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[P]
The Downwardly Mobile Inverted Snobs

By m0rzo in Culture
Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:18:00 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

A few years ago there was a time when the wealthy, the eminent and the educated would use their wealth and their knowledge to gain acceptance amongst other wealthy, eminent and educated types. They would use this acceptance of theirs in order to look down on and pour scorn on the majority "proletarian" society. It's a phenomenon that became known as snobbery...


These people would always strive to be one step ahead of anyone else, what with their mod cons, their `refined' accents, and numerous holidays to Tuscany and the like. Bettering themselves was more than about money though, it was about breeding. `Nouveau Riche' or 'New Money' were of course chucked on the social scrap heap just like the working class. There was a time when people would aspire upwards, that was of course, until inverted snobbery became the prejudice of choice. Yes, inverted snobbery has become the new fashionable prejudice and is perhaps, the only one in our society that is acceptable too many. Being an inverted snob is chic, it's fashionable, it's cool, and if you're a celebrity today it's the thing to be.

Inverted snobbery is essentially downward mobility - whereas once these people would aspire upwards, they now aspire downwards. It's a label that can be pinned on celebrities, the wealthy, and of course the educated. To be called a "Proletarian" today is the perfect compliment - to be called a `Snob' on the other hand would cause the most upset and offence. No longer do people want to be enjoying the finer things in life, they want to eat `Bangers'n'mash' (mashed potatoes and sausages) and drink in working men's pubs, and watch the football and relish in the worst aspects of popular culture. It's basically people pretending to be something they're not, and when you pretend to be something you're not you're going to make mistakes. Back in 1998 it was reported in British newspapers that Thom Yorke (Radiohead) when asked by a journalist if he was middle-class responded "Well no actually". Hmm, Thom York previous to Radiohead fame had met O'Brien at Abingdon a very well-to-do, respected Oxfordshire Public School reserved only for those with the assets of a small country. His full retort was; "We live in Oxford and in Oxford we're f*cking lower-class. The place is full of the most obnoxious, self-indulgent, self-righteous oiks on the f*cking planet, and for us to be called middle class, well, no, actually. It's all relative." Yorke had made a blunder, the use of the word `oik' being utilised by upper-middle-class people to describe those beneath them. What Yorke was trying to describe were the over-privileged undergraduates (people a little like himself). Yorke is obviously a secret toff; any real prole would tell you that what he described as `Oiks' are actually `posh twats' or `upper-class tossers'.

For whatever reason it's now fashionable to call one's self working class. Perhaps it's the credibility, the authenticity and the image of hard toil that makes this title attractive. Regardless, it's absurd and unreal. Reality isn't the point of course, desire is. Desire to be something they're not, in short - dishonesty. The one thing that can be said in defence of conventional snobbery is that it doesn't mask it's intentions. Conventional snobbery will crudely, boldly, and sharply tell you to your face that it is better than you. Naturally, inverted snobs still enjoy the power trip, and the feeling of superiority they just don't tell anyone! Like their forefathers the conventional snobs, inverted snobs use something to look down on other people with. Whereas conventional snobs would take the social high ground, inverted snobs will take aim from a moral prospective.

Downward mobility's greatest crime could be it's effect on society and it's effect on the infrastructure of a whole nation. No country has been affected as much as a result of inverted snobbery as Great Britain. A country which once prided itself on it's order, it's fairness, it's national unity, and it's tolerance has become as a matter of fact the most drunken, drugged up, poorly educated nation in Europe, rates of theft and violent crime fast outdoing those of the big contender, the United States.

Aspiring upwards for the masses of people living in poverty, in squalor and fear of their lives is a way out. A way to succeed, a way to better their own positions and situations. Billionaire tycoon Richard Branson being a shining example of one such person who did precisely that. The bourgeois don't know who they are, and someone needs to help them find themselves. It's all about self-denial. Self-denial coupled with an inherent self-hatred. There seems to be a frightening desire to be thick, and stupid, a desire to move down the rungs of society. Without a doubt this happens around the world, but in Britain it's probably at it's worse. Today there seems to be some great shame in being clever, and having something intelligent to say. Of course, this self-hate isn't just witnessed on the catwalks, on TV, and at chic parties it's in the playgrounds too. Who reading this doesn't know at least one kid that came from a decent background, was intelligent, and had great prospects only to throw it all away? Personally nothing is funnier than seeing some middle-class studenty-type pass himself off as a hard as nails, raucous cheap lager swigging Cockney wide boy.

These inverted snobs are the `do good' types. The type who love to be seen doing something to help those less fortunate than themselves like stuffing a few hundred quid into a collection box, but in all honesty wouldn't piss on a tramp if he were on fire.

It's something to laugh at, it's something to discuss and it's something to be written on Kuro5hin. It's sadder than it is amusing however. All right, these people hate themselves, they live false lives but why are they prejudiced? Anti-elitism is appalling, simply unforgivable snobbery. It suggests that there is absolutely no point in giving "ordinary people" anything too sophisticated or taxing on the old grey matter for fear of it going over their heads. A good example of this would be the will of the British Labour Party (full of middle class `oiks'!) to get rid of the Grammar School because it wasn't fair on under-privileged children who were less capable. The closure of hundreds of these schools, and the growth of the state provided school system led to far fewer university acceptances into the traditional Oxbridge type establishments for working class children. It's clear that inverted snobbery like Communism keeps everybody right at the bottom of the heap with no hope of bettering himself or herself. For inverted snobbery repeatedly acts against the interests of the very people it claims to lionise.

This was written as you might have guessed by a 'Little Englander' - hence there may be a few terms misunderstood. For example, 'Bangers'n'mash' is a popular British dish of well.. sausage and mashed potato. See what fine cuisine we have in this country? 'Quid' means money, 'wanker' is a person who masturbates frequently, and if you've seen Lock Stock by that great working class directer Guy Ritchy (hehe yeah right) you should know the rest! For a full reference of British slang you may find this interesting!

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The Downwardly Mobile Inverted Snobs | 69 comments (49 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
What are you arguing for? (4.16 / 6) (#2)
by maynard on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:09:07 PM EST

OK, so you're clearly arguing that it's disingenuous for the wealthy and popular to present an image of proletariat ideology while living it up with their well off mates. What I don't understand is that your opposition to this behavior appears to be centered not on the obvious biggotry and self-serving nature inherent in traditional upper class snobbery, but that they have echewed this for a new pop proletariat culture. Which presupposes that such snobbery is, in fact, good and proper. This becomes obvious as one reads further into the article:
Downward mobility's greatest crime could be it's effect on society and it's effect on the infrastructure of a whole nation. No country has been affected as much as a result of inverted snobbery as Great Britain. A country which once prided itself on it's order, it's fairness, it's national unity, and it's tolerance has become as a matter of fact the most drunken, drugged up, poorly educated nation in Europe, rates of theft and violent crime fast outdoing those of the big contender, the United States.
I read this to mean that "downward mobility" of the rich has turned the values of Great Britain's elite upside down by bringing about proletariat decedance such as we have in the United States (for whatever that's worth). Does this mean that you think the poor are, on the whole, "...drunken, druged up, poorly educated..." sobs, undeserving of such cultural attention by elites? And that your opposition to "inverted snobbery" is not snobbery per se, but that elite snobbery doesn't represent the former goold old fashion values of previous elite social darwinism?

I understand a screed against snobbery, having grown up in wealthy suberbs. But if I read you right, I certainly don't agree with your posision. This is why I voted -1.

--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Certainly not. (none / 0) (#3)
by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:20:00 PM EST

You did indeed read me wrong. I was not saying that conventional snobbery was "good and proper" I was slamming all forms of snobbery that these people seem to dish out. Same people, different phases of snobbery. It's still snobbery.

My concerns on Britain and it's society did not say that the poor were "...drunken, druged up, poorly educated..." it meant exactly what the essay is all about. It means that these elitists are making it cool to aspire downwards, to be drugged up, to be drunken. It's the inverted snobs that condemn the poor to these descriptions not me. Drugs, alcoholism, and lack of education is without doubt a scurge which affects mostly the poor. This isn't because they are genetically inferior or any nonsense like that, it's usually because of people like I have described. There are people in this country living like that, who try their hardest to get out of that situation and better their selves.

On a seperate note, although being relatively new to Kuro5hin I think you've misunderstood the mod guideline.

When you should vote -1

This is almost the inverse of when to vote +1. Stories with horrible formatting (to the point where it is painful to read), broken links, and flamage-inspiring content are generally not liked by too many people. This applies to any kind of content, be it "NT sucks," "Linux sucks," "VMS sucks," etc. Another good thing to vote -1 on are advertisements. We don't get these often, but it does happen. Most of the time it's unintentional (a person is working on something with a company, and it just happens to be interesting), in which case it's best to leave an editorial comment about what's wrong and see if the author responds. If the story itself could be interesting in a certain context, but doesn't have "wide appeal," just vote +1 to the section it's listed for and be happy.

When you should vote 0

If you have no strong feelings either way (no, "ooh -- this sounds good," or "ooh -- what a bad article!), you should vote 0. This will let people who care about the subject (or know more about the subject if it's really esoteric technical content :-)) more than you decide on whether it's worth it. The fact that you disagreed with me (and may I add misunderstood me) is no reason to give me a -1.
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Thank you for the reply. (none / 0) (#5)
by maynard on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:29:02 PM EST

I think that the content of your submission is a bit ambiguous. I note that by the assumption I made of the premise of your submission, it fits for a -1 by my judgment. Anyway, I vote how I choose to vote. However, if this doesn't make it through the queue -- for whatever reason -- I'd like to suggest that you clarify this point and resubmit.

Cheers,
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Fair enough.. (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:31:51 PM EST

Most of us live in some kind of democracy (using the term loosely). By all means vote how you please. Previous articles have died on their arse, so there's no reason why this shouldn't! If that should happen I will follow your suggestions.

Take care.

Ed
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Drugs affect mostly the poor? (none / 0) (#68)
by trane on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:01:42 PM EST

Drugs, alcoholism, and lack of education is without doubt a scurge which affects mostly the poor

eh? Got any sources, or are you generalizing from hearsay evidence?

[ Parent ]

I suggest.. (none / 0) (#4)
by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:23:51 PM EST

you read more carefully in future.

The following totally dismisses what you claim;

"It's something to laugh at, it's something to discuss and it's something to be written on Kuro5hin. It's sadder than it is amusing however. All right, these people hate themselves, they live false lives but why are they prejudiced? Anti-elitism is appalling, simply unforgivable snobbery. It suggests that there is absolutely no point in giving "ordinary people" anything too sophisticated or taxing on the old grey matter for fear of it going over their heads."
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

ladies and gentlemen (2.00 / 3) (#7)
by core10k on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:42:20 PM EST

Here we have a special case of fantasy wish; the wisher so delusional that they think that they can pass for one of the upper class.

Sorry bud, it only goes one way; the upper class can pass for middle and lower class, but it doesn't work the other way around.



Not sure what you're trying to say... (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by discodeathrace on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:58:36 PM EST

From what I can understand of this gibberish you are trying to say that people who have money and then pretend to not belong to upper middleclass are evil. You couldn't be more wrong.

When I have money when I am older I won't live like most of the people who have money. That's because I don't accept moneyed people's view on how you should live. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the norm. I would prefer to have the norm changed.

If enough poeple disagree with the way the upper middle class lives then it will eventually change the norm. These people will eventually change it from the inside. Having the upper crust be more down to earth could not hurt a thing.

I for one was more influenced by a fairly rich friend who lives just like everyone else. He doesn't bother with all the posturing that happens in the upper crust. If you read some faceless guy's story who made millions, who you will never meet in person, you probably wouldn't be too influenced. But if people who built themselves up stuck around with everyone else so they could actually see success people would be more inclined to think that they could do it too.

Your comment on people throwing their prospects away really isn't just an issue having to do with this topic. Everyone makes mistakes. And who is to say that they are not happy now. It is their life and their choice, they should not have to live like their parents if they do not want to.

I think you have really described "slumming" more than an actual desire to live like everyone else. I hate slumming more than most, but don't hate people who have money and have decided that the "money" lifestyle isn't worth it.


Life is too short to be me.
I wish.. (3.66 / 3) (#9)
by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 07:06:21 PM EST

some people would read things properly or not even bother commenting if they can't. You label my essay as "gibberish" when it appears you don't even understand the point of it - which, may i add, i made quite clear. The whole essence of the article is about people being something they are not - being fake. They love to label themselves as working class (a title which i believe is very honourable) and then, as one poster put it, "live it large with their rich mates". It's this patronising rubbish that really annoys me. the people who practice this have turned it into a fashion statement as much as anything, and rest assured as soon as something better comes along they'll pounce on that too. The vast majority of inverted snobs, like I said, will use it as another form of prejudice just like conventional snobbery. They will be working class when it suits them and when it suits them ONLY. You might see some kid living it large in East London all week, who returns to his country manor house in Suffolk in his brand spanking new ferrari (bought by daddy of course).
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
err? (none / 0) (#12)
by discodeathrace on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 07:35:25 PM EST

It still sounds like you are talking about slumming. And no, you did not make it clear enough because I'm an idiot. Now I understand and agree. Apparently it is much worse there then here. Make their life hell and maybe they will go away.


Life is too short to be me.
[ Parent ]
Err.. (1.33 / 6) (#13)
by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 07:56:50 PM EST

"when you grow up you will have money" - Clearly you are right about the idiot part. Self-hate eh? Maybe the reason you're so wound up is because i've described YOU. I would love to tell you to "piss off" but that would be too rude :-/
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
Wow... (3.00 / 5) (#14)
by discodeathrace on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 08:26:12 PM EST

Personal attacks against someone you don't even know. You are a great debater my friend. Who said I was wound up? I'm not wound up at all. I was merely having a discussion, you are the one that has taken it to the next level. If you can't take discussion about your nonsense article, don't bother posting. Thanks for playing.

If my gibberish comment is what set you off maybe I can help explain. Poorly written is what I would describe this as. Thus I called it gibberish. Nonsensical garbage. Re submit it, please.


Life is too short to be me.
[ Parent ]
You have to admit... (none / 0) (#15)
by maynard on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 08:31:15 PM EST

I'm not the only one confused by the point of your submission. As I wrote previously, this suggests an ambiguity in your article which really does need fixing. Given what you've written in reply to me and in the other editorial comments, I think I understand what thesis you want to present. Unfortunately, I'm not the only one who has read the wrong idea into your submission.

You could argue that I'm a dolt and didn't read it properly. But given so much confusion on the issue from other posters as well I think you'll have a hard time arguing that all of us are dolts. Give it a good read through again and try to tighten up the thesis so that readers are clear on what you're trying to say. Don't make your point a subtext of the article, jam it down our throats so readers can't possibly miss it. I'm not against what I think is your thesis, and certainly the style and grammar is well done. So I don't agree with the other poster who suggested additional commas are the solution; you know how to write proper english you're just not presenting your main point clearly.

Rewrite. Resubmit. Make it clear and you'll get my +1.

JMO,
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Oi! The punkiest punk, that ever punked! (3.80 / 5) (#16)
by miah on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 08:43:25 PM EST

I think what is being said is that it is _stupid_ to be either a snob or an anti-snob. Have you ever met one of those people who are just too punk for their own good? I have some friends that just graduated and it seems that their goals in life are to try and 'out punk' each other in a contest of who can scream "oi" the loudest. While reading this I was reminded of them sitting around drinking cokes in diner discussing how and why Blink 182 just isn't punk enough for them, they enjoy the music, but don't want to listen to it b/c it would ruin their image. They remind me alot of this character in Diesel Sweeties and how he is a rocker and that he rocks out!

Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE
Yeah, we call 'em "posers" (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by maynard on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 08:51:03 PM EST

Around here (Boston, MA) we call clubbers who just stand around in the right clothes, with the right hair, perfect looks, holding a drink waiting for a chick to walk by "posers." They're posing for a non-existent camera in order to attract attention. Heh.

The sad thing is that this submission will go down in flames, yet it's already starting to generate good discussion.

Oh well!
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Happy I'm not British. (3.50 / 4) (#18)
by RobotSlave on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 09:04:31 PM EST

Lord knows the US is a mess, but I'm glad I don't have to deal with the pain of the British class system.

This "phenomenon" of rich kids slumming is nothing new. It was happening in every corner of the world before your grandparents were born. In fact, I suspect it only goes away when history provides a brief moment of opportunity for a whole people, and that the behavior returns as the opportunity dries up.

For the present, what would you have those slumming posh twats do? Barricade themselves in their manors, sip port, and play croquet? If you don't want them in your pub, then who is the snob? Or do you want them in your pub, but only if they're properly tarted up in dinner jackets and jewels?

Rich people dress down and drink and act like cretins because they don't want to adhere to the rules imposed by their class. Less rich people do the same things because they don't like their own rules, and they don't see much room for themselves closer to the top. Leave them alone-- they're unhappy enough as it is.

Football is soccer. Public schools are Private schools. I've no idea how you got through that rant without using the word "punter." And I'm still not clear on what, exactly, a "Grammar school" is; here in the states a "Grammar school" is a school, public or private, for kids aged 6 to 10, or grades 1 through 5.

Grammer School (none / 0) (#43)
by craigtubby on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 10:32:10 AM EST

A Grammer School is a publicly funded Academically selective school.

Basically at the age of 11 tests are carried out and Grammer schools get to select the students that they want.

The idea when they were first introduced is that Grammer School pupils would go on to University where as Comprehensive (ie everyone who didn't go to a Grammer school) pupils would become more "hands on" and take apprenticships etc.

Now if basing the whole of someones life on an exam at the age of 11 isn't unfair, I don't know what is.

Now we have Secondry Moderns who, I belive, take pupils from a catchment area according to parental choice and then teach according to standard. The Idea being that there is a mix of ablility levels in the school and Grammer schools are becoming rarer.

Of course the schools that parents want thier children to go to are oversubscribed, so they turn away children, the parents then get the local education authority to overturn the decision so that good schools are over crowded and the "worse" schools are underfunded (schools get funding depending on how many places and how many pupils they have)


[ Parent ]
From experience (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by m0rzo on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 11:48:49 AM EST

Comprehensive schools are crap because clever children get slowed down by dead-beat, thick, brainless idiots who havent a hope in hell of doing anything decent with their lives. At least if you're selected you're with people of a similar ability.
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
Dead Beats (none / 0) (#62)
by craigtubby on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 07:31:01 AM EST

you said ".. by dead-beat, thick, brainless idiots who havent a hope in hell of doing anything decent with their lives. "

At age 11 I would have been one of those dead-beats, I wasn't "gifted" at 11 and I am not "gifted" now, yet 15 years later I have a degree and good job. You would have condemed me to as not having "a hope in hell of doing anything decent" with my life, you would have made it impossible for me to continue my education after 16, you would made it impossible for me to go to University.

Thank you for your support.

[ Parent ]

I don't know how it works now but... (none / 0) (#64)
by Kat Goodwin on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:49:17 AM EST

When I was at school (ordinary secondary school in the UK) we managed ok. We had a well defined system of "sets" - classes for various subjects seperated as by ability. Moving between those sets was easy - you just had to do better or worse in your exams and slip through the boundaries. Therefore there was much less room for the disruptive or slow to be holding the others back.

I do beleive that this system is the right one - I was given the chance to flourish in the top sets with faster paced teaching and more homework, while at the other end of the scale, the people who had the most trouble with the work were taught in a completely different, and I beleive more appropriate manner. However, those in the middle definitely had a chance to move - to improve and go on to more challenging things, or if they were struggling, to move into an environment where they got some more appropriate help.

I can see where both of you are coming from - slower people hold the more intelligent back in a classroom or even a lecture situation - I have seen it happen in university, with friends and relatives who went to other schools. However, I do beleive that at no point should a person be discounted from the possibility of being able to prove that they are capable of going on to a higher level of education.

[ Parent ]

Sorry, an over reaction from me... (none / 0) (#65)
by craigtubby on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 10:24:20 AM EST

You said ... I do beleive that at no point should a person be discounted from the possibility of being able to prove that they are capable of going on to a higher level of education.

Which to a certain extent is exactly how Grammer Schools used to work, and much like you I went to a comprehensive, and again we had "sets", some sets I was above average in, some I was average and some below average, if I remember correctly they were classed in what exam results you were predicted (abc cde efg) - but as you say, if the work was found to be too demanding then you could drop a set, and if found too easy you could go up a set.

Grammer schools completely stop that, people in a secondry modern can't do outstaningly well and be "promoted" to the grammer, just as under performers in the Grammers cannot be "demoted" to a secondry modern.

[ Parent ]

Nice article, but you're wrong about Branson (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by cyberformer on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 11:38:46 PM EST

Richard Branson isn't some shining example to the rest of us to work hard and better ourselves. He's more an example of the very phenomenon you decry: a very rich businessman who pretends to be just an ordinary working-class guy.

ahh but the point is... (none / 0) (#63)
by Kat Goodwin on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:40:32 AM EST

he really WAS a working class boy I am no expert on the subject but I beleive he left school at 16 to work for example. He may not be that now, but I don't think you can deny a person their roots!

[ Parent ]
Elitism Is Good (4.44 / 9) (#23)
by Robert Uhl on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 12:12:24 AM EST

I am reminded of a Florence King quote:
To me, elitism means a love of excellence and superiority, but America has declared war on both and developed a sick love of the lowest common denominator to make sure no-one becomes too fine for our touted democracy. We are almost at the point of regarding every virtue as elitist.
Being in the elite is a Good Thing. I've never been, but I aspire to be: to be comfortable, to have nice things, to live as I wish to. Who could not? Why would someone wish to speak improperly? Why would one eat foul food (incidentally, bangers & mash is wonderful)? Why would one wear uncomfortable and ugly clothing?

One should be proud of one's education, of one's achievements, of one's ancestor's achievements, of all that it is which make one and one's line unique. I think that the modern reaction to these is a very sad thing. Stripped of everything, none of us is impressive. We're ugly, sad, saggy, pink creatures. Even Playboy must airbrush. We spend our lives trying to fill in the gaps of ourselves, with attractive clothing, useful educations, interesting facts, well-paying jobs &c. We try to achieve. Why then should we be sorry for our achievements? We have risen above the pink slugs we are, and become something else, something better. To aspire to be less than one is to show disrespect to oneself and to one's forebears.

Yes.....but, no (none / 0) (#49)
by speek on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 02:58:21 PM EST

To me, elitism means a love of excellence...

Yes

...and superiority

No

One should be proud of one's education, of one's achievements, of one's ancestor's achievements...

Yes

...of all that it is which make one and one's line unique

No

We try to achieve. Why then should we be sorry for our achievements?

Yes

We have risen above the pink slugs we are, and become something else, something better

No

To be anti-snobbery, does not necessarily mean to be inversely snobbish, as the story suggested. It simply means to be anti-snobbery. Be proud of your achievements, but don't think they make you superior. Loving superiority has brought lots of people to the point of degrading others, thus making themselves superior. To think that you have risen above the other pink slugs is to try and separate yourself from them (sometimes referred to as the "unwashed masses"), and then erect barriers against them. Be happy or unhappy with what you are, but there is no cause for feeling superior or inferior.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Superiority (none / 0) (#55)
by Robert Uhl on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 09:47:22 PM EST

...and superiority
No

But if one is superior, should one not be proud of that achievement? We are all superior to others in one respect or another--is that not reason for pride? We are also all inferior to others--is that not a reason for humility? To be an elitist is to love that part of each man as well as oneself which is superior, and to hate that which is inferior. A love of superiority is only bad when one forgets that one is not all-superior--that honour belongs to One Alone.

...of all that it is which make one and one's line unique
No

Why not? If I am to be proud of my ancestors (a point with which you agree), should I not be proud of what them different from other men? Otherwise I am apparently to be proud of the fact that they mostly had two legs, two arms and a variety of appendages. It is only differences which may be appreciated (save in those odd moments when one enjoys the fact that one has fingers and toes--these moments being generally brought on by over-much liquor); the samenesses blend one into another, a field of grey upon which our uniquenesses are written in brilliant colour.

[ Parent ]

One's ancestor's achievements? (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by marlowe on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 09:11:46 PM EST

Why would anybody crow about somebody else's achievements if he's got decent achievements of his own?

I'm all for meritocracy, based on each person's individual merit. That beats all hell out of every conceivable alternative. But any other form of elitism is nonsense to me.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Why care about one's predecessors? (none / 0) (#54)
by Robert Uhl on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 09:36:47 PM EST

Why would anybody crow about somebody else's achievements if he's got decent achievements of his own?

Because one's ancestor's achievements are one's, in a sense; in another, one's achievements are theirs. One is their product, and they are one's forefathers. Genetically, I am no more than the sum of my ancestors. What they were, I am. This is limited to some extent, of course: I have only inherited half of each. But some part of each cell in my frame dates back to my first grandfather; another to my first grandmother. Every part of every cell of my body dates back millennia.

Scientifically we are no more than the product of our genes. I believe that we are also the product of our souls, but those are influenced by those who raised us and with whom we grew up. That is why to know a great man is partake in his greatness--some fraction of him is incorporate in one's own make-up.

There is no rational alternative but to be proud of one's ancestry. To do otherwise is self-hatred.

[ Parent ]

Elitism sucks. (none / 0) (#59)
by dogwalker on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 02:39:21 PM EST

I am reminded of a Jello Biafra quote:
We never talk to him, he never looks quite right, he laughs at us, we just beat him up, what he sees escapes our sight.
We spend our lives trying to fill in the gaps of ourselves, with attractive clothing, useful educations, interesting facts, well-paying jobs &c.

Let us take clothing for one example out of these things. If I read you right, you are saying that it is a good thing to dress attractively, and to be proud of one's dress, and you can't understand why someone would want to wear ripped-up jeans and a t-shirt, as they are disrespecting their ancestors as well as failing to contribute to humans' glorious civilization.

Allow me to posit some of the reasons why someone might not dress 'attractively.'

a) They are dressing in clothes they find attractive but you do not.

b) They dress to show their status or group alliegence: not that they honestly believe themselves to be bad, but they know they are not like you, and therefore don't wish to dress like you.

c) Nice clothing is low on their list of things in life to be valued.

If everyone valued the same things, then yes, not living up to those values would be a sign of "non-eliteness" and could be shown to be bad. Of course, rather than addressing the real point, which would be defending your values of "attractive clothing, useful educations, interesting facts, well-paying jobs &c," you just go around complaining about how people who are different from you are the cause of the decline of society in general. Yay for you.

Another related question would be "Does each person have a moral obligation towards self-improvement?" but I have no thoughts on that matter at present.

In conclusion, to take pleasure in a job well done is no vice. However, it is no coincidence that pride is one of the seven deadly sins. To enjoy a good meal is very well, but to take that to excess is gluttony. So it is with pride.


--
share and enjoy

[ Parent ]

Wealth is relative to location (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by jcolter on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:43:17 AM EST

When I turned 21 I moved to New York City to continue my college education, and escape the reactionary town in which I am originally from. Since I was in school and only working a part time job, my parents paid my rent. Being that I'm from one of the most economically depressed areas in the country, my parents' $50,000 gross income seemed like a lot growing up.

Upon moving here it became crystal clear that wealth is only relative to what your expenses are. I currently live in a one bedroom apartment in a not so great neighborhood in Brooklyn, and my share of the rent (I live with a roommate) is almost $600 per month. My parents pay about $400 dollars per month for their three level brick home.

Just an observation, please do not read too much into it. I realize that my parents could very easily earn more money here then they do where they currently reside. Yorke does have a point however. Being the poor guy in any group still makes you poor (albeit not really poor).



See also: anti-intellectuallism sour-grapes (3.60 / 5) (#25)
by Locked on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:08:12 AM EST

I.e. those who go around claiming "people with high IQs consider themselves to better than us normal folk" because they've heard one person say, "my IQ is higher than average" and knee-jerk interpreted that as a 'boast'.

Or the whiny, self-delusional claims that "a high IQ isn't an indication of being intelligent, it just means you can pass IQ tests" or "having an average IQ is actually better than a high IQ because it means you have more common sense and don't walk around with your head in the clouds."

The irony being that these so-called 'down to earth' people end up being far more arrogant and pretentious than the so-called 'eggheads' (or in the story, the middle class) they attack for (supposedly) doing the same. "Your claim that some people are more intelligent that others is elitism! I won't stand for it!" Amusement.

The DMIS story is UKcentric and has already begun to be moderated down by people who simply disagree with it (a faux pas by itself), because the phenomenon it describes doesn't happen in their country. (TMTTWTYCF - There's More To The World Than Your Country, Fool)

IQ is meaningless (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 03:26:23 AM EST

Or the whiny, self-delusional claims that "a high IQ isn't an indication of being intelligent, it just means you can pass IQ tests"...

There's nothing self-delusional about these claims. IQ tests are next to useless as a measure of general intelligence. If you're not convinced then I can recommend a very good book on the subject - "The Mismeasure Of Man" by Steven Jay Gould.

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.
[ Parent ]

In the USA... (2.50 / 2) (#38)
by otis wildflower on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:38:26 PM EST

.. it's called 'slumming'.

When rich guidos from New Jersey low ride in the BMW 328i that daddy gave 'em, flash gang banger signs and 'keep it real up in the field'.

One is to laugh.
[root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden
Ey! You cwall this wehking class? (4.50 / 4) (#40)
by Apuleius on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 08:46:56 PM EST

This is odd. I live in a very typical working class neighborhood in Medford, and what they consider working-class behavior is, shall we say, a tad different. Some examples:
1. You do not get to a first name basis with someone in my block without their okay. In the upper class, it's first names and nicknames because this is part how rich folks show off their confidence. The average Yankee working slob is a broken arm away from catastrophe, and so has neither much confidence nor any desire to fake it.
2. If you're in Medford Square or thereabouts, you'd be wise to use Sir, Ma'am, Please, Thank you, et cetera, for the same reason.
3. If you're a son of a rich American family, you can go out with your buddies, get drunk, and get in trouble, and daddy gets you a lawyer. On my block, daddy gets you a fat lip. Why? Because class is like smallcraft aviation. If you're way up there, you can fool around and have time to correct a mistake. If you're flying above the treetops, you can't. So in this slice of the working class, hooliganism is Not Okay (TM).
4. You have to conform on some things on my block: you must shovel the snow on time. You must stay decent. If a neighborhood kid has a scrape by your house, you should come out with bandages. You do not, ever get drunk in public. Rich fratboys do that. Our boys don't. But if you conform to these norms, the neighbors are more than glad to help you if you need them.
This is wehking class. Capisce?

I myself am not working class anymore. I'm overeducated, I'm accumulating quite a bit of money, with more to come soon, and for me work involves a lot of sitting on my butt. But I must admit I have a working class fetish of my own, because my current neighbors don't judge me by my tastes, only by my actions. When some people at MIT drive me insane with their pretenses I like to go to a greasy spoon diner and just have a coffee. And any poseur who thinks getting drunk or rowdy is a way to commune with the proletariat fools nobody.




There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
I myself am not working class anymore.... (none / 0) (#67)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:33:27 PM EST

I myself am not working class anymore. I'm overeducated...

Heh. I have that problem. Don't fit in anymore with the family friends, don't feel comfortable with the main-line types who fill corporate america (the main line is where all the rich people live in Philadelphia).

But what can you do?



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
In the strictly editorial division... (1.00 / 2) (#44)
by netmouse on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 11:37:14 AM EST

in Britain it's probably at it's worse.
There is a gramatical convention that is intended to make it clear that these two instances of "it's" have different meanings. That is, they should be spelled differently. The apostrophe is only used in the contraction of "it is". The possessive form is merely "its".

Corrected, this should read,

in Britain it's probably at its worse.
-netmouse

Sorry. (1.00 / 1) (#45)
by m0rzo on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 12:32:41 PM EST

Hopefully this minor error on my part didn't detract from the *real* issue of my submission...

:/
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

uh... hang on... (1.00 / 1) (#46)
by gonerill on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 01:15:40 PM EST

"...in Britain it's probably at its worst", perhaps?

[ Parent ]
ah, yeah.. (1.00 / 1) (#47)
by netmouse on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 02:08:59 PM EST

"at its worst" would be even better. I didn't mean to nitpick, just bring up the error which is both the most widespread and also the most annoying.

[ Parent ]
ah, yeah.. (1.00 / 1) (#48)
by netmouse on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 02:16:07 PM EST

"at its worst" would be even better. I didn't mean to nitpick, just bring up the error which is both the most widespread and also the most annoying. :)

[ Parent ]
Satire, right? (1.00 / 1) (#50)
by Shalom on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 03:55:40 PM EST

Please tell me the original correction was actually satire on people who correct grammar all the time. I figured it was until I read this ...

Regardless, it really made me laugh--missing a seriously imbecilic grammatical error to correct a smaller, more general one :)

[ Parent ]

Just to toss flame on the fire... :) (1.00 / 1) (#51)
by Pihkal on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 06:27:13 PM EST

Hehehehe. I think you meant to write "...missing a seriously imbecilic spelling error...", and not a "grammatical" error. Grammar is defined as "1 a : the study of the classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in the sentence" according to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Now I just hope nobody can find an error in my comment. :)




"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
heh heh heh (1.00 / 1) (#52)
by netmouse on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 06:57:31 PM EST

okay, now I am giggling.

I think you meant to write "...missing a seriously imbecilic spelling error...", and not a "grammatical" error.

In "at its worse" worse is being used as a noun. in Webster's you will see it defined as "one that is worse"

In "at its worst", which is more appropriate to the modern age and the intent of the author, worst is also playing the role of a noun. Webster's says "one that is worst - at worst : under the worst circumstances"

One is from before the 12th century and the latter was introduced in the 14th century.

It's definitely a typo, and I think it's not a gramatical error. Either word takes the same role gramatically, I think, though worst is a superlative and worse is not, so they have a different function. I'm not sure if it's a spelling error or just a mistaken choice of words.

/me giggles off into the background...

[ Parent ]

GRAMERR NAZIS! FASSHISTS! (1.00 / 1) (#56)
by m0rzo on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 02:49:25 AM EST

Itz knot mi folt. hahahahaha :-/
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
Classes and British culture (3.66 / 3) (#58)
by spring on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 01:07:44 PM EST

My fellow Americans....

For those of you who found this article a little weird, it may not be just you. Many things English, whether literature or film or politics or whatever, only make sense when viewed through the lens of class and class conflict. For good or ill, the English see their society as far more rigid and stratified than we see our own, and the effects of that vision run wide and deep through their culture.

Of course we have the rich and the poor in the U.S., but we've never had a true aristocracy in the English sense of the word. Indeed, anti-class sentiment is fundamental to the American outlook, with our cultural mythology of tattered young lads becoming kings of industry through clean living and hard work. That's our cultural bias, and we have to set it aside if we want to understand how the English think.

In some respects.. (none / 0) (#60)
by m0rzo on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 03:26:34 PM EST

you're right. Our culture does have alot of influence from class. However your comment;

"tattered young lads becoming kings of industry through clean living and hard work"

rings true of the British too. Many if not most, of British innovators, and industrial giants rose from the slums through hard graft. It is also the British working class who have fought the most against the upper classes. Some of the worlds most influential socialists were British. It's not entirely one-sided you must understand - the british working class give as good as they get.
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

No. Americans do the exact same thing. (none / 0) (#66)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:27:33 PM EST

Couples with 6 figure incomes, pretending (especially to themselves) to be anti-globalist hippies; Boomers who insist that they are still outside the establishment, instead of being the establishment. Oh, and everyone hates white men - because they run everything. Right?



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
I Volunteer (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by ThePhantomPiper on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 03:53:06 PM EST

I volunteer to be the unfashionably wealthy.

I've always been a little bit out of style anyway.



Slumming American style (none / 0) (#69)
by erotus on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 04:12:47 AM EST

Oh where do I begin? Have I seen some delusional youth, but there is one that takes the cake. This guy, a seudo-friend type of guy, we'll call him "Nick." Nick grew up in a wealthy white anglo-saxon suburb and has basically had everything practically handed to him. It irritates me the way he tries to be something he cleary is not. He went to one of the top prepratory schools in the state of TX. Mind you, these events happened many years ago.

Nick bought the most expensive amp and bass booming speakers he could get for his car. He would make it a point to turn up his CD player with the most ghetto rap I've ever heard. (I'm not slamming rap.. ok) He would turn up the CD player, with his head bobbing up and down, precisely when he was driving past girls and he would rev his engine too. Being with him in the car was the most embarrasing experience on the earth. How could a college student act like such an idiot?

Maybe it was the cool thing to do... act like you're "hard" and a "pimp." The guy speaks english perfectly and so do his parents. However, when he got behind his wheels and played his *cough* music, he would start speaking as if he'd grown up in the "hood." He would say "say dog" or "whattup?" or other lingo that is not used at all by people in his neck of the woods. So where did he pick it up? Again, I'm not slamming the lingo or those who do live in the ghetto.(God did I just stereotype or what?) I hope you're getting my point and looking past my quick and dirty description as nothing more than that - a story.

Anyhow, I often question why he behaved so strangely given his upbringing. I didn't notice too many other rich kids acting like him. He seemed to take pride in skipping class or trying to get stares from bystanders by peeling out in his car. This attention getting behavior was becoming a little too much for me to handle. Needless to say, he doesn't act the same today, but he is still a bit of an enigma. So why did he do it? Maybe someone can shed some light on the topic.

The Downwardly Mobile Inverted Snobs | 69 comments (49 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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