Saturday, January 06, 2007

Why Mention the Working Class?

Maybe it will seem anachronistic, passé, to mention the working class. But the codes are still there, the subtle/unsubtle messages, in those media that would ostensibly have us forget the realities of our society. For instance, it may be allegedly a matter of the smart set, the "idea" set, those who are "with it" and those who aren't--by and large the media will forthrightly recognize & endorse any kind of social division/taxonomy as long as it's meaningless. Real divisions get codewords, ever-so-slightly buried meanings. In the NYTimes today (Sunday Style section):

"An ideal breakfast-club hangout includes free newspapers, including a few French and Italian publications, and some authentic well-dressed Europeans to read them. Cappuccinos, delivered silently by waiters in ties, should cost upward of $4, with the bill for a full breakfast including tip costing $20 to $25, enough to discourage out-and-out idlers."

To discourage who, now?


Jenna Ng said...

"...& endorse any kind of social division/taxonomy as long as it's meaningless."

:-) - very well put, Zach, and I couldn't agree with you more. Tangentially, it also reminds me of the theory of relative happiness - one is happy as long as one is doing better than everybody else; it doesn't really matter anymore what the objectivity of the situation is, even when it's your own happiness at stake. And I get the same sense - it's all about shuffling code, meaninglessness beyond absurdity. Anyway, my $0.02. :-)


ZC said...

Jenna, yes--obfuscation serves the interests of those whose material welfare is always least at stake. Thanks for dropping by!