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.”

Book meme redux

Marvin also tagged me for this book meme, which I’m pretty sure I did a while back, but maybe it’d be interesting to do it again without looking at my old answers. Here goes:

1. One book that changed your life:
Miracles, by C.S. Lewis. Reading this book as an undergrad was the occasion for my seriously considering that Christianity in more-or-less its traditional form (rather than some attenuated or watered down version) might actually be true. Or at least that it was a live option.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Cash: The Autobiography, by Johnny Cash

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
I guess I should say the Bible, right? Or maybe the collected works of Shakespeare? Or something clever like “How to Escape From a Desert Island”?

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

5. One book that made you cry:
I can’t really think of a time this has happened. Maybe I’m just a cold-hearted SOB.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
How I Changed My Mind, by Saul of Tarsus

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
I’m with Marvin here: I’m enough of a Millian liberal to be for the untrammeled expression of ideas. Though the world probably would’ve gotten by fine without Luther’s Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants and On the Jews and Their Lies.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
A Moral Climate, by Michael Northcott (just came yesterday!)

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
The End of Oil, by Paul Roberts. I’ve had this one on my shelf for months.

Movie memery

This one comes by way of Marvin.

1. One movie that made you laugh
The Princess Bride

2. One movie that made you cry
Big Fish

3. One movie you loved when you were a child
Back to the Future

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once
Ghostbusters (many, many times)

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it
They’re just movies – why be embarrassed? I have had people tell me I should be embarrassed for enjoying National Treasure so much, yet I continue to fail to be.

6. One movie you hated

7. One movie that scared you
The Exorcist

8. One movie that bored you
The House of Mirth

9. One movie that made you happy
The Iron Giant

10. One movie that made you miserable
American Beauty

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see
Atonement (I could’t work up the courage to sit through another pretentious period flick based on a Very Serious and Important book)

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with
Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in Stranger Than Fiction

13. The last movie you saw
Iron Man

14. The next movie you hope to see
Bubba Ho-Tep (waiting in a Netflix envelope)

Tag five people: I tag, should they choose to accept the mission, Christopher, Josh, Fr. Chris, Jeremy, and Eric. Pluse anyone else who wants to play along.