Class vs class

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Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:36 pm UTC

Sorry if this is less clear than it could be, I'm really burnt out from a shit day week month life and keep forgetting to post this when I think of it over the past few days.

There's a distinction between people I sometimes want to make, roughly speaking between the kind of person I would like to be friends with, and the kind of person I don't want to be around and honestly would prefer didn't exist at all, harsh as that sounds; not that I want the actual people to die or anything, I just wish that people in general would not be like that.

When I articulate my disdain for the latter type of person, people sometimes call that "classist". But I am still desperately trying to claw my own way out of the lower class myself, economically speaking, and my disdain has nothing at all to do with wealth or income, and in fact is amplified when the target of this disdain is wealthy, so I would not call the distinction I'm trying to make one of class in any reasonable economic sense.

However, "classy" does sound like a fine descriptor of the kind of person I would like to befriend, in a sense that doesn't imply anything about wealth -- I've met literally homeless people who I would describe as "classy" in this sense -- so I'm wondering if there is perhaps some kind of adjective I could use to distinguish between economic class, which is the first thing that comes to my mind when someone says "class", and some other kind of "class". "Social class" is the first other kind of "class" that pops into my mind, but that to my ear suggests something still closer to economic class than to what I'm trying to describe.

To illustrate:

The kind of person on the "low" end of this type of "class" (or whatever) I'm looking to describe is, archetypically (or stereotypically?), someone who smokes and drinks a lot and likes to hang out at bars making lots of noise about the sports on TV there, someone highly competitive, who actively disdains intellectual pursuits and is fond of conspicuous consumption showing off whatever wealth they might have, be it flashy brand-name clothes and jewelry, to loud sports cars and motorcycles, to boats and RVs and such "decorating" their driveways.

The kind of person on the "high" end of this type of "class" (or whatever) I'm looking to describe is, on the other hand, someone clean and quiet, sober and unobtrusive, modest even, with an interest in cooperatively learning and creating things.

To be clear I'm not saying that everyone who drinks or likes sports or whatever is at one end of this spectrum I'm trying to articulate, and unathletic teetotalers are at the other, or anything like that. I'm just trying to paint a rough picture for illustration.

I don't know how to end this post.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:04 pm UTC

Classiness is certainly a concept that embodies standards of behavior as well as relative social position and wealth. I don't think you're doing anything wrong by discriminating based on the former. Sure, etymologically, there's some historical relationship there, but there's a significant difference in meaning. Someone can lack money but still be a worthwhile friend, or vice versa.

Maturity is sometimes used as a descriptor of the sort you're looking for. It's not perfect. People don't grow into that sort of behavior with quite the reliability that they grow to physical adulthood. It's also hard to find any description that doesn't come across as slightly pejorative to those not in the group you prefer. It's also partially cultural. Conspicuous consumption to demonstrate wealth is far more socially acceptable in some cultures than others. Hell, it's one of the reasons the US sometimes come across as brash and insensitive in less demonstrative cultures.

Stylish is another synonym, but may be too specific. Elegance, well-mannered, or sophisticated are all a bit broad, and can convey shades of wealth discrimination. It's pretty hard to avoid that entirely, particularly when one considers that culture is differentiated by economic class as well. There's a certain social respectability with donating to a museum that you don't get from contributing to your local sports bar. I'm not sure there's a good way to convey exactly what you're after with a single word without any unwanted inferences, though I've certainly heard the sentiment expressed by many.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Ranbot » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:24 am UTC

"Cosmopolitan" comes to mind, but that term can carry some baggage in certain circles. You may have to combine 2 or 3 words this...

chic intellectual?
smart modern?

Consider too that you just know it when you see it and a label is unnecessarily restrictive. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," right?

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:20 am UTC

I'm not really looking for a word to describe the kind of person I like; "classy" works fine for that, if I find I need one. I'm more wondering if there's an adjective to modify the noun "class" to describe the attribute that differs between those two types of people. Or another noun entirely for that attribute, maybe. So as to be able to distinguish that attribute from economic class.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:59 am UTC

In Australia and New Zealand, the term bogan is used to refer to that class of person you're not comfortable with.

I've always thought that "bogan" was the Aussie equivalent to the American "redneck", although of course there are some differences. In particular, "redneck" has rural connotations whereas the typical bogan lives in the outer suburbs.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:18 am UTC

I can't really think of an adjective to put before the word 'class' to describe the division you seek. I think classy works fine on its own though, as you can carry poverty and wealth alike with an air of class.

The kind of person on the "low" end of this type of "class" (or whatever) I'm looking to describe is, archetypically (or stereotypically?), someone who smokes and drinks a lot and likes to hang out at bars making lots of noise about the sports on TV there, someone highly competitive, who actively disdains intellectual pursuits and is fond of conspicuous consumption showing off whatever wealth they might have

Personally I'd echo Tyndmyr as describing that behaviour in broad terms as immature (or, in extreme cases, childish). Which, while it can be interpreted as pejorative, isn't really meant in those terms, since we all mature at different rates intellectually. There's no magical cutoff at 18 whereby we are all suddenly smart, well-rounded and wise individuals...

Plus, a concern with promoting one's own social status is definitely a major route to success in life, though it can all come crashing down.

The kind of person on the "high" end of this type of "class" (or whatever) I'm looking to describe is, on the other hand, someone clean and quiet, sober and unobtrusive, modest even, with an interest in cooperatively learning and creating things.

The term that comes to mind personally to describe such a person would be 'an intellectual' - more concerned with matters of the mind than of 'the flesh'. (Again, not that there's anything wrong with fleshly pursuits so long as all things in life are in balance.)

Honestly, the division you describe sounds something akin to the divide between 'the jocks' and 'the nerds', except that both of those terms come loaded with pejoratives that I think neither really warrant...

Your division also feels like it has a correlation with extroversion and introversion, and, again, there are advantages and disadvantages to being in either grouping. I am an introvert and it makes me highly self-sufficient emotionally. Extroverts definitely have the bigger social circle to call upon in times of need though.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:17 pm UTC

and in fact is amplified when the target of this disdain is wealthy, so I would not call the distinction I'm trying to make one of class in any reasonable economic sense.

Thing is, the stereotype that you are describing is the stereotype of an upstart. Someone who is brassily showing off their new wealth instead of adopting the refined manners of a proper member of the higher classes.

Which is very much a "classicist" stereotype. The point of the stereotype is exactly that high social rank is not just about wealth. And ironically, it makes wealth doubly important by denigrating it- it's much easier to be nonchalant about wealth and position, if you took it for granted from childhood on.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:21 pm UTC

The term I'm familiar with there is 'nouveau riche' - the idea that one can obtain wealth but not class.

I think that cuts both ways though: One can be born into wealth but be less 'classy' than someone who is poor. Indeed, being born into wealth is frequently associated with being an arrogant and boorish spoilt brat, whereas the gritty working classes are sometimes (slightly patronising) romanticised as being the salt of the earth...

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:58 pm UTC

Yeah, there are many different versions...
I once read an interesting book, by someone who had done a study about the textual use of social "class", "rank", and similar concepts in British texts from the last 4 centuries or so. She notes that were many, many different concepts in use, all agreeing that there was some kind of social ordering, but never quite agreeing how it worked.

One thing that she noted: people often said how the class system used to be more clear and explicit in the past, but was getting fuzzier in the present day. This was a constant trend. Century after century, people described the class system as something that used to be static and clear until recently, but was now changing and flexible.

She also divided description in three broad groups, 2-fold, 3-fold, and ladders.

2-fold theories were flexible - the writer might personally identify with the "low" group or the "high", and they might ascribe positive characteristic to either group. I think our example stereotypes show this nicely.

3-fold theories on the other would nearly always have a writer who considered themselves "in the middle class", and consider that middle group best.

Beyond 3 classes, people tend to ditch the concept of grouped classes at all, and instead use some kind of continuous scale or ladder, and no one has exactly the same rank as someone else.

{this is from hazy memory, I might be wildly misrepresenting the book...}

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:23 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
and in fact is amplified when the target of this disdain is wealthy, so I would not call the distinction I'm trying to make one of class in any reasonable economic sense.

Thing is, the stereotype that you are describing is the stereotype of an upstart. Someone who is brassily showing off their new wealth instead of adopting the refined manners of a proper member of the higher classes.

Which is very much a "classicist" stereotype. The point of the stereotype is exactly that high social rank is not just about wealth. And ironically, it makes wealth doubly important by denigrating it- it's much easier to be nonchalant about wealth and position, if you took it for granted from childhood on.


New money vs old money is a common overlap of that, yeah.

A similar contrast exists on the opposite end of the spectrum, though. There's poor people, and poor people. Plenty of folks who lack money take pride in that while they may lack for material things, they act in an appropriate fashion. Sometimes with some homily about overloading the word "poor".

In either case it's kind of similar. Being born into proper society(for any definition of that) makes one more likely to easily navigate those strictures. So, yeah, there's a level of classism that ends up overlapping with that. I generally concur with summary of British class that you give. All of those have some validity, I think, and I agree with the increasing fuzziness. The fuzziness is somewhat good, though. Makes it easier to fake it till you make it if you want to join another class, in some respects.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:35 pm UTC

The message was not that the system was actually getting fuzzier, to the contrary. More that people always assumed that there used to be a simpler class structure in the past, even though the writers from the past describe the same complexity when describing their contemporary world.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:11 pm UTC

The reason people "low" on my "class" (or whatever) scale having lots of money makes it worse to me is not because of a "new money" phenomenon, but more that poverty generates sympathy and somewhat excuses bad behavior -- and I consider the defining traits of the "low" end of this scale to all be forms of bad behavior -- so if I see poor-looking person behaving that way a part of me wants to give them a little slack because life has been shit to them and it's hard to blame someone for not keeping it together when life beats you to hell, while if I see some asshole in a huge new truck or in the yard of his McMansion with a boat in the driveway being like that, I feel like "come on, you have no fucking excuse, get your goddamn shit together and act like a civilized human being!"

I'm also not sure it really has anything to do with maturity in any sense of literal age, as I could rank children this way too. And there amongst kids it does look like the "jocks vs nerds" stereotype, yeah. It's not really about mental vs physical things though. I've known people whose main interest was a physical thing, like rock climbing or running or surfing or something, yet they were very quiet and clean and humble and otherwise respectable people who fit into this "upper class(?)" as much as any sterotypical computer nerd. And on the flipside, the modern Silicon Valley "brogrammer" falls much further toward the "lower class(?)" end of this scale, despite their ostensibly mental, not physical, interests.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:54 pm UTC

Brogrammer sorts are particularly annoying, yeah. I once joined a project that had such a culture, and bailed in a week. It was...tedious.

Zamfir wrote:The message was not that the system was actually getting fuzzier, to the contrary. More that people always assumed that there used to be a simpler class structure in the past, even though the writers from the past describe the same complexity when describing their contemporary world.


Ah, so more of like the age old "kids of this generation are awful, not like back in my day" thing? I could see that. A lot of human behavior is pretty sticky. Perhaps there's a mechanism causing this...maybe people look back on older markers of classiness, and feel that they are less important now, but newer ones are cropping up all the time, and are a blind spot?

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:30 pm UTC

I don't quite get your hostility, based on the examples you give. I understand why you personally might not get along with bragging, loudmouths. But I don't understand why that makes the described people so bad, beyond a difference in tastes.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:30 pm UTC

It's basically an extension of the "your right to swing your fist ends at my face" principle. The common feature of all the behaviors on the "low class" end of this scale are their in-your-face-ness, the way they force themselves upon you. Some of them I consider straight up unethical, like smoking in public, and window-rattlingly loud music or engines or exhaust pipes on vehicles. Others things, if they're keeping it confined to private spaces, I'll just avoid those spaces, but the common thing about them all is that I would consider it a wrongful disturbance of the public peace if they were to spill out of those private spaces. And some others, like over-competitiveness, just lean a little too much in the direction of the threat of violence in attitude for my taste.

I said "civilized" earlier in contrast with that, and I think that's a very good word for it, because civilization means cities, people living in close quarters, and for people living in close quarters to get along peacefully they've got to keep their shit from disturbing other people, which these behaviors fail to do.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby elasto » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:31 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I don't quite get your hostility, based on the examples you give. I understand why you personally might not get along with bragging, loudmouths. But I don't understand why that makes the described people so bad, beyond a difference in tastes.

Agreed. It does read a lot like your '2-fold' theory.

Just like jocks would enjoy the company of other jocks and find nerds uncool and weird, and nerds would enjoy the company of other nerds and find jocks annoying and uncouth, likewise Pfhorrest finds the behaviour of some to be brash and grating.

Immaturity complaints aside (both jocks and nerds can be immature after all, they'd just express it in different ways), there does likewise seem to be a bit of 'chalk and cheese' going on here.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:42 pm UTC

I'm going to take up Pfhorrest's side here, on the basis of that I think he's on to something.

There is a difference here that's based on a bit more than preferences of activities. Someone could like a wide range of jock activities, and share not a single nerd activity, and yet still meet the definition of classy as it's being used here. Now sure, there's going to be some correlation between interests and traditional methods of behavior, but we are still relying on the latter, not the former.

Ultimately, not all cultural standards are of equal value. The guy who derives pleasure from "rolling coal" next to your open window and laughing at your annoyance is not quite the same as someone who derives pleasure from reading a good book. The difference goes beyond one's interests.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:57 pm UTC

I didn't know what the phrase "rolling coal" meant, but looking it up on Wikipedia just now:

Rolling coal is a form of conspicuous air pollution, for entertainment, for public display of aggression toward others, or for protest.[3] Some drivers intentionally trigger coal rolling in the presence of hybrid vehicles (when it is nicknamed "Prius repellent") to cause their drivers to lose sight of the road and inhale harmful air pollution. Coal rolling may also be directed as an act of display or aggression directed at foreign cars, bicyclists, protesters, and pedestrians.[5][6][7][8] Practitioners cite "American freedom" and a stand against "rampant environmentalism" as reasons for coal rolling.[9][10]


Yeah that's pretty much the perfect example of whatever the opposite of "classy" is.

People who do shit like that are engaging in a form of violence and deserve violence in retaliation until they get it through their thick fucking skulls that that kind of shit is not okay.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby ijuin » Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:08 am UTC

I think that the “laughing at your annoyance” part is key here—these people are deriving their pleasure from creating displeasure in others.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby elasto » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:17 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Ultimately, not all cultural standards are of equal value. The guy who derives pleasure from "rolling coal" next to your open window and laughing at your annoyance is not quite the same as someone who derives pleasure from reading a good book. The difference goes beyond one's interests.

Well, agreed. That's why I said some of what he described could be grouped under the category of immature or childish behaviour. I'd class rolling coal as childish behaviour at best.

But as an aside I also pointed out that whatever the opposite grouping is - whether that's nerds vs jocks, intellectuals vs physicals, introverts vs extroverts etc.* can also engage in immature and childish behaviour. It just might be a form of behaviour that doesn't grate on him as much, like, I dunno, pedantry. Someone in the opposite grouping might not be at all bothered by someone aggressively revving at a traffic light, say, or drinking boisterously, but persistent pedantry might really get under their skin.


*these are not meant to be equivalent divisions, merely examples of crude ways of dividing up people, as per Zamfir's '2-fold theory'.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:06 am UTC

Behaviors traditionally seen as “low class” can often be linked to poor impulse control. The willingness to curb your behavior so it doesn’t interfere with the lives of others is regarded as civility. Self control and constraint are seen as essential traits of the “better” class of people.
So, it has little to do with what your interests are-a roomful of tabletop gamers can be just as obnoxious as a bar full of sportsball fans-and much to do with an ability to think of others and not impinge on their experience.
After all, one insult often hurled when a boisterous person is asked to be quiet is “tight ass!”, saying that being able to not shit in public is a problem.
Remember the marshmallow experiment? Seeing if kids could resist eating the treat immediately to reap a doubled reward later was seen as a predictor of future success. The whole premise was that self restraint was the valuable trait needed to do well in life. More recent examinations of the test show that kids have lots of reasons for “passing” or “failing”, and most of them have to do with the stability of their home lives, a far more important element in future success.
And all of these categories of behavior are culturally based. In places where people spend more time in public spaces, being loud in public isn’t a big deal. When I go to the park there will be loud groups and quiet groups, and they are almost always ethnically based. I have had to consciously remind myself that enjoying the park at a higher volume than I would isn’t a crime, and I can easily cope with it.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:17 pm UTC

As a personality trait, what you are describing echoes with "grace under pressure". Also, "refinement" probably comes close to what you are looking for.

Some words that come to mind are "gentleman" (vs. "boor"). Somewhat less clear is the feminine version, "lady" (vs... what? "Tramp" is wrong because of its baggage).

There is also "poor" (a state of mind) vs "broke" (an economic condition).

A bit more pejorative is "beer" vs "wine".

Pfhorrest wrote:...while if I see some asshole in a huge new truck or in the yard of his McMansion with a boat in the driveway being like that, I feel like "come on, you have no fucking excuse, get your goddamn shit together and act like a civilized human being!"
I see where you're coming from, but losing a loved one (for example) hurts the same in either case.

And I think PAstrychef is onto something linking the high/low class behavior you are talking about with impulse control.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:21 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I didn't know what the phrase "rolling coal" meant, but looking it up on Wikipedia just now:

Yeah that's pretty much the perfect example of whatever the opposite of "classy" is.

People who do shit like that are engaging in a form of violence and deserve violence in retaliation until they get it through their thick fucking skulls that that kind of shit is not okay.


It's less popular in urban areas, in part because cops are not overly fond of it. But it's a thing I've seen here even so, and it's particularly unpleasant. Now if the dude just likes cars, and tricking his out...cool. That ain't bothering anyone.

ijuin wrote:I think that the “laughing at your annoyance” part is key here—these people are deriving their pleasure from creating displeasure in others.


Yeah, that's key, though indifference to the harm you're causing others can also count.

I think the self control is indeed pretty big. Self control and empathy will get you a long way, in your culture or another. Having the self awareness to look around you, see what others are doing, and trying to act similarly will work well enough in almost all circumstances, even if in a foreign culture.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:00 pm UTC

Is pfhorest trying to write up a dating/meetup profile? Because there's a mixture of different behaviors he's looking for. Some are personal to his peers, and doesn't affect him directly (consumption choices) some are trollish jerk behaviors, like rolling coal. Maybe you should self sort into a different neighborhood?

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:47 pm UTC

No, it's just a thought that's been rolling around in my head since a while back when I ranted about some asshole rednecks (a term which, to me, doesn't mean "manual laborer", but a specific variant of the low-class type of person I'm thinking of) and someone said that was classist, which is absurd because I consider myself lower-class, in the economic sense of "class" that seems most common. I've nothing against poor people; I am poor. I just have something against boorish uncivilized assholes. I've since been trying to think of the best words to put that in and failing to come up with any, thought I'd ask.

Also, it's kind of hard to self-sort into a different neighborhood when you're so poor you could barely afford to be trailer trash. I'd love to move to a classier trailer park than this, but they're all too expensive; and never mind living in a real fucking house. The asshole rednecks seem to own all of those.

The world is fucking upside-down.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:28 pm UTC

You may actually be of a higher class than them, in that they are looked down upon more than a relatively well-educated California suburbanite. Where I grew up, Simi Valley, there are lower, middle, and upper class areas, but the city as a whole seems middle class, and even people in the lower class parts are significantly better off than people in much of The Valley. At the same time, the rich in Beverly Hills would spit on the rich of Simi Valley. Class is something that can be identified at all scales of society.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:37 pm UTC

I'd very much like to live in a neighborhood of somewhat higher class myself. The crime in the area alone...can't have nice lawn furniture or decorations, it'll be stolen. Can't leave a bike unlocked, it'll be stolen. Had a vehicle utterly trashed by vandals. Insurance company totaled it out. But sadly, it's not even a cheap neighborhood. Can't find a house here of any caliber for less than a few hundred thousand. And to be fair, there's a few people that are quite nice...but dealing with toxic neighbors is awful. And while some areas are better, I'm not sure there are any areas where the problem vanishes entirely.

If I had my way, I'd have a nice cushion of land buffering me from the neighbors so I wouldn't have to care much, but that's definitely a cost/location thing. One day, though.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:05 pm UTC

Not sure which sense of "class" you're using there, Thesh. The people who own the actual houses in the neighborhood around the trailer park where I live are definitely of higher economic class than me, because, you know, they can afford real houses.

(But hey, cool to learn you're another VC native).
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Re: Class vs class

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:44 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:No, it's just a thought that's been rolling around in my head since a while back when I ranted about some asshole rednecks (a term which, to me, doesn't mean "manual laborer", but a specific variant of the low-class type of person I'm thinking of) and someone said that was classist, which is absurd because I consider myself lower-class, in the economic sense of "class" that seems most common.
You do you realize you literally just invoked the classist equivalent of That's Absurd, I Can't Be Racist, I'm <Insert Race Here> -- right? I mean, not trying to be confrontational or hostile here, but that is pretty much what that response amounts to. "I can't be classist, I'm a member of the poor class!" What -- you don't think poor people can engage in classism?
Pfhorrest wrote:I've nothing against poor people; I am poor. I just have something against boorish uncivilized assholes. I've since been trying to think of the best words to put that in and failing to come up with any, thought I'd ask.
Listen: I grew up in a poor blue-collar family. Everyone drank, smoked, and watched sports. Loudly. Sometimes, they even got verbally abusive (or even violent!) because their team lost.

I am a teetotaler who does not smoke and, until a recent conversation, was not even aware which sport Tom Brady participates in (no, I'm not joking). I hate loud conversations and loathe violence. I'm also deeply uncomfortable in loud spaces where people are drinking and watching sports (because those are places my personal experience has taught me to associate with a potential for violence).

I'm establishing this so I can get across to you that I, too, have a negative response to these things. Nevertheless, I understand that these things -- all of them -- are value neutral. There's nothing actually bad about loud conversations. There's nothing bad about drinking or smoking (outside of health risks, but hey; in the words of Thank You For Smoking, the great state of Vermount will not apologize for its cheese!), enjoying sports is fine (I mean, just don't get violent over it), and there's nothing "low-class" about, well, being "low-class".

All the negative stuff you're ascribing to these people amount to you just finding their behavior obnoxious. That's it. And that's fine; you're allowed to find people who smoke and talk loud and enjoy sports and drink lots of booze obnoxious. You're also allowed to find people who don't do these things obnoxious. I talk endlessly about Batman; my house-mate finds that obnoxious. That's okay. People have different preferences, and our preferences are what they are. There's no shame in experiencing or (responsibly) expressing them.

But this stuff isn't 'uncivilized' -- no more uncivilized, at least, than me deciding to post my 100k word fanfic that re-imagines the entire cinematic Marvel universe based around Doctor Doom's inclusion.
Pfhorrest wrote:Also, it's kind of hard to self-sort into a different neighborhood when you're so poor you could barely afford to be trailer trash. I'd love to move to a classier trailer park than this, but they're all too expensive; and never mind living in a real fucking house. The asshole rednecks seem to own all of those.
Instead of 'asshole rednecks', why not just 'assholes'? Because yeah -- using rednecks as an insult is maybe a little classist. I mean, it's not so classist that Karl Marx is spinning in his grave (and there are other attributes to it; it's also been used to indicate racism, for example) -- but the primary purpose of the term is as a criticism of poor, uneducated, "dirty" Southern people. In the context you're using here, it definitely does come off as kind-of-classist.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Thesh » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:52 pm UTC

What I mean is that there are different areas in Simi Valley, some of them I could never afford to live in, some of them have people who will never be able to afford to live in my house with only two incomes. Some of the people are renters, some have mortgages, and some have multiple homes that they rent out and others have small businesses or large stock portfolios they live on. They are clearly different socioeconomic classes of people who are segmented by neighborhood within the city, whose children go to different schools and who have different opportunities, and demographics that vary predictably.

At the same time, they have more opportunities and live in a better area than many parts of the country, even close by. So while they may perceive themselves as lower class, there are also people of lower socioeconomic status in this country that they look down upon as well. If you look at their opportunities and socioeconomic status from the perspective as a nation as a whole, they are even further from the bottom. If you look at them from the perspective of the world, they are even further from the bottom. Socioeconomic class is something that is always relative.

Even in the most impoverished regions, there are people who wield considerably more power than others, some people who form a management class, and some people who form a laborer class with considerably less power than everyone else. No matter what the scale of the economy, invariably the people in the richest areas tend to have the most influence over where development takes place in their region, the middle class the next largest, and the poorest the least influence. What is considered upper, lower, and middle class varies depending on your perspective.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:02 pm UTC

Hippo(name intentionally changed to avoid pinging as requested) wrote:You do you realize you literally just invoked the classist equivalent of That's Absurd, I Can't Be Racist, I'm <Insert Race Here> -- right? I mean, not trying to be confrontational or hostile here, but that is pretty much what that response amounts to. "I can't be classist, I'm a member of the poor class!" What -- you don't think poor people can engage in classism?
Pfhorrest wrote:I've nothing against poor people; I am poor. I just have something against boorish uncivilized assholes. I've since been trying to think of the best words to put that in and failing to come up with any, thought I'd ask.
Listen: I grew up in a poor blue-collar family. Everyone drank, smoked, and watched sports. Loudly. Sometimes, they even got verbally abusive (or even violent!) because their team lost.


Race and behavior are different things. One can choose to behave rudely or not. One isn't given a choice as to what race they are. Treating them as equal would be unfair.

Yes, there is a statistical correlation between money and behavior. That does not mean that someone poor must smoke and drink.

I am a teetotaler who does not smoke and, until a recent conversation, was not even aware which sport Tom Brady participates in (no, I'm not joking). I hate loud conversations and loathe violence. I'm also deeply uncomfortable in loud spaces where people are drinking and watching sports (because those are places my personal experience has taught me to associate with a potential for violence).

I'm establishing this so I can get across to you that I, too, have a negative response to these things. Nevertheless, I understand that these things -- all of them -- are value neutral. There's nothing actually bad about loud conversations. There's nothing bad about drinking or smoking (outside of health risks, but hey; in the words of Thank You For Smoking, the great state of Vermount will not apologize for its cheese!), enjoying sports is fine (I mean, just don't get violent over it), and there's nothing "low-class" about, well, being "low-class".


These things are not value neutral. Even putting health risks to the side(and they are significant), someone exposing you to smoke is forcing you to put up with his behavior. Now, if they're smoking at home, or in the company of other smokers, all well and good. I'm not going to walk into Smokey's Smoke Emporium and be appalled that there is an odor of smoke there.

But the same respect ought to be conveyed in turn. And when it isn't, well, that's why we end up with a lot of laws. If folks were a bit more considerate, we might be able to handle many problems at a social level, instead of having legal battles over everything, but unfortunately, the history of smoking is fairly uncivil. A significant number of laws ended up as necessary to prevent smokers from inflicting their choice upon others.

Vaping will probably go the same way. There was a particularly shitty salesman in my local mall that used to blow smoke in people's faces, to include children, and when confronted, would immediately begin talking about how safe it is. Even if we assume that he is correct, and it's entirely safe, that guy is still a dick. He's provoking confrontation as a sales tactic.

But this stuff isn't 'uncivilized' -- no more uncivilized, at least, than me deciding to post my 100k word fanfic that re-imagines the entire cinematic Marvel universe based around Doctor Doom's inclusion.


Civilization exists largely because people manage to get along with each other with fairly minimal conflict. If you go around provoking conflict, yes, you are uncivilized. That's why we call rude, boorish people uncivil. Society is unlikely to be harmed by your fanfic, even if it is terrible. It's unlikely to provoke much in the way of conflict. Thus, it's not really equal to the sort of thing we're talking about here.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:34 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:No, it's just a thought that's been rolling around in my head since a while back when I ranted about some asshole rednecks (a term which, to me, doesn't mean "manual laborer", but a specific variant of the low-class type of person I'm thinking of) and someone said that was classist, which is absurd because I consider myself lower-class, in the economic sense of "class" that seems most common.
You do you realize you literally just invoked the classist equivalent of That's Absurd, I Can't Be Racist, I'm <Insert Race Here> -- right? I mean, not trying to be confrontational or hostile here, but that is pretty much what that response amounts to. "I can't be classist, I'm a member of the poor class!" What -- you don't think poor people can engage in classism?

Tyndmyr already addressed most of what I wanted to say in response to most of your post, but I want to address this part separately myself. The implication was that I was being classist against the poor, when I am myself poor, is absurd. The racial equivalent of that would be someone on the internet saying something against, say, gangsta rap culture or something, being called racist for that (implicitly, against black people), and then clarifying that they themselves are a black person, so it's not about race but about behavior.

Tyndmyr wrote:Race and behavior are different things. One can choose to behave rudely or not. One isn't given a choice as to what race they are. Treating them as equal would be unfair.

I don't really like "it's not a choice" type arguments because they cede the more important factor. Is the thing in question morally relevant? Race is not. Even if we could choose what skin color to have, it wouldn't be a morally relevant thing, and so wouldn't be a sound basis for discrimination. On the other hand, if someone had, say, some kind of uncontrollable compulsion to eat other people, it doesn't matter whether they have a choice in that or not, that's a reason to treat them differently. This is why I think the "it's not a choice I was just born this way" argument against, for example, LGBT+ discrimination, is actually harmful: it tacitly cedes that there is something wrong being done and then excuses it with a "sorry I can't help it" response, but the real front of the argument should be whether there's anything wrong being done to begin with (which, in that case, there definitely is not).
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Re: Class vs class

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:48 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Tyndmyr already addressed most of what I wanted to say in response to most of your post, but I want to address this part separately myself. The implication was that I was being classist against the poor, when I am myself poor, is absurd. The racial equivalent of that would be someone on the internet saying something against, say, gangsta rap culture or something, being called racist for that (implicitly, against black people), and then clarifying that they themselves are a black person, so it's not about race but about behavior.
Either I'm deeply misunderstanding your reasoning, here, or you quite literally don't understand what the problem is behind a "No, I'm not bigoted against X, Because I Am Part of X" defense is. There are circumstances where that response is applicable; they are pretty rare, and none of the examples you've brought up qualify.

That being said: As I'm not going to read Tyndmyr's posts (and that would add a deep layer of confusion to this discussion), I'll opt out here. I just want to say that yes, I think you're being kind of gross and classist, but I hope you take that less as a personal attack and more as a reason to engage in some self-analysis.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:58 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Either I'm deeply misunderstanding your reasoning, here, or you quite literally don't understand what the problem is behind a "No, I'm not bigoted against X, Because I Am Part of X" defense is. There are circumstances where that response is applicable; they are pretty rare, and none of the examples you've brought up qualify.

I'm struggling to think of a circumstance where it is not applicable, besides some (I would hope!) rare kind of self-hatred. (I know of a male webcomic artist who seems to hate all men, for example, but that is bizarre and confusing and he does seem to genuinely hate himself along with it).

If a member of group X has a problem with a thing that some people do, and that thing tends to correlate with group X, and someone else accuses the first person of being biased against group X, it's absolutely a sound defense to say that he's obviously not because he's a member of group X. A member of a group can be against a thing mere correlated with their group without being against their group, really easily; while blanketly hating the group that you yourself are a member of seems like it'd be pretty hard to do.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:06 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Race and behavior are different things. One can choose to behave rudely or not. One isn't given a choice as to what race they are. Treating them as equal would be unfair.

I don't really like "it's not a choice" type arguments because they cede the more important factor. Is the thing in question morally relevant? Race is not. Even if we could choose what skin color to have, it wouldn't be a morally relevant thing, and so wouldn't be a sound basis for discrimination. On the other hand, if someone had, say, some kind of uncontrollable compulsion to eat other people, it doesn't matter whether they have a choice in that or not, that's a reason to treat them differently. This is why I think the "it's not a choice I was just born this way" argument against, for example, LGBT+ discrimination, is actually harmful: it tacitly cedes that there is something wrong being done and then excuses it with a "sorry I can't help it" response, but the real front of the argument should be whether there's anything wrong being done to begin with (which, in that case, there definitely is not).


That's fair. I think both arguments are valid. Skin color isn't a choice, and neither does it have moral weight. I don't think we usually have a lot of examples of significant moral weights that are completely bereft of choice, but I acknowledge that there might be some. In the specific case of LGBT, sure, even if it were 100% a choice, it'd still not be an immoral choice.

By and large, I think we only ought to condemn folks if both are true. If someone had some sort of inborn necessity to eat people, I might act differently in response, but I wouldn't consider them immoral for the chances of their birth. It'd be like calling a wild lion immoral. They eat prey, it happens. I want to not be prey, but hey. That's just life.

In the cases of the behaviors that bother you, both qualifications apply. The individual has choice, and additionally, it is inflicting some cost on unwilling participants. If they are enjoying sports in the privacy of their home, you likely don't care. If they are making a large public fuss about it, or worse rioting(sports riots are awful from my POV), then there's a problem.

Anyways, as for the issue of identification...self hatred is a thing, but it's also pretty clearly not at issue here unless you happen to also do the things you hate. So, I'm not sure why hippo's perceived it as classist. You identify as poor, but do not identify with that behavior. Straightforward enough.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby ucim » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:12 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Either I'm deeply misunderstanding your reasoning, here, or you quite literally don't understand what the problem is behind a "No, I'm not bigoted against X, Because I Am Part of X" defense is.
It's the former, I believe.

He's not saying "I'm not bigoted against X", he's saying "X is not the thing I'm bigoted against", and looking for better words to describe just what it is that he finds noxious. He's drawing a fine distinction, but a valid and important one.

You can safely ignore the "...because I'm part of X" part, as it's not really part of his question. And it's a question. "What is a good word for the Y that I'm against, given that it's not X?"

And I'll reiterate PAstrychef's point that poor impulse control is probably a big part of it. I'll also reiterate that imposition on the unwilling is another part of it. Those two together probably make up Y.

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Weeks » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:19 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:while blanketly hating the group that you yourself are a member of seems like it'd be pretty hard to do.
Internalized racism is a thing that exists, yes. So is internalized classism, internalized sexism, etc.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:23 pm UTC

ucim wrote:And I'll reiterate PAstrychef's point that poor impulse control is probably a big part of it. I'll also reiterate that imposition on the unwilling is another part of it. Those two together probably make up Y.


I think he may subtly disagree with us by pointing out that it is less connected to life performance than other factors...but with respect to the subset that is how one is perceived, I think it's pretty important. It merely means that one can apparently do well in the current economy despite being a jackass. As support for that...*gestures at politics*

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Re: Class vs class

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:39 pm UTC

Yeah I don't have any problem with people who have poor impulse control so long as they keep it to themselves. Someone can't stop eating and gets fat from that? Not my problem, good luck to them on overcoming that. Someone gets too horny too easily and rushes into unsafe sex and catches an STD? Not my problem good luck to them dealing with that. It's only when people can't control their impulses to do things that I (or other unwilling people generally) then have to deal with that I have any objection, and by then it's not really about whether it's an inability to control impulses or a perfectly controlled and calculated behavior carried out in utter disregard for other people. In fact the latter is much worse, and that's part of why reading about coal-rollers infuriated me so. These assholes wasted a bunch of money and time purposefully modifying their vehicles in a way that allows them to purposefully bother other people? That's not poor impulse control, that's intentional asshollery. Honestly I want to put that in a whole other, much worse category than just people being merely inconsiderate while doing loud/messy/smoky/whatever things that they enjoy without thinking of who else they're subjecting to them who might not enjoy them.
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Re: Class vs class

Postby sardia » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:41 pm UTC

If the game we are trying to play is "Are we racist/classist,/etc etc then I'll point to some prejudging examples in the op.
conspicuous consumption showing off whatever wealth they might have, be it flashy brand-name clothes and jewelry, to loud sports cars and motorcycles, to boats and RVs and such "decorating" their driveways.
do you actually know a person that does this? How well do you know their life circumstances?
Brand name clothes don't mean much in the age of fast fashion. Is the jewelry real or have a known price tag?
I happen to know people just like the op described, but I have way more knowledge about their life circumstances. I know how much they get paid, how long they work, their job performances, their reasons for time off, their future career potential, etc etc. I also receive the water-cooler gossip about my staff. Even with all that, I am not eager to make judgements about their lives.
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