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Paul fussell's "class"

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

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  1. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    What is your definition of upper class? (an entire debate onto itself, no?) I assume, everybody has a slightly different definition.

    Jon.
     
  2. RIDER

    RIDER Senior member

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    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.
     
  3. tattersall

    tattersall Senior member

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    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".
     
  4. BGW

    BGW Senior member

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    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.
     
  5. Sevcom

    Sevcom Senior member

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    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).
     
  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    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.
     
  7. FCS

    FCS Senior member

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    Sam Walton reportedly was having his haircuts for no more than 5 bucks.
     
  8. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Sam Walton also started Wal-Mart. That should say something about his tastes.
     
  9. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  11. BGW

    BGW Senior member

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    Higher education is one of the best investments available. The average return is just tremendous. Add to this the fact that the interest rate on school loans is below the market rate due to government subsidies and loan guarantees, and it is a no-brainer to attend the best school one can.

    The fact a few people are unable to find employment after graduation a) in no way speaks to the group of college graduates as a whole and b) simply demonstrates that they expect a well paying job to come along soon, else they would have accepted a low paying job already (certainly they could have been hired at McDonalds at any point).

    Also, very few schools cost 47k per year and your calculus seems to involve a masters (6 years) which is a different animal.
     
  12. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

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    There is no such thing as "average return" on higher education. And just because the interest rate is subsidized and low does not mean you did not take on the debt. Are you planning on ever paying off the debt or are you just one of those debt junkies that keep on taking refi and taking on more and more debt?

    Most recent graduates are unemployed after college and graduate school. I added graduate school expenses to the calculation, and 50K is about average annual tuition, room, and board for most private schools (NYU, Stanford, Yale). And I know plenty of unemployed and underemployed Stanford, NYU, and Yale grads. And if you think flipping burger is a career and you ever will have a chance to payoff $300K in student loan by being a hamburger engineer, you are out of your mind.
     
  13. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Senior member

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    Technically, I fall relatively closely into that last category (art history major).  I miss your debt estimates by 150k though. I'll only have 150-175 accrued by the time I start working.  Actuallly, it could be even worse if all goes as planned.
     
  14. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    Quote 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.[/quote] No. You are incorrect, it is a relative term which is quite complex, would you consider Puff Daddy upper class? Are you in the US? Europe? Asia? (That's it for now, I am curious as to what your answer is). Jon. P.S. Using the J.P. Morgan line and paraphrasing it: "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it." Is quite proletarian at best, and shows a lack of erudition at worst.
     
  15. gregory

    gregory Senior member

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    In my opinion, a college education is essential, and a college education at a "brand name" school makes a lot of difference compared to a regular school. I go to a highly competitive liberal arts college, but despite our academic rigorousness (95% med school acceptance, for instance), we are not well known by the general public. This means a student here at my college will be lose out to an student at Harvard eventhough the former may be smarter. That's the truth. Companies have "target schools" and they like their employees to come from prestigious colleges -- especially in investment banking or consulting because their proposals to clients often contain the biographies of their client-service teams. It's not even a question of how good you are / how good your college is. It's whether you are at a college where lots of prestigious employers like to recruit. It is a general phenomenon: the general public will pick Armani, Versace, and they will pick Yalies and Harvardmen. In Harvard, they refer to the dropping of their college name to prospective employers, dates, etc as "dropping the H-Bomb". Also, the old boy network is well and alive, I assure you. http://www.pennclub.org - Penn Club NY http://www.hcny.com - Harvard Club NY [​IMG] Harvard Club of New York Article: Where you learn to be a billionaire If your son or daughter is accepted to Princeton, Harvard, or Yale, rob if you must, but send him/her there.
     
  16. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

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    I am in San Francisco, but I have been to Europe and Asia. Puff Daddy is definitely not upper class. But the Morgans are definitely upperclass, so are the Rothschilds, kennedys.
     
  17. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    No. You are incorrect, it is a relative term which is quite complex, would you consider Puff Daddy upper class? Are you in the US? Europe? Asia? (That's it for now, I am curious as to what your answer is). Jon. P.S. Using the J.P. Morgan line and paraphrasing it: "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it." Is quite proletarian at best, and shows a lack of erudition at worst.
    I am in San Francisco, but I have been to Europe and Asia. Puff Daddy is definitely not upper class. But the Morgans are definitely upperclass, so are the Rothschilds, kennedys.
    And thus, I repeat myself: what constitutes upper class? Not, who is the image or epitome of upper class, but what are the principles, the rules that separate (seemingly) them from everybody else?
     
  18. agent.5

    agent.5 Well-Known Member

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    Quote No. You are incorrect, it is a relative term which is quite complex, would you consider Puff Daddy upper class? Are you in the US? Europe? Asia? (That's it for now, I am curious as to what your answer is). Jon. P.S. Using the J.P. Morgan line and paraphrasing it: "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it." Is quite proletarian at best, and shows a lack of erudition at worst.
    I am in San Francisco, but I have been to Europe and Asia. Puff Daddy is definitely not upper class. But the Morgans are definitely upperclass, so are the Rothschilds, kennedys.
    And thus, I repeat myself: what constitutes upper class? Not, who is the image or epitome of upper class, but what are the principles, the rules that separate (seemingly) them from everybody else?[/quote] First, I am certain that I am not. I think some of the symptoms of the upper class are: work is optional and is merely a hobby. The size of paycheck is irrelevant. almost no debt, as in can live off interest and dividends of past wealth. have significant family, political, and business connections that can get you out of troubles of epic proportion. have wit, intelligent (either you have it or you buy it) that you can spot significant changes in social and economic trends.
     
  19. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    "The only thing I like about rich people is their money."-Lady Astor
    That certainly isn't true of certain members of the British aristocracy or for that matter the emgires of the Russian nobility. But that is into a whole concept unto itself. I find that those above mentioned people are much easier to communicate with as opposed to the American "aristocracy." Education is certainly a very fine investment although on a certain conceptual level tends to be rather all for pretentiousness. I am quite sure the majority of Harvard graduates boast of being the alumni of such a school. Such academies are in short a male version of a lady's finishing school; it prepares the man into this particular world into he which enters by his vocation. Prepared by various ways even as a general manner assumed by milling about with essentially the people at the school.
     
  20. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    Ugghh... are we having yet another discussion about "class." We should start a new class forum. Do not any of you realize class is a more or less a defunct phenomenon that is widely ignored by 99% of the population.

    Gregory: Have you even visited those Ivy League clubs? I'll tell you that they are not so "alive and well," membership is very low, the only members are guys who are left over from graduating decades ago. I wouldn't doubt if they close down sooner or later; to run places like that is very expensive.

    And I hate to break it to you, the fact is that class is defined by the size of your bank account in America for the most part. No one cares what circles you run in or what your family has been doing for the past 100 years.
     
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