Paul fussell's "class"

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by incognitius, May 12, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Messages:
    33,800
    Likes Received:
    11,876
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Haven't you heard that story about the Queen griping about the price of apples?

    I've heard that the difference between old money and new money is that new money is interested in the aquisition of more, and that old money is interested in using it as a philantropic tool.
     
  2. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

    Messages:
    20,008
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York City / Buenos Aires
    If money is truly not an issue, something as trivial as the cost of a drink would, and should not fall into your perception.
    Haven't you heard that story about the Queen griping about the price of apples? I've heard that the difference between old money and new money is that new money is interested in the aquisition of more, and that old money is interested in using it as a philantropic tool.
    But, if that were true, then every old-guard family would be involved in philanthropic activities. This is not the case, of course. Whilst, many families do give funds wholeheartedly, many do it primarily for tax purposes (as well as for the vanity behind many large donations). The rule also does not apply to nouveau riche, as some of them do give to philanthropic causes (for whatever particular reason), Bill Gates is an example that comes to mind. Jon.
     
  3. mr. magoo

    mr. magoo Senior member

    Messages:
    682
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    Well, I think you're half there. It's not the purchasing of the cheapest drink that's the concern, it's trying not to part with money that is. If the choice is between a decent wine and plonk for the same price, the wealthy are as likely to pick the good stuff. But much more than you might think, they'd go for the plonk if the price was market rate. I think Fussell would say that being concerned with the label (Grey Goose, e.g.) is an attribute of the middle-class trying to make sure they get the very best, which is part and parcel of self-improvement, a decidedly middle-class trait.

    Considering one's body changes considerably through the 20s, apparently the royals don't want to drop 2000 pounds on a suit that won't fit properly in five years. Sounds crazy for people worth a billion or two. Yet that's the way it is -- or at least I've been told the way it is -- and I imagine it'd be substantially more so if the royals were only old money and not figureheads that have to appear in public daily. Now spending money on something they know will last might be a different matter. Btw, I imagine William's clothing is bespoke, but a family member's (i.e., Charles') tailored to fit him.
     
  4. gregory

    gregory Senior member

    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Will the upper class members of this forum please identify themselves immediately and settle our debate.
     
  5. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

    Messages:
    20,008
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York City / Buenos Aires
    Well, it all depends where you bought the Grey Goose, nes pas?... Purchasing the cheapest drink at a restaurant / bar is not a sign of class difference, it is a sign of cheapness. If money is truly not an issue, something as trivial as the cost of a drink would, and should not fall into your perception... That being said, I cannot fathom most of HRH Prince William clothes being non-bespoke / MTM (or the like), or at the very least his suits / formal attire is not. Again, the cost of clothes is really a passing thought. If HRH Prince William needs 3 suits, they go to (his fathers, I presume {or is he only enough to find another company for him to provide his patronage to?}) his usual tailor and order 3 suits; it is as easy as that.
    Well, I think you're half there. It's not the purchasing of the cheapest drink that's the concern, it's trying not to part with money that is. If the choice is between a decent wine and plonk for the same price, the wealthy are as likely to pick the good stuff. But much more than you might think, they'd go for the plonk if the price was market rate. I think Fussell would say that being concerned with the label (Grey Goose, e.g.) is an attribute of the middle-class trying to make sure they get the very best, which is part and parcel of self-improvement, a decidedly middle-class trait. Considering one's body changes considerably through the 20s, apparently the royals don't want to drop 2000 pounds on a suit that won't fit properly in five years. Sounds crazy for people worth a billion or two. Yet that's the way it is -- or at least I've been told the way it is -- and I imagine it'd be substantially more so if the royals were only old money and not figureheads that have to appear in public daily. Now spending money on something they know will last might be a different matter. Btw, I imagine William's clothing is bespoke, but a family member's (i.e., Charles') tailored to fit him.
    To be clear, I was using Grey Goose as an example of an alcoholic beverage not usually associated with being inexpensive, whilst it is not a bottle of Louis XIII or a bottle of Mouton Rothschild 56', it also hardly two dollar malt liquor. I was generalizing a point, but using a specific product to present my position. Plus Goose is hardly the very best in terms of monetary expenditure; there are more expensive brands. Being concerned with a label is much more an upper-class trait (at least they can / are able to take it to the highest extreme), in my honest opinion. Take the previous thread about the $30 thousand Hermes bags, middle-class (even upper middles class) families / individual, cannot / do not spend $30 thousand on a single handbag. If labels were not important, Cartier would not spend millions every year going after counterfeiters of their merchandise, particularly watches. Obviously, labels (brand names, etc...) carry weight and are important. Jon.
     
  6. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

    Messages:
    20,008
    Likes Received:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    Location:
    New York City / Buenos Aires
    What is your definition of upper class? (an entire debate onto itself, no?) I assume, everybody has a slightly different definition.

    Jon.
     
  7. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    126
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    RVA - NYC
    I would prefer to recognize an individual, not a social label. Actually, I am wondering what everyone would call me - I have no debt (outside of my home), I pay as I go for any material needs my family requires. I tend the store during the day and make cabinets/furniture at night in my shop. My children have never gone to bed hungry, nor have they come home from school to a house without either my wife or I there. They all have enough clothes (in my opinion, not their's) and they have voluntarily begun to work by the age of 14. They are happy - at least as happy as teenagers can be. Our own furniture is in need of some work, and the livingroom has needed to be done for some time, but will wait, like everything else, until I get to it or pay someone in full to do it. My cars are old but dependable, and paid for. As are most of my clothes. My style is classical, I fit in most everywhere. At least where I care to find myself. Most of my social activities are tied to the Church, and I am quite happy with that.
    So, what am I? I have no unsecured debt, but I have little money. I have the resources to pay for what I need, and a little left over. I desire little more.
    Seems to me I am both rich and poor - and happy. It also seems to me that most of the people I come across who are having problems in their lives, are in search of something they cannot hope to achieve. Too many people , it seems to me, spend their lives striving for something they are either not capable mentally or physically to achieve; or are not aware of the price paid to 'get there'. While the examples of achieving the 'American Dream' are plentiful, how many lives were ruined in the process? How many failed? And what has the "American Dream' become? Too much of everything? And who really cares about the consequences?
    Anyway, I guess at one time I was envious of wealth and class - and then decided not to participate. I'll stay where I'm at.
     
  8. tattersall

    tattersall Senior member

    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    Nancy Mitford in Noblesse Oblige (1956): "An aristocracy in a republic is like a chicken whose head has been cut off: it may run about in a lively way, but in fact it is dead".
     
  9. BGW

    BGW Senior member

    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Rider: "So, what am I? I have no unsecured debt, but I have little money."

    BGW: Irrational. It is perfectly normal to accrue debt. When one needs something in the present, but will not have funds to pay for it until some point in the future, borrowing promotes efficient use of wealth.

    Waiting to repair your living room until the funds become available makes sense only if your future income or future wants are uncertain.

    I only say something out of fear that your aversion to debt will cause you to steer your children away from the best higher education they can receive toward the most economical.
     
  10. Sevcom

    Sevcom Senior member

    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Location:
    New York
    It seems more likely to me that the 'upper class' can and often does buy the creme de la creme of anything. It's more the middle class who obsesses over it: dreaming endlessly of the Maybach, the Cartier, the Dom, what have you. Seriously, some people think too highly of class. Just work hard and honestly for what you need/like, regardless of whether it makes you posh in the eyes of others. Striving too hard to fit the idea of an aristocrat only makes one look profoundly silly (cf Moliere's Le bourgeois gentilhomme).
     
  11. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

    Messages:
    25,745
    Likes Received:
    238
    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Location:
    Constantinople
    These are generalizations which do not reflect any sort of specific contextual fact. There are many "upper class" people who are stingy yes. And there are many people of the plutocracy who would spend millions on various things like jewels, etc. Seemingly the America upper classes appear much more stingier/fiscally conservative than the European upper classes. Of course Europe or Asia's plutocracies have existed much longer than America's, and always existed as the upper class. Which on the other hand America's families tended to be people of a lesser background. Even if it was 200+ years ago. The nouveau riche however are the prime examples of consumption. I.e. Russian billionaires, and the Hiltons.
     
  12. FCS

    FCS Senior member

    Messages:
    753
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2003
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Sam Walton reportedly was having his haircuts for no more than 5 bucks.
     
  13. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

    Messages:
    25,745
    Likes Received:
    238
    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Location:
    Constantinople
    Sam Walton also started Wal-Mart. That should say something about his tastes.
     
  14. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004


    You mean like those recent college graduates that took on $47K a year in tuition for a total of $300K in student loans and are unemployed after graduation?



    It is perfectly stupid to accrue unnecessarily and useless debt. Life is uncertain. So you want to buy your toys, including your home remodeling, with cash. Granted, a higher education is probably necessarily but not necessarily cost effective.
     
  15. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Will the upper class members of this forum please identify themselves immediately and settle our debate.
    What is your definition of upper class? (an entire debate onto itself, no?) I assume, everybody has a slightly different definition. Jon.
    This one is easy. If you have to ask, you are not. If you don't know if you are, you are not.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by