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Thread: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

  1. #81
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    I completely understand that their culture, which stresses staying apart from the mainstream world in which they function, would make Travelers skeptical, to say the least, about signing contracts, but wouldn't they have to anyway, just to appear on a television series? Or are the rules different in Great Britain? I don't think any American company/network could get by without having contractual agreements with its shows, reality or otherwise.

  2. #82
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    Whatever the standard practice may be for participation on a reality show in the UK, a contract, whether written or verbal, is only as good as the integrity of those who agree to it. I can't imagine these people would agree to a contract with heavy penalties for non-performance, but if they did, I think they're also capable of walking away if they don't like something and leave the production company to find them and enforce the penalties. Good luck with that.

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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    It doesn't surprise me that there would be people who would back out last minute. All you have to do is look at how timid they are with Thelma and how many seemed to back out on her.

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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    It doesn't surprise me that there would be people who would back out last minute. All you have to do is look at how timid they are with Thelma and how many seemed to back out on her.
    It's also the reason they can't find a venue for their wedding receptions. Most places would require a contract and a deposit to provide the location and services for the reception, but so many gypsy receptions have ended in nonpayment and/or trashing the premises that no one wants to deal with them. The producers of MBFGW are well aware of the gypsy way of life and shouldn't be surprised when their subjects "pull out at the last minute" after 2 months of filming (per Thelma's comment in the article posted upthread).

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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    MBFGW may be influencing gypsy girls to drop out of school to get married so their weddings will be filmed.

    Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: The Big Fat Gypsy Truants

    Last night, a council source said: “There has been a noticeable rise in absenteeism, especially with young girls. With the success of the show it appears they are attracted out of the classroom in the hope that they will get married and have their wedding featured.”

    Billy Welch, the King of the Gypsies, dismissed the link between absenteeism and the TV show as “nonsense."

    He said: “The reason why 90 per cent of our children are taken out of school is simply that as long as they can read and write that is good enough for us.”

  6. #86
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    Holy cow! That's so sad!

    I guess it shows how different their mind-set is from most of the world. There sems to be no thought for art or literature. Nor for serving others or trying to make the world a better place.

    Also, as far as suing those who reniged on contracts: what would the production company gain from that? IF they won a judgement, maybe they could get a trailer as compensation? Some horses? And beyond that, if the gypsies are already skittish, none whatsoever would agree to do the show if word got out of someone being sued.

    And on one final thought, I keep thinking about the times when my kids were young and we'd have discussions about trust and priviledges. They started out being trusted and having lots of privileges but if (and that was honestly rare,) they betrayed that trust, priviledges were taken away and the trust had to be earned back. When the travelors have a reputation for trashing a venue or not living up to contracts, they find they've lost priviledges. I don't see why they don't get that. If travelors would behave in a responsible manner, they would be trusted and so many avenues would open up to them. Even the dressmaker got badly burned on with one bride and lost a great deal of money. Why would she be surprised when venues don't want to book them? They don't have the trust earned for a transaction to be successful - even their producers can't depend on them!

  7. #87
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    Not to defend a lack of interest in education beyond basic literacy, but I don't think it's fair to say the culture has no interest in the arts. When they show remnants of the old traditional gypsy/traveler culture, as opposed to the current culture, such as the wagons, you can see evidence of traditional folk arts. Those pony wagons (as opposed to the carts or surreys) are ornately and carefully decorated in specific styles. The style may not be to everyone's liking, but what art form is? Paddy has also mentioned the importance of getting together and talking about old times, sharing the old stories, at weddings and bemoaned the fact that the younger generation doesn't care about that, so I suspect there may be a strong history of oral literature, if not written literature, there. Certainly there are traditional gypsy airs/songs that have been picked up by more traditional composers and used in their works too.

    The contemporary gypsy/traveler culture (at least as shown on this series--which may or may not be indicative of larger cultural trends) seems heavily influenced by pop culture (e.g. so many of the brides wanting dresses based on movies, particularly Disney films), but so are most cultures, including mainstream American culture. But that doesn't mean that folk arts/cultures disappear entirely. They just don't generally receive as much public attention or support, which can make their survival difficult, particularly if younger generations fail to show much interest in them.

  8. #88
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    If travelors would behave in a responsible manner, they would be trusted and so many avenues would open up to them. Even the dressmaker got badly burned on with one bride and lost a great deal of money. Why would she be surprised when venues don't want to book them? They don't have the trust earned for a transaction to be successful - even their producers can't depend on them!
    They don't respect the culture of the communities where they choose to insert themselves, but they want these communities to respect Traveler/Roma culture, which includes a traditional disregard for education. They choose to ignore the rules regarding school attendance because they're not interested in giving their children the opportunity to a broader education beyond the fundamentals of reading and writing. As long as they insist on willful ignorance, as they have throughout their history, the disregard for the value of an education and the cycle of thieving, scamming and violence will continue.

    I don't think it's fair to say the culture has no interest in the arts
    Even the most primitive cultures are capable of some form of artistic expression, but I don't think that's equivalent to the opportunity to experience and appreciate the full spectrum of "the arts" through obtaining an education. Since the Traveler/Roma community places no value in education beyond learning to read and write, it's sad to imagine the number of gypsy girls who might thrive learning how to play the piano (or any instrument) and learn about the great composers, take drawing or painting classes and learn about art history, write for the enjoyment of writing (journalist, novelist, poetry) and learn about great literature, dance class, etc., but never have the chance to explore that part of themselves because the single-focus message they receive from childhood is that marriage is the ultimate goal.
    Last edited by MizDaisy; 07-16-2011 at 09:24 PM.
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  9. #89
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    QUOTE: Even the most primitive cultures are capable of some form of artistic expression, but I don't think that's equivalent to the opportunity to experience and appreciate the full spectrum of "the arts" through obtaining an education. Since the Traveler/Roma community places no value in education beyond learning to read and write, it's sad to imagine the number of gypsy girls who might thrive learning how to play the piano (or any instrument) and learn about the great composers, take drawing or painting classes and learn about art history, write for the enjoyment of writing (journalist, novelist, poetry) and learn about great literature, dance class, etc., but never have the chance to explore that part of themselves because the single-focus message they receive from childhood is that marriage is the ultimate goal.








    Of course whenever anyone has access to a full spectrum of anything, they have greater opportunities to find something at which they can excel. At the very least, they can find the art form which most appeals to them as a consumer of it, as opposed to a producer of it, since not everyone who can, say, appreciate a painting necessarily has the ability to be a painter.

    What I was taking exception to is the idea that gypsies/travelers have no interest in art. I'm also more than a bit uncomfortable with statements like "even the most primitive cultures are capable of some form of artistic expression," because they involve labeling entire cultures as artistically inferior. There's a lot of traditional and contemporary Native American art that's extraordinary, but for a very long time, Native American cultures were considered "primitive" and their beadwork, pottery, leatherwork etc. was considered "primitive" as well, simply because it didn't involve materials or styles the dominant culture considered important or "artistic." Their musical traditions and oral histories/literature were considered "primitive" too, unless they were recorded, often inaccurately, so they could be "preserved" in one written form, even though the cultures that produced them often felt that there was no one "correct" version of histories or fictional stories. Furthermore, the people who were the best at their particular traditional art forms were not considered "great," even though they were extremely skilled practitioners. Since they weren't great, according to those in power in artistic circles at the time, they, their art, its history, and its culture could be dismissed.

    It's sad, yes, whenever anyone has opportunities to explore options limited. It's also sad when assumptions are made about a culture being artistic or unartistic or sophisticated or primitive simply because of differing cultural viewpoints. It's also important to remember that many choreographers, painters, composers, and writers have incorporated folk arts into their own works to great effect--and they wouldn't have been able to do that if the original creators of those art forms hadn't produced them in the first place and if they themselves hadn't seen artistic value in what they'd done.

    For my money, the decorative patterns on those pony wagons are extremely detailed, probably represent a long artistic tradition, take artistic skill to be produced, and can be appreciated by people outside the culture that produced them as well as those inside it. I wish the series--or some series--would spend a little time on such aspects of the culture as opposed to those they spend most of their time on. As another poster with direct, extended contact with the Roma culture has already pointed out, MBFGW is not indicative of a great many people in that society. It would be dreadfully easy to do a series about middle class Americans that made them look like tacky people with questionable taste and motives too. Doesn't mean it would be a fair assessment of all middle class Americans or their taste or motives.

  10. #90
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    Re: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

    I'm also more than a bit uncomfortable with statements like "even the most primitive cultures are capable of some form of artistic expression," because they involve labeling entire cultures as artistically inferior.
    It's also sad when assumptions are made about a culture being artistic or unartistic or sophisticated or primitive simply because of differing cultural viewpoints.
    I'm sorry you assumed my statement about primitive cultures meant that I was "labeling entire cultures" because that certainly was not my intent. My interest is in the lack of educational opportunities available to gypsy girls due to the culture's disinterest in having them learn anything beyond reading and writing, not a comparison of the merits of one culture's art to another. These girls are taught from early childhood that their goal in life is to marry, produce children, obey their ofen abusive and thuggish spouse, and endlessly clean, clean, clean their trailers. As we have seen on the show, these girls are already caring for their siblings and cleaning their trailers before they're married, so they're well trained for the life their culture expects of them as wives.

    It would be dreadfully easy to do a series about middle class Americans that made them look like tacky people with questionable taste and motives too.
    Oh, I think that's already been done. Real Housewives, anyone??

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