Patterico's Pontifications

4/11/2016

More on Living in the Bubble

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Our host started a lively discussion a couple weeks back with his post on Charles Murray’s “Do You Live in a Bubble” quiz. To provide the briefest of recaps: Murray created a 25 question quiz, the answers to which inform you whether or not you are insulated from what Murray defines as “middle class America.” The higher your score, Murray contends, the more affinity you have with middle class people and middle class values, and the lower you score the more you can be said to live in a bubble. Patterico then followed up with a post in which he and many of his readers revealed their precise answers to the individual questions, and we had a general discussion about the accuracy of Murray’s model.

Now Murray has compiled a list of the U.S. zip codes which he believes have the highest proportion of bubble dwellers, or, to use his own words, neighborhoods in which you would live “[i]f you want your child to grow up clueless about mainstream white America.” He summarized the results on the PBS website last week, with a sample size of 50,000+ respondents who took his quiz and reported on the zip code they lived in at age 10. Not surprisingly, Manhattan has six of the lowest scores, with the 10023 zip of the Upper West Side registering an amazingly low 12.5 average score on the quiz. Other low scores include the Westfield, NJ area which is a suburb of the New York-Newark megalopolis; Orinda, CA located on the east side of the Berkeley hills; Kendall, FL, just south of Miami; and Newton Center, MA which is a tony suburb of Boston. Fifty-seven of the 75 zip codes with the highest concentration of bubble dwellers are in or around New York City, San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, and Boston.

Murray also attaches a metric regarding the socioeconomic status (SES) for each of the 75 zip codes. While we might not be surprised that neighborhoods that rank in the top one-fifth of one percent (i.e., an SES of 99.8%) on that scale are heavily represented (Short Hills, NJ; Palo Alto, CA; Wellesley Hills, MA), it is quite surprising to see some moderate-to-low income zip codes on the list such as the Lower East Side of Manhattan (average quiz score of 18, SES of 31.8%), the Los Angeles suburb of La Mirada (24.5 average score, SES of 70.8%), and Nike’s headquarters location of Beaverton (average score of 22, SES of 74.5%) just outside of Portland. Bubble living, then, can be said to be more than just a function of wealth, encompassing additional issues of immigration, lifestyle, and local politics.

Murray writes that he is next considering comparing the zip code of the quiz respondents at age 10 to their current zip code, presumably to see if there is a migratory pattern where people relocate to neighborhoods more reflective of their own scores.

I’ll just note in passing that two zip codes in Palos Verdes made it onto Murray’s list. Remind me folks: which blogger that we know lives in Rancho Palos Verdes?

– JVW

58 Responses to “More on Living in the Bubble”

  1. Naturally the comments from the sheltered leftists on the PBS site are along the lines of “Why would you let that racist Charles Murray promote his so-called research on your site?”

    JVW (9e3c77)

  2. oh my goodness i actually remember the zip code i lived in when i was ten

    i know they changed it too to where now it’s different

    happyfeet (831175)

  3. In all, 79 percent came from these five areas [NY, SF, Boston, DC, LA], which contain just 15 percent of the nation’s population…

    Four of the five are also the power centers of contemporary America. If you think in terms of “people who run the country,” whether you’re talking about politics, the economy or culture, an overwhelming majority live in the areas in and around Washington, New York, San Francisco/Silicon Valley and Los Angeles

    this is analogous to the way so many failmericans just sit there like beaten mongrel dogs waiting for harvardtrash to take them by the leash

    that’s the apotheosis of bubble i think

    happyfeet (831175)

  4. My kids will grow up in a bubble — no doubt.

    Rodney King's Spirit (db6706)

  5. Kendall FL is the haunts of a certain robotic dehydrated soon-to-be ex-senator.

    urbanleftbehind (d3ea16)

  6. Christopher “teh Falcon” Boyce?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  7. I think Mr. Murray needs to first learn what “middle class” is, before trying to test people on it.

    nk (9faaca)

  8. Roger that, nk

    felipe (56556d)

  9. Yeah, I’m not big on Murray’s conflating “middle class” with “white America.” Maybe the better way of looking at it is to consider middlebrow tastes, which in a lot of ways seemed to be what he was driving at in his quiz. Is your idea of the arts the latest Hollywood movie and Top 40 music, or is it existential Icelandic lesbian theater and transgender hip-hop slam poetry? Do you eat at fast food and chain restaurants, or do you only eat at the local vegan fair trade food counter at your local market co-op? Which do you have more of: friends with colorful nicknames like Cooter, Dude, and Chica, or friends who prefer to go by gender-neutral pronouns like “xe”? These sort of questions would tease out middle-brow culture versus the trendy urban bubble that Murray sees.

    JVW (9e3c77)

  10. Paraphrased from Wiki:

    Charles Murray was born in Newtown, Iowa and raised in a Republican “Norman Rockwell kind of family” that stressed moral responsibility. His father, Alan was a Maytag Co. executive. He had an intellectual youth but was a prankster, hung out at a pool hall for juvenile delinquents, studied debate, espoused labor unionism and once burned a cross next to a police station. He had great SAT’s and got into Harvard got a BA in History and a PhD in poli-sci from MIT. Went to Thailand with the Peace Corps, although middle class married the daughter of a wealthy Thai businessman.

    Seems to me before he married up he was pretty middle class albeit upper middle class.

    However, I disagree with nk’s proposition that Murray has to “learn” what middle class is. I think we all pretty much know what middle class is even Charles Murray. Again, disagreeing with someone does not automatically make him either stupid, ignorant or a liar. So what say you, nk, do you still think Charles Murray needs to “learn” what the middle class is or can you find it in your heart to give to him that which we all know? BTW, what gave you the indication he didn’t know what the middle class is and needed remedial help to know?

    Hoagie ™ (e4fcd6)

  11. Really JVW? You got all that from the Bubble Test? I just thought he was poking fun at freekin’ snobs. But I’m not too sophisticated.

    Hoagie ™ (e4fcd6)

  12. no, rubio is from west miami, not kendall, as serious a mistake as mistake inglewood for simi valley,

    narciso (732bc0)

  13. TV is definitely middlebrow, yet it is written by people who live in the bubble. I’m continually surprised by what they don’t know and it’s part of why I hate to watch TV. One series which my wife and I watched, the writers showed that they had no knowledge of the process of buying a house. A critical plot point depended on the overwhelming whiteness of Milwaukee (40% black, 17% Hispanic, 45% non-white Hispanic). In this series, one of the heroes is a lawyer who will never take a case that challenges legal abortion, however she happily represents a drug lord and all his crew, as well as a psychopathic millionaire who has murdered more than one of his wives–and no one finds this strange. I mean every week there was some glaring error of fact or logic or something totally different from the life experience of anyone who has worked for a living.

    It seems like a paradox. Mainstream white America watches a lot of TV, and internalizes a lot of it,yet it is written by people who live in New York and LA and know very little about mainstream white America.

    Gabriel Hanna (ae37ae)

  14. which show is this?

    narciso (732bc0)

  15. @narcisco: which show is this?

    The Good Wife. The supporting cast is really pretty good, but the stories are frequently stupid and the main character is the worst Mary Sue and the actress isn’t that good.

    Gabriel Hanna (ae37ae)

  16. @13 Gabriel: While I can’t speak to the portrayal of buying a house or the demographics of Milwaukee, I don’t see a contradiction in the depiction of the lawyer. Many criminal defense lawyers are liberals and support pro-choice views on abortion.

    I’m not even sure what a case that “challenges legal abortion” would be like, because typically abortion litigation involves a private party on one side and a government official on the other side, where the private party is the one challenging restrictions on abortion. (Examples: Roe v. Wade, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Gonzales v. Carhart.) A criminal defense lawyer in private practice wouldn’t be called upon to represent the government in supporting the pro-life side in a case like that.

    Joshua K. (9ede0e)

  17. @Joshua K. A criminal defense lawyer in private practice

    Oh, these lawyers all do everything. (You can’t see me rolling my eyes.) Don’t even get me started. I don’t know much about law but lawyers must react to this show like I react to Big Bang Theory–or like I would react to a show about actuaries, if there was one.

    Many criminal defense lawyers are liberals and support pro-choice views on abortion.

    She doesn’t just defend them once in a while; these two villains are a large percentage of her firm’s business. She’s their lawyer, and handles everything for them in addition to defending them when they and they associates are charged with crimes.

    Gabriel Hanna (ae37ae)

  18. the show is set in Chicago, with all the attendant craziness of cook county, I don’t recall a milwaukee storyline,

    narciso (732bc0)

  19. @narcisco:the show is set in Chicago,

    They were defending a young Arab man, of course completely guiltless, apprehended as a terror suspect. He was a student in Milwaukee and of course there are so few non-white people in Milwaukee that this was the only reason he was a suspect. The characters said this more than once, and without irony.

    Gabriel Hanna (ae37ae)

  20. The survey strikes me as basically garbage. It’s either poorly thought out, or is often measuring whether or not you live in the same Charles Murray bubble.

    For example:

    When I eat out, it’s exclusively those kind of low end chain restaurants the survey was looking for. But because of the specific restaurants listed, I entered in 1 visit. So instead of scoring highly, I scored about the same as a wealthy hipster vegan in terms of restaurant habits.

    Again on the military question. I score the same as the wealthy hipster vegan who’s never met any active duty military–despite the fact that 80% of my social circle is active or former military–because I’ve never paid much attention to rank insignia. Alter the question to something else military related, and I’d probably score quite well.

    And the NASCAR question. Why use NASCAR instead of the NFL–the actual most popular sport in the US and one with far less regionally concentrated.

    The varsity letter question? Same. Like every elitist snob, I was home schooled in a rural, evangelical Christian environment… oh wait. Aside from my weird case, do a majority of public high school students get varsity letters? I doubt it. How is that an effective measurement of whether or not you went to a snobby private school?

    Then there’s the Greyhound bus question. Is this the 1950s? Is Sally taking the Greyhound to Hollywood with dreams of stardom? There were a lot of lower middle class rural folks around where I grew up. They all freaking drove. The college kids drove. The upper class people drove. The United States drives or flies. The only people I’ve ever met who rode long distance buses were college kids and ironic hipsters too cool to drive. I guess I finally got a question that differentiated me from that vegan hipster, though.

    Branson? Another regional question. No wonder you get weird results. Why would you expect someone from, say, Oregon to recognize that, regardless of their bubble living conditions?

    All in all, it really isn’t surprising that you see some weird places show up as bubble zones. I would guess that if you charted out the so called “bubble zones”, the biggest commonality would be how different those neighborhoods are from where Charles Murray grew up.

    ZZ (3776b4)

  21. @ZZ: I’m sure no one you know recognizes Branson, and no one Pauline Kael knew voted for Nixon, supposedly.

    These questions were not picked out of the air. They came from surveys of thousands of people from all over.

    There are people from Oregon who know about Branson and would like to go there, but you don’t find them much around Portland. There are a hell of a lot of people who ride the bus. If you find that unlikely, you’re in the bubble to that extent.

    At any rate, whether or not you got a specific question and doesn’t make sense in your context is beside the point. If all your friends were six foot tall women, it would still be true that men average taller than women. The results from the survey indicate averages. Maybe it doesn’t work well in your case, but it’s just an average.

    Gabriel Hanna (ae37ae)

  22. To understand the society you live in you should maintain contact with individuals at as many levels of society as you’re able to engage.

    ropelight (0adb4e)

  23. #22 ropelight said it best.

    That’s why The Mr Donald billionaire is such a great candidate. Because he’s maintained contact with many individuals at numerous levels. Go, The Mr Donald, go!

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  24. @Gabriel Hanna

    Well, no, I’m sure there’s people I know that would recognize Branson. And apparently it IS bigger than I thought, but it still seems to be a mostly regional tourist destination. I certainly wouldn’t mark somebody as living in a bubble for associating Dells with a computer company instead of a popular tourist destination in Wisconsin.

    “There are a hell of a lot of people who ride the bus. If you find that unlikely, you’re in the bubble to that extent.”

    According to the very article listed, that would be 25,000,000 Americans who rode a Greyhound in 2008.

    You might notice that as being less than 10% of the US population, and no mention of how many of those were over 50 miles. That’s about the same number of riders of Amtrak, but one is more rural and one more urban. Both of which are tiny compared to flying and driving. So why is it specifically Greyhound used?

    I’m guessing it’s for the same reason the <50,000 population living area was used, even though that's actually a minority of Americans. Charles Murray considers small town, rural America to be the "real America" and any other living situation gets you marked as living in a bubble, even if you're with THE MAJORITY OF AMERICA.

    "At any rate, whether or not you got a specific question and doesn’t make sense in your context is beside the point. If all your friends were six foot tall women, it would still be true that men average taller than women. The results from the survey indicate averages. Maybe it doesn’t work well in your case, but it’s just an average."

    Why would you ask these bizarre, specific questions instead of simply asking how often people eat at budget chain restaurants? You're going to get the results tainted by areas where a strictly regional chain is more popular than applebees/ihop/whatever.

    Additionally, if you want to measure military familiarity why ask a question specifically about military rank insignias, especially when the majority of them are from officers instead of enlisted? How many people do you think would recognize the Major General insignia because they saw it in a movie, or from an academic context, compared to people who actually know a Major General? Or, if you're primarily looking for current or former military, why not just ask?

    Or when the survey specifically defines high-prestige professions in a bizarre, nonsensical way. So Patterico marked "no" because his father was a CPA–which is pretty comparable to your average engineer in terms of money, working conditions, education, and prestige–and I marked "yes" because I figured my father was close enough to be comparable to the specific definitions.

    How can you get a survey to return anything BUT garbage with such ridiculous questions?

    ZZ (3776b4)

  25. The problem, though, is that someone with a giant high score is in just as much of a bubble, never leaving his NASCAR-loving, domestic beer-drinking, didn’t-finish-high-school buddies with their “Dogs Playing Poker” paint-by-numbers art on the walls of their book-free trailers.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  26. What WOULD be interesting is a test that showed actual dichotomies. Liking ballet and NASCAR. Opera and Hawaii Five-0. Dr House loved monster trucks. That kind of thing.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  27. Narciso, that’s a bit credulous, unless Kendall is a sort of Miami Dade PD briar patch. Kendall is probably a lot of transplants or temporary corporate given its proximity to Dadeland complexes and Coral Gables. The Inglewood of Miami would be in the mid 100s streets either North or South with more of a 50/50 black/latin vibe and less friction between the two than in greater LA.

    urbanleftbehind (468859)

  28. Ropelight did say it best in #22.

    But this study is going to be turned into “white cracker racist scum are segregating themselves so the ones in the bubble are those same white cracker racists.”

    I think what is happening (and I see it myself in my life) is that the more lefty crazy I see people and groups — the more I simply don’t engage. This includes any business that goes lefty on me. Unlike Leftists I don’t try to strong arm people to see it my way or use the Law to criminalize their freedom loving behavior.

    But what Murray is seeing is not bubble but polarization of America based on Culture, Values and Morality — with each side increasingly in a bubble of sorts.

    Rodney King's Spirit (db6706)

  29. Clarify: I don’t view it as living in a bubble, which presumes some pejorative. I view it as groups self segregating based on belief systems with income playing a huge role in how that happens. Rich Libs love Manhattan. Rich Conservatives Texas. Equally rich, equally segregated from the hoi poloi.

    Rodney King's Spirit (db6706)

  30. Murray created a 25 question quiz,

    It has nothing about (spectator) sports, but it has beer, cigarettes, and (probably heavily weighted) TV shows, movies and restaurants. Also wearing and knowledge of uniforms for pay, and usage of intercity buses and pick-up trucks. It doesn’t have too much dealing with proximity and association with other people.

    Sammy Finkelman (2c707f)

  31. ZZ:

    It’s either poorly thought out, or is often measuring whether or not you live in the same Charles Murray bubble.

    Probably close to that, except probably Chales Murray doesn’t do some of those things. It’s a different bubble, or a combination of two or three. It’s maybe geared to small town or semi-rural Kentucky or Tennessee, West Virginia – or Ohio, maybe., but Ohio has some national sports franchises. Parts of Ohio.

    It has some participation in organized group activities, but not ones typical for liberals. Veterans or ethnic parades, and Rotary clubs, Kiwanis and unions.

    Sammy Finkelman (2c707f)

  32. Post 25: When you and your mentor, Kevin Williamson ,decant a bottle of Opus wine and commence you’re store- front psychiatry on “”…paint by-numbers art on the walls of their book-free trailers crowd,” let us ,” the unwashed, ” appreciate you”re efforts in the up-lifting wars in the next post.

    mike191 (4c004d)

  33. mike191, I think Kevin M was merely inferring that demographic doesn’t have books in their trailers because they prefer to do their reading via Kindle. (LOL)

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  34. It’s not the quiz questions themselves, but the relationships between them that indicate social isolation in one or another bubble. You can be largely encapsulated in the working class, middle class, or upper class. Or, you can exhibit characteristics of social mobility – born in the working class and educated and employed in the managerial class, for example.

    The quiz is like a finger pointing at the moon, too much focus on the questions and you miss all the heavenly glory.

    ropelight (10648a)

  35. No, Kevin M was inventing a stereotype that typified the kind of answers that would get a high score on Murray’s test. It was not intended to speak to any actual persons, but to Murray’s apparent beliefs.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  36. So, a simple question:

    What are the extremes of YOUR tastes, on a high-brow/low-brow scale?

    (and of course, what IS low-brow, anyway?)

    I like the legitimate theater (paid good money to see “Copenhagen” in London before it came to the US and won the Tony). I also like Hawaii Five-0 and have seen every episode of _both_ series. (The Five-0 is the low-brow one).

    I read a lot of SF, but I can no longer read the kind of trashy SF which I grew up on. Gone is Doc Smith and ERB, replaces with Iain Banks and Charles Stross.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  37. Kevin M,

    Oh, I know you were speaking to Murray’s implied caricature. I just thought the Kindle line was a funny explanation for why someone wouldn’t have any books in the home.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  38. What are the extremes of YOUR tastes, on a high-brow/low-brow scale?

    (and of course, what IS low-brow, anyway?)

    If you like the author/humorist Joe Queenan (perhaps you have read some of his stuff at The American Spectator), then you would probably get a kick out of his book Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon, in which the writes a great deal about middle-brow and low-brow culture, but manages to not be completely condescending while doing so.

    Professional wrestling is low-brow culture, but is can be awesome. Monster truck rallies are low-brow culture, but they can be awesome. The Three Stooges is low-brow culture, but don’t anyone better say anything bad about them in my presence.

    Middle-brow to me is Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars and the various DC and Marvel superhero movies. It’s also professional sports, craft beer, and overseas vacations in tour groups.

    High-brow is season tickets to the opera, antique collecting as a hobby, and reading my posts at Patterico’s Pontifications, but perhaps I am too unfamiliar with that whole lifestyle.

    JVW (9e3c77)

  39. JVW, I might push the super hero stuff and comic-cons to a category of lower-middle brow. (LOL) There are too many adults over the age of 35 (the Constitutional age qualifying one as ‘old enough’ to become President) who dress up as Spider Man or Princess Leia, and spend hundreds of dollars over the course of a weekend with the same enthusiasm that you’d expect from a 10 year old boy.
    Only these 10 year old boys are over the age of 35 and hold real jobs at the Acme Corporation.

    I suppose there’s a factor of ‘how many people’ enjoy something which determines its status. For instance, if everyone all of a sudden abandoned watching The Kardashians for, say, the New York Met Opera broadcasts on the radio on Saturday, then would that push the opera from a “high-brow” pursuit to a “middle-brow” pursuit—simply based on its popularity among the masses? Just a little food for thought.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  40. For instance, if everyone all of a sudden abandoned watching The Kardashians for, say, the New York Met Opera broadcasts on the radio on Saturday, then would that push the opera from a “high-brow” pursuit to a “middle-brow” pursuit—simply based on its popularity among the masses? Just a little food for thought.

    I don’t think so. What would make opera middle-brow is if opera companies started doing operas based on rock, hip hop, or county & western music, or if they quit doing classic operas in their original language and only did them in English. I don’t think being middle-brow or high-brow has anything to do with how popular it is, it is more about whether the entertainment is traditionally enjoyed mostly by the educated and wealthy or if it appeals to the masses. Baccarat is high-brow, blackjack is middle-brow, and slot machines are low-brow. Again, that’s not to put a value judgement on any of the three casino diversions, it’s just a comment on their traditional appeal and the trappings of the game.

    JVW (9e3c77)

  41. JVW, I see what you’re saying. But here’s a scary proposition…what if The Kardashians began doing episodes where they literally read aloud the writings of, say, Thomas Aquinas? (LOL)
    Would that elevate The Kardashians to a higher brow the same way that adapting a Verdi work such as La Traviata to hip-hop would thereby lower its brow?

    These aren’t challenges, I’m just having fun imagining Beavis & Butthead reciting “O Captain, My Captain.”

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  42. “High-brow” is the NY Times. Low-brow is the moron gum-chewer (not! kidding) who just took my cancellation of a free digital subscription trial before it started costing me money.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  43. Suppose Paris Hilton was cast as Ophelia in a Broadway production of Hamlet, opposite Taylor Kitsch?

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  44. JVW, I see what you’re saying. But here’s a scary proposition…what if The Kardashians began doing episodes where they literally read aloud the writings of, say, Thomas Aquinas? (LOL)
    Would that elevate The Kardashians to a higher brow the same way that adapting a Verdi work such as La Traviata to hip-hop would thereby lower its brow?

    Absolutely! There is nothing that makes the Kardashians middle-brow or low-brow other than their own personal tastes. If they started cultivating a love for opera or fine art or for discussing theological treatises from the Doctors of the Church then I would most certainly consider them high-brow pursuits. Conversely, if they were to take the Summa of Aquinas and make and distribute a comic book version of it in modern language then I think we would consider that a middle-brow pursuit at best.

    JVW (9e3c77)

  45. Frankly, the quiz seems to be reasonably well done, as such things go. The problem is that, at least by the classic economics definition, everyone in the United States is Middle Class, save for a tiny minority of established landwners, far too small to matter.

    C. S. P. Schofield (234603)

  46. Yesterday, Facebook told me of the death in a racing accident of a very prominent and respected drag-racer that I had never heard of. The photograph that they chose to use for illustrating this article was of a NASCAR race.

    Douglas2 (247692)

  47. To ropelight,

    “It’s not the quiz questions themselves, but the relationships between them that indicate social isolation in one or another bubble. You can be largely encapsulated in the working class, middle class, or upper class. Or, you can exhibit characteristics of social mobility – born in the working class and educated and employed in the managerial class, for example.

    The quiz is like a finger pointing at the moon, too much focus on the questions and you miss all the heavenly glory.”

    I did a quick test using the evangelical Christian question, because that seems like the easiest test question to determine what the test is actually measuring.

    If you’re actually looking for people who don’t dwell in a bubble, maximum points should go to “Yes I’m close friends with an evangelical christian”, while also answering “No I am not an evangelical christian”. That would be the very definition of living outside a bubble–associating with people different from yourself. And yet, I got more points for answering “Yes” to both questions. It simply gives a 2 point bump for each, regardless of how you answer other questions on the quiz. So an evangelical Christian living in a community of nothing but evangelical Christians is going to score as being more outside of a bubble than an atheist with Buddhist parents, a Jewish wife, and two Evangelical Christians as best friends. That’s ridiculous.

    ZZ (3776b4)

  48. You can be largely encapsulated in the working class, middle class, or upper class. Or, you can exhibit characteristics of social mobility – born in the working class and educated and employed in the managerial class, for example.

    What the heck are you talking about, ZZ? The bubble was about lower, middle and upper classes. There was no mention of working class, which I would assume has members in all three since members in all three work. There is also no mention of some convoluted “managerial class” which up until you mentioned it I had no idea actually comprised a class but similar to your “working class” the supposed “managerial class” could again be lower, middle or upper class people depending on their positions. How would one be educated in the managerial class?

    Hoagie ™ (e4fcd6)

  49. #48 Hoagie,

    Sometimes it seems you’re just looking to pick at people.
    That’s fine. Whatever. DONALD TRUMP! (LOL)

    The “working class” is a term which actually pre-exists this thread. It tends to characterize people who work, yet who don’t make a lot of money.
    You freaked out about ZZ using the term “managerial class,” but the irony is that your good ol’ budddddy ropelight mentioned the “managerial class” in #34, yet you didn’t take a hammer to him about it.

    Cruz Supporter (102c9a)

  50. The “working class” predated the middle class as a term, since there really wasn’t much of a middle class until the last hundred years or so. Before then it was the professionals and business owners — the bourgeoisie. Most people worked hard for little or didn’t need to work.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  51. Hoagie, synonyms for lower, middle, and upper socioeconomic status are working class, managerial class, and ownership class.

    Individuals in all classes work, but the term working class is generally taken to indicate hourly wage earners, as opposed to salaried middle managers, and those with equity positions.

    The distinctions can get blurred around the margins, and of course nearly everyone wants to define themselves at the next higher level. So you get those who earn substantial income but have no college education considering themselves middle class, like union workers for example.

    ropelight (10648a)

  52. A sample of one is always chancy. But maybe there are more than one…. When poking around on youtube, I look for baroque music, a few classical favorites, sacred harp singing, country/gospel, old folk stuff. How do I list myself?
    I’ve been to Branson. Of six shows we attended, only one was country. The folks who seemed to be visiting were the least self-conscious bunch I’d ever seen.
    I grew up during the time when it was possible to survive–unfortunately–a nuclear exchange so, like a lot of us, I pay attention to the old ways of doing things, especially at various fairs and Colonial Williamsburg. Am I interested in history [yes] for the “right” reasons?
    One commenter mentioned scoring differently than he ought to because most of the specified budget chain restaurants were not represented where he lives, although he does frequent the only one. Presumably, he’d visit the others, as well, if they were around. We don’t eat out a lot so whether there were any or not doesn’t mean I’m at the family greasy spoon or the top-end joint.
    I grew up in one of those post-war neighborhoods built just in time for young guys just starting out with families. Everybody’s father and uncles were veterans. So were the Scout leaders, the catechism teachers once you’d graduated from the nuns. And the school teachers’ husbands and brothers. Our fathers talked to us about the service–I discovered decades later–by talking to each other when their sons were around. So much so that our service seemed like one of those boring necessities about which there was no need to get excited. Yeah, I know my ranks. Knowing Garands and BARs wasn’t as useful as we may have expected.
    My parents were Depression-traumatized saving fools. Thus, my idea of a good time doesn’t usually involve a lot of money or a dinner jacket.
    I graduated from Enormous State University, which puts me in one class, but I played lacrosse and was in a fraternity, which put me in a different class.
    Point is, with the best sympathy for Murray, I think this survey is only barely on point.
    He might ask, do you do volunteer work for small, local causes. What do you think of the spontaneous self-organizing when the Gleaners Truck shows up? Are the Thalys train heroes sui generis, are they typically American, could they be any American, or could we thank God they weren’t from Manhattan? If your neighbor has a problem, do you have the skills, the tools, and the willingness to help? IOW, first aid, minor repair, snowblower, take time to go to the ER, and initiative? Or would you stand there with your cell phone up in the air?

    Richard Aubrey (472a6f)

  53. “You freaked out about ZZ using the term “managerial class,” but the irony is that your good ol’ budddddy ropelight mentioned the “managerial class” in #34, yet you didn’t take a hammer to him about it.”

    The part he attributed to me was actually me quoting ropelight’s post to respond to it. I just messed up the italics so it wasn’t very clear with only quotation marks.

    ZZ (3776b4)

  54. I should also point out that the Obama administration, over the course of eight years, has indebted the entire country by $10 Trillion in order to further enrich those “in or around New York City, San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, and Boston.”

    cthulhu (e55cd3)

  55. Why use NASCAR instead of the NFL–the actual most popular sport in the US and one with far less regionally concentrated.

    Same as Branson; NASCAR and Branson, to the PBS writer and reader crowd, appeal only to rednecks and knuckledraggers. The Branson question is idiotic, I’ve physically been to Branson, but not to go to shows. I’ve also been to Broadway, but not to see the shows. Either place, I just don’t like that sort of thing.

    The varsity letter question?…How is that an effective measurement of whether or not you went to a snobby private school?

    Same thing; to the self profesed “elite” a letter means you are neo-Neanderthal Biff Meatslab who played high school football and now sells used cars. I got a football letter at a private boys school. Oops.

    Same thing with the fishing question – only redneck bubbas fish, especially the ones with the $3000 Orvis flyrods on their trips to Scotland.

    Same thing with the pickup truck question. I have one because I was tired of having to rent or borrow one, it is not an automatic stamp of being a gap-toothed hick.

    Most of the questions fall in the same pattern – only a rube in darkest Flyoverlandia would know/do/buy something.

    The problem, though, is that someone with a giant high score is in just as much of a bubble, never leaving his NASCAR-loving, domestic beer-drinking, didn’t-finish-high-school buddies with their “Dogs Playing Poker” paint-by-numbers art on the walls of their book-free trailers.

    No, the problem is that it is a rubbish survey because the PBS ilk can only think of people as categories, be it blacks, whites, rednecks, “elites”, or whatever, and not as people.

    I scored a 68. I am a professional (father was too) with more than one graduate degree. First job while deciding whether to go to college (or see if my number came up) was a union shop and close enough to a factory to call it one, but then the likes of Murray think there are only white collar jobs, and factories, I guess. Retired military. I keep domestic beer on hand for a friend who likes it. Raised in big cities, live in the sticks by choice, neighbor grows cotton. Am fascinated by NASCAR as F1 got boring. Have original artwork and a “Dogs Playing Poker”, but not a paint by number, and more books than shelves. There are more reasons to answer a given question a given way other than “I am a hick”, or “I am an urban elitist”.

    Lumping people in categories based on arbitrary questions written by someone obviously in a bubble with only stereotypic ideas about how people outside that bubble live, and is clueless about how people actually can and do move across and within social strata is nonsense.

    Rupert Papoon (470537)

  56. Geez, it is truly amazing to see how wounded everyone seems to be over their lower scores. Rupert Papoon scores a 68 and then complains (apparently) that the test doesn’t give enough credit to his blue-collar attributes? A 68 is a higher score. I’d say the test pegged you pretty good.

    I barely got any points on the restaraunt question because I’ve only been to one of those places in the last year, although when I eat out I do it at the famously lowbrow Taco Bell and some family-owned joints. Hardly the places food critics would visit. But that doesn’t really matter, considering the test covers a broad spectrum of lifestyle questions. I scored a 48, which is about right considering I’ve been involved with a lot of “flyover-American” stuff but I have a lot of “highbrow” sensibilities.

    Yoshi (0b283e)

  57. A 68 is a higher score. I’d say the test pegged you pretty good.

    That sound you heard, Yoshi, was the point going over your head. That which Murray has chosen as “blue collar” attributes, whether it is watching NASCAR, having domestic beer on hand, knowing military rank, or whatever, are utter rubbish and reflective only of the fact that he has, and continues, to live his cosseted life in a leftist coccoon and has no conception of life outside of it.

    By Murray’s survey, and my background (other than having been in the military and living on the edge of Tinytown), I should have scored about a 12. There are reasons people do/buy/know things other than being in a given social stratum. I know local born and raised high school grad Bubbas who hate NASCAR, hate domestic beers, and have interests that would have gotten them scores of about 12.

    Murray is playing only to sterotypes. People who live in “bubbles” only do so by choice, not because of their given social strata.

    Rupert Papoon (470537)

  58. I think you miss the point, Rupert Papoon. Seems to me Charles Murray was having a bit of fun creating a very loose fitting test as to where people are in the social scheme of things. I don’t think he was trying to pigeonhole you as either “I am a hick”, or “I am an urban elitist” just paint an approximate with a broad brush….for fun.

    And when you so definitively state:

    That which Murray has chosen as “blue collar” attributes, whether it is watching NASCAR, having domestic beer on hand, knowing military rank, or whatever, are utter rubbish and reflective only of the fact that he has, and continues, to live his cosseted life in a leftist coccoon and has no conception of life outside of it.

    it sounds like you begrudgingly took valuable time away from chasing kids off your lawn to tell the world you didn’t like the results of Charles Murray’s completely voluntary fun test which you took completely voluntarily. Especially as any adult knows NASCAR, domestic beer and knowing military rank definitely are blue collar attributes. So are mowing your own lawn, buying and putting together furniture rom Ikea and having an above ground pool. So what? Okay, your objection is noted. Now go get those damn kids!

    Hoagie ™ (e4fcd6)


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