Friday, May 20

Class Dismissed

The NYT is doing a series to focus on the role of class in American society. In particular, the article on marriages that cross social classes takes complex situations and dumbs them down into trite parables.
Money is continually tight for Lael Croteau, 27, who is in graduate school in educational administration at the University of Vermont, and Maggie, 25, who is working three jobs while in her second year of law school at American University. At restaurants, they ask to have the leftovers wrapped to take home.

Wrapping leftovers! I guess doggy bags ARE a shock to sensibilities of readers of the NYT.

And when one of the little kids asks, 'Why do people sneeze?' their mom will say, 'I don't know; that's a great question. Let's go to the museum, and check it out.' My mom is very smart and certainly engages us on many levels, but when we asked a difficult question, she'd say, 'Because I said so.'

Libraries and museums are often free of charge. This example sounds to me more like an illustration of different styles of parenting than a difference in social class.

Maggie would love to have a summer internship with a human rights group, but she needs paid work and when she graduates, with more than $100,000 of debt, she will need a law firm job, not one with a nonprofit. So when Isaac one day teased her as being a sellout, she reminded him that it was a lot easier to live your ideals when you did not need to make money to pay for them.

Just in case you didn't make it through the entire article, Isaac's career aspirations include "opening a brewery-cum-performance-space, traveling through South America or operating a sunset massage cruise in the Caribbean." Thanks for illustrating how easily investigative journalism can turn into cliché.