is on my review list, so when he posts I read, and often feel the need to comment:

It was an interesting travel/social piece, but I am unsure if there is much one can take by way of dealing with future world/climate related issues. Even these fine folk seem unable to resist the shiny cameras and boom mikes (where did the crew sleep?) that squirt electrons around; shame they will never get to see this piece about them.

True, these guys are living a relatively self-sustaining agrarian-based lifestyle, but with six brothers it seems little wonder the moppet and her siblings are finding things are constraining. That is kind of what happens as populations expand. Then you end up with millions in cities with high-intensity farming to feed 'em.

And it is hard to resist the human urge to roam (and all its consequences), which is why these fine folk were first to be found in a train. I'd be intrigued to learn (though I'm sure 'No, you're wrong. Period. So stop having opinions' will explain, and within 2mins of posting - is it on shifts?) how the motive power of this vehicle differs from that of a car to render it more acceptable. Is diesel OK but petrol not? Do the Amish carry out a per head Co2 analysis before trips? On the basis of the explanation I think I heard, a chauffeured Hummer seems to be the next option from a pony and trap.

Or cradle to grave on systems or products? Does that plastic bucket in the barn actually impose fewer emissions being made, used and eventually recycled than one made from wood and turned, or from clay and fired?

So I think this piece has served to highlight the dilemmas faced, though in many ways a more interesting aspect is how the 'resistance' to 'temptation' is being eroded by succumbing to desire rather than necessity. The interpretations on the acceptability of transport options seemed 'flexible' at best, much like a person in an eco-town deciding a car is OK because they work in another place (maybe a factory that makes foot-treadle sewing machines for folk who like labour-saving devices without thinking too hard on how they happen to exist) or, as Justin noted, battery packs but not the electricity that is required to charge them.

ps: When you muck out a stable, is it best to do it in a suit that will need dry cleaning, or on clothes that can be simply washed and hung out to dry? I think the Amish may have some things yet to share.

Hence I am still unsure as to what this series is trying to do. Is it a travel series (that is trying to hint that travel is bad?). An anti-technology advocacy (that uses technology and depends on others watching it?). Or an 'entertainment' , where green practices get dropped for the sake of a prop to help ratings? What?

Even with the Amish, I had to feel the varied actions of the messengers seemed to raise more questions about their messages than any solutions offered. I felt this was less the modern world intruding and more the Amish reaching out. And that, is human nature.

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