Found this in a great Dutch article that I wish was available in English. I don't agree with this entirely (it's Jacobin, so everything must be about class) but I did find it interesting.
Fuck this essay and fuck this writer.
"Oppression of the lower classes by the uppers" is a tried-and-true complaint dating back to Dickens or before. There's nothing new under the sun. But it takes a special kind of choad to attempt the argument using opposites.
Roll that beautiful bean footage.
We've got a theme here that will reappear and reappear throughout the essay: access.
Spin classes - I took those at the Redmond Athletic Club, as many as I wanted, for $20 a month.
Artisanal food - available at your nearest food truck or city fair for pocket change.
"The college application process" - I mean, fuck right off with that shit.
Compare and contrast:
"Sunday Promenades" - wherein the author points out that Victorian parks required a permission slip to visit
"Evening lectures" - wherein the Victorians are simultaneously slammed for educating themselves and for attempting to keep up with the upper classes and holy shit it's not like "evening lectures" ceased to exist
"weekly salons" - WTF is a salon?
So. The Victorians, by the author's admission, locked out the lower classes by doing "rich stuff" with an insurmountable barrier to entry for the lower classes. "Twenty First Century Victorians", on the other hand, apparently have a gym membership. Hey, shit-for-brains: let's talk Lululemon:
Let's not for a minute pretend that rich white people wearing athletic wear wasn't appropriated from poor black people. Sure, not much Pearl Izumi in the 'hood but if you've ever priced Air Jordans you know that it's a status symbol that doesn't exactly cater to the poor. But let's continue:
I mean, I guess it's a rich thing because there was no Instagram in '36 or some shit.
If I can buy gluten-free Ronzoni for 30 cents more than not-gluten-free Ronzoni it has ceased to be a signifier. More to the point, the fact that I can buy gluten-free Ronzoni hasn't elevated the status of Tinkyada - it's destroyed it. Nobody wants to pay $7 for fuckin' rice noodles anymore. That's not elitism, that's market forces.
Again, not elitism, market forces. That whole "go to college, get a good job" thing is about landing in a place with family leave, rather than juggling multiple service-sector jobs. And yeah - there's plenty of elitism, there's plenty of privilege, and there's plenty of shutting out the poor... but you're describing a symptom, not a cause. So far, the argument is "if you want to look rich, put on bike shorts, eat gluten-free and nurse your kid." That beats the shit out of having to build a salon.
ONLY IF YOU SUPPRESS THE ABILITY OF BLACK PEOPLE TO EAT ORGANIC FUCKING FOOD.
Social signifiers in the Victorian era were not available to the poor. They included things like chauffeurs. Check it out: "telephone sanitizer" was an actual thing." Social signifiers in the modern era are there for the effort of it. But hey - let's hector "the rich" because we're Jacobin mag:
Over 50% of college students are on some form of financial aid. Our former first lady spent eight years on nutrition for children. And boy howdy - enjoy your letters section when you imply to the Jacobin Magazine audience that shopping at Trader Joe's somehow makes you a Victorian elitist.
It's one thing if you can pull off an argument like this. It's a whole 'nuther thing when you faceplant in dung.