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Old 07-02-2013, 04:26 PM
 
4,927 posts, read 5,104,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
1. You own a large, flat-screen TV, but it's NOT in the living room. Your living room perhaps contains books or a grand piano.
What constitutes large? My tv in my bedroom is 32 inches. So I would say no for me on this one.

Quote:
2. Your father went to college, your mother most likely went to college, all your brothers and sisters and cousins except the black sheep of the extended family attended at least some college, and your family's college education stretches back generations (except if you're newly upper middle class).
Father didn't finish college, mother did. Sister is a lawyer, brother has his MS in Computer Science, only a few cousins finished college. So I would say aside from my siblings, not here too.

Quote:
3. When traveling, you prefer to choose destinations that are "not touristy" and give an "authentic" taste of local life.
I would say no on this.

Quote:
4. You listen to NPR in the car.
Occassionally, but I do listen to a lot of NPR and TED podcasts at work. So I will say yes on this.

Quote:
5. If 35 or older, you participate in the community through being on the board of some local chapter of an organization, or extensively volunteering for it with your valuable free time.
N/A Not 35 or older.

Quote:
6. If you're male, you golf, if not for the love of it than because of social pressure.
Male and do not golf, although I may pick it up soon because where I live now everyone golfs, so No for this too.

Quote:
7. You are familiar with the following food items, even if you're from flyover country: hummus, couscous, sashimi, banh mi, and risotto.
I know what they are, but not a fan of any of it, so No here too.

Quote:
8. You sometimes watch foreign films, and consider dubbing an abomination - you would much prefer subtitles.
By sometimes if you mean once a year or so. Yes I prefer films in their original language with subtitles, but again it's not a regular occurence for me to watch these. so I will give myself 1/2 here.

Quote:
9. You strongly identify with your career.
Yes.

Quote:
10. From preschool or a younger age, you enroll your children in a multitude of extracurricular activities - piano lessons, ballet, tennis, water polo, etc..
Sports, none of those, but I played Inline hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, and football. So....yes...I think.

Quote:
11. Your children's academic success is paramount to you, and you set very high standards. If they get a "C" in a class, either their teacher or the child has much to answer for. When in high school, you make sure they take lots of AP courses, and unless they are the brightest of the bunch, you hire a SAT tutor. Deep down inside, there's a burning desire to boast that your children went to a high-ranked university, or at least NOT one of the lesser state colleges, and certainly not a community college..
Do not have children, but I can imagine this will be the case when I do, so yes to this.

Quote:
12. You love "nature", the "outdoors", and the "wilderness", and like tread softly through the woods in your $250 hiking boots with your $250 bag and perhaps sleep in your $1,000 tent, or if a northern clime, in your expensive cross-country skis. It can suck losing iPhone connectivity, though..
I love nature, don't care what I am wearing through the woods, would actually prefer old tennis shoes, can sleep in just a sleeping bag, and don't care about having my phone on. So I will say no to this.

Quote:
13. If you're a female, you don sunglasses even when it isn't that sunny out..
N/A

Quote:
14. You drive only foreign cars, preferably Mercedes-Benz or BMW..
Try a US made truck, so no.

Quote:
15. Staying in shape and in style is a priority to you. You have a gym membership, perhaps in addition to a road bike you paid a pretty penny for..

Yes to the former, I have a bike, but I bought it from Wally world for like 200 bucks. I do however, spend 3-4 days lifting weights, eat healthy, and get 20-25 miles of cardio in a week. So, I will give myself 1/2 a point.

Quote:
16. You like, or feign to like, the fine arts, and have attended a classical music concert, opera, or play at least once or twice (going on a field trip as a kid not included). You consider it perfectly natural to listen to classical music or jazz radio and patronize art-house cinema..
not even close, I listen to classical music when I am working and need to concentrate, that's about it.

Quote:
17. Planning for your retirement is important, and you fully understand such things as 401Ks and Roth IRAs. You might even have a financial advisor. You watch the stock market and probably participate in it somehow..
Yes, this is something I have taught myself over the years.

Quote:
18. If you're 40 or older, your house measures over 2,500 square feet in area. If you designed it, you made sure to implement "green" features. The kitchen is spacious. Especially if in a southwestern state, you probably have some paid help cleaning it, perhaps full-time..
Just now 30, house right around 2,500 sq ft., but a little shy so I guess no to this too.

Quote:
19. You probably don't live in one, unless you are in your 20s or early 30s, but you love "authentic" and "vibrant" urban spaces such as those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Portland, with plentiful pedestrian traffic, ample public transportation, narrow streets, and storefronts that are right up to the sidewalk rather than behind a sea of parking..
nah, not really. More of a small city type guy. I like Pittsburgh, St. Louis, etc.

Quote:
20. You don't like the homogenization of the United States through chain stores and franchises, but deep down you love Trader Joe's, REI, Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, Chipotle, Macy's, IKEA, Target, and Fogo de Chao.
Don't care, just want a good deal and good customer service. I do love Chipotle though!

Quote:
21. You want your children to be creative, imaginative, think out-of-the-box, and tolerant of differences. You perhaps even enjoy when they question one of your rules..
Yes

Quote:
22. You regularly go to or host dinner parties. You have separate kitchen and dining rooms.
Don't regularly go to or host dinner parties, but do have separate kitchen's and dining rooms.

Quote:
23. You have read, for leisure, at least one non-fiction title that does not fall into the category of self-help, automotive/technical, or religious books in the past year, and are familiar with authors, whom you often name-drop at above parties..
Do read for pleasure, like to read to learn, but don't really talk about authors at parties.

Quote:
24. When your children are young, intellectual stimulation and creative expression is the primary goal of your toy-buying practices. No or limited cheap electronic playthings or radio-controlled monster trucks..
Plan to do this, so yes.

Quote:
25. You have a rather refined taste in alcohol. You are familiar with local breweries, micro-brews, >$10 / bottle wines, and refined cocktails with non-obscene names.
I brew my own beer and I do prefer hoppy pale-ales and IPAs, does that count?

I am at about 10-11 for this. I guess I am not UMC. Poor me!
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
6,371 posts, read 5,885,497 times
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Having read both your lists I think you are far more accurate with the "working class" than the "upper middle class". Most people in American are going to be indignant with your lists because discussing class and the cultural implications of socioeconomic differences is a big no-no in our society, and amazingly it's an equally shared value amongst the rich and the poor. It certainly stems from our democratic, nationalistic values of "equal opportunity" and "equal rights" as well as eternal optimism and upward mobility. It doesn't bother me, but I'm educated enough to understand that generalizations and stereotypes are purposeful tools of the mind to help sort information. It's when you let stereotypes dictate your behavior instead of careful scrutiny. Always try to work against the stereotype. I'm on that cusp between middle and upper middle class and I can identify with most of what you are saying for my demographic. I grew up amongst lower middle class and I can remember my friends identifying with what you said about them. I think your assessment is fairly accurate but I will say that they seem to take a cynical and negative approach to both groups. I think you could have worked harder to bring out the positive attributes in both demographics.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:30 PM
 
6,756 posts, read 8,734,457 times
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Quote:
discussing class and the cultural implications of socioeconomic differences is a big no-no in our society, and amazingly it's an equally shared value amongst the rich and the poor. It certainly stems from our democratic, nationalistic values of "equal opportunity" and "equal rights" as well as eternal optimism and upward mobility.
Really? I thought it was McCarthyism. When discussing class can get you blackballed or worse, you stop discussing class. And you teach your kids and grandkids not to.

Though there is certainly the 'temporarily embarrassed millionaires' factor.
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Old 07-03-2013, 04:09 AM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,572 posts, read 6,884,790 times
Reputation: 4030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_the_facts View Post
There are basically five different ways of defining class: income, wealth, occupation, education, and values/lifestyle. Some people focus on one of those criteria while other use a combination of some or all of the criteria.

I'm definitely not upper middle or even middle when using income, wealth, or occupation as criteria. With regard to education, I arguably qualify as upper middle class. With respect to values/lifestyle, I am too much of an independent thinker and nonconformist to fit into any specific class.
I agree with this statement, and it fits me as well.

If I look at this thread's OP and the similar one posted by the same OP about being poor/working class, this is what applies to me:

Upper Middle Class:

Quote:
1. You own a large, flat-screen TV, but it's NOT in the living room. Your living room perhaps contains books or a grand piano.

3. When traveling, you prefer to choose destinations that are "not touristy" and give an "authentic" taste of local life.

4. You listen to NPR in the car.

7. You are familiar with the following food items, even if you're from flyover country: hummus, couscous, sashimi, banh mi, and risotto.

8. You sometimes watch foreign films, and consider dubbing an abomination - you would much prefer subtitles.

14. You drive only foreign cars, preferably Mercedes-Benz or BMW.

16. You like, or feign to like, the fine arts, and have attended a classical music concert, opera, or play at least once or twice (going on a field trip as a kid not included). You consider it perfectly natural to listen to classical music or jazz radio and patronize art-house cinema.

19. You probably don't live in one, unless you are in your 20s or early 30s, but you love "authentic" and "vibrant" urban spaces such as those found in New York City, San Francisco, and Portland, with plentiful pedestrian traffic, ample public transportation, narrow streets, and storefronts that are right up to the sidewalk rather than behind a sea of parking.

21. You want your children to be creative, imaginative, think out-of-the-box, and tolerant of differences. You perhaps even enjoy when they question one of your rules.

23. You have read, for leisure, at least one non-fiction title that does not fall into the category of self-help, automotive/technical, or religious books in the past year, and are familiar with authors, whom you often name-drop at above parties.

24. When your children are young, intellectual stimulation and creative expression is the primary goal of your toy-buying practices. No or limited cheap electronic playthings or radio-controlled monster trucks.
Yes to all of that. My cars are Toyota/Honda though.

From the working class/poor list, these are what I found to be true, with commentary, because this best fits my economic category:


Quote:
1. You work 2, maybe 3, part-time jobs, yet you still struggle to pay for diapers.

2. Tax season brings smiles, as that is when you get your EITC and other tax rebates

3. You spend the above as soon as you get it to pay off your credit card debt, get that new 70" TV, and buy your kids the video game console they've been begging you for since Thanksgiving
3. Nope. We save most of it, or use it to get the pets their annual checkups and get eyewear for those in the family that wear glasses. We might spend a bit on a weekend road trip but most of it goes into an emergency fund.


Quote:
4. You completed high school, or have a GED, and perhaps a bit of post-secondary vocational training (i.e. a CNA certification)

5. You do your shopping at Walmart. Other retailers you patronize include Best Buy, TJ Maxx, Target, and K-Mart.
4. I am a 41 year old college student, but prior to that, yes, had my GED, a couple semesters of college, and a short term training program for office/clerical work.

5. LOATHE Walmart. Occasionally got to Target. Mostly stick to thrift store shopping.

Quote:
6. If you're male, white, and under 40, you listen to your city's hard / modern rock station; if you're a black or white female, you might as well, although you probably tend more towards CHR and rap.

7. If you're female, you love the reality show "Teen Mom" on MTV, and can relate, if not by firsthand experience, then by many of your friends who got pregnant during high school.
6. Don't listen to the radio except for NPR. Musical tastes run the spectrum for me from classical to punk to indie rock to country.
Quote:
8. You believe in God, but don't "do church".
Agnostic.

Quote:
10. You hope for a better life for your kids, and fully expect them to go to college, even though you haven't been equipped for the admissions process and perhaps do not even know what the "SAT" is.

11. All the jobs that you have had pay by the hour; minimum wage is awful, but you will take it if you need to; $10 / hour is "average"; $20 / hour is rolling in the dough.
10. This would have been true if I didn't go back to school myself. I had no idea about financial aid, admissions processes, etc., until I became a college student later in life. It was not discussed when I was in high school because I was not seen as "college material" (due to being a bit of a troublemaker, I suppose, and coming from a working class background while living in a middle class neighborhood). My mother dropped out of school to marry at 17 and had no clue about college. My father wanted me to join the Air Force, as he had done.

11. I'll do whatever is necessary to feed my kids, and I know how to live on practically nothing, but I am not like others I know who are satisfied with an $11 an hour call center job forever and consider it to be the best they can ever hope to do.


Quote:
12. You know people, and perhaps have been, in jail, especially if you are male. You are aware of public defenders.
You mean "Public pretenders"? Yep. Way too familiar with all of that.

Quote:
13. You consider Red Lobster and Olive Garden to be "nice restaurants".
Nope. Boring, much prefer a little hole in the wall local place that is a hidden gem.

Quote:
14. The vast majority, perhaps all, of your internet usage is through your mobile phone. You may not own a personal computer, viewing such as out of financial reach and increasingly irrelevant to you.
I've had a computer since high school. I don't think that is the norm for someone from my background though.


Quote:
16. You are familiar with government assistance programs and have been on some during the rockier periods of your life, although you despise those who abuse them.

19. You are used to driving older domestic cars with mechanical problems. If you are male and white or Hispanic, you likely know how to fix them, and perhaps even fix cars and other motor-driven devices in your spare time. If you are female, you likely don't, though you know a male who will fix them cheaply. If you are black, you probably are used to taking the bus or ride-sharing.
True but for 19 I avoid these problems by buying older, used foreign cars. I am female, white, and did all my own car maintenance for many years. I am no stranger to the bus though.

Quote:
22. You may be more familiar with mixed / split / single-parent families than with nuclear families. There's a chance you hold a resentment against a family member because of past abuse.

23. You have opened your home to friends or family members who have been evicted or do not yet have a job / housing, and they perhaps have overstayed their welcome.

24. If you are white, you may have moved out of your family home at a young age (16 or 17) because of an intolerable parent. If you are black or especially Hispanic, you are more likely to have lived with your parents into your mid or late 20's, partly to support or take care of them.

Yes, and moved out at 17 for that reason.


Quote:
30. You don't post on CDF, and probably won't read this.


Well....I don't know what on earth that makes me. Mixed class background? I have lived in trailer parks, I have lived in bad neighborhoods, I have been on food stamps. I've walked to and from the grocery store with a backpack when I had no car. Worked fast food and retail jobs, or low end clerical. Had to have a tooth pulled because I couldn't afford to do anything else when I cracked it and it still cost me $40 at the sliding scale clinic.

I was also a single teen mom who lived, for a while, in the "projects" when my son was little and had to keep him inside due to the junkies hanging out on their front porches and the very real danger of discarded dirty needles and condoms around the complex.

I've also lived in the suburbs and appeared, to the outside world, to be an average soccer mom in a minivan.

I grew up in a household where my father was in the Air Force and we were quite comfortable until my parents divorced. Big house, nice neighborhood, material things. After they divorced, I remember getting monthly "government cheese" and living in trailer parks. I used to catch crawdads for fun when it flooded in the park. I was a latchkey kid who would walk to K-Mart after school with pennies I'd found to buy some candy and ease the boredom. I had to do al our laundry at the coin-op as part of my afterchool chore list. My neighbor friend from a family of seven ate beans and rice for every dinner.

Still, I have more books than electronic devices in my house. My kids were brought up on museum and library trips, theater in the park, and simple educational toys over battery operated junk. They wore cloth diapers and went to a "new agey" pre-school and private school which I paid for via working there. They have grown up being familiar with sushi and couscous and hummus and have been exposed to literature, art, music. They've always had musical instruments and art supplies even when I couldn't afford formal instruction.

My mother worked as a secretary, then a welder's helper, then went to school to be an HVAC tech but she was also a dancer and an artist (painter). She had hippie/activist leanings that were driven underground by virtue of being married to a career military man who was all about obedience and order.

My brother has spent most of his life in and out of prison BUT he is also a trained architectural draftsman, artist, musician, and crafts guitars by hand. He is the most unusual example, I think, of someone from a mixed class background -- if you met him you'd be amazed as his ability to blend with and hob-knob with those from the upper classes, and dress to the nines to do it-- while being just as comfortable working on a pickup truck with a bandana on his head while living in a trailer park.

Financially I am working class bordering on working poor. People that I know who fit more clearly into that category tend to think I am "uppity".

People who are from middle class to upper class backgrounds that know me tend to think I am some sort of interesting anomaly and tend to comment on things I do that "surprise" them, as if they expect much less from me.

Sorry to make this so long, but I do find it all very interesting and curious as to how some people don't really "fit" at all. I remember when I first made a new friend at 17, and she was from a different background and social circle. She was 24 and working on her second degree, and I was a high school dropout working at a dry cleaners. She started to include me in her social gatherings. She and her (all very educated) friends watched foreign films, drank home brewed espresso, went out for Vietnamese food and visited art galleries and were mostly vegetarians. They knew about wine and art and talked about time spent in Europe. I remember thinking they were all nice enough, but quite silly with little clue about the real world.

She and I have been friends now for over twenty years and we have taught each other immeasurably. She exposed me to new ideas and cultural experiences I never would have considered. I have taught her about resourcefulness and being frugal and how you should never dismiss something as 'impossible', and that there's more than one way to forge a path through life. I think we've enriched each others ideas of life and how things are by having such different backgrounds. Pretty cool.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:02 AM
 
Location: moved
9,563 posts, read 5,892,943 times
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These lists and their implied attributes closely follow Paul Fussell's seminal book, "Class". Written in 1982, the book definitely merits an update to account for 30 years of "Prole drift" (Fussell's brilliantly derisive term for common-denominator profanation of high-culture and consequent cheapening of our expectations and tastes).

I grew up in a family that in another culture and another time would have been called "intelligentsia" class. There really is no American equivalent. The closest American descriptor would be Nelson Rockefeller Republicans, but that connotes too much wealth. I remember dinner-parties where the food was of mediocre quality and the gathering was held in the kitchen, because that was the warmest room in the house. But the evening featured readings of poetry, some written by the guests themselves. Children would give recitations of poems by famous authors, as testament of the kids' academic erudition.

My experiences in America have impressed upon me the strong correlation in this society between material wealth and cultural sophistication. Most people who regularly attend the symphony-orchestra concerts are affluent. Most people working low-paid jobs don't read for pleasure. Of course exceptions abound, but the correlation is remarkably strong. Again, in other societies and in other times, the correlation is much weaker, or even negative, because there the only route to wealth is corruption or outright theft, and the "intelligentsia" tends to be poorer people.

It's also remarkable to me, how up and down the socioeconomic ladder the emphasis is on consumption. Even comparatively wealthy people spend most of their income, perhaps on exclusive private schools, lavish vacations, stately houses, boats and the like. Amongst people of moderate means, it is very rare to skip meals just to have extra money to invest in stocks. Amongst the affluent, it is very rare to live like the lower-middle-class while saving 90% of one's after-tax income. This is why, I think, the upper-middle-class extends so far in America up the ladder of wealth. Real "upper class" means standing completely outside of the hedonistic treadmill and the consumer culture. It means being utterly impervious to the price of gasoline, or home mortgage-rate interests. The upper-middle-class buys nice stuff and enjoys a fabulous lifestyle. The true upper-class is beyond the confines of lifestyle.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:42 AM
 
5,509 posts, read 5,781,714 times
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Is there an Awesome Class? 'Cause that's where I fit in.

More seriously, shouldn't income or net worth fall in there somewhere? While not even through the USA, you can generalize a bit and say that larger coastal city (and surrounding areas) families have an income (or net worth) of $xx - $xxx, while the mid west has $xx-$xxx, etc.
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Old 07-03-2013, 09:21 AM
 
4,927 posts, read 5,104,886 times
Reputation: 4233
It really seems to me that this list might be biased to the coasts.

I would probably consider my family upper middle class (my parents combined income was 250-300k, where the median income for a family is 62k) my brother, sister and I went to the top academic HSs in our city. My alma-mater has the top ACT score in the nation for HSs that sit over 50 for the ACT and we routinely have 2-4 people every year with perfect ACT scores and/or perfect SAT scores. I have a PhD, my sister has a JD from a top 20, and my brother has an MS in Computer Science from a top 5. Yet we drove mostly American made cars, played traditional American sports, do not have much of an educated family (aside from my siblings), and our family vacations typically involved week long trips to a lake where we had a condo and a boat. Although when we were older we had several vacations in Destin, FL.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:31 AM
 
Location: La-La Land
241 posts, read 342,749 times
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What of families and extended families that are "mixed-class"?

For instance, someone from the working class marrying a person of the upper class?

Or someone making a 1% income, but is supporting adult children bums living at home in their 30's, AND grandchildren, and their income/wealth is actually being spread across 3 generations/households?

Are those adult children bums part of the upper middle class because they live in the same mansion as the 1% parents? Or are they "working class" because they have no/little income, no GEDs, and exhibit working-class behaviors?

What of an upper middle-class person has children so troubled, they can't seem to get through community college, can't get off drugs, can't hold even a medial job, or even was arrested/jailed?

What of regional cultures: 1% folks who eat McDonalds, shop at Walmart without hesitation, generally avoid nature/health food, buy gas guzzling SUVs or engage in conspicuous consumption/material waste because they don't care about environment?

What of very poor technophiles/computer minded folks, or even more rare, the poor individual who "pulls themselves up by the bootstraps" with no assistance/luck?

In my experience, most families, or at least extended families, are a great mix of different types of people with different backgrounds and "class" assignments.

There's a great book on the OP's topic called "Unequal Childhoods"- VERY interesting.
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, 2nd Edition with an Update a Decade Later: Annette Lareau: 9780520271425: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:40 AM
 
Location: NY
7,777 posts, read 14,879,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5pyg1a55 View Post
What of families and extended families that are "mixed-class"?

For instance, someone from the working class marrying a person of the upper class?

Or someone making a 1% income, but is supporting adult children bums living at home in their 30's, AND grandchildren, and their income/wealth is actually being spread across 3 generations/households?

Are those adult children bums part of the upper middle class because they live in the same mansion as the 1% parents? Or are they "working class" because they have no/little income, no GEDs, and exhibit working-class behaviors?

What of an upper middle-class person has children so troubled, they can't seem to get through community college, can't get off drugs, can't hold even a medial job, or even was arrested/jailed?

What of regional cultures: 1% folks who eat McDonalds, shop at Walmart without hesitation, generally avoid nature/health food, buy gas guzzling SUVs or engage in conspicuous consumption/material waste because they don't care about environment?

What of very poor technophiles/computer minded folks, or even more rare, the poor individual who "pulls themselves up by the bootstraps" with no assistance/luck?

In my experience, most families, or at least extended families, are a great mix of different types of people with different backgrounds and "class" assignments.

There's a great book on the OP's topic called "Unequal Childhoods"- VERY interesting.
Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, 2nd Edition with an Update a Decade Later: Annette Lareau: 9780520271425: Amazon.com: Books
Oh crap...are we not supposed to do those things !?!
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
6,371 posts, read 5,885,497 times
Reputation: 8204
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
These lists and their implied attributes closely follow Paul Fussell's seminal book, "Class". Written in 1982, the book definitely merits an update to account for 30 years of "Prole drift" (Fussell's brilliantly derisive term for common-denominator profanation of high-culture and consequent cheapening of our expectations and tastes).

I grew up in a family that in another culture and another time would have been called "intelligentsia" class. There really is no American equivalent. The closest American descriptor would be Nelson Rockefeller Republicans, but that connotes too much wealth. I remember dinner-parties where the food was of mediocre quality and the gathering was held in the kitchen, because that was the warmest room in the house. But the evening featured readings of poetry, some written by the guests themselves. Children would give recitations of poems by famous authors, as testament of the kids' academic erudition.

My experiences in America have impressed upon me the strong correlation in this society between material wealth and cultural sophistication. Most people who regularly attend the symphony-orchestra concerts are affluent. Most people working low-paid jobs don't read for pleasure. Of course exceptions abound, but the correlation is remarkably strong. Again, in other societies and in other times, the correlation is much weaker, or even negative, because there the only route to wealth is corruption or outright theft, and the "intelligentsia" tends to be poorer people.

It's also remarkable to me, how up and down the socioeconomic ladder the emphasis is on consumption. Even comparatively wealthy people spend most of their income, perhaps on exclusive private schools, lavish vacations, stately houses, boats and the like. Amongst people of moderate means, it is very rare to skip meals just to have extra money to invest in stocks. Amongst the affluent, it is very rare to live like the lower-middle-class while saving 90% of one's after-tax income. This is why, I think, the upper-middle-class extends so far in America up the ladder of wealth. Real "upper class" means standing completely outside of the hedonistic treadmill and the consumer culture. It means being utterly impervious to the price of gasoline, or home mortgage-rate interests. The upper-middle-class buys nice stuff and enjoys a fabulous lifestyle. The true upper-class is beyond the confines of lifestyle.
That's quite an interesting upbringing. I'm jealous, I've never heard of anything like that in the here or now. The most you see of that sort of engagement is in a public realm... speakers and lectures in book stores and universities. The largest void in my life is intellectual discourse: Americans are too consumed by consumption.

I literally have this book by my bedside table at the moment. It was a sobering read, but an enlightening one. I found that after every chapter I needed to read the Desiderata just to make myself feel better again (especially the part about not looking "up" or "down").
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