Tuesday, November 13, 2018

a sense of class

Talked with my older son this morning. He had been to his woman-friend's-parents housewarming in Georgia and was... was... was, if I am any judge, was flummoxed by how "the other half lives." On the surface, the whole affair might be written off with the word "money," but money never quite tells the whole story.

Yes, there are those who have more money than I.
Yes, there are the bourgeois elite rich who flong their monied dongs... buying into some imagined 'couth.'

But also, there are those with money who simply don't know how to act differently and have been weaned on winters in Gstaad. It is this lot with whom it is hard to communicate. After all, that is the world they grew up in. Mansions are not mansions, they are houses. Servants are not servants, they are part of the furniture. And 12 bathrooms is hardly a peculiar number.

If that's the way you grew up, what else might you know ... or, more precisely, how much would you not know? Working-class sabre-rattling and speeches about "equality" bounce off such a world as oil bubbles away from water.

It may sound like -- or indeed be -- presumptuousness that guides the assessment of those with gobs of wealth, but I think my son fell for the fallacy I too have fallen for: If it has two arms, two legs and a head, it's likely to be human, the kind of human I can interact with comfortably. But the fact is, I can't. Calling on or calling out a genetically-engineered rich person is probably as hard as calling on or calling out genetically-engineered less-well-off person... sorry, I don't speak Urdu.

I too have felt that life-on-Mars feeling my son expressed to me as he described the party. Luckily, he said, the caterers were available for a little conversation. But that doesn't change the weird disconnect that, on first encountering the recognition, can rise up and leave you confused. You half expect that if someone has reached a pinnacle, they must necessarily know the ladder rungs that preceded the peak. But this is patently false. Better is the observation once made of U.S. President George Bush: "He was born on third base imagining he had hit a triple."



  1. I think I can relate, all the while wondering which of us were the more uncomfortable with our inability to connect on any level. I remember watching Downton Abbey with some interest, but it didn't clarify much. Maybe it did confirm the problem of people being plugged into a culture that separates them from others. I imagine it contributes to the farce of the bulk of our ruling class acting homey during election season. The Dalai Lama seems to navigate all places pretty ably. Too late for me perhaps.


  2. I've never given much credit to "equality" ideologies. People are different, despite our similarities, and they're so far from reality. Some families have grown rich and powerful over centuries and not without sacrifices, surely other's but theirs as well, to some extent. It takes a lot of discipline to cash a 13-cent check, while I wouldn't bother and partly why I'm not better off myself. I've never been that bothered with wealth or other people's wealth. Having said that, I'm deeply bothered with the fact that a few very powerful people in this world invest so much time, energy and effort in keeping millions of people down. It bothers me especially that, in Europe, this 'lighthouse' of liberty, human rights and of "equal opportunities" - much of it bullshit, of course - children at the age of 5-6 years have already been given about 20 shots of vaccines that include, within its "life-saving" composition, potent neurotoxins such as mercury, muriatic acid and sodium hydroxide (drain cleaner), to name but a few. Modern times like very old times, I guess. Everything changed and yet much stays the same. There was a time when only the rich were given an education and thought the poor would better remain uneducated, lest they began dreaming of doing anything other than handling tools and low jobs. These days, a poor family's son or daughter may even become a respected doctor, but only if he or she sticks by a rule book, which includes giving millions of children the needed shots that keep them stupid, anxious and, why not, addicted to the anxiolytics we'll then sell them later. What a horrible, horrible world we live in. Not all bad, for sure, but horrible in so many ways that makes horror movies look pale. Never liked horror movies. Always felt you had to be either a sadist or a masochist to enjoy them. Such is life.