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First Class!

First Class was a titanic "electronic" tea time BBC general knowledge quiz show in the late 1980s, presented by heartthrob Debbie Greenwood (now a regular on QVC UK) with the aid of a BBC Micro called Eugene. Two teams of teenagers represented their schools as they battled for supremacy playing a random selection of arcade games like skateboarder 720 degrees and Hypersports, the ultimate prize an Acorn Archimedes. Now, the nail-biting encounter between Armthorpe School in Sheffield and Montagu School of Kettering is on YouTube [parts 1, 2 & 3]
posted by feelinglistless on Jul 11, 2012 - 16 comments

You eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements.

In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2012 - 16 comments

"And by the way, your kid's stroller sucks."

The Mommy-Fight Site. What does it mean to raise a child in "America’s highest-income, best-educated Census area? D.C. Urban Moms and Dads might be as close as it gets to a field guide to parentis Washingtonianis" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 14, 2012 - 80 comments

Celebrity Photos of the Week

Celebrity Photos of the Week [more inside]
posted by latkes on Jun 11, 2012 - 37 comments

Goodbye to all That

Paul Fussell, author of The Great War and Modern Memory and winner of the first National Critics Award for Criticism, but who is probably best known for writing Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, is dead. [more inside]
posted by postcommunism on May 23, 2012 - 48 comments

"America wants its respect."

A self-identified hipster re-presents: the American hipster.
What comes next?
posted by iamkimiam on Mar 30, 2012 - 87 comments

Life on the Breadline

Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor. The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Mar 18, 2012 - 105 comments

Got your pearls? Get ready to clutch 'em.

"I can tell you that the days of of white, wealthy, upper-class [Smith] students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships." Anne Spurzem, Smith College '84, reacts to news about the increase in diversity at her alma mater during President Carol Christ's tenure while Christ prepares to step down in 2013. Unsurprisingly, Spurzem's comments have caused an uproar among students and alumnae, leading to the creation of the Pearls and Cashmere Tumblr, which celebrates the diversity feared by Spurzem. Meanwhile, President Christ has responded to Spurzem's allegations in an open letter to to the Smith community.
posted by peripathetic on Feb 24, 2012 - 146 comments

Marriage is a luxury good

Marriage is a luxury good [NYT] After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 18, 2012 - 66 comments

Being a Maid

James McBride talks about The Help, Hattie McDaniel, why black women are still winning awards for playing maids, how black culture is appropriated and represented, and whether marginalized groups in America all serve the purpose of "cultural maids". [more inside]
posted by nakedmolerats on Jan 30, 2012 - 59 comments

How thick is your bubble?

Charles Murray, author of the controversial 1994 work The Bell Curve, has a new book coming out, entitled Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010. He's included a twenty-five question, weighted quiz to get a feel for how in touch you are with mainstream, blue-collar American culture. It's not automated, so you'll need pen and paper. [more inside]
posted by valkyryn on Jan 26, 2012 - 358 comments

OWS: Phase II

Class Conflict Awareness Rose Significantly From 2009 To 2011 A new Pew Research Center survey reports that "the issue of class conflict has captured a growing share of the national consciousness".
posted by Benny Andajetz on Jan 12, 2012 - 86 comments

Poverty and Race in America

Article suggests that we need to reassess our assumptions about the relationship between poverty and race. Following the article published in Forbes magazine dealing with poor black kids, this article brings up the question about poor whites and how invisible they have become.
posted by RedShrek on Dec 20, 2011 - 38 comments

Don't Worry. We're From The Internet.

On October 18, Wired embedded a reporter with both Anonymous and the #Occupy movement, calling both "a new kind of hybrid entity, one that breaks the boundaries between “real life” and the internet, creatures of the network embodied as citizens in the real world." The first entries in Quinn Norton's ongoing special report: Anonymous 101: Behind the Lulz were posted today. Coverage from Wired's other special report, Occupy: Dispatches from the Occupation are already online. NPR: Members Of Anonymous Share Values, Aesthetics [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 8, 2011 - 43 comments

Domestic unrest can be heard, addressed

In this nation, capitalism helped but a small group and corporations. A more equitable distribution was demanded by the majority . Their demands are being met. In Israel, there had been a growing disconnect between the few who had so much and the many who were unable to pay rents, live decently, buy food. This led to occupying central spots and setting up tent cities to protest, similar to what is taking place in the United States. The government got the message. Improvements are planned to correct social disparities. Note that like our nation, they too spend a huge amount for defense. Yet there is a recognition that domestic needs are central or there is nothing worthwhile to defend except those at the very top.
posted by Postroad on Nov 1, 2011 - 19 comments

The Percentages

The Percentages: A Biography of Class. An autobiographical essay about growing up in the working class (as the author defines it) and then meeting the middle class (again, as the author defines it). This is so far outside my experience that I can't even summarize it properly, but it's worth reading.
posted by d. z. wang on Oct 16, 2011 - 123 comments

The Growing American Fertility Divide

Knocked Up & Knocked Down Why America's Widening Fertility Class Divide is a Problem [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Sep 27, 2011 - 89 comments

What Is Middlebrow?

Dorothy Gambrell of Cat And Girl fame spends an awful lot of time talking about education, class, debt, money, and the hollow promise of aspirational media to discuss how much she hates Good Will Hunting
posted by The Whelk on Sep 22, 2011 - 108 comments

"this man has paid enough"

This week has seen a lot of discussion of the American criminal justice system and its failings, and a lot of concern about what can be done to fix it. In 1947, a working class black man looked like he was about to have the full weight of the system brought down on him for taking justice into his own hands. But after Chicago leftists - including labor unions, religious leaders, artists, civil rights activists & others - launched a movement, James Hickman was set free after an all-white jury, in a trial presided over by a white judge, failed to convict, and the DA chose not to re-try because of the magnitude of public support for Hickman. According to a review in The Nation, a new book tells the story in a way that turns the typical right-wing biases of the true crime genre on their head. [more inside]
posted by univac on Sep 22, 2011 - 11 comments

Hoop dreams

The unlevel playing field - "Contrary to popular perception, poverty and broken homes are underrepresented in the NBA, not overrepresented. ... We believe that skills always trump circumstances. But that's a myth."
posted by mrgrimm on Aug 1, 2011 - 16 comments

The Legend of the Goatriders

The Legend of The Goatriders (Bokkenrijders): In the Limburg region at the end of the 18th century, between 300 and 600 individuals were tortured, tried and executed, accused of being members of a notorious and heretical band of robbers (who rode across the night sky on the backs of goats). But were they devil-worshipping hoodlums or the product of the economic and class pressures of their time? Regardless they have made their way into legend on TV and the printed page. (PDF link, from the European Ghost Literary Project) [more inside]
posted by jrb223 on Jul 19, 2011 - 19 comments

And Justice For All?

An image showing disparity in sentencing appears in a tweet by Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow and raises questions of its validity. Paul R. Allen is clearly a real case and Roy Brown an actual criminal but what do the differences in their sentencing say about the state of justice in America? [more inside]
posted by geekyguy on Jun 25, 2011 - 28 comments

Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills

In the wake of ever deeper budget cuts, public schools have begun charging students for basics, such as registering for honors or elective classes.
posted by reenum on May 26, 2011 - 100 comments

a micro-site for micro-frameworks

Fantastic Micro-Frameworks and Micro-Libraries for Fun and Profit
posted by the noob on May 5, 2011 - 21 comments

Don't be evil

Andrew Norman Wilson was fired from his job at Google for investigating the working conditions of yellow badge employees misusing company equipment: [more inside]
posted by AlsoMike on Apr 30, 2011 - 167 comments

Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2011 - 191 comments

Harry Potter and the Incredibly Conservative Aristocratic Children's Club

Harry Potter and the Incredibly Conservative Aristocratic Children's Club
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 28, 2010 - 161 comments

What Food Says About Class

What Food Says About Class "As more of us indulge our passion for local, organic delicacies, a growing number of Americans don’t have enough nutritious food to eat."
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Nov 27, 2010 - 172 comments

You think it’s cuddly but it will tear your insides out

Pulp's Common People - the great class-based song of the 90s?
posted by Artw on Nov 11, 2010 - 119 comments

I'm Saying Being White is Way Better

Monica Potts on Louis CK and privilege: "For the most part, people of color are the ones who initiate serious discussions about race and privilege in the public sphere -- and in the world of comedy ... Some white comedians, like Sarah Silverman, tend to joke about racism, making fun of white people and their ignorance in ways that shock and offend. ... But Louis' comedy is about being a white man -- and about how others view white men. He doesn't accept ignorance as a point of view. Moreover, this isn't the occasional stand-up bit; a significant number of his jokes are about race, class, and gender." [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Oct 15, 2010 - 75 comments

In America, everyone thinks of themselves as middle-class.

Americans have no idea how rich the rich are, nor how poor the poor are.
posted by Pope Guilty on Sep 29, 2010 - 237 comments

Leopold!

Where did that great song from Long-Haired Hare come from, anyway? [more inside]
posted by jtron on Sep 18, 2010 - 12 comments

Reflections on Judging Mothering

(pdf) Chris Gottlieb writes in the "Baltimore Law Review" about judging parents. The article discusses instances of racism and classicism in the family court systems. An adaptation of the "Baltimore Review" article appears in the New York Times. [more inside]
posted by zizzle on Aug 26, 2010 - 56 comments

America Doesn't Have Social Classes

"[Bank robber Peter Barry] Lawrence, 71, made his getaway in his wheelchair, with $2,000 in cash on his lap... he took a meandering route down Seventh Avenue until the police caught up with him five minutes later. But that was all part of the plan." And an embedded reporter in Afghanistan notes that "many young soldiers told me that they actually live better in the army, even when deployed, than they did in civilian life, where they couldn't make ends meet, especially when they were trying to pay for college or raise a family by working one or two low-wage jobs" (p. 1). Meanwhile, "parents of means are now resorting to buying franchise businesses to keep their adult children employed." Economic life in contemporary America.
posted by rkent on Aug 3, 2010 - 48 comments

Die Young, Live Fast: The Evolution of an Underclass

Die young, live fast: the evolution of an underclass [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jul 23, 2010 - 78 comments

Lugar Común/Common Place

In an effort to explore the hierarchy and commonalities between maids and those who employ them, Justine Graham and Ruby Rumié created a photo exhibit entitled Lugar Común (Common Place) (pdf, text in spanish) of fifty female Latin-American employer-employee dyads. All women wear white shirts and no accessories. They sit in the same poses. There is no explicit indication of who works for whom. (via) [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jul 13, 2010 - 14 comments

The Cost Of Cutting Back

"Welcome to the simplicity movement, the ethos whose mantras are "cutting back," "focusing on the essentials," "reconnecting to the land" - and talking, talking, talking about how fulfilled it all makes you feel." Charlotte Allen of In Character about the Simplicity Movement, magazines, wild boars, virtue, and 350$ riding boots.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 25, 2010 - 75 comments

Not everybody has an uncle who knows somebody from golf.

"With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor." (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 5, 2010 - 120 comments

"Toffs" and "Toughs"

In 1937, the London News Chronicle published a photograph of five boys at the gates of Lord's cricket ground; two stood aloof in top hats and tails, with their backs to a group of three working-class lads. The resulting photograph became famous as a metaphor for the class divide in Britain, appearing in newspaper stories about school reform, inequality and bourgeois guilt and on the covers of books. The photograph appeared in the Getty Images archive as "Toffs and Toughs", and even was printed on a jigsaw puzzle in 2004. The identities of the three working-class boys were unknown until a journalist tracked them down in 1998; here is an article on the history of the photograph and the lives of the five boys in it.
posted by acb on Mar 23, 2010 - 36 comments

Food Choice Sometimes Isn't

Before You Criticize the Food Choices of Others… think about how people with disabilities face limitations on how vegan/organic/fair-trade/free-range/local/food-political they can be.
posted by divabat on Mar 6, 2010 - 170 comments

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans is employed to keep fellow citizens in line and protect private wealth

“Being willing to sit in a boring classroom for 12 years, and then sign up for four more years and then sign up for three or more years after that—well, that’s a pretty good measure of your willingness to essentially do what you’re told,” - The Santa Fe Reporter talks to Economist Samuel Bowles about New Mexico's income gap, welfare, social mobility, and a radical way to help. (Via)
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2010 - 47 comments

Modern journalism: Only rich kids need apply.

The Costs of Becoming a Journalist: "Journalists born since 1970 predominantly come from middle class to upper middle class backgrounds. And Journalism ranks third in the list of the most socially exclusive professions, just behind doctors and lawyers." One reason: "a prerequisite for entrance into a career in journalism is at least one internship experience, and ... many, if not most, are unpaid." For some of the problems with unpaid internship: Take This Internship and Shove It
posted by shetterly on Sep 28, 2009 - 70 comments

Decentralized User-Generated Cellular Education

"The Public School is a school with no curriculum. At the moment, it operates as follows: first, classes are proposed by the public (I want to learn this or I want to teach this); then, people have the opportunity to sign up for the classes (I also want to learn that); finally, when enough people have expressed interest, the school finds a teacher and offers the class to those who signed up." A project of Telic Arts Exchange.
posted by Miko on Jul 8, 2009 - 21 comments

Oh, Daddy and Mommy keep their boat down by the house on Martha's. More Gin?

The Atlantic takes a look at the American Class System: a look at Paul Fussell's Class 25 years later. Of particular interest is the movement of Class 'X' from outside the system to the core of the status-obsessed center. [more inside]
posted by leotrotsky on Apr 15, 2009 - 157 comments

All The Best People.

Indeed, all three of Hitler’s prized leather whips were presents from high society ladies. : Christopher Clark reviews High Society in the Third Reich by Fabrice d’Almeida in the London Review Of Books.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 7, 2009 - 24 comments

Class War on the Dancefloor

As laddish 'landfill indie' bands take over the British charts and the previous vanguard of art-school bands trouble the mainstream less, the old debate on class in pop music rears its head once again.
posted by mippy on Oct 28, 2008 - 41 comments

The case of the disappearing Toff

The Bullingdon Club is an elite drinking dining club for members of Oxford University in England. Its alumni include the London Mayor, Boris Johnson; the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron and the shadow Chancellor, George Osborne - in other words the three most powerful Tories in the UK. Photographs of the club are already extremely rare, but recently it surfaced that one of the two in wide circulation, might have been doctored. [more inside]
posted by MrMerlot on Oct 27, 2008 - 26 comments

An Anthology of Privilege Checklists

Privileges: Gender: 10 things only men can do (Askmen.com), male privilege (wiki), 21 Things Women Can Do That Guys Can't (Cosmo), female privilege (2 3 4 5). Race: white privilege (wiki). Sexual orientation: straight privilege (2) (wiki), cisgendered privilege. Body: able-bodied privilege, non-fat privilege. Money: non-poor privilege (2), class privilege (PDF). Demographics: Christian privilege, American privilege, adult privilege, black male privilege, Muslim male privilege. Combo: gamer privilege, male programmer privilege. Criticism and essays: victim privilege, "Point of Privilege", "We can't be equal while ... ", "Where's My Extra Piece of the Pie?". And, lest this become too serious: pirate privilege and lolcat privilege (the latter via). (Covered in smaller scope previously.)
posted by WCityMike on Aug 15, 2008 - 156 comments

What's the problem with Yale?

William Deresiewicz examines the pitfalls of an Ivy League education Apparently, the Ivies prepare you for... mediocrity.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 18, 2008 - 188 comments

Kiki and Bubu

Kiki and Bubu! Austrian art collective monochrom presents the adventures of two sock puppets. Part One: Kiki and Bubu and The Shift. "Bubu wants to know why his dad is busy all the time. And Kiki explains him why... because of the neoliberal shift." Part Two: Kiki and Bubu and The Privilege. "Bubu ran into a bunch of liberals and they gave him a book. They said if he doesn't read it, they're going to beat him up. But Bubu can't read! And so Kiki helps..." [Via BB]
posted by homunculus on Jun 7, 2008 - 6 comments

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