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» One Touch Football - Archive » World » Stuff White People Like (Page 16)

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Author Topic: Stuff White People Like
Antonio Gramsci
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quote:
We need a Third Way...
That's fighting talk on OTF, isn't it?

Wyatt, it sounds like we agree on almost everything. But re: toffs. Take that Tory MPs' son who was in the papers recently...taking public money, hosting parties with a "F*ck off I'm rich" theme, wearing blousy shirts and acting generally louche...that would be much more alien here than there and I'll tell you it would make me a complete class warrior. Maybe I have a stereotyped vision of England, but when I think of class conflict over there I mostly think of the need to punch guys like him in the face.

[ 24.02.2008, 10:58: Message edited by: Antonio Gramsci ]

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ursus arctos
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Perhaps in Toronto, Gramsci, but that story reminded me of nothing as much as the whole "models and bottles" vibe beloved of young and stupid investment bankers who order magnums of Cristal and light Cohibas with 100 dollar bills in New York.

The primary difference (and it is significant) is that the toff inherited the money he is blowing, but the basic attitude is indentical.

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Antonio Gramsci
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Yeah, but the investment bankers' money comes from wages (whether it is "earned" is more in the eye of the beholder). The toffs' is inherited. Maybe it's just me, but I think most people would see that as a significant difference. One is just crass, the other is offensive.

I dislike the deserving/undeserving poor distinction, but I do think there are some useful distinctions between the deserving and undeserving rich. Inheritance is a part of that.

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Bomb A Nero
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quote:
You're right, too, that the truly flat class structures are to be found in countries like Finland.
There's a lot more mobility here, that's true, but I wouldn't say the structure is completely flat. It's getting that way, but the older generation still have very strong memories of class divides.

My girlfriend's gran used to work for the 'big family' of the village, as a milk maid. She lived in the house, but her son (la Bomba's dad) wasn't allowed in certain parts of the house and would get a slap if he went there.

Gran had 4 kids, but as she was a single mother (her husband was a violent alcoholic and refused to leave his isolated farm. When he died his body lay undiscovered for months as he had no contact with anybody who liked him enough to check) was only allowed to keep one of them. She had to choose, and the others were put in a dutch auction: whichever family offered to look after them for the smallest amount of money could take them. They were used as cheap labour.

So la Bomba's Dad was the lucky one. When gran retired she was given a flat to live in. She didn't own it, but had a contract stating that she could live there for the rest of her life. Once the patriarch of the 'big family' died, his children started arguing about money and this flat was one of the biggest assets. They started digging away at her, making her feel unwelcome, taking a long time to fix things, and eventually she got fed up and moved out.

When any of these children see her around the village, they shout 'hey, maid!' at her. Even when la Bomba's dad is with gran, he tends to stare at the floor and try to ignore them rather than telling them where to go.

Obviously, this is just anecdotal, but plenty of Finns seem as aware of class as British people. The civil war plays it's part, obviously.

They use the word 'bourgeois' much more than we do, and apparently without irony, when describing right wing political parties. La Bomba was once chatted up by a guy who took rejection badly, and told her she 'shouldn't be so bourgeois'.

And then there is the language question. Swedish speakers are regarded as posh, naturally enough as many of them are descended from aristocrats. If you say you are a swedish speaker people might expect that you have a nice summer cottage in the archipelago, have adopted an 'ethnic' child, like bandy and handball, and have a certain sense of entitlement.

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ursus arctos
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Ah, I read you as saying that the behaviour was "much more alien", whereas it appears that what you were saying is that such behaviour from people who have inherited their wealth is much more alien. To the extent that may be true, I would say that it is much more down to the relative weight of inherited wealth in the two societies than anything intrinisic to the cultures.
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Belhaven
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"There is also greater social mobility in N America"

Wrong. There is less social mobility in the USA than any other OECD country apart from Britain, as has been discussed on OTF before.

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Antonio Gramsci
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Belhaven, this is the a distinction I think both Reed and I were trying to make. If you mean simply "income mobiity", you are correct (although this has only become true quite recentlyand most people don't perceive it to be the case). But social status is a different ball game as inherited class identity is nowhere near as strong over here.

And yes, Urs, that is what I meant. I should have been clearer.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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quote:
Does anyone use the term "blue collar" outside North America?
As well as in re Bruce Springsteen, blue- and white-collar are used in distinguishing sorts of crime...
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Belhaven
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"But social status is a different ball game as inherited class identity is nowhere near as strong over here."

As where?

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Antonio Gramsci
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As in Europe.
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ad hoc
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I'm pretty convinced that that isn't true AG.
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Wyatt Earp
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That MP's son isn't a toff, I don't think. Not an aristocrat.
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E10Rifle
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At the risk of indulging in a bit of stereotyping about how Americans view British society, I do think the centrality of the aristocracy to class in Britain is being overplayed by our chums across the pond a bit here. Sure, the presence of these parasites underpins many of our class-related problems, but they're not very central to the common-or-garden class divisions that manifest themselves in all sorts of ways, in all sorts of places, over here. And in the rest of Europe. (and in the States too, for that matter)

I'm glad someone mentioned The Great Gatsby - an absolute masterpiece about class in America.

[ 24.02.2008, 15:01: Message edited by: E10Rifle ]

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Belhaven
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AG, I don't think inherited class identity beyond what can be explained by earnings, income and level of education matters much in any EU or other western European country.

[ 24.02.2008, 15:06: Message edited by: Belhaven ]

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Antonio Gramsci
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Look, I recognize I'm probably generalizing a bit too much from the two countries I know reasonably well (UK and Italy). But it seems to me that a lot of class identity in those two countries at least does come from father's occupation. Two guys working in the same office may have the same income and education, but if one of them has a father who was a miner and the other who was a teacher, then one's working class and one's middle class. That just wouldn't matter so much over here.
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