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A Sunny Place for Shady People

Pithy, contrarian, politically incorrect and curmudgeonly rants on sex, money, power and politics and religion and philosophy. In short: Nothing matters, everything changes and there are no guarantees. The rest is rationalization and bribery. (c) Tom Milner 2002-2003. DIRECTORY of offensive POSTS at Archives: 07/09/03. RECOMMENDED BLOGS: Archives: 07/29/03. email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com.

Saturday, March 08, 2003
Monday, March 10, 2003

We abhor reminding Bush of the politically unpleasant, especially when he ferociously enjoys these delicious days just before he beats the War Drum.

But he and his House Machiavelli, Karl Rove, have a righteously religious right to pander to. (We're told that Bush really believes the Christ myths.)

The old country club Republicans, whom the evangelically frenzied embarrass, as well as corporate and "monied" interests, have always gorged at the Republican table.

Republicans now court Hispanics, especially conservative, attractive young men being groomed for the Supreme Court.

Republicans fail with Afro-Americans. And will continue to do so.

Still, there's a considerably big tent here.

This raises the question of how to serve these different -- sometimes competing -- constituencies, all of which must be placated, catered to, bribed, and somehow brought together for the 2004 Coronation.

Now, the crazed religious won't tolerate discussion, deviation or dissent.

These are the thin-lipped, closed minded who essentially practice one issue politics.

And they don't understand the Grand Deceptions often licentiously but routinely conducted in the marriage of big business to big government.

These folks are busy impatiently agitating for abortion's demise and prayers restored to schools.

And they don't want payoffs to the rich and the CEO's to intrude on their agenda.

They also do not get the "oil thing."

For example, Bush has trouble defending his friendship with Saudi Arabia (that's a wicked story!) to these evangelical dimwits, like Falwell.

They also despise not only Blacks but Latinos, or any people of color, for that matter.

These are the same jerks who financed Southern private "Christian" academies to remain racially untainted.

Their narrow interests do not often intersect with the aspirations of immigrants -- or of the corporate culture.

Rove and Bush have so far managed a balancing act among all these groups.

But we wonder how long the Faithful will allow themselves to be exploited in the service of corporate greed.

This Big Tent could collapse at any time.

How pretty to think so.


The rant appears on Mondays and Thursdays.


Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Thursday, March 06, 2003

To move from one social class to another in America is very difficult, since one tends to remain irrevocably bound to the caste in which one was born. The class lines are rigid: make no mistake about that.

Paul Fussell, in his brilliant, clever and insightful book, Class: A Guide Through the American Status System (New York: Dorset Press, 1990, out of print but available online at the usual outlets) identifies nine such classes in the U.S.

We are indebted to its author for our extended, reverential review of his iconoclastic conclusions.

Historically, some argued for only two classes: rich and poor, employer and employed, landlord and tenant, bourgeois vs. proletariat.

Couth or uncouth.

Those who can afford a house and those who can't.

Those who own cars and those who must rely on public transportation.

Those who get the sugar and those who get the shit.

Two sorts of work: safe and dangerous.

Those who fight our wars and those who don't. (Cf. Vietnam.)

(Anyone for a round of class warfare?)

More popular is the three class division.

In the 19th century, the sturdy intellectual, Matthew Arnold, parted the classes thusly: upper (Barbarians), middle (Philistines), and lower (Populace, or proletarian).

Arnold called the upper Barbarians because they "never ... had any ideas to trouble them."

Today's euphemism for lower class is working class.

Fussell's nine classes are:

"Top out-of-sight
Upper middle


High proletraian
Low proletarian

Bottom out-of-sight"

Money isn't the marker here.

It's taste, style and awareness, or as Russell Lyne has it: high brow, middle brow and low brow.

Where money does count isn't the amount, but whether it's inherited (old money) -- or not.

As Fussell cannily observes, upper and lower have much more in common than either with the middle.

Future rants on this topic (eight in total, one appearing about every two or three weeks in the coming months) will explore Fussell's exactitude as to one's betters and who actually comprises the higher orders.

Meanwhile, know that every time you appear, speak and move, as well as what you wear (and how you wear it), will betray your class origin instantly.


Another viewpoint

The rant appears on Mondays and Thursdays.

Unrelated aside: I may be old, but George Bush is the worst kind of bible buzzard. See this week's Newsweek.


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