Mobile phones

I’ve been thinking about the way mobile phones are used in DM because I can’t help being surprised that there aren’t many young people seen texting in the show. We see the group of girls wandering through town on a regular basis, but they don’t have their phones out and they don’t have earphones in their ears. I am especially aware of this because everywhere I go these days, there are people looking at their phones, listening to music on their phones, and texting. It’s like a group obsession. But in DM there is very little texting or using phones to listen to music and tune out the world. We’ve had Morwenna and Al using their computers to establish new identities and join Cornish Couples, an online dating service. They text each other when they are presenting themselves as Nefertari and Colin. We’ve seen Bluetooth in the car when Martin tries to call Louisa while driving. We’ve seen Martin, Louisa, Pauline, Al and Edith all use mobiles, so we know that they are a part of life in Portwenn. In fact, Pauline makes the most of her mobile phone by disseminating photos of the doc and the dog after taking pictures on her phone. But not much texting?!

Actually, from what I’ve read, young people in Britain are moving toward instant messaging instead, but they would still be using their smart phones for that.

Our mobile phones have certainly changed our lives. Most places no longer have public phones, or have very few. We can reach each other almost anywhere now, although that’s not always good. For doctors it’s mostly helpful and we see that in DM. Without his mobile phone, M would be unable to contact Pauline or Morwenna to bring his bag, or he wouldn’t be able to help while in the car when Caroline gets an electric shock or he needs to summon an ambulance for any number of medical problems. It comes in handy when he wants to talk to Louisa, either to ask her a question or to find out where she is.

The show is such a combination of old and new that it becomes a bit confusing at times. We have computers, including laptops, but still have old fashioned radios, stoves, desk telephones, and classrooms. The old buildings and shops are charming and add character, but I am sometimes surprised to see the lack of modern devices and contemporary behaviors.

Originally posted 2014-03-13 20:49:38.

4 thoughts on “Mobile phones

  1. Carol

    I’ve noticed this as well – the seeming “oldness” and “newness” of Portwenn. Perhaps they do it this way in the show for nostalgia, or perhaps things really are like that in Cornwall. I know that when I moved to France in 2005, for a few weeks I felt that I had “gone back in time” even though I was in a fairly large city. There was something about the things around me being old – buildings, roads, furnishings – and the use of time. “We will be there at 2”, and it might be 2, but it might also be 4, or the next day! It took almost a month to get internet for goodness sake! Go with the flow as Bert says. Perhaps there is not the constant rush for change that we have in the US which, quite frankly, is starting to drive me BONKERS the older I get.

    Although, I must admit that I like having a drive-thru at the bank – unknown in France, or at least the part where I lived – and it seems in Portwenn as well.

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    It’s a curiosity and hard to explain logically. When it comes to mobile phones, I think Europe and UK are way ahead of the US in use and advanced technology. My daughter-in-law is from Germany and was using texting a lot 14 years ago when she first met my son. I was amazed at how fast she could text on the older phones. Now, everyone texts and the younger folks have moved on to instant messaging, tweeting, etc. Actually tweeting is popular with all ages.

    It’s fascinating to learn you lived in France for a while. We can all relate to waiting for service men to arrive! How do you feel about the slurs on France in this show?

  3. Carol

    Do you really want an answer? I could talk all day on that! I won’t however. I will just say that I find the slurs (toward France and the US) to be realistic in the sense that if you went to Great Britain you would definitely hear them, as would slurs toward Great Britain from French people – again, going to France you will definitely hear them. There are all kinds of reasons for these slurs, but I did find them rather prevalent in Europe. Same with the US.

    One last related thing I will ask you: Do you believe that most stereotypes have some basis in truth? If you had asked me that question in 2005, I would have had one answer. My answer now is completely opposite.

    You don’t have to reply to that here if you don’t want to, but I would be interested to know what you think.

  4. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Carol, we are getting deep! I’m honored that you want to know what I think about stereotypes and I, in turn, would like to know what you believed in 2005 and how that has changed.

    I think stereotyping is a part of DM insofar as the show taps into what viewers would expect a small village in England to be like. So many shows about Brits that make it to the States include small town, quirky villagers, e.g. Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers. The stereotype is of the proper and snooty members of society who drink tea and are critical of others (and make fools of themselves) as opposed to the very down to earth, crusty members of the area who drink too much, work too little, and generally make fools of themselves. We certainly see some of that in DM with Penhale, Mrs. T, and various one-off characters in each of the episodes. The Wenns, for example, are the snooty types, or perhaps the McLynns, while Mrs. Dingle and Alastair Tonken and his son Norman are the grubby types. (The show The Sopranos made much of mafia stereotypes, or the Godfather films. Of course, we have the nerd stereotype, the socialite stereotype, the biker stereotype, etc.) Stereotyping can, therefore, be a shortcut to recognizing a particular persona.

    I suppose there has to be some truth to a stereotype for it to be considered a stereotype. But there’s only so much that information can give you about a group or an individual. Penhale may be a totally worthless law enforcement officer 99% of the time, but there is that 1% that comes through on occasion and redeems him. That’s when we realize that people are much more than their stereotypes.

    I certainly dislike Americans being identified as “ugly,” which often means rude and pushy. But there’s no question that I’ve seen Americans behave like that when I’ve traveled, and it’s embarrassing. I’ve also seen Germans force their way into lines and rarely smile, Japanese carry their cameras everywhere and smile too much, Italians gesture with their hands a lot, and so forth. On the other hand, I’ve been treated very nicely by Germans, Brits and Italians in their countries and I’ve definitely encountered plenty of kind and generous Americans. So stereotyping paints everyone with too broad a brush. We have cultural distinctions that identify us as members of a group, but then we as individuals can distance ourselves from the group.

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