Thursday, September 24, 2009

On Your Mark ... Let's Start...

... the Family Feud!

I'll admit it. I've been watching Family Feud lately. And not the current ones either -- the old 1970s reruns with Richard Dawson.

They're brilliant. It's a freakin' time capsule. Every question begins with, "We asked 100 people ..." We've got a perfectly good record of what people were, in general, thinking back then.

I think I first noticed how time-sensitive Family Feud was when I caught an episode where one of the questions was, "Name a color of carpeting," and the number one answer was "Green."


Of course, not all the questions are little insights into the thought-processes of the 1970s. I mean, when they ask, "Name one of the first foods people learn how to cook," the answers I'd give now are the exact same answers that charted then. (Number one: Eggs.)

But last night's rerun was just chock-full of little 1970s tidbits. One of the questions was, "Name the most important quality for a primary school teacher to have." The answers that charted weren't all that significant (Number one: Patience), but what really got me were the answers given by one of the families. They said things like, "She should have kids of her own." Richard Dawson commented that it was interesting that all the women in the family assumed the teacher was female. But when the next question came up, Dawson asked, "Name something a rich man would have installed in his car," without even considering that there'd be such a thing as a rich, car-driving woman. (And, of course, nobody in the room bats an eye at the idea -- now insanely offensive -- that someone's teaching ability is in any way tied to whether they've procreated.)

OK, now set those gender issues aside and look at, "Name something a rich man would have installed in his car." Number one answer: A telephone. Number three answer: A television.

I mean, sure. I watched Life on Mars.* I can well appreciate how much tech we have now that we didn't have 30 years ago, and how devices we pretty much take for granted weren't even dreamt of back then.

But somehow, it still knocked me off guard that stuff that nearly everyone has (or could have as a reasonably priced option) is stuff that, 30 years ago, was considered a pricey, excessive, luxury item.

And we all had green carpet.

*The good, British one -- not the crap U.S. copy.

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