Friday, January 27, 2012

Low class is better than no class at all....

For fun, I did the "What Class Of White Are You" test Charles Murray's hawking. I won't link to it, but I'll link to commentaries here and here and here. The fun part is trying to guess what point he's making with each question, and then reading the scoring guide and realizing just how weird his internal cultural map is. As I pointed out at LGM, " By his own admission, backed up with statistics, most of what scores you points on this test are minority experiences, in some cases quite narrow ones (Military service. Who the hell identifies race car drivers by sight? Branson? And what’s the socioeconomic profile of people who made Inception a top-grossing film?)."

So, how did I do?

1. 5
2. 0
3. 6 (but working at a college in a small town shouldn't count, right?)
4. 0 (what do you mean, "Graduate school doesn't count"?)
5. 0
6. 0 (what do you mean "Carpal Tunnel doesn't count"?)
7. 0 (I had a friend who was a Monarchist: that ought to count for something)
8. 0
9. 4
10. 0
11. 1
12. 0
13. 0
14. 2, but only because I had guests coming who drink the stuff
15. 1
16. 3
17. 0
18. 2
19. 2
20. 0
21. 1
22. 0
23. 1
24. 0
25. 4

Total: 32

"A first-generation upper-middle-class person with middle-class parents.
Range: 11–80.
Typical: 33."

Am I "upper-middle-class"? Not by income, but I certainly fall into the overeducated liberal elite category he's trying to guilt-trip into voting culture-war Republican (though anyone with a real interest in improving the lives of lower-class working folk wouldn't).  To be honest, lots of my points come from having married into a family with rather different tastes and having lived where I needed to live to pursue an academic (though not an elite) career.

Does this suggest that I need to rethink my understanding of American society? No: the logical leaps and cultural blinkers and statistical junk pseudo-science is strong with this one....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Comment Elsewhere: Amateur Opinions Matter

In a discussion of a particularly blatant bit of retrograde elitism, I noted:
Law, like history, is a field where amateur opinions not only are common, but matter a great deal: they define the discourse in ways that professionals must adjust to.
This is something that the professional historical community has been grappling with for as long as I've been part of it: public history, historical memory, historical mythologies all are part of the public discourse which greatly affects the wider understanding of our work.