Friday, January 6, 2012

Why life among the chattering classes is so irritating

The Wall Street Journal posts this quote from a New Criterion article by Charles Murray:

The members of America's new upper class tend not to watch the same movies and television shows that the rest of America watches, don't go to kinds of restaurants the rest of America frequents, tend to buy different kinds of automobiles, and have passions for being green, maintaining the proper degree of body fat, and supporting gay marriage that most Americans don't share. Their child-raising practices are distinctive, and they typically take care to enroll their children in schools dominated by the offspring of the upper middle class—or, better yet, of the new upper class. They take their vacations in different kinds of places than other Americans go and are often indifferent to the professional sports that are so popular among other Americans. Few have served in the military, and few of their children either.

Worst of all, a growing proportion of the people who run the institutions of our country have never known any other culture. They are the children of upper-middle-class parents, have always lived in upper-middle-class neighborhoods and gone to upper-middle-class schools. Many have never worked at a job that caused a body part to hurt at the end of the day, never had a conversation with an evangelical Christian, never seen a factory floor, never had a friend who didn't have a college degree, never hunted or fished. They are likely to know that Garrison Keillor's monologue on Prairie Home Companion is the source of the phrase "all of the children are above average," but they have never walked on a prairie and never known someone well whose IQ actually was below average.


T said...

It is true. I have lived in places like Boulder, Colorado - an elite place that does what Murray says, and misses what he claims about the common American experience. It is the great Separation.

Native Coloradan's go to the more vocationally oriented Colorado State University. Very few minorities go to CU-Boulder. Instead, minorities attend community college, or CU-Denver, or Metro State College also in Denver.

Tulkinghorn said...

I was also thinking about media industry and pop culture experts who know nothing about the intended audiences for the businesses and products they analyze -- political writers and politicians who know nothing of America -- and so forth.