Thursday, July 10, 2014

Probably the most WWPD post ever

-Parental overshare for profit.

-So much YPIS: A woman - sorry, a "white lady" - was middle/upper-middle class, until some life events happened, and she was all of a sudden poor. A turn of events led to her picking up food stamps in a Mercedes, thereby outdoing a certain food-stamps applicant from a while back, whose only crime had been spending $1.50 on a coffee she might have made at home or skipped entirely. But the Mercedes-ness and whiteness of all of this seems to have caused controversy. Presumably because of the broke vs. poor obsession - as in, it's seen as so terribly offensive to claim poverty when you're merely broke that people who honest-to-goodness once had some money and now don't end up somehow getting classified as "broke," as if the cultural capital from having once been not-poor can fix everything.

-Tara Metal seems to have had just the same experience I did upon seeing an image of Jenny Slate. I saw an ad for "Obvious Child" on the subway and thought, huh, so that's what's meant by seeing faces that look like yours. My only disagreement with Metal is over the need to explain that this was the experience of women who "may be Jewish, or Italian, or just blessed with slightly unruly strands that cannot be dyed lighter or made straight without a significant amount of sturm and drang." While it's absolutely true that white people of various ethnicities (including super-Anglo - see British actor Daniel Hill, the oddly attractive villain on "Waiting For God") can have not-so-"white" hair, this has particular significance to people for whom that hair texture has political significance. I know that there's this compulsion, if you're Jewish, to make a point of not being parochial, to explain that whatever you're talking about doesn't just apply to Jews. And... hair politics certainly don't just apply to Jews, but I'm not aware of other ethnic whites having this concern. An Italian-American woman might straighten her hair, but is it understood to be about wanting to look less Italian?

-Miss Self-Important and I may have different politics, but we definitely agree on the fundamental issue re: elite high schools, namely that, as she puts it, "when a school becomes 'too Asian,' we immediately complain that it is not black or Hispanic enough." The "we" being society, not MSI and me, neither of whom are arguing this. My pet theory is this: Some offspring of rich white families regress to the mean (see the second item here, actually...), and this produces tremendous anxiety in rich-white-land. It's not guaranteed that those from any but the most established families will do just fine in the end. But! No one wants to say, outright, that the mediocre offspring of the rich deserve better. It sounds so much nicer to complain about meritocracy on behalf of the poor or underrepresented minorities.

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