The elitism quiz

See Marvin, Camassia, and/or Russell for explanation.

1. Can you talk about “Mad Men?” All but the fourth season; I don’t have cable so I have to wait for the DVD.
2. Can you talk about the “The Sopranos?” No.
3. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker on “The Price Is Right?” Drew Carey. (I prefer Bob Barker’s pro-animal rights politics to Drew Carey’s libertarian ones, incidentally.)
4. Have you watched an Oprah show from beginning to end? Um, not sure.
5. Can you hold forth animatedly about yoga? I can’t even hold forth un-animatedly about it.
6. How about pilates? Nope.
7. How about skiing? Nuh-uh.
8. Mountain biking? Um, no.
9. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is? Not a clue.
10. Does the acronym MMA mean anything to you? No.
11. Can you talk about books endlessly? Yes, and if you don’t stop me, I will.
12. Have you ever read a “Left Behind” novel? Yes – the first one, I think. (It was a gift from my much-more-conservative-than-me sister.)
13. How about a Harlequin romance? No, but my mom used to, I think.
14. Do you take interesting vacations? I used to before I had a child.
15. Do you know a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada? No.
16. What about an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor? Where’s that?
17. Would you be caught dead in an RV? I guess if someone murdered me and tried to hide the body in one.
18. Would you be caught dead on a cruise ship? Maybe an Alaskan one.
19. Have you ever heard of of Branson, Mo? Yes.
20. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club? No.
21. How about the Rotary Club? No.
22. Have you lived for at least a year in a small town? Try about 22 years.
23. Have you lived for a year in an urban neighborhood in which most of your neighbors did not have college degrees? Yes.
24. Have you spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line? Yes.
25. Do you have a close friend who is an evangelical Christian? Yes.
26. Have you ever visited a factory floor? Yes.
27. Have you worked on one? Nope.

I didn’t bother to tally up my score, but I think it’s safe to say that my answers reflect the fact that I grew up working class in a small, semi-rural town but have spent most of my adult life (or at least post-graduate-school life) ensconsed among latte-sipping libruls.

It bears repeating that this is basically an attempt by Charles Murray (who wrote the op-ed this “quiz” is derived from) to re-define “elitism” largely according to a set of cultural signifiers rather than the more traditional measures of money and power. This is convenient for the conservative/Tea Party political agenda of gutting the social safety net, deregulating financial markets, and giving tax cuts to the rich in the name of “anti-elitism.”

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4 thoughts on “The elitism quiz

  1. Excellent diagnosis of the motivation behind the quiz. I’m sure Murray doesn’t think of it that way, and I share some of the exasperation at “latte-sipping libruls,” as you put it, but I’d almost certainly be lumped into that category by Tea Party fanatics (though I perform rather poorly on his quiz, actually), and at any rate it certainly does function that way. To be fair, there are some very smart left libertarians who don’t fall into that trap and would still ideally like to deregulate financial markets, abolish taxation, and state-run social programs (and, well, the state as a whole). But that’s not what we’re seeing reflected in the blinding gleam of Don’t Tread on Me flags. Nice work.

    • Thanks for the comment. What’s your definition of “left-libertarianism” by the way? (I know there are various schools of thought that might fit under that label.)

  2. This is convenient for the conservative/Tea Party political agenda of gutting the social safety net, deregulating financial markets, and giving tax cuts to the rich in the name of “anti-elitism.”

    Well said, Lee.

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