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Class Warfare in Culture - pt 1

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message 1: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 128 comments Mod
This is, of course, a huge subject for myself &, I'm sure, at least a few others in this group. As such, I'm uncertain about how deeply I'll broach it here. I've been largely bedridden recently from an injured knee - later compounded by pneumonia. As I was laying sleepless last night I was thinking about all of the things that I've done that've been representatives of my cultural revolt from w/in the drearier aspects of 'working class existence' - & about how these particular things have been what've been the most 'scary' about me to most people.

That last sentence may seem entirely too abstract so I'll give some examples, of course. But, 1st, some autobiographical context. I grew up in a modest lower-to-mid middle class suburban neighborhood a mile or 2 from the Baltimore city limits. Most of the people who lived there when I did were 'white' people who were struggling to make a living & who were often of a somewhat racist & ignorant inclination.

About half the kids around my age on my small street had a burglary gang & were a pretty nasty lot. My main friend was Dave, the fat kid across the street, whose hillbilly family included a dad who worked like a manaic in his own hardwood floor finishing business to help pull his family further out of poverty. If you're offended by "fat kid" & "hillbilly" understand that I'm not trying to be 'politically correct' here, I'm trying to evoke a particular mindset. Now, my friend & I didn't have much in common except that we were both 'different', weren't part of the burglary gang, & were probably a bit nicer & more tolerant.

About 3 yrs after I'd moved away for good from my 'family' & the neighborhood, Dave's dad dropped dead at work from a heart attack in the middle of drum-sanding a rm in a new house, & Dave, having been in the business w/ his dad since he was 13, still 'had to' finish the job & had no-one to help him w/ it. I was (barely) making do w/ things like nude modelling & research volunteering. My mom called me & asked me if I'd help Dave finish the job.

To my mom, this was probably an opportunity for me to get a 'good job'. My mom, being a robopath, wd think that anything is a 'good job' if it pd & kept me "out of trouble" & lead me into a completely regulated lifestyle.

Alas, I think I'll have to give even DEEPER personal history here before I can get close to approaching the topic of "Class Warfare in Culture". My mom was born in 1926. Her dad was a construction worker (or so I'm told). When she was 2, he was working on a bldg & something fell & hit him on the head & put him in a coma. He supposedly staying in the coma & died 3 yrs later. These were the "depression" yrs. Maybe the ruling elites were trying to "thin out the herd" at the time. My mom was stricken by her dad's early death & by her being raised w/o him.

HER mom worked as an accountant for a jewelry store from when SHE was 18 'til SHE died when she was 74. My grandmom worked for 56 yrs for the same company W/ NO PENSION OFFERED. That's gratitude for ya, right? My mom, while my grandmom worked, had to be raised by her aunts - who were mostly part of an extended farmer community. As such, my mom grew into a neurotic adult deeply obssessed w/ neurosises of loss & insecurity. Hence the "any job's a good job" syndrome.

[see this continued in pt 2]


message 2: by Erin (new)

Erin Oh (erinoh) | 7 comments before I continue on to pt 2, I want to say that I can really relate to a few things in your early childhood:

-growing up in a somewhat working class neighbourhood where the general mindset is somewhat ignorant and racist
but also especially this:
-As such, my mom grew into a neurotic adult deeply obssessed w/ neurosises of loss & insecurity. Hence the "any job's a good job" syndrome.

The standards set for me were always pretty low - both in terms of jobs but also other aspects of life.


message 3: by Tentatively, (new)

Tentatively, Convenience (tentativelyaconvenience) | 128 comments Mod
Hi Erin!

Thanks for participating! You might find this personal anecdote entertaining given that you wrote "The standards set for me were always pretty low":

When I was 14, in 1968, I started growing my hair long. At the time, where I lived, this was somewhat unusual & resulted in high levels of harrassment. I wore my clothes until they rotted & started, as I've noted before, hitch-hiking around N America when I was 17. I was a moderately accomplished musician. My clothes were filthy, I rarely bathed, my hair was very long & matted. My mom, desperate to 'normalize' me & rope me back into 'mainstream' society, told me that she thought I'd make a good insurance salesman - she worked for an insurance company. Her comment, sd in an effort to convince me, was "The insurance salesmen at work are just like you! They have long hair!" Yep, they were just like me. I can see them going to their prospective clients now w/ their pubic hair showing & their clothes not washed for 6 mnths, their 12-string acoustic guitar under one arm & their insurance policies under the other. "Excuse me ma'am, I'd like to play Woody Guthrie's 'Vigilante Man' for you & then I'd like to con you into buying a life insurance policy so I can buy a new Porsche." Yep, just like me alright.


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