On Class

Sarah Hoyt writes about the academic class' pretensions of superiority to the manual laborers of the world. She describes a cheap, working class playground she used to attend with her family, where she would ignore the rides and read books.
It was a safe and fun place for the kids and – remember I understand Spanish, too – not once did anyone say “Hey, look at the dork chick reading a book,” much less “let’s beat her up.”

In fact, it wasn’t till we could afford as a treat, to go to Waterworld, a playground for children in our own “class” in terms of parental education that we found people were rude and made horrible remarks. (Not unexpected in feral children raised mostly in daycares, but a shock, nonetheless.)
One of the things I think the educated class is blind about is how much they do the things they have developed theories to reject. I attended a conference once at which the question of veterans in the classroom came up. Mostly the academics there who were prone to think of war as something so outside the world they could imagine for themselves that anyone who had been must be changed beyond what they could imagine a human being to be. Two of them especially, both of them feminist academics, traded in bald stereotypes about how anyone who had been to war was a ticking time bomb of PTSD and hate. It was exactly the kind of refusal to empathize with and offensive stereotyping of the 'other' that they've doubtless published articles about when the 'other' is women or people of color. These are people who think of themselves as at the forefront of human morality, the leading edge that is pushing everyone else to moral advancement.

They were entirely blind to the fact that they were doing it. They were also shocked to realize that someone who had been to Iraq was in the room, and entirely put off by my suggestion that younger academics who really wanted to understand war could find a recruiting office down the street. You'd think I had suggested they join a cult or host an orgy... well, actually, both of those suggestions would probably have been more palatable to them.


E Hines said...

...academic class' pretensions of superiority to the manual laborers....


...the educated class is blind about is how much they do the things they have developed theories to reject.

If they can find the wit and imagination, these worthies might think about where they'd be teaching their...stuff...were it not for the manual laborers who were the electricians, plumbers, brick layers, cement truck drivers, sod busters, gardeners, et al., who built the buildings in which they purvey their...stuff...and who landscaped the grounds around those buildings.

And who do the laundry after they get their panties in their bunches.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

I've read that there are those on the Left who are upset that American Sniper glorifies Chris Kyle and, by extension, other Americans who share his approach to war. I've seen the movie and it actually does something far more disturbing to those who hate and fear such Americans: it humanizes Kyle.

Anonymous said...

Coming as I do from "just plain folk," I learned that intellectual firepower is completely unrelated to class. Further, some person who came up with the lines "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." had also noticed that presence in the academic class was no guarantee of either intellectual capability or rigor.


MikeD said...

As someone who has provided tech support to a university, let me add that a PhD clearly is indicative of neither intelligence nor wisdom. Some of the greatest fools I have ever known were college professors who didn't have the sense the good Lord gave a turnip.

Eric Blair said...

Yeah, college academics, especially the angry-studies sort, are in a weird world of their own.