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post #121 of 345


I personally don't care how you spend your 350.00.  I don't find the marginally rich, moderately rich or mega-rich offensive simply by dint of their wealth.  What struck me was that each class, each group of people, each and every sub-culture has it's own social currency, however, the rules for "not sucking at life" remain, in general, the same for everyone.  We are, after all, the same species, just divided up into classes based on resources, race and religion.  The very rich schmooze.  I schmooze.  I doubt we're schmoozing the same people, but the skill set remains the same.  I found the insinuation that the well-off simply need to know how to do more a little troubling.  Why can't we discuss how we teach our children to operate in our society, whatever our society is? 

 

I was also fairly bemused by the whole restaurant side-bar;  how does a person who has accumulated enough wealth to worry about teaching her children about wine pairings not feel comfortable asking for assistance with a menu not in her native tongue?  I was under the impression that stockpiling money took some grit, some nerve, some chutzpah...  maybe I was wrong.  Maybe this is why I'm not doing the backstroke in my $$$s like Scrooge McDuck.   By no means is this an attack on the OP;  I'm truly baffled by this.  Maybe my comfort with asking questions brands me as working class; maybe raising my hand and inquiring is declasse.  But I just don't get it.  So I weighed in.

 

Finally, I want to say that although I am certain everyone has troubles and travails in life, I find the idea that being well-to-do is as difficult or nearly as difficult, as marginalizing or nearly as marginalizing, as challenging or nearly as challenging as being working class, poor or indigent frankly and wholly ridiculous.  I disagree that it is more socially acceptable to take shots at the rich;  I think that by and in large in USAian society it is completely acceptable to attack the poor, blaming them for their situation and refusing any public action that might benefit the poor at large and society as a whole.  

 

I don't believe any of the posters that mentioned they were offended by posts to this thread bore my previous post in mind, however, I wanted to clarify my position. What I type I do so as gently as possible, and respectfully, but really...  why can't we discuss how we share our social capital with our children as one group?  Why was this a "class thing"? 

 



 

 

post #122 of 345

wow - this thread even appearing on mothering has me surprised.......

 

Wine, ordering in a restaurant? give me  break !!!!!!!!   I think teaching your children about how to change the world for the greater good, about politics, human rights, other cultures... to respect & value all humanity, life is sacred.

 

One day without thinking, I rolled down our car window and gave our lunch to some random guy on a street corner with a "help" sign, and had to spend the next hour explaining to  my two year old why I gave our lunch way..   Has zero to do with income, everything to do with having a caring, compassionate child who will grow up to positively contribute to our world.

post #123 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

Finally, I want to say that although I am certain everyone has troubles and travails in life, I find the idea that being well-to-do is as difficult or nearly as difficult, as marginalizing or nearly as marginalizing, as challenging or nearly as challenging as being working class, poor or indigent frankly and wholly ridiculous.  I disagree that it is more socially acceptable to take shots at the rich;  I think that by and in large in USAian society it is completely acceptable to attack the poor, blaming them for their situation and refusing any public action that might benefit the poor at large and society as a whole. 

 

I agree fully. There's a huge difference between life when you have to worry about whether you're going to have a roof over your head or be able to feed your kids (or yourself) next week and when you don't. There is a reason that poor people have shorter life expectancies, and it's not just because they can't afford organic foods. Stress really weighs you down. It weighs you down even more when you have no control over it.

 

As for attacking the rich vs attacking the poor: No one has suggested that rich kids clean schools because they haven't learned a work ethic from their parents. (Despite the fact that most rich kids don't have to work that hard around the house.)

 

Quote:

 

I don't believe any of the posters that mentioned they were offended by posts to this thread bore my previous post in mind, however, I wanted to clarify my position. What I type I do so as gently as possible, and respectfully, but really...  why can't we discuss how we share our social capital with our children as one group?  Why was this a "class thing"? 

 

It's a "class thing" because social capital in different social milieus is a different thing. And in our current culture, income level and culture are so intertwined it's hard to tease them apart. I agree it doesn't have to be income-based, and the skills I value the most, compassion, kindness and politeness, aren't. But there is a whole set of cultural things that my kids are picking up simply because of who their parents are. How many 7 year olds in the US know about graduate school? Mine does, not because I'm pushing her to go, but because I talk about my job. This isn't an essential skill, merely a byproduct.


 

 

post #124 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsGregory View Post

I disagree that it is more socially acceptable to take shots at the rich;  I think that by and in large in USAian society it is completely acceptable to attack the poor, blaming them for their situation and refusing any public action that might benefit the poor at large and society as a whole.

Exactly. So well said!
post #125 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

 

As I said - I'm not in that "class" by any stretch, But I can see at least one of my kids spending time with those who are. And I think it's important for him to know how to behave appropriately, to have the cultural knowledge to hold an intelligent conversation, etc.

 

 



I said wow to this because I can't believe what you are saying. That folks in certain classes have the cultural knowledge to hold an intelligent conversation and others don't. That's such prejudice. Cultural knowledge comes from education, not money. That's what bothers me about this thread, not that some folks have money, want money, spend money or whatever. It's the myth that folks with money are finer or more intelligent. That may have been true in history but not now.

 

You go on later to say your son wants to work with folks who commission symphonies? Yeah, that takes big bucks but intelligent conversation doesn't. Do you see how that sounds? I'm sure you don't mean your other children will be stuck with unintelligent conversation.

 

 

post #126 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


My experience is totally anecdotal but I think it is somewhat on point.  I went from West Virginia back-sticks to the NYC art world in a flash.  My survival (and the survival of my colleagues) depended greatly on the generosity and support of monied individuals.  In retrospect, it wasn't about intelligence or cultural knowledge, etc.  It was about good salesmanship.  The intelligence and cultural knowledge were already there.  We were artists, mind you.  LOL.  In order to survive, however, the most awesome artist needs the ability to sell his/her goods.  He/she needs to convince others that they absolutely need what you are offering.  You need to convince others that your work is important and valid...that it benefits them personally and society at large. 

 

<etc>

 

Realistically, though, it is much easier if you are dealing with the same currency as your buyers. Playing the naif only works if you're young and cute. Of course being a good sales person is important. And part of that is being on the same playing field, being able to talk about things your buyer understands and is interested in. I think you'll agree with that. 

post #127 of 345

If there is one skill a rich kid needs, it is how to never talk about class openly. Don't even acknowledge that it exists! Only when absolutely pressed, one might use euphemisms like "high net worth."

 

;)

post #128 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzer Beater View Post



I said wow to this because I can't believe what you are saying. That folks in certain classes have the cultural knowledge to hold an intelligent conversation and others don't. That's such prejudice. Cultural knowledge comes from education, not money. That's what bothers me about this thread, not that some folks have money, want money, spend money or whatever. It's the myth that folks with money are finer or more intelligent. That may have been true in history but not now.

 

You go on later to say your son wants to work with folks who commission symphonies? Yeah, that takes big bucks but intelligent conversation doesn't. Do you see how that sounds? I'm sure you don't mean your other children will be stuck with unintelligent conversation.


And you completely misunderstood what I posted. If you had read my FIRST post on this thread, you'd see that. Maybe you'd like to go back and read that before going further.

 

post #129 of 345
Quote:

 

I don't believe any of the posters that mentioned they were offended by posts to this thread bore my previous post in mind, however, I wanted to clarify my position. What I type I do so as gently as possible, and respectfully, but really...  why can't we discuss how we share our social capital with our children as one group?  Why was this a "class thing"? 

 

 


Unfortunately "class" is alive and well.  I wouldn't put it in the class arena of yesteryear, where social and class strata was more defined (think Pride & Prejudice and stuff like that), but I would say that the idea of class is embedded in our psyches as a result of politics.  There are several political theories out there (which I consider scams and promoted for the sole purpose of dividing people):  people are poor because they don't work hard enough; rich people are rich because they worked hard enough; poor people will rise to the top once rich people are adequately compensated for their hard work (trickle down economics); there will always be rich and poor, and kindness toward the poor is should be optional; discussion of social capital is un-American. 

 

This is chatter I hear in the political discourse in our country.

 

We can expound all we want on MDC about social mobility and the sharing of resources for the greater good.  I'm afraid to say that MDC represents a very small portion of the whole.  Until our collective attitudes change about why people are poor and why there are insanely rich people out there, I don't think we can even touch the concept of collective responsibility.  Things are too polarized.  There are too many hang-ups and misconceptions about what people are worth and their place in society.  I don't think things like education and knowledge matter any more.  There is too much power concentrated in a tiny area with little recourse in the majority.  I go back to my previous post that I believe people don't vote in their best interest or in the interest of society.  They've bought a story, hook, line and sinker.  I don't know what to do to change that.  

 

post #130 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

 

Realistically, though, it is much easier if you are dealing with the same currency as your buyers. Playing the naif only works if you're young and cute. Of course being a good sales person is important. And part of that is being on the same playing field, being able to talk about things your buyer understands and is interested in. I think you'll agree with that. 


I agree that being able to talk about the same things that your buyer understands is valid, but realistically that knowledge is only applicable to the goods that you are selling, as well as selling yourself as a product, so to speak.  Take for instance, Jean Michel Basquiat, a Brooklyn kid and high school drop-out.  Here is a kid that rose to prominence in the '80s art world not because he was cultured, but because he had a combination of talent plus public image savvy.  He didn't possess the background of the finer things in life, but he sure did possess personality and the ability to impress.  Andy Warhol is another example of working class hero rising to the top, not because his parents instilled any basic skills in him for fineries, but because he was the ultimate sales guy and observer of culture and trends.  I would say that in both instances, the skills followed the smarts.  I think that both Andy and Jean Michel were probably exposed to a lot of ideas whether on purpose or through their own musings.  I don't think they were trained to jump social groups.  I think they were the ultimate sales people, and they were neither cute (by vogue standards) or naive.  I guess what I was trying to say in previous post is that in order to step into a different social group, you have to know how to sell yourself and your ideas.  Good salespeople will always come to the table with the necessary skills, but without the salesmanship, you're just another person in the crowd.  

 

post #131 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post


And you completely misunderstood what I posted. If you had read my FIRST post on this thread, you'd see that. Maybe you'd like to go back and read that before going further.

 



Good to know, my bad. I most certainly did not see your first post so you can imagine what I thought reading the post I objected to. It means something entirely different in context I didn't have.

 

 

post #132 of 345
Tiger, this is all absurd. Status and money only go so far. I get that we all hope for our children to have bright futures, at this point I think we all have a different idea of what constitutes success. I said you have me laughing because I cannot for the life of me fathom how a social circle would determine your child's success.
post #133 of 345
A lot of people seem to be taking this really personally... do you not think that there is a certain body of cultural knowledge that upper and upper-middle class people generally learn while people in other classes often don't? Really, each social class has its own sphere of cultural knowledge, but if you're interested in becoming upper-middle class then it helps to know that cultural currency. Some of it is as simple as knowing how to navigate going to college or grad school, or what to wear to an interview, or how and when to write a thank you letter. Part of it is feeling comfortable at cocktail or dinner parties, and most people feel more comfortable when they know something about the topics being discussed and understand some of the social graces and manners expected (Which fork do you use? What is the 4:20 position? Where should you leave your napkin when you're finished?). No one will hunt you down if you make a faux pas, but it still feels uncomfortable, and I'm not seeing why it's wrong to acknowledge that. Making social connections is important for many careers, whether we like to think it is or not.

Of course everyone wants their kids to be good, kind, caring people. That's a given.And it really isn't about money - it's about class, and as another poster said before, they're different things but often related. The U.S. is widely seen as having more class mobility than most other countries but it's still not always easy to change classes, in part because of not having the cultural capital.
post #134 of 345

This thread is interesting.  I'll have to come back and comment when I haven't had as much wine to drink.  Wine that I have no idea how to pronounce, much less what food it pairs best with.  I just know it was damn tasty.  I, for one, have no problem asking a waiter about fancy foods or wines, and, I have never noticed my social group giving a crap.  Hell, if I'm going to be paying $80 for my food and drinks alone, I think it's okay to ask a question or two (or just point at the menu and say I'd like to try that).  Anyone who is too snooty to judge, is not worth spending time with. 

post #135 of 345

if you teach your children nothing else, teach them that there are three categories of everything there is to know in life:

 

1) the things you know.

 

2) the things you know that you don't know.

 

3) the things you don't know that you don't know.

 

everyone can identify the the things that they know. those are one's familiar trappings... middle class, upper middle class, working class, whatever.

 

sometimes people can identify some of the things that they know they don't know. those would be the trappings of the lifestyle of another "class"... street terms for an upper middle class man. wine tastings for a working class person. etc.

 

and then there is the always tricky issue of the things that you don't know that you don't know. and there are always things that you don't know that you don't know. and the fact that you don't know that you don't know them, sets you up to be fooled by these things. one such "thing" that comes to mind in reading your OP (and i have to admit i have not read all 7 pages yet), is that you don't seem to "know" that it's *perfectly OK* to not know one's way around wine tastings. i grew up somewhat upper middle class. i'm not the least bit insecure that i don't know wine tastings, nor do i care to know wine tastings. i'm getting by in my life perfectly well without knowing flavors of wine, and, if the occasion were to arise in which knowing wine flavors would be some sort of social requirement, i would feel perfectly comfortable coming right out and stating that someone is going to have to give me some help here. it's OK to not be "up" on such things.

 

in a gentle way, i would hope to just open your eyes a bit to see that *perhaps* you are feeling just a tad insecure yourself perhaps coming from a working class background (you stated) and marrying into an upper middle class lifestyle, with a husband who is uncomfortable not being versed in working class jargon and ways of life.

 

as you go on with your life, i think it becomes easier to see, perhaps with age, that we are all essentially the same, having more money is not necessarily an advantage in life, and that all backgrounds, everybody, truly has the power to have an impact on the tapestry of our world.

 

post #136 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

Thing is... The folks who CAN afford to toss $350 for a bottle of wine more often than not are also quite philanthropic. Look at Bill and Melinda Gates. Or the late Steve Jobs. They can afford to live large, but they also put money where it's needed. I see nothing wrong with spending large when you've worked hard for it. AND then also give where needed. And most do.

 

As I said - I'm not in that "class" by any stretch, But I can see at least one of my kids spending time with those who are. And I think it's important for him to know how to behave appropriately, to have the cultural knowledge to hold an intelligent conversation, etc.

 

As for the income range OP specified? Big deal. Those who are there likely know better what flies those who aren't.


i have to respectfully disagree. 

first off, people don't get to be super rich by giving their money away. because, if they did give their money away, well, they wouldn't be rich anymore.

that's just a fact. follow the money.

sure they can give WAY more than the average joe. because they have/make way more. 

it doesn't make them any better, and it doesn't make a bigger difference just because it's more.

oh, and they get super tax breaks too, when they (the super rich) give to charity.

compared to, say, the person who is too poor or without a house or children who doesn't even itemize their taxes, giving to charity of what they have. "poor" people who give to charity get no tax break. they may give as much or even more percentage-wise as the super rich, but it's a more "pure" gift.

AND if you're going to use the example of Bill Gates, well, he's very political and controlling in his giving, don't you think? a poor person giving all that they can doesn't get to dictate how his or her funds are used.

 

--

 

on the other hand, we can always make the assumption that the persons giving $350 for a bottle of wine are doing their part to bolster the economy. that much seems true.

 

post #137 of 345

I find this thread fascinating, but some points to clarify -----

 

100K for a family of 4 even in a moderate income area isn't enough to live the way many are describing -- with a Merc and black tie events and frequent trips to Europe. Not by a long shot. 

 

Second, I think that some people base their idea of how they rich live, act and think on TV and movies. But life is not a Frasier episode. nono.gif

 

Because of my DH's job, he deals with people who are wealthy and upper middle class. You know wanna know what is really important for him to be able to talk about????  The big mystery subject......

 

 

sports

 

Seriously. He's multi lingual in sports. He can discuss hockey with a Canadian, soccer with a Brit, and of course football with an American. He can do it all in French if required. And he takes time out of his week (sometimes while on a plane) to keep up with what is going on in the major sports in N. America and Europe. It's the important cultural information for him to have. Sometimes I find it disconcerting when he does it in front of me for a sport/country I didn't know was on his watch list. 

 

Next, many people find themselves with varying levels of income over the course of their lives (as shown in this thread). There's really no way of knowing where in all that any of our children will end up. I do think that becoming middle class AT ALL is becoming more difficult. I think financially things are more difficult for people coming of age now than they were a couple of decades of ago. Its impossible to project what it will really be like when our children come of age. Perhaps helping our children become resourceful and flexible are some of the most important skills.

 

I think a few posters here sound to me like they are preparing their children to live in Victorian England rather than then 21st century.

post #138 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post

A lot of people seem to be taking this really personally... do you not think that there is a certain body of cultural knowledge that upper and upper-middle class people generally learn while people in other classes often don't? Really, each social class has its own sphere of cultural knowledge, but if you're interested in becoming upper-middle class then it helps to know that cultural currency. Some of it is as simple as knowing how to navigate going to college or grad school, or what to wear to an interview, or how and when to write a thank you letter. Part of it is feeling comfortable at cocktail or dinner parties, and most people feel more comfortable when they know something about the topics being discussed and understand some of the social graces and manners expected (Which fork do you use? What is the 4:20 position? Where should you leave your napkin when you're finished?). No one will hunt you down if you make a faux pas, but it still feels uncomfortable, and I'm not seeing why it's wrong to acknowledge that. Making social connections is important for many careers, whether we like to think it is or not.
Of course everyone wants their kids to be good, kind, caring people. That's a given.And it really isn't about money - it's about class, and as another poster said before, they're different things but often related. The U.S. is widely seen as having more class mobility than most other countries but it's still not always easy to change classes, in part because of not having the cultural capital.


This.

 

These Wikis do a pretty good job of describing core issues discussed in this thread.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_middle_class

 

I think the OP is looking for the key "trappings" of an UMC lifestyle to propel her family into, and entrench them within, an UMC life.  Ok.  I also understand the motivation, when the economy is so horrible, to forecast oneself into a strata with the appearance of greater security.

post #139 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

Somehow Sergey Brin and Stever Jobs figured it all out without tips from their parents.

lol.gif Ha ha.
post #140 of 345
So, once your son learns how to "schmooze", will your feelings be hurt if he leaves you behind? After all, you will be of a lesser class.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post



Yep - *I* am.


Why the wow? That I want my child to be able to hold his own among the people who will be able to fund his dreams? Sorry, but I suspect that folks who don't make the big bucks aren't going to be commissioning symphonies any time soon. So yeah - he needs to know how to schmooze. Like it or not. that's kind of known as the reality of life.

Edited by *bejeweled* - 2/20/12 at 11:12pm
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