yeah, i think that misreading was touched on in the other thread, i think the song was seen as an anthem for "common people" against poshos. which is obv wrong - also, as i think k8 said upthread, the song's unpleasant stereotypes go in the other direction as well - the narrator's attitude to working class life is reductive and superior; he doesn't just make the fair point that being poor is a bit shit and shouldn't be fetishised, there's a contempt there for his fellow working class people who actually seem content with their lives, and the judgmentalism of assuming that people who love to dance and drink and screw can't possibly have anything else worthwhile in their lives.
(one of my least fav things is the straight white man who makes a huge deal out of how hard life was/is because he's a bit "different", who loves to revel in being a "misfit" and even an "outcast" without actually knowing anything about the sorts of differences that go beyond, like, one's taste in clothes.)
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Saturday, 4 September 2010 11:24 (six years ago) Permalink
BACK X-POSTS GALORE IN TEH TIME IT'S TAKEN ME TO WRITE THIS OUT
OK, so this thread has gone through 200 posts of "America: does it have a class system?" I guess and I'm not going to go back and read that until some day I'm really really bored at work.
Going back to the song for a minute, and again, my discomfort with it. And part of that is (as I've repeatedly said) how his anger (although it might be righteous) is completely displaced by being applied towards this (somewhat clueless) posh girl.
First part of that is, you're not getting angry at the person you are actually angry at - or (thinking back to that shallow pedantic thread) are you getting angry at someone who can do something about the situation? How would the song - how would his *reaction* be different if her were speaking to, say, her *father* - would he be quite so willing to get so angry, eh, big man, if he was picking on someone his own size? What if the gender roles in the song were reversed? If it were her wealthy brother coming and trying to pull a poor but arty *girl* wouldn't this be painted as some kind of fairy tale happy ending where he's somehow noble for choosing the poor girl? (You know, like archetypical romance stories for the past 2000 years or so?)
Second is this idea of *tourism*. And this is where I leave the song a bit behind, but actually get into "how does this play out IRL?" How do you teach social justice issues to the very wealthy, or, as in this case, the children of the very wealthy? (this has not been an entirely academic issue for me.) There's this anger at a posh girl "slumming it" - but what do you do in cases where there is an actual genuine sense of trying to learn, even in a clumsy and clueless way? That's the difference, for me, between this song and something like Holiday In Cambodia, that the girl in this song seems like even if she doesn't comprehend (the "ha ha you're so funny" line) she seems willing enough to learn that she went to the supermarket with him in the first place. And yet she's exposed to mockery and laughter - is that really the best way to teach or change someone?
Again, this is where I veer away from the song to personal experiences, but that "open wound" analogy seems apt. Like, they have so much invested in their hatred and blame they don't want to change the existing systems, they just want someone to vent their anger at. (Thinking of parallels of women who have gone over to the Dark Side of feminism, and have actually started hating men, they have no interest in the "patriarchy hurts men, too" arguments because they have this worldview that *requires* men to be evil.) It's much easier to hate someone for "slumming it" than it is to try to change their minds or their worldviews and send them back to daddy's mansion with a real understanding and real chance to change something. I'm not saying "oh noes, won't someone think about the poor heiresses!" because several of the heiresses I've known have been pretty annoying people - though not *all* of them - there are people in that position who are "holy shit, I have a brain and a vague sense of social justice, but what the *fuck* can I do and how the fuck am I going to learn to do something about it?" It seems to be a better idea to try to get those kinds of people (and they do exist) on side in a meaningful way than it is to sneer at them and mock them until they go away.
But you know, sneering makes for the "funnier" song, I guess. But that doesn't mean I have to like that song.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 11:24 (six years ago) Permalink
She isn't a fine person. She's lumped Jarvis in with the 'common people', thereby dismissing all his personal signifiers in having got away from there. She's denying his individuality, treating him as a cipher of something that's painful to him and just a whim to her.
He's also aware of the fact that he's moved away from the lumpen common people, so he's trying to recreate them but getting it quite right either because his image is bound up with his own resentment of them - being bitten without being warned, for example. But the killer is that if it goes wrong they're all he's got to go back to, while she has her assurance and her money and her dad and his contacts - the very things that keep him out of the upper classes and mean he's got to identify with the common people, because however much he dislikes them they're all he's got.
― Ismael Klata, Saturday, 4 September 2010 11:29 (six years ago) Permalink
See Arctic Monkeys' 'A Certain Romance' for a more affectionate take on essentially the same idea.
― Ismael Klata, Saturday, 4 September 2010 11:31 (six years ago) Permalink
Ismael OTM. Point of divergence here seems to be that Karen and Lex see nothing wrong in the Greek girl's condescending attitude and unthinking privilege. If you think she sounds lovely, then no wonder you don't appreciate the song's rage but I think you may be in the minority there.
― Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:12 (six years ago) Permalink
How would the song - how would his *reaction* be different if her were speaking to, say, her *father* - would he be quite so willing to get so angry, eh, big man, if he was picking on someone his own size?
This has an underlying assumption that women can't stick up for themselves, which I'm not very happy about.
If it were her wealthy brother coming and trying to pull a poor but arty *girl* wouldn't this be painted as some kind of fairy tale happy ending where he's somehow noble for choosing the poor girl?
No. No, it wouldn't.
― emil.y, Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:14 (six years ago) Permalink
You don't understand the pressures of being a straight white man!!
― gr8080 State (King Boy Pato), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:16 (six years ago) Permalink
Also, A Certain Romance is a great point of comparison because Alex Turner, unlike Jarvis or Morrissey, has a diverse range of friends and sees a certain kind of working-class misbehaviour in a more sympathetic light as a result - he's not an outcast, he's on the fringes, moving between cliques, critical but not damning. His real finger-pointing venom (on Fake Tales) is reserved for indie-scene poseurs. I'd forgotten how beautifully nuanced and candid A Certain Romance was.
― Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:17 (six years ago) Permalink
Turner, like Mike Skinner, has that "I am a camera" approach where he's both observer and participant, largely withholding judgement. They have none of the rage of Jarvis or Morrissey, which might be as much down to generation as personality.
― Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:22 (six years ago) Permalink
which might be as much down to generation as personality.
It's 99% about coming from a different generation if you ask me
― Tom A. (Tom B.) (Tom C.) (Tom D.), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:24 (six years ago) Permalink
Was going to say, Jarvis's age is pretty important here, I assume he was born the early-to-mid 60s and so grew up in the 70s, so to speak
― Tom A. (Tom B.) (Tom C.) (Tom D.), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:27 (six years ago) Permalink
so it seemed a lot of the song's defenders actually agree that the narrator is pretty dislikeable? that's still the most major problem i have with the song, he doesn't actually succeed in portraying the greek girl as an unsympathetic character (when surely it wouldn't have been hard to do this), so the vitriolic rant seems bitter and baseless.
the narrator alleges that his target has said, in conversation with him, "I want to live like common people; I want to do whatever common people do." if we take him at his word that she said this, then actually yes, she has said something that makes her quite unsympathetic to me anyway, fuck people who say shit like they. they must be yelled at in song.
underrated randy newman jam:
I'm different and I don't care who knows itSomethin' about meIt's not the same yeahI'm different and that's how it goesAin't gonna play your goddamn game
Got a different way of walkin'I got a different kind of smileI got a different way of talkin'Drives the women kind of wildKind of wild
(choir: He's different)And I don't care who knows it(choir: Somethin' about him)It's not the same(choir:He's different)And that's how it goes(choir: And he's not gonna play your gosh darn game)
I ain't sayin' I'm better than you areBut maybe I amI only know that when I look in the mirrorI like the man(choir: We like the man)
I'm different and I don't care who knows itSomethin' about meNot the sameI'm different and that's how it goesAin't gonna play your goddamn game
When I walk down the street in the mornin'Blue birds are singin' in the tall oak treeThey sing a little song for the peopleAnd they sing a little song for me
(choir: He's different and he don't care who knows itSomethin' about himNot the sameHe's different and that's how it goesAnd he's not gonna play your gosh darn game)
I'm different and I don't care who knows itSomethin' about meIs not the sameI'm different and that's how it goesAin't gonna play no boss man's game
― gross rainbow of haerosmith (underrated aerosmith albums I have loved), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:34 (six years ago) Permalink
Definitely - there's a big difference between songwriters who remember the class battles of the late 70s and early 80s and those born too late. When people talk about Turner and Skinner in relation to earlier socially observant songwriters they often gloss over that crucial divide. There's always turmoil and tension in the Smiths, the Specials, Pulp, etc, whereas the 00s variant is more like "Tsk, there's nowt so queer as folk."
― Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:34 (six years ago) Permalink
Also I'm surprised Kate hates this song so much 'cos it's always kinda reminded me of La Dusseldorf
― Tom A. (Tom B.) (Tom C.) (Tom D.), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:37 (six years ago) Permalink
They played a convincing krautrock version during the We Love Life tour.
― Haunted Clocks For Sale (Dorianlynskey), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:39 (six years ago) Permalink
cut your hair and get a job.
crazy lower classes with their hair and their jobs
― ledge, Friday, September 3, 2010 3:59 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark
Also Sadie Frost already has quite short hair.
― rhythm fixated member (chap), Saturday, 4 September 2010 12:56 (six years ago) Permalink
Point of divergence here seems to be that Karen and Lex see nothing wrong in the Greek girl's condescending attitude and unthinking privilege. If you think she sounds lovely, then no wonder you don't appreciate the song's rage but I think you may be in the minority there.
If you want to believe that's what we said, then that says more about your prejudices that you want to construct a straw man.
I never said she was "lovely". She sounds, to me, ignorant, naive, and clueless.
It is Jarvis's discomfort (and, clearly, yours) which reads that ignorance, naivete and cluelessness as being *automatically* condescending.
In fact, the way the lyrics read to me, it seems like she's someone who has just moved to England and discovered that such a thing as class and privilege even exist. It's not that she has "unthinking privilege" it's that she has only just discovered that it exists, and is trying to work out what it means. (The fact that she's even picked up some notion that "working class life" as opposed to her life, is somehow more "authentic" means that she has worked out that her privilege and wealth exist.)
It is Jarvis who comes in, with all of his class resentments and discomfort with his own class (as pretty much evidenced by his stereotypical and negative descriptions of working class life) who tells *us*, as narrator, that he thinks this girl is condescending or has *unthinking* privilege. She is, "smiling and holding his hand" really just kind of a cipher for him to project his anger onto.
I think Lex and I have made it pretty clear that we don't think either of them are particularly sympathetic. It's that Jarvis, as narrator, comes off the worse - probably because I think that choosing bullying is worse than being born clueless.
And also that a *lot* of people who love this song are identifying with Jarvis and his rage, when really, they are totally blinkered when it comes to their own privilege. It's much easier to point out splinters in other people's eyes than it is to recognise logs in your own. At least I am honest enough to *recognise* my privilege and admit that I can see where the girl is coming from. A lot of people love this song and identify with jarvis when really, they are as clueless as the girl.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:35 (six years ago) Permalink
i like butts
― funky brewster (San Te), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:36 (six years ago) Permalink
fuck wrong thread
― funky brewster (San Te), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:37 (six years ago) Permalink
Ha ha ha! Hilarious.
But, erm, in the spirit of full disclosure, and kind of in keeping with your accidental interjection ...
I do not Jarvis Cocker, as a public figure. I disliked him even before this song - I always thought of him as this really quite horrible creepy sex pest. So it's going to be really hard for me to like a song which is a clumsy analysis of class dynamics as written from the point of view of a creepy sex pest.
I have never liked Pulp (even though I've had to listen to this album many, many times, due to knowing and dating quite a few Pulp fans) and the biggest reason for that is creepy sex pest Jarvis. The man just seriously skeeves me out and always has, and nothing he's ever done has ever counteracted that feeling.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:52 (six years ago) Permalink
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, September 4, 2010 9:35 PM (15 minutes ago) Bookmark
sure, but you don't have to identify with jarvis in order to be critical of the girl. a lot of the discussion itt has been centered on the fact that jarvis's class hangups are just as despicable and reprehensible as the girl's, and that's part of the songs fun. but that doesn't extend the girl a get out of jail free card.
― shorn_blond.avi (dayo), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:53 (six years ago) Permalink
i will say jarvis's michael jackson protest was pretty ironic
― funky brewster (San Te), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:55 (six years ago) Permalink
Well, it really kinda says something about just how creepy Jarvis is, that I actually sympathise with the girl more than him, then.
I guess the thing is, I've known quite a few people like the girl, and some of them did turn out to be alright in the end, that they were capable of growing and learning to not be completely clueless. The people I've known who were more like Jarvis ended up pretty much choking on their own bitterness. But this is really projection based on mine own life, not anything to do with Jarvis or the Greek girl.
(But, works of art can be successful or fail, based on how closely they reflect or describe experiences you've been through. Probably the same things that make others like the song make me hate it, because of this. I guess? Dunno.)
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:57 (six years ago) Permalink
I believe that jarvis' intent was to create a dislikeable slumming rich girl, not a innocent curious foreigner. you can argue that he failed at this attempt, but by defending this fictional character you are basically sticking up for his strawman.
― iatee, Saturday, 4 September 2010 13:58 (six years ago) Permalink
I mean what if he added a line "also she molests children" - now this is a clearly dislikeable person and rich people are now bad, right?
― iatee, Saturday, 4 September 2010 14:00 (six years ago) Permalink
im p sure they have poor people in greece
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 14:00 (six years ago) Permalink
One point made over and again in this thread is the different ways of expressing/dealing with/discussing class systems in different countries. US, UK, and various Euro countries having notably different systems.
Also - I think that the art school bit of it is quite U&K to this, in that art school, in Britain, *is* where people from both ends of the spectrum encounter each other for the first time. I think it's actually pretty common for people to through their childhood and lower schooling without ever encountering someone from another class. In fact, *very* common in upper classes, and they go to great lengths to keep it that way. Not defending this in any way, it's to the detriment of all, I think. But yeah, I don't think it's that uncommon.
But I think the point is that lazy bad songwriter Jarvis knows that he can say "rich girl" and people will automatically supply "dislikeable" so he doesn't have to work very hard at characterisation. And he didn't. But the problem is, if you have someone who can hear the term "rich girl" without thinking "dislikeable" the song falls apart pretty quickly.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 14:16 (six years ago) Permalink
But the problem is, if you have someone who can hear the term "rich girl" without thinking "dislikeable" the song falls apart pretty quickly. - Kate I was exactly like this girl for much of my adult life, and I love this song - I think it's spot on about what I was missing! I think there's a lot to what you said earlier about the gender aspect.
― Gravel Puzzleworth, Saturday, 4 September 2010 14:20 (six years ago) Permalink
> because I think that choosing bullying is worse than being born clueless.
How is he bullying? All he did with/to her was take her to a supermarket and let her buy him a drink.
(send me upthread if you already covered it...hard to scan it all!)
― john. a resident of chicago., Saturday, 4 September 2010 14:58 (six years ago) Permalink
How is he bullying?
it gets a bit weird when he starts saying all that stuff about the dog imo
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 15:09 (six years ago) Permalink
yeah, the bit about the dog - the language of violence - i dunno, but i read that as "this is what happened to me" as opposed to "this is what they will do to you, attractive wealthy heiress" - and probably i get that impression based on gender.
it is a little off-kilter that he takes her to a supermarket as opposed to a bar or some sporting event where one would observe "common people" in their natural habitat - i mean, the supermarket, you'd probably find something more approximating a cross-section of classes
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:23 (six years ago) Permalink
I think the assumption is that posh people probably shop at whole foods or waitroses or whatever the UK equivalent is. by supermarket I think he means your absolute bottom-of-the-line save-a-lot or whatever.
― shorn_blond.avi (dayo), Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:24 (six years ago) Permalink
so that implies to me - plus the art school detail - that he isn't really of the same class as the "common people" she wants to live like - and she's totally ignorant of the narcissism of small differences that define his world and alienation from the people who he shares an income level but not the same class position
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:25 (six years ago) Permalink
Sometimes enlightenment comes from the most unlikely sources.
And it was actually something in the other thread produced the weirdest "kick in the eye" satori moment of understanding my own privilege and what it means.
Because too often privilege is this term of nastiness that gets thrown around, who has it, who doesn't have it, and if you do have it, you're supposed to feel some kind of guilt and if you don't, you're supposed to feel some kind of resentment. But there was this sudden reminder of "holy fucking shit, I have this... *thing*!"
And it isn't related to money (because I've had periods of relative wealth and poverty) and it isn't related to class (though I think being of a certain class means you're more likely to be exposed to this idea - but as likely to have it crushed out of you) and it's not related to urban/rural/access issues because I had it in spades in rural upstate NY but somehow forgot I had it in London.
It's this sense of *possibility*.
And that's something that doesn't just come from class or wealth (though they help) - it can come from a parent who takes the effort to instill it in you, it can come from a teacher who bothers to believe in you, it can come from a book, from a library, from a community/club (and this is probably why Tories are so keen on privatising libraries and getting rid of community centres), it *can* come from a church or a religion (though a lot of people misuse religion as a power-gaining tool to beat it out of others) - and my objection to this song is that Cocker conflates it solely with wealth/class when it *can* and does come from other places.
It's this idea that there *is* something more to your life than just drink and dance and screw (or just watch football or big brother or mindlessly indulge in consumer culture) - and it doesn't matter if that *something* is poetry or playing the ukulele or pigeon-breeding or local politics. It's the idea that even if you cannot control the strictures of the material aspects of your life, you *can* still control what you do with what is left. (In fact, one of the easiest ways to control other people is to narrow what little else they have until there is nothing left.) It's easier to do when you can control the material aspects of your life - but having control over them is, in fact, no guarantee that you even have this sense.
And people will use all sorts of things to narrow down that sense of possibility - they will try to blanket exclude you from it on account of race in the US and class in the UK, on account of your being female or homosexual *everywhere* (and many more things, all of these things combined in ugly ways.) And yet people can become as trapped by their own resentments as they can by other people trying to narrow them.
And that is perhaps my biggest problem with the narrator of this song is, he seems to be trapped by his own resentments (even as he *has* the possibility represented by art school and tertiary education) - *way* more so than he is trapped by some clueless girl who wants to sleep with him. And yet he takes it out in this ever more shrill and hysterical fashion *on* this girl.
But I don't really care about the song any more. I have suddenly just been given a glimpse of my own privilege at a time in my life when I was feeling really trapped. And this reminder, this sense of *possibility* is something I really wish I could just give to everyone. But I guess the important thing is to stop it being *taken away* from people.
You have completely accidentally given me something really quite profound and necessary, ILX, even if I've made a complete pigs ear of trying to express it. (And I'm sure I will be mocked relentlessly for saying something so sincere, but hey, mockery is a classic tool for trying to narrow others.)
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:27 (six years ago) Permalink
i think you're right about the sense of possibility w/r/t the song - that's kinda what i see it being about. and i feel like the jarvis character somewhat envies the "common people" their lack of possibility (in his eyes) that they just "dance, and drink and screw" - all of which are enjoyable past-times, meanwhile he just seethes with resentment over his perceived (maybe real?) lack of possibilities - though it's obvious he's had more opportunities than the noble savages he's describing. And then there's the Greek girl, who really can do whatever she wants.
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:34 (six years ago) Permalink
it is a little off-kilter that he takes her to a supermarket as opposed to a bar or some sporting event where one would observe "common people" in their natural habitat - i mean, the supermarket, you'd probably find something more approximating a cross-section of classes― sarahel, Saturday, September 4, 2010 6:23 PM (4 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban PermalinkI think the assumption is that posh people probably shop at whole foods or waitroses or whatever the UK equivalent is. by supermarket I think he means your absolute bottom-of-the-line save-a-lot or whatever.― shorn_blond.avi (dayo), Saturday, September 4, 2010 6:24 PM (3 minutes ago) Bookmark
― sarahel, Saturday, September 4, 2010 6:23 PM (4 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink
― shorn_blond.avi (dayo), Saturday, September 4, 2010 6:24 PM (3 minutes ago) Bookmark
he says very clearly that he 'doesn't know' where to start, so starts at the supermarket.
i suppose in theory posh english people shop at waitrose or m&s, but i don't think all of them do, and either way, those are still basically supermarkets. and i think they were less in evidence in the mid-1990s. or sure, i guess there are other suppliers of food -- but no, i think rich people shop at sainsbury's too.
perhaps the very rich have people to do it for them. these days home delivery is not uncommon, but again, dunno about the olden days.
the supermarket in the video doesn't look particularly run down, or particularly upmarket either.
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:34 (six years ago) Permalink
history mayne - are we in agreement that we think the jarvis character isn't actually of the class that the girl wants to experience? it seems like some other posters think that he is.
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:36 (six years ago) Permalink
he probably meant kwik save
― whoa...did I or didn't I? (cozen), Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:38 (six years ago) Permalink
the jarvis character isn't actually of the class that the girl wants to experience?
he definitely isn't, but she thinks he is, coz she's foreign/rich
― i am legernd (history mayne), Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:39 (six years ago) Permalink
rich people eat out all the time and when they can't do that they just eat their servants amirite
― shorn_blond.avi (dayo), Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:39 (six years ago) Permalink
i think i posted way upthread about the difficulty of isolating this song from the rest of the album (probably because i'm American, and it wasn't a hit single here) - so i keep thinking about the song about Deborah and her rather small house with wood chip on the walls - and the way he describes it makes it seem like he grew up above her station. And she is an example of a "common person" that he romanticizes.
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 17:43 (six years ago) Permalink
I find it difficult to view the whole album as one character. I've always thought of it as exploring different facets of class and sex, and as such each song stands alone though tied to certain themes that run through the whole album.
I think we're going around in circles. I really admired your post, Kate, and I would agree with a lot of what you're saying about the song itself, except I think that makes it a richer experience. Class conflict in whatever form is never straight forward, and I think this song recognizes that, even as it plays up the simplicity and rage on the surface. I guess it comes down to if you think he's actually advocating the bullying or not, or if there's any agency at all in a song full stop.
There's nothing wrong with any approach, of course.
― a cankle of rads (Gukbe), Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:23 (six years ago) Permalink
Isn't the narrator - like Jesus Christ himself - somewhere between 'respectable' working- and lower middle class? SReynolds' 'liminal class' whose status anxiety and fractious autodidacticism supposedly makes for good music.
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:28 (six years ago) Permalink
working class and smart enough to go to art school doesn't mean you're not still working class.
totally agree with "liminal class" and also "educated poor"—jarvis has his foot in each of these worlds but doesn't really belong to either. too cultured to put up with being working class, even if that's where he comes from economically.
― like a musical album. made by a band. (fucking in the streets), Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:37 (six years ago) Permalink
Isn't the narrator - like Jesus Christ himself - somewhere between 'respectable' working- and lower middle class? SReynolds' 'liminal class' whose status anxiety and fractious autodidacticism supposedly makes for good music.
― nakhchivan, Saturday, September 4, 2010 11:28 AM (8 minutes ago) Bookmark
he does have the same initials
I think that the narrator is of the "Academic/Bohemian" class (which was, in the Big Book Of Class that my brother made me read when he first discovered that there was such a thing as Class, which our parents had kept from us for many years, to the point where this book seemed more mind-blowing and revolutionary than discovering pornography) - which is this supposed non-class to which escapees from other classes can sidestep to. (Though the book pointed out that it is usually more often posh people escaping down to this class rather than the working class escaping up, though this can and does happen, just not with the same frequency.)
I suspect that the Greek girl, as well, would like to be side stepping into this same "Academic/Bohemian" class (they are both at art school after all) via this Authentic Working Class (tm) experience, but he won't let her leave her class any more than she will allow him to leave hers.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:38 (six years ago) Permalink
In Paul Fussell's book on Class (written about America in the early 80s) he termed that "Class X" - i felt it was a bit of a cop-out based on the structure/ideas he layed out. Like, I feel that even if you belong to some separate Academic/Bohemian class, the attitudes, values, signifiers (even in reacting against them) still come along with you.
― sarahel, Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:49 (six years ago) Permalink
That's the book, I just found it on Amazon.
My brother read it like a bible then passed it me, with salient points underlined.
I mean, the book was written before the counterculture got commodified into Hipster so he does have some points about it being an attempted escape from the class system.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:54 (six years ago) Permalink
There can't possibly be an account of class that considers ~Bohemianism~ as a determinant, it's just an affective disposition. Could apply to a lawyer who reads Huysmans and gets blowjobs from the au pair while his wife does khat nearby or a miner's daughter with an arts degree from an Ex-Polytechnic.
Nor does academia exclude material considerations - as with the clergy they have (or have had) very secure and comfortable working conditions, they've forgone lucrative salaries but their ~ cultural capital ~ insulates them other middling earners, eg they tend to segregate themselves in college towns.
― nakhchivan, Saturday, 4 September 2010 18:59 (six years ago) Permalink
(Reading the "exercises" in the back, I tell you, we racked our brains trying to remember the state of the conductor's clothes at the symphonies we'd been taken to as children, to work out what class we were.)
This book was talking about American class though, so these distinctions don't really apply. I don't know that the UK had a Class X in the way that the US tried to practice.
― cymose corymb (Karen D. Tregaskin), Saturday, 4 September 2010 19:00 (six years ago) Permalink