Thursday, March 31, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Class

In which I share vague recollections of books I read long ago that have stuck with me.

I think it was while listening to Down the Rabbit Hole that I started thinking about the very different kinds of lives we lead. Soon after, I came across an online quiz from PBS called Do you live in a bubble? which is really about your social class, the implication being that if you're in a certain socioeconomic position you are somehow not in the real world. It all made me think about a book recommended to me by a roommate back in the 90s, Class: a guide through the American status system by Paul Fussell.

It may sound dry, but I assure you it is anything but. The premise is that we pretend to live in a classless society here in America, while in fact there are clearly a number of different social classes. Fussell takes us on a tour of each one, their houses, clothing, hobbies, and tastes. I found it absolutely fascinating, and funny, and I don't know how accurate it is, but I recognized myself and others in its pages and was certainly convinced.

First published in 1983, I'm sure some things have changed but I still think it's worth a read if you're interested. For a taste, here's a sort of 25th anniversary review that The Atlantic published several years ago.

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