Thursday, May 19, 2005

Oh NYT, you're a little daft sometimes.

Wow, I just read the New York Times article on inter-class marriages, one part of their extended coverage of class in America. While I'm somewhat happy that the Grey Lady is actually aware that there are classes in America, I'm not sure this is the best way to spend one day of a short series on class.

First off, it's just one family, poor guy, rich woman. While they make the argument that there are more marriages in this configuration these days than rich man and poor woman, couldn't we have had an example of this type of marriage? Perhaps even a well-educated but poor woman?

Beyond my specific critiques, parts of the article just made me wince. Choice quotes:

"[S]he grew up in a comfortable home." Now, anyone who's talked to me about class knows I hate it when people use the term "comfortable", and especially the line, "I'm not rich, I'm just comfortable." Let's look at this comfort:

"My mother's father had a Rolls-Royce and a butler and a second home in Florida"; "When I was little, what I fixated on with my girlfriends was how I had more pajamas than they did. So when I'd go to birthday sleepovers, I'd always take them a pair of pajamas as a present."; "to New York City, where Ms. Woolner's mother lives in the winter"; (where does she live in the summer, you ask?) "[T]hey were at Ms. Woolner's mother's house on Martha's Vineyard."

"Mr. Croteau comes from the working class, and Ms. Woolner from money." (Apparently "Money" is now its own class.)

"Ms. Woolner began paying him a monthly stipend - he sometimes refers to it as an allowance."

"I said, 'Mom, I want you to know Cate and her family are rich,' " he recalled. "And she said, 'Well, don't hold that against her; she's probably very nice anyway.'"

"Isaac [Ms. Woolner's son from an earlier marriage], who also attended the school, is now back at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon after taking a couple of semesters away to study in India and to attend massage school while working in a deli near home."

"Isaac fantasizes about opening a brewery-cum-performance-space, traveling through South America or operating a sunset massage cruise in the Caribbean."

I think I need a brewery-cum-performance space about now.