"With the fifth series of Downton Abbey having recently drawn to a close, I have taken some time to consider why domestic service dramas fascinate me so much." [more inside]
In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia. The epic double album tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen. Jimmy Cooper is a Mod. [more inside]
Beginning with New York and wending its way through to Detroit, The Atlantic Cities has just completed a series of posts exploring geographic class divisions in a dozen cities (actually metro areas) in the U.S., with help from American Community Survey data. [more inside]
One of the last surviving members of the Edelweiss Pirates, a group of rebellious teenagers from western Germany who formed a resistance network against the Nazis, has died aged 82: Jean Jülich [more inside]
Long before Chelsea Piers was a sporting complex and the South Street Seaport a mall, the city was lined with active piers. The city's residents were amply employed by the shipping trade, but containerization needed more land than would ever be available in the city: Massive ports sprouted in Elizabeth and Newark, and ships disappeared from the city. Efficient cranes replaced longshoremen, and the time in port for ships shrank from about a week to about a day. "The technology changed the geography," says William Fensterer, a chaplain who has been with SIH almost since its new building opened in 1964. "It doesn't look like On the Waterfront anymore," he adds. When he started out, he says, he would wander on foot from pier to pier in Manhattan and Brooklyn and board ships, with nary a guard in site. But those piers have largely vanished. And along with them, the seafarer, once ubiquitous in New York, has become invisible.
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
His photographs recorded life along the Scotswood Road, the working class district in the West End of Newcastle made famous in Geordie song. James (Jimmy) Forsyth had come to make his home there having volunteered for war work as a fitter in one of the local factories, moving up to Newcastle from his native South Wales. In 1954, aware that change was coming and no longer working having lost an eye in an industrial accident, Forsyth began to document his community and surroundings. A self-taught photographer, Jimmy "picked up a cheap folding camera in one of the pawn shops. There wasn’t much to adjust, just as well, because I’ve never known what to do...I’m just an amateur...just capturing what I knew was going to disappear." Jimmy died last Saturday, aged 95.
Behind The Rent Strike [YouTube playlist; six parts of 50ish min. documentary] Nick Broomfield's graduation piece, a documentary on the 14-month rent strike by the people of Kirkby New Town, near Liverpool, which began in late 1973 in response (it wasn't the only one) to the Heath government's Housing Finance Act. Broomfield gets plenty of insight from local people and examines the social conditions behind the events. Great viewing of good film-making and an opportunity for a bit of nostalgia if you're a viewer from round that way.
Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace: "Hegemonic American teens (i.e. middle/upper class, college bound teens from upwards mobile or well off families) are all on or switching to Facebook. Marginalized teens, teens from poorer or less educated backgrounds, subculturally-identified teens, and other non-hegemonic teens continue to be drawn to MySpace. A class division has emerged and it is playing out in the aesthetics, the kinds of advertising, and the policy decisions being made." (Related blog post)
The Guardian examines "nu snobbery" and the social acceptability among the British press and middle class of ridiculing the working class. The chav phenomenon has been discussed many times on MeFi, but if anything it has gotten more widespread, and as documented in the article, even spawned Chav Discos. Where will it all lead? Has Britain slipped completely back into class snobbery - in both directions - or did it never really go away?
"They [the bipartisan elite] have imposed a public morality that affords maximum sexual opportunity for themselves and guarantees maximum domestic chaos for those lower down." While a lot of people (okay, maybe just me) have criticized David Brooks' column as an only-infrequently-successful attempt to channel Malcom Gladwell for the McCain-Specter set, I think he may have stumbled onto a provocative insight here.
There's one man that represents where I was brought up in Lancashire. Steeplejack Fred Dibnah. His interests include industrial archeology, traction engines and wearing flat caps. Recently he has been making history programmes for the BBC where his enthusiasm and interest in what other people are saying is given a fresh twist by his working class perspective and respect for the builders of castles, mills etc. A great man with his own way with words. So, who are your local heroes?
British court to rule on extermination of the working class (more inside...)