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November 06, 2008

Marx Was Right: Class Trumps Race or Any Other Demopoitical Interest

I've been trying to write this for a month, with no luck. I just dashed off a sketchy email about this, and since this is the closest I've come to getting this into words, I'll post it. Otherwise I'll never write it.

I can't help but notice a lot of the "Republicans' most enamored of Obama, and most disgusted by Palin, are upper-class twits. Either by birth or by adoption of their culture.

I'm betting wallace and schmidt are, too.

A lot of this is pure class/cultural disgust at those boisterous,
declasse blue collar types.

Hey, Palin got shit done in Alaska. But blue collar morons are good
at fixin' shit, aren't they? As David Brooks noted, Obama can easily
cite Neibhur in conversation. (However you spell his name.) That's
the important thing, you know.

The lower classes DO. The upper classes ARE.

It was one thing when George W. Bush, a patrician plainly comfortable with the blue collar sector of the country, ran for office. Sure, he adopted a lot of the tastes and assumptions of the blue collar working-stiff class (and apparently he was pretty genuine about that), but we could all rest easy knowing, by blood, he was a good solid upper-upper class Connecticut aristocrat.

Sarah Palin? Not only was she born blue collar, but, unlike Scranton Joe Biden (Obama love 'im), she disgustingly has refused to evolve past the bitter, clingy station she was born to.

For God's sake, she was a Governor. She could have gained entry to the soft (as in arriviste) upper class at any time she set her mind to it.

And yet she refused.

The hell, man? It's like she just doesn't want to become better than she is.

Again: I've written on this too many times in the past to write it again.

So I'll just link this old piece. To not alienate the PUMAs still here, I'll note that "liberals" means the liberals you don't like, either.

The aristocracy has always sought to differentiate itself from the hoi polloi by signaling other aristocrats via the conspicuous display of manners and opinions marking them as elite. In the 1920's, for example, the highborn would talk about opera and symphony, but never popular music-- popular music was for the lower classes, and if you enjoyed a pop song, it was best to keep that to yourself. They would discuss live theater but never filmed features-- again, the first was accpetable, the latter declasse. And of course there is all that stuff about eating and drinking.

Gosford Park catalogued much of this, especially in the screenwriter's commentary, which, for my money, was more interesting than the actual movie.

We still have a moneyed aristocracy, of course. And I imagine that many of those old rules still apply (although, quite frankly, I wouldn't know for certain).

What I find interesting from a sociological standpoint is liberals' aping of the opinions and manners of the aristocracy, usually with a healthy infusion of kneejerk progressive politics, as a new form of differentiation from the masses whom they so clearly despise. Just as the old middle classes would also attempt to mimic the behaviors of the wealthy, so too do today's liberals -- even those who aren't very wealthy at all -- seek to emulate the codes and mores of the leisure-class to show that they, too, belong in the company of the elite.

Quick proof: Go find any liberal. Ask him what he thinks about USAToday. If he does not immediately say "McPaper," I will buy you a Filet-O-Fish or McRib (your choice; supplies are limited).

Now, USAToday is neither an especially good paper nor an especially bad one; it's not really remarkable in any way. But the word has come down from the liberal aristocrats that the proper attitude towards USAToday is that it is a McPaper, and so that's what they all say, even if (as is usually the case) they've never so much as read the paper before in their lives.

They call it McPaper because of a series of faux-aristocratic biases -- the "mom and pop" local operation is always more virtuous than the national franchise, anything that smacks of mass-appeal is to be automatically despised, etc. -- and they say it's a McPaper, over and over again, for the same reason 1920's aristocrats all talked about the operas they usually slept through-- to signal to other "Progressive Elites" that they Belong, that They Are Part of the Higher Class.

See Also: Classical Values, with a fresher take on the New Aristocracy.


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posted by Ace at 04:15 PM

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