Thursday, November 13, 2008

Class Warfare

I read an article the other (it was the other day when I wrote this, but this stayed in my draft folder until today) day in a magazine about marriage between classes. It is in a magazine that I normally don't read – I read it probably twice per year – and the article was trite, not-well-written and got published. I really think the only reason the article was published was for the title of the article and the picture which accompanied the article, a red stiletto next to a work boot. Perhaps the magazine wanted to use the picture and had to find an article to match.

I don't want to go into the article, but what I realized from the words was that some feel like there are still class distinctions in the United States. This is a fairly un-American sentiment, and a sentiment I did not believe exists.

I was brought up in a working class family, and although we did not make sandwiches for Dad who spent time in the mines, we were definitely not living comfortably. But even though I am not well-off, I have mixed in Upper Class company once in a while. And those with money – I am talking real money – they see themselves a bit differently than the rest of us.

I have seen the following concerning wealthy individuals:

1. They seem to believe they deserve their wealth, even if it is inherited.
2. Many feel that wealth comes with a burden. That money has a host of responsibilities and problems associated with it.
3. They seem to equate wealth with class. Can we all just say, "Oops. We can see the problem with this assumption." Two examples which come to mind (and how else would they be related) are OJ Simpson and Rush Limbaugh. Both are wealthy, and both lack class.

When I look at people, I don't see different classes. I mean, the reason behind the Campbell's soup artwork (Andy Warhol) is that whether you are a millionaire or some struggling food stamp family, you eat the same type of soup. Okay, since Andy Warhol painted these soup images, there have been lots of changes in food, and now if you are wealthy, perhaps you can get a better can of soup. But Warhol was interested in the fact that some threads reached across classes.

In college, I had a friend who was rich. And he would "cry on my shoulder" about all of his responsibilities. Things I could not understand about. All this while I was working through school, wondering if my paycheck would cover books this semester. Through it, though, I never once thought that he could not understand my concerns about money.

One thing that bugs me is when people assume they are smarter than me for whatever reason. Because they have money. Because they have power. Because they have influence. Because they have double-D boobs. Because they know HTML.

14 comments:

Johnnie Avocado said...

Interesting. I'm not sure where you are living, but in my daily life I see a ton of class distinction. I think I grew up like you. I'm definitely in the middle, so I get it from both sides.

Knot said...

Oh the class system is alive and well in America! Maybe not as evident in smaller towns, but definitely in big ones. Let's face it, people are going to have different degrees of money. And attitude.

Where I grew up, there was a mix of everything. New money, old money, poverty, middle class. My dad kind of hit it big when I was in jr. high so I spent my younger days without a lot, and my teen years comfortable. Then crashed to poverty again after high school.

I can tell you the coolest people to be around are the poor and old money. You would never know old money has money. New money is the worst. Arrogant and snooty. The poor go for broke all the time, what have they got to lose? But they are generally happy people.

Most money these days is new money. And trying to spread the wealth isn't really going to solve anything. Those lousy with money will end up losing it and those good with it will end up getting more.

Didn't Jesus say, "You'll always have the poor with you."

Knot

Leesa said...

johnnie: lower middle class for me, growing up. Guess I am firmly in the middle now. I know someone on the fair side of the tracks, and the grass does smell greener on her side of the tracks.

knot: I have met people with old money, new money, no money. In Savannah, people from all sides can live blocks from one another.

~Deb said...

No amount of money can buy you class. That has to be from within. I've come to learn that a great deal within the past few years actually.

I BOW to people who know html.

That's neither here nor there.

I do believe that both sides of the spectrum can be quite challenging.

There was this poor family who won the lottery years ago. They were super excited, as any family would be, and thought their problems were over. They were close-knit and loved one another very much.............

...until the cash flowed.

The entire family were and have been estranged because of how the money separated them. They became greedy and selfish, thinking 'this person' should get more or 'deserved' more.

What about being a celebrity? I wouldn't trade my life in for theirs, only because I have the freedom to walk around publicly without the traumatizing paparazzi following me or having my dinner at some restaurant bamboozled by fans. Granted, fans are what make the stars, but that comes with the package and it can get overwhelming...I can only imagine.

Anonymous said...

you are poor (relatively speaking) and dont have any class. If one is to be classless, I would rather be filthy rich and classless.

Im not smarter than you for any other reason except for the fact that you have very average intelligence and arent a very good writer. That is why you always revert to 'slut' writing.

There isnt anything wrong with that. If you were capable of doing better, you would. You are doing the best you can with what you have.

Grant said...

I've noted much of the same observations in my life. My father was extremely rich and built his own company up from the ground. He did deserve his wealth, but he also lamented it and said it just brought more responsibilities. There are some trappings of wealth, but having gone from serious poverty to the middle class, I can definitely say it sucks worse to be poor. Also, having attained an education, I can say that wealth and education to not make one classy.

Leesa said...

~Deb: Thanks for the thoughtful response. I have not really thought about celebrity.

Amy (anon): Please cliomb back under your rock in Chester, NY. You might as well call yourself Amy.

grant: well-said. And, lookie, I have my stalker back.

Knot said...

Hey Amy/Anon ... why do you even bother to read if you don't like the posts? You look like an idiot commenting. If you don't like it ... move on.

Some people ...

Knot

~Deb said...

Ironic that she just got back from her vacation and she hasn't been on your blog for what--a week?

I feel kind of bad for her, she really lacks self-esteem. She's one of those "victims"---middle child never gets any attention type of people.

She needs love. :(

~Deb said...

P.S. The fifth commenter is located in Warwick, NY--where she works, Leesa. (Had to check the meter!) Sorry! Too curious.

~Deb said...

P.S.S. She also goes under the name of "Myrsurv"...

Matt said...

It's hard to understand why somebody would go to the trouble of heckling a person they only know via blogging. Then again, I suppose irrational behavior is just that, not rational and can't be understood by somebody who doesn't share the same illness.

I was involved in an organizing drive at an institution that had never before had a union. It was amazing to me how quickly people's economic interest solidified into classes. I have always felt that class identity made more sense to me than race or gender. I guess in some ways it's no more arbitrary than race but at least it fits into the way our society is structured.

Leesa said...

knot: Guess Amy did not read my other comments. She is an accomplished professional in the arts, and a psycho.

~deb: yeah, I know. Chester is closer to home, though. Warwick, NY - yeah.

matt: yeah, I think you are right (concerning class warfare).

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