The Long for Structure
Big Bird is still alive and well. For some longing for redemption in entertainment, they're grateful Mitt Romney's threat to defund PBS hasn't occurred. The tax-payer funded Public Broadcast Service (PBS) has quadrupled viewership with one fell-swoop of a hit TV drama called Downton Abbey. The video above echos the cry of Downton, to unite the social structure of the past with contemporary thinking today.
A British import, Downton Abbey follows the Crawley family as their estate transitions from a land of tradition and structure into the unknown following the first world war. Through butlers, maids, countesses and lords viewers are introduced to a world still riding the wake of William Wilberforce's life calling to abolish the slave trade and reform morals. Structure and class dominate the scene as real world issues are dealt with care watching characters struggle with infidelity, pre-marital sex, prostitution and homosexual temptations.
The intriguing draw of Downton, calling nearly 8 million viewers to the season premiere January 6th, is the strict structure of the household which highlights humanity and respect despite brokenness. Some commentators have identified this British series as a light of redemption in television programming, noting it's increase in PBS's viewership as a mark other entertainment outlets might redirect their programming to reflect.
This encouragement of a structured life was an evidence that renowned anthropologist Joseph Unwin could not deny in a 1935 address to the British Psychological Society. Commissioned to prove that marriage was irrelevant and a harmful cultural institution, Unwin found the evidence supporting what he called absolute monogamy. He notes:
"The evidence was such as to demand a complete revision of my personal philosophy...If, during or just after a period of [cultural] expansion, a society modifies its sexual regulations, and a new generation is born into a less rigorous [monogamous] tradition, its energy decreases... If it comes into contact with a more vigorous society, it is deprived of its sovereignty, and possibly conquered in its turn. It seems to follow that we can make a society behave in any manner we like if we are permitted to give it such sexual regulations as will produce the behavior we desire. The results should begin to emerge in the third generation."
Unwin's Phsychological study in the 1930's and Downton Abbey's quasi-historic introduction to a time long past show a culture of discipline. Their identified structure of humanity, highlighting respect and dignity, was established through the first social institution every human being is introduced to, the family.
Hillcrest has existed for the support of the family. Joining parents in reinforcing Biblically-based principles and a Christ-centered approach to the world, Hillcrest remains strong today despite trends evident in culture. Hillcrest seeks to identify Biblical principles in the world, with social evidence joining the movement, in educating the next generation, preparing students to live a life of significance.