The Working Classes

Jesus Skip To My Lou CHRIST, yes:

1. If something appeals to “racists”, don’t say it appeals to “working class whites”. Even if 99% of working class whites were in the KKK, it would still be insulting and, much less forgivably, imprecise. I know many not-remotely white people and/or people from not-remotely working class backgrounds who are racists. I know many working-class white people who are not. Appeals to racism – intentional or not – appeal to racists. It’s not more complicated than that. Don’t confuse things.

2. If you pull down a six- or seven-figure salary working in a cushy media job, and especially if you spend time in a makeup chair before putting on your gossipy news “show”, you forfeit the right to speak for the “working class”, or anybody who has a real job, ever again. If your made-up face on your catty chat show is beamed down to normal people from far-out satellites, you are basically a Mick Ronson riff away from being Ziggy Stardust, and should probably work on coming to grips with that, rather than imagining that you are somehow the authentic proletariat. You’re a freaky moonage rich person in spaced-out freaky daydreamland, man. Deal with it.

In the case of the first, it also applies to “white ethnic” voters, which is another pundit synonym for “intolerant asshole” that’s been driving me up a tree. First of all, your grandparents’ nationality is not an all-access pass to be a dick, and second, your grandparents’ nationality is no guarantee you will be one, so it’s an entirely meaningless distinction when talking about racist voters. I know plenty of Irish and German and Italian men and women who aren’t racist assholes, and who would be horrified by the idea that their ancestors’ immigrant status meant they were doomed to be the kinds of jackholes who talk about how they’d be king of the world if only affirmative action hadn’t taken that away from them.

In the case of the second, I keep being reminded of this dude I worked with a long time ago, who idolized Wolf Blitzer and wore a suit and tie to a job most of us showed up at in T-shirts with holes in them, who once asked me if my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin was “a real working man’s town” and was utterly fascinated by the idea that my grandfather had worked in a factory. It was like an anthropology project to him, except to say that insults anthropologists; it was more like the rest of the world was an ant farm or an alien civilization, and he was fascinated and not a little rude about it.

He was also one of the most brazen plagiarists I’ve ever known, so, you know, in all his study of the “real” people there were obviously some lessons he missed.

Schmucks.

A.

7 thoughts on “The Working Classes

  1. If your made-up face on your catty chat show is beamed down to normal people from far-out satellites, you are basically a Mick Ronson riff away from being Ziggy Stardust
    Genius.

  2. spocko says:

    TKK. Although you are my rival for Athenae’s affection, I will agree with you. That was a brilliant passage.
    I also loved “Jesus Skip To My Lou CHRIST, yes:”
    I also loved, “I know plenty of Irish and German and Italian men and women who aren’t racist assholes, and who would be horrified by the idea that their ancestors’ immigrant status meant they were doomed to be the kinds of jackholes who talk about how they’d be king of the world if only affirmative action hadn’t taken that away from them.”
    I have some relatives who were clearly racists who very easily two generations ago were in the “Irish need not apply” catagory. And so it just boggles my mind that they don’t see their grandparents when they look at the Mexicans who are new. Especially when the Mexicans are 1) Catholic 2)Hard workers 3) Here legally 4) taking the low end jobs 5) Holding onto their culture as they learn english.
    With the exception of #5 all things that their grandparents were doing. And as for number 5 Happy early St. Patrick’s Day!

  3. joejoejoe says:

    Houston Rockets PG Rafer Alston’s nickname is Skip To My Lou.

  4. paradox says:

    Great post.

  5. Li'l Innocent says:

    It’d be very interesting (to me, at least) to know what the family background of that suit&tie dude was. Too late now to find out, I suppose. If he had no working-class people in his family at all, even unto the 3rd generation in the past so he had no knowledge of a laboring grandfather or great-uncle, etc., presumably he came from a reasonably privileged background. Such people, if they haven’t compensated by becoming advocates for social justice, and if our boy Bushie is any indication, have often inherited an attitude of patrician hauteur (or, best case, patrician paternalism) with their infant formula. Neither attitude jibes with Athenae’s guy’s fascination with “real working men”.
    The plagiarism sounds like his “moral” code was in the same general untouchable-elite shitpile as Bush’s. Very interesting. Sounds like he had conflicts…

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