Is this really happening? I mean: "marshaled to assert one class’s moral superiority" is this really going on?
I do know middle-class Americans from, let's call it bluntly, both the "red" and the "blue" side of the country and I don't observe this behaviour there at all.
Sure, people can be proud, but trumpeting "moral superiority" because of class?
Can't remember having ever seen that.
In my workplace (in the UK, so the dynamic might be a bit different) there is a strong middle class/working class divide. The middle class people love to go on about their cycling, organic food, etc., and berate others for being "unhealthy" to feel better about their own life choices. Even though many of us from working class backgrounds eat healthily, play 5-a-side football, etc., it's not dressed up in the same way, and not used to assert superiority over the people who (regardless of class) don't exercise and eat well.
Yeah, I've seen it, in some pockets of the US.
it sits right on the edge of stated and unstated.
No, of course not.
Jacobin is a hard-line socialist publication. They want readers to view every aspect of life, no matter how minuscule, through the dim lens of class, gender, and race struggles.
To call something as broad and all-pervading as "class, gender, and race struggles" a "dim lens", as if it's looking at life from the specific interest of a very small group, is laughably myopic.
Jacobin says parents telling their children to use their time wisely is actually a class/gender/race struggle. They are seeing darkness where there is none. What a sad worldview.
I often use a bicycle for transportation, and I've noticed that spandex cyclists won't give me the time of day. This happens even on otherwise deserted streets, where I and the other cyclist are the only two people for a mile. No bell or "on your left" from an overtaking cyclist, no wave of the hand from somebody going the other way, not even an ambiguous nod of the head. It's the strangest thing.
edit: I don't mean to imply that spandex cyclists would actually put bells on their bicycles.
Similar with people who suck at guitar but own a $3000 Gibson or whatever. I feel like good equipment while you’re bad just makes you look like a joke. Perhaps this is a blue collar ethic though
From the social signaling angle, being clipped in and wearing spandex also says "this ride cannot possibly be for transportation," because it's quite impractical to go anywhere but back to your house dressed like that.
I see it all the time while out hiking. The group of 20/30 somethings who just went to REI, spent $300 on an outfit to go hike 3-4 miles while downing a couple beers. No trail etiquette, only there for the appearance. It's truly wild.
Likewise, the guy who wears ordinary casual clothing on a hike is saying, "let's enjoy the nice place we've walked to," instead of "I'm on an adventure, just look at my gear!"
And to be fair to wheel-runners, it could be that what I'm reading as haughty disregard is actually the same kind of abstraction one sees in foot runners, a kind of meditative absorbtion in the experience of exercise. This might also explain why they appear unable to see stop signs.
The author does quite a good job lampooning the modern practices of the (often liberal) elite, but fails abysmally to prove that any of these practices are done "to assert one class's moral superiority over another and to justify social inequality." Without that crucial piece of support for the author's thesis, this article fails to provide any meaningful social or moral commentary about the practices of the modern elite.
In fact, one could argue that the lampooning of the modern liberal elite and their practices, such as the author does in this article, is itself done as way of asserting a different class's moral superiority over another - in this case a socialist intelligentsia's superiority over the mainstream liberal elite.
> the lampooning of the modern liberal elite and their practices, such as the author does in this article, is itself done as way of asserting a different class's moral superiority over another
Unfortunately, I think the most effective way to counter a status move is not through reasoned argument, but with a status move of one's own. If you can turn the status symbol into something ridiculous or embarassing, you've successfully undermined it. This is (usually) most easily done via public mockery.
It's the human condition to find someone to look down on to feel better about yourself. You can perhaps make people stop expressing it publicly, but you aren't likely to change hearts very much. (And when you do, you'll most likely make someone realize that having pride in that is stupid, so they'll change to having pride in something else.)
Which has been applied in tech in https://www.harihareswara.net/sumana/2016/05/21/0
>Whether or not there's an obvious connection with money or status, if these cultural clashes happen across class lines, then class dynamics are at work. Of course there are also working-class vegetarians, Buddhists and so on, and when they get culture-shock reactions from other working-class people, it's not a class issue. But whenever there's a big difference in income, assets, education and/or status, then cultural differences become laden with class dynamics.
> Today, spin classes, artisanal food, and the college application process ...make no mistake, they serve the same purpose: transforming class privilege into individual virtue, thereby shoring up social dominance.
It's a contrived packaging of their politics.
There are some good reflections in the second half about child rearing, but otherwise... no, self improvement and exercise are not exclusive upper class values. And by my observation, the people who insist on removing gluten from their diet, or biking casually in full race gear, are more often judged negatively and then mocked when out of earshot, instead of being considered virtuous and high class.
The notion that this is somehow a "Victorian" thing, though - that the Victorians have some special responsibility in history for inventing this strategy of social dominance - that's an error.
Humans have been doing this for much longer than that.
Perhaps the only significances of the Victorians was the rise of a middle class and "more" upward mobility. Before it had been "act your class/caste", the one you had been born in, but for the Victorians is was the class you wanted your _children_ to be born in.
But for sure, was an interesting comparison, until the vomit forced into the last line.
I’m glad that I wasn’t the only one who found that to be offputting. What a way to ruin an otherwise excellent article.
* “I don’t even own a tv”
* preferred pronouns in Twitter bio
* no straws
* city bikes
In general there is no small amount of pearl clutching to be had to improve your social standing.
It's not the cheapest way to eat (meat and fresh vegetables are expensive compared to processed carb products (or heck, even nonprocessed carby staples like rice and beans)), so I would never look down on someone that couldn't afford to eat this way. I wouldn't even push it on another diabetic, beyond mentioning that I use it to control my blood sugar and it works well for me.
I think my eating keto is a personal "essential weirdness" to quote an article someone posted elsewhere in this discussion.