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Class: A Guide Through the American Status System (1983)

af Paul Fussell

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,3412014,162 (3.93)15
The bestselling, comprehensive, and carefully researched guide to the ins-and-outs of the American class system with a detailed look at the defining factors of each group, from customs to fashion to housing. Based on careful research and told with grace and wit, Paul Fessell shows how everything people within American society do, say, and own reflects their social status. Detailing the lifestyles of each class, from the way they dress and where they live to their education and hobbies, Class is sure to entertain, enlighten, and occasionally enrage readers as they identify their own place in society and see how the other half lives.… (mere)
  1. 30
    The Theory of the Leisure Class af Thorstein Veblen (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
  2. 10
    Class af Jilly Cooper (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: One a guide to the US status sytem, one to the British. Like Fussell, Cooper is often dead-on but her tone is less earnest and her examples more amusing. Both books are great fun.
  3. 00
    Power Money Fame Sex: A User's Guide af Gretchen Rubin (Jesse_wiedinmyer)
  4. 12
    The Official Preppy Handbook af Lisa Birnbach (AfroFogey)
    AfroFogey: Equally funny and infinitely more snarky than the OPHB. Great observations and even quotes the Preppy handbook.
Indlæser...

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» Se også 15 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
Started out as a funny field guide to the American class system. Written in 1983 it’s astonishingly up-to-date, although of course a few things have changed. But it’s really wild how much is still exactly the same. Anyway, it started out funny but as it went on it just started seeming nastier and repetitive. If you can find it, you may enjoy the first few chapters, but you may as well bail out halfway through.

ADDED: Well this is just plain weird, the day after I review this obscure 37 year old book, it gets mentioned in a NYTimes opinion piece (great essay BTW): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/10/opinion/television-culture.html?referringSour... ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Fussell argues that, despite our ideas that we are somehow above "class" in America, there are rigid class boundaries here. They aren't, as they are in Great Britain, determined by speech or dialect and aren't even really determined by economics. But language is a factor, and we betray our status by phrases we use and behaviors we have.

One that sticks out in my mind was the use of the term "home" to describe your house. This identifies someone as a person in a middle class who is trying to feign membership in a higher class. Another is fiance.

I was quite interested in the x class he identifies, where the ultra-rich and the bohemian poor eschew such class symbols -- the wealthy guy who drives a chevrolet, wears the most common clothing.

It was an interesting and quite convincing read. ( )
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
This book is full of interesting insights about social class in the US. The beginning was very informative, then it turns into a long series of examples of social class, ending with the artificial X group (which was fun to read). Among the interesting tidbits of information is the social status granted by owning a Mercedes-Benz which, remarkably, the author says was very negative in Germany. According to this author (in 1983), Mercedes-Benz was a car

"'which the intelligent young in West Germany regard, quite correctly, as 'a sign of high vulgarity, a car of the kind owned by Beverly Hills dentists or African cabinet ministers.' The worst kind of upper-middle-class types own Mercedes, (…) Speeders are either young non-Anglo-Saxon high-school proles hoping to impress girls of a similar sort, or insecure, status-anxious middle-class men (…) The requirements of class dictate that you drive slowly, steadily, and silently, and as near the middle of the road as possible.'" (91–92)

I am reminded that Mercedes-Benz cars were popular in the 1980’s among rulers such as Ceauşescu, Mugabe, Idi Amin, and Ferdinand Marcos. It was also in a Mercedes-Benz that the president of Deutsche Bank, Alfred Herrhausen, was killed by a bomb which resulted "in a mass of copper being projected toward the car at a speed of nearly two kilometers per second, effectively penetrating the armoured Mercedes.” (Wikipedia) Perhaps, back in 1983, all this made Fussell think Germans did not think highly of owning a Mercedes-Benz car. However, a quick glance through Google does not give me any hint that Fussell’s interpretation of the view that Germans had on Mercedes-Benz is valid today. ( )
  Carlelis | Nov 26, 2016 |
This covers observational class markers from the 1970's and early 1980's, having been published in 1983. It is woefully out of date for the 21st century, as class markers have shifted around. ( )
  emf1123 | Jun 26, 2015 |
Paul Fussell has made a career as a social critic, or as a man with the definitions that really seem to be correct. His book seems to me accurate, and should be read by non-Americans before venturing into the Great Republic. It will help with social success, and be a good guide as to which Americans you may feel comfortable with. I wonder how PF has fared in the age of the tea-party? ( )
1 stem DinadansFriend | Dec 18, 2013 |
Viser 1-5 af 20 (næste | vis alle)
For readers who somehow missed this snide, martini-dry American classic, do have your assistant Tessa run out and get it immediately (Upper), or at least be sure to worriedly skim this magazine summary over a low-fat bagel (Middle), because Fussell’s bibelot-rich tropes still resonate...

The experience of reading (and re-reading) Class is akin to wiping goggles one didn’t know were fogged. Fussell’s methodology settles into the brain like a virus; one soon cannot stop nanocategorizing one’s world. A quarter century later, most of Fussell’s categories live on—if with some fiscal damage. Fussell’s topmost denizens were “out of sight” in hilltop manses at the end of long, curving driveways. The billionaires in Michael Tolkin’s hilariously mordant The Return of the Player are even farther out, prow-jousting at sea in their satellite-technology-equipped yachts.
tilføjet af SnootyBaronet | RedigerThe Atlantic, Sandra Tsing Loh
 
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Although most Americans sense that they live within an extremely complicated system of social classes and suspect that much of what is thought and done here is prompted by considerations of status, the subject has remained murky.
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The bestselling, comprehensive, and carefully researched guide to the ins-and-outs of the American class system with a detailed look at the defining factors of each group, from customs to fashion to housing. Based on careful research and told with grace and wit, Paul Fessell shows how everything people within American society do, say, and own reflects their social status. Detailing the lifestyles of each class, from the way they dress and where they live to their education and hobbies, Class is sure to entertain, enlighten, and occasionally enrage readers as they identify their own place in society and see how the other half lives.

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