A Sunny Place for Shady PeoplePithy, 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.
Friday, March 14, 2003
Monday, March 17, 2003
(This is the second -- of eight -- installments of a reverential review of the iconoclast Paul Fussell's book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. New York: Dorset Press, 1990. Out of print but available online at the usual outlets.)
One should be conscious and cautious of his ZIP code in relation to his class.
The socially most correct (i.e., most Ango-Saxon) are those codes representing such august places as Newport, RI; Haddam, CT; and Bar Harbor, ME.
"Los Angeles would rank low less because it's ugly and banal than because it was owned by the Spanish for so long."
Uppers favor places which have had little or no population increases since about 1940. That excludes the vile Las Vegas, provincial Phoenix, and sprawling San Diego.
"Another sign of class desirability might be the absence of facilities for bowling."
Fussell asserts it's really much easier to identify the undesirable or socially impossible.
Places That Won't Do:
* Anywhere religious fundamentalism flourishes, or where prophecy or "miracle" occurred.
* Army towns.
* Places sporting less than a quality newspaper.
* Florida (except maybe Palm Beach).
* California (except for perhaps San Francisco).
* Where large numbers of bowling alleys beckon, for instance: Midland, TX; Peoria, IL; Alexandria, VA; Billings, MT; Dubuque, IA; Owensboro, KY; Akron, OH.
* Bible college towns such as Greenville, SC; Wheaton, IL; Garden Grove, CA; Lynchburg, VA.
* Just generally unaccetable: St. Petersburg and Miami, FL; Long Beach, CA; Parma, OH; Evergreen, CO; Dallas, TX.
You get the idea.
Now, the middle class is less defined by its income than by its "earnestness and psychic insecurity .... [T]hey remain terrified at what others think of them, and to avoid criticism are obsessed with doing everything right."
C. Wright Mills, the Grand Old Man of Sociopolitics, noted the affliction of the middle class was "status panic."
One always finds the snobs in the middle.
"No member of the middle class would expect that anyone is copulating in the afternoon instead of the evening."
The middles embrace optimism and self-improvement -- and laugh at their own jokes.
They prefer polyester to natural fiber.
Timid and conventional, they believe that erecting a tall fence or hedge is an affront to the neighbors.
In other words, the middle class man is scared.
All the time.
Further highly recommended reading:
Paul Fussell, Uniforms: Why We Are What We Wear, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002
Joseph Epstein, Snobbery: The American Version, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002
The rant appears on Mondays and Thursdays.
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Thursday, March 13, 2003
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
-- Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution
Now approaches spring, the killing season at junior and senior high schools everywhere in America.
Do we doubt we'll suffer another Columbine this year?
The National Rifle Association (NRA) practically guarantees it by buying the best paid lobbyists, bribing here, cajoling there, and implementing their pro-gun agenda, hiding behind and actively distorting the Second Amendment's meaning.
This bizarre and very dangerous organization prefers to ignore the introductory clause of that sentence in the Constitution.
The Second does not stipulate that, carte blanch, anyone can amass as many of whatever kind of weapons he wants.
This kind of firepower rightfully is reserved for the "Militia."
(We have never seen the need to keep firearms to hand, except for our modest BB gun, which we use to sting, not kill, the flying rats -- pigeons -- who shit in the pool.)
Look at the Board of Directors (not necessarily the current Board), including these lunar luminaries:
Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), keynoter at the white-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, opposed to interracial marriage, Jews, the welfare state, and white genocide. (Barr knew to whom he was speaking.)
Jeff Cooper, gung-ho columnist for the studly Guns & Ammo magazine, which has advocated gang wars in L.A. (to thin the undesirable populations), considers slavery a natural condition of man, and refers to "Nips," "Oranggautengs" [sic] (South Africa), "slant eyes," and "ragheads."
Grover Norquist, ardent foe of affirmative action, who helped found the American Civil Rights Institute to combat such evil.
Ted Nugent, opponent of a black, civilized South Africa, and so very fond of using the "N" word.
Harry Thomas, who apparently believes the purpose of the Second is to threaten the federal government, a la the "Waco incident" of the 1990's.
These are a few of the good old boys who will help produce this spring's Columbine.