Dicussion Help In 550 + Words CLASS . A Guide Through the American Status System • PAUL FUSSELL With illustrations by Martim de Avillez SUMMIT BO

Dicussion Help In 550 + Words CLASS .
A Guide Through

the
American Status System

• PAUL FUSSELL
With illustrations by Martim de Avillez

SUMMIT BO

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CLASS .
A Guide Through

the
American Status System

• PAUL FUSSELL
With illustrations by Martim de Avillez

SUMMIT BOOKS • NEW YORK

Copyright © 1983 by Paul Fu ssell
All rights reserved
including the right of reprodlution
in whole or in part in any form
Published by SUMMIT’BOOKS
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Simon & Schuster Building
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020
SUMMIT BOOKS arid colophon are
trademarks of Simon & Schuster, inc.
Marlufaclured ill the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Bdiliorl

Library ofCorigress Cataloging in Data

Fussell, Paul, 1924-
Class: a guide through the American status system.

1. Social cla sses-United States . 2 . Social
status. I . Title .
HN90 .S6F87 1983 305.5’0973 83-12637
ISBN 0-671-44991-5

“Aberdarcy: The Main Squ are” from Collected
Poems, 1944-1979 by Kingsley Amis, copyright ©
1979 by Kirlgs/ey Amis . Reprinted by permission of
Viking Penguin, Inc. .
“Come with Me” from The Light Around the
Body by Rohert Bly, copyright © 1964 by Robert
Bly. Reprinted by permissiotl of Harper & Row, Pub-
lishers, Inc .

Acknowledgments

1 am grateful to ,the many people who have interested themselves
in this project or who have-sometimes inadvertently-supplied
me with data. Especially helpful have been James Anderson, Jack
Beatty, Jake Blumenthal, Henry E. Bradshaw, Alfred Bush, Ed-
ward T. Cone, Theodore and Mary Cross, Kit Davies, Ira and
Judy Davis, Eileen Fallon, Betty Fussell, Angeline Goreau, John
Hutchinson, DavidJohnson, PatrickJ. and Marian Kelleher, Mi-
chael Kinsley, Fletcher and Laura Berquist KnebeJ, Don Kowet,
A. Walton Litz, Donald and Fleury Mackie, Anthony Manousos,
Edgar Mayhew, Joyce Carol Oates, George Pitcher, Miles Rind,
James Silberman, Claude M. Spilman, Jr., Brian Stratton, Rod
Townley, and Alan Williams. During work on this book I have
enjoyed the friendship of Harriette Behringer and John Scanlan. I
want to thank both for their generosity .

Appearance Counts

How is it that if you’re sharp, you’re generally able to estimate a
person’s class at a glance? What marks do you look for?

Good looks, first of all, distributed around the classes pretty
freely, to be sure, but frequently a mark of high caste. Prudent
natural selection is the reason, asJilly Cooper perceives. She notes
that if upper-class people marry downward, they tend to choose
beauty only, and concludes: “In general, good-looking people
marry up . . . and the insecure and ugly tend to marry down. ”
Smiling is a class indicator-that is, not doing a lot of it. On the
street, you’ll notice that prole women smile more, and smile
wider, than those of the middle and upper classes. They like
showing off their pretty dentures, for one thing, and for another,
they’re enmeshed in the “have a nice day” culture and are busy
effusing a defensive optimism much of the time. And speaking of
dentures, I witnessed recently an amazing performance in which
a prole man in a public place dropped his top plate into a position
where he could thrust it forward with his tongue until, pink and
yellow, it protruded an inch or so from his mouth. The intent
.seemed to be to “air” it. Now one simply can’t imagine the
middle or upper-middle classes doing that sort of thing, although
you’d not be surprised to see an upper-class person, utterly care-
less of public opinion as he’d be, doing it.

Sheer height is a more trustworthy sign of class in England

51

52 PAUL FUSSELL

than everywhere, but classy people are seldom short and squat,
even here. Regardless of one’s height, having an ass that pro-
trudes is low, as is having, or appearing to have, very little neck.
The absence of neck is notable in Lawrence Welk, country-and-
Western singers like Johnny Cash, and similar proles. If you’re
skeptical that looks give off class messages, in your imagination
try conflating Roy Acuff with Averell Harriman, or Mayor Daley
with George Bush. Or, for that matter, Minnie Pearl with Jackie
Onassis.

Because 62 percent of Americans are overweight, a cheap way
to achieve a sort of distinction is to be thin. This is the , general
aim of the top four classes, although the middle, because its work
tends to be sedentary, has a terrible time abstaining from the
potatoes. Destitutes and bottom-out-of-sights usually don’t go
around flaunting a lot of extra flesh, but seldom from choice. It’s
the three prole classes that get fat: fast foods and beer are two of
the causes, but anxiety about slipping down a tung, resulting in
nervous overeating, plays its part too, especially among high
proles. Proles can rationalize their fat as an announcement of

“Your weight is an advertisement of your social standing. ”

CLASS 53

steady wages and the ability to eat out often: even “Going Out
for Breakfast” is a thinkable operation for proles, if we believe
they respond to the McDonald’s TV ads the way they’re condi-
tioned to.

A recent magazine ad for a diet book aimed at proles stigma-
tizes a number of erroneous assumptions about weight, proclaim-
ing with some inelegance that “They’re All a Crock . ” Among
vulgar errors thus rejected is the proposition that “All Social
Classes Are Equally Overweight.” The ad explains:

Your weight is an advertisement of your social standing. A
century ago, corpulence was a sign of success. But no more.
Today it is the badge of the lower-middle class, where obe-
sity is four times more prevalent than it is among the upper-
middle and middle classes.

And not just four times more prevalent. Four times more visible,
for flaunting obesity is a prole sign, as if the object were to offer
maximum aesthetic offense to the higher classes and thus exact a
form of revenge. Jonathan Raban, watching people at the Min-
nesota State Fair, was vouchsafed a spectacle suggesting calcu-
lated, vigo’rously intentional obesity:

These farming families . . . were the descendants of hungry
immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia . . .. Genera-
tion by generation, their families had eaten themselves into
Americans. Now they all had the same figure: same broad
bottom, same buddha belly, same neckless join between tur-
key-wattle chin and sperm-whale torso. The womeri had
poured themselves into pink elasticized pantsuits; the men
swelled against every seam and button of their plaid shirts
and Dacron slacks.

And lest they not be sufficiently noticed, Raban reports, many
of the men wore caps asking us to believe that, in opposition to
the wisdom of the ages, “Happiness Is Being a Grandparent.”
Raban found himself so fascinated by U. S.A. fat that he proposes
a Fatness Map, which would indicate that the fattest people live
in areas where the immigration has been the most recent and
“ancestral memories of hunger closest.” On the other hand,
“states … settled before 1776 would register least in the way of

. fatty tissue. Girth would. generally increase from east to west and
from south to north. The flab capital of the U.S.A. should be

54 PAUL FUSSELL

located somewhere in the triangle of Minnesota, Iowa, and the
Dakotas. ”

We don’t have to go all the way with Raban to perceive that
there is an elite look in this country. It requires women to be thin,
with a hairstyle dating back eighteen or twenty years or so. (The
classiest women wear their hair for a lifetime in exactly the style
they affected in college.) They wear superbly fitting dresses and
expensive but always understated shoes and handbags, with very
little jewelry . They wear scarves-these instantly betoken class,
because they are useless except as a caste mark. Men should be
thin. No jewelry at all. No cigarette case. Moderate-length hair,
never dyed or tinted, which is a middle-class or high-prole sign,
as the practice of President Reagan indicates . Never a hairpiece, a
prole usage. (High and mid-proles call them rugs, mats, or doilies.
Calling them toops is low-prole.) Both women’s and men’s elite
looks are achieved by a process of rejection-of the current, the
showy, the superfluous. Thus the rejection of fat by the elite.
Michael Korda in his book Success! gets the point. “It pays,” he
finds, “to be thin. ”

But the elite rejection of the superfluous in no way implies a
“minimal” look in clothes. Rather, “layering” is obligatory. As
Alison Lurie says in The Language oj Clothes (1981), “It has gen-
erally been true that the more clothes someone has on, the higher
his or her status.” And she goes on: “The recent fashion for
‘layered’ clothes may be related, as is sometimes claimed, to the
energy shortage; it is also a fine way of displaying a large ward-
robe. ”

The upper-middle-class woman will appear almost invariably
in a skirt of gray flannel, Stuart plaid, or khaki; a navy-blue
cardigan, which may be cable-stitched; a white blouse with Peter
Pan collar; hose with flat shoes; hair preferably in a barrette.
When it gets cold, she puts on a blue blazer, or, for business, a
gray flannel suit. But the color toward which everything aspires
is really navy. There will be lots of layering and a tendency to
understate. The indispensable accessory will be a glasses case dec-
orated with homemade needlepoint (an important caste mark: the
needlepoint suggests hours of aimless leisure during which some-
one has worked on it-unthinkable for proles). If a woman does
a lot of knitting for family and friends, chances are she’s upper-
middle-class. But if when she finishes a sweater she sews in a little
label reading

CLASS

Handmade by Gertrude Willis

she’s middle-class. If the label reads

Hand-crafted by Gertrude Willis

she’s high-prole.

55

If navy is the upper-middle-class color, purple is the prole
equivalent, and it is scourged frequently by Barbara Blaes, ward-
robe adviser to the Departments of Labor and Commerce as well
as the CIA and the Food and Drug Administration . She gets $400

day forraoting out prole garments from among women work-
ing in government departments. What she wants women to look
like, as much as possible, is female men, in navy or gray tailored
suits. Not, not assuredly, the pantsuit, especially not in purple,
and especially not in purple polyester. That is the absolute bot-
tom, the classic prole costume. It’s right down there with another
favorite prole getup, this one favored by the slender the way the
pantsuit is by the obese. I refer to designer jeans worn with very
high heels. This is a common outfit among newcomers to the
suburbs who’ve not yet mastered the pseudo-prep, upper-middle
look.

The purple polyester pantstiit offends two principles that deter-
mine class in clothes: the color principle and the organic-materials
prinCiple. Navy blue aside, colors are classier the more pastel or
faded, and materials are classier the more they consist of anything
that was once alive. That means wool, leather, silk, cotton, and

. fur. Only. All synthetic fibers are prole, partly because they’re
cheaper than natural ones, partly because they’re not archaic, and
partly because they’re entirely uniform and hence boring-you’ll
never find a bit of straW or sheep excrement woven into an acrylic
sweater. Veblen got the point in 1899, speaking of mass-produced
goods in general: “Machine-made goods of daily use are often
admired and preferred precisely on account of their excessive per-
fection by the vulgar and the underbred, who have not given due
thought to the punctilios of elegant consumption.” (The organic
principle also determines that in kitchens wood is classier than
Formica, and on the kitchen table a cotton cloth “higher” than
plastic or oilcloth.) So important for genuine upper-middle-class
standing is the total renunciation of artificial fibers that the elite
eye becomes skilled in detecting even, as The Official Preppy
Handbook has it, “a small percentage of polyester in an Oxford-

56 PAUL FUSSELL

cloth shirt” -a sad middle-caste mark. The same invaluable book
praises young Caroline Kennedy unreservedly-“on technical
points Preppier than Mummy”-because “during four years at
Harvard Square, an unnatural fiber never went near her body. ”
It somehow seems very American and very late-twentieth-cen-
tury-that is, very prole-that we are now invited to buy bath
towels, whose only office is to absorb moisture, with their cot-
ton, the sole absorbing fiber they contain, carefully diluted by 12
percent Dacron polyester, to keep them from absorbing so well.

But no one talks that way without risking rebuke from Mr.
Fisher A. Rhymes, Director of Public Affairs of the Man-Made
Fiber Producers Association, with headquarters in Washington,
where it’s in a position to persuade the Army and Navy to intro-
duce the maximum number of man-made fibers not just into their
towels but into their mops and sponges as well. Mr. Rhymes
stands ready at all times to rebut calumnies, as he does in a recent
letter to the New York Times defending polyester against a fashion
writer’s strictures. “Polyester,” he says, “in its many luxurious
forms, is the most widely used fashion fiber today.” (Just what’s
wrong with it, of course, from the class point of view.)

If you can gauge people’s proximity to prole status by the color
and polyester content of their garments, legibility of their dress is
another sign. “Legible clothing” is Alison Lurie’s useful term to
designate things like T-shirts or caps with messages on them
you’re supposed to read and admire. The messages may be sim-
ple, like BUDWEISER or HEINEKEN’S, or they may be complex and
often lewd, like the one on the girl’s T-shirt: THE BEST PART IS
INSIDE. When proles assemble to enjoy leisure, they seldom ap-
pear in clothing without words on it. As you move up the classes
and the understatement principle begins to operate, the words
gradually disappear, to be replaced, in the middle and upper-
middle classes, by mere emblems, like the Lacoste alligator.
Once, ascending further, you’ve left all such trademarks behind,
you may correctly infer that you are entering the purlieus of the
upper class itself. The same reason a T-shirt reading COKE’S THE
REAL THING is prole determines that the necktie reading COUNTESS
MARA is vulgar and middle-class.

There are psychological reasons why proles feel a need to wear
legible clothing, and they are more touching than ridiculous. By
wearing a garment reading SPORTS ILLUSTRATED or GATORADE or
LESTER LANIN, the prole associates himself with an enterprise the

CLASS 57

Legibledothing, middle class (left) and prole

world judges successful, and thus, for the moment, he achieves
some importance. This is the reason why, at the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway each May, you can see grown men walking
around proud to wear silly-looking caps so long as they say
GOODYEAR or VALVOLINE. Brand names today possess a totemistic
power to ‘confer distinction on those who wear them. By donning

. legible clothing you fuse your private identity with external com-
mercial success, redeeming your insignificance and becoming, for
the inoment,somebody. For $27 you can send in to a post-office
box. in Holiday; Florida, and get a nylon jacket in blue, white,
and orange that says, on the front, UNION 76. There are sizes for
kids and ladies too. Just the thing for the picnic. And this need is
not the proles’ alone. Witness the T-shirts and carryalls stamped
with the logo of The New York Review of Books, which convey
. the point’ ‘I read hard books,” or printed with portraits of Mozart
and Haydn and Beethoven, which assure the world, “I am civi-

58 PAUL FUSSELL

lized.” The gold-plated blazer buttons displaying university seals
affected by the middle class likewise identify the wearer with
impressive brand names like the University ofIndiana and’Loui-
siana State.

The wearing of clothes either excessively new or excessively
neat and clean also suggests that your social circumstances are not
entirely secure. The upper and upper-middle classes like to appear
in old clothes, as if to advertise how much of conventional dignity
they can afford to throwaway, as the men of these classes do also
when they abjure socks while wearing loafers. Douglas Suther-
land, in The English Gentleman (1980). is sound on the old-clothes
principle. “Gentlemen,” he writes . “may wear their suits until
they are threadbare but they do so with considerable panache and
it is evident to the most uncritical eye that they have been buiit
by a good tailor.” On the other hand, the middle class and the
proles make much of new clothes, of course with the highest
possible polyester content. The question of the class meaning of
cleanliness is a tricky one, not as easy. perhaps, as Alison Lurie
thinks. She finds cleanliness “a sign of status, since to be clean
and neat always involves the expense of time and money.” But
laboring to present yourself scrupulously clean and neat suggests
that you’re worried about status slippage and that you care terri-
bly what your audience thinks, both low signs. The perfect shirt
coilar, the too neatly tied necktie knot, the anxious overattention
to dry cleaning-all betray the wimp. Or the nasty-nice. The
deployment of the male bowtie is an illustration. If neatly tied,
centered, and balanced, the effect is middle-class. When tied
askew, as if carelessly or incompetently, the effect is upper-:-mid-
dIe or even. if sufficiently inept, upper. The worst thing is being
neat when. socially. you’re supposed to be sloppy, or clean when
you’re supposed to be filthy. There’s an analogy here with the
excessively washed and polished automobile, almost infallibly a
sign of prole ownership. Class people can afford to drive dirty
cars. Just as, walking on the street, they’re more likely to carry
their business papers in tatty expanding files made of reddish-
brown fiber, now fuzzy and sweat-stained, rather than in neat-
looking attache cases displaying lots of leather and brass, items
that are a sad stigma of the middle class.

This principle of not-too-neat is crucial in men’s clothing. Too
careful means low-at least middle-class, perhaps prole. “Dear
boy, you’re almost too well dressed to be a gentleman,” Neil

CLASS 59

Mackwood, author of Debrett’s In and Out (1980), imagines an
upper-class person addressing someone in the middle class, as if
the speaker were implying that the . addressee is not a gent but a
model, a floorwalker, or an actor. “A now famous Hollywood
actor,” Vance Packard reports, “still reveals his lower …
origins every time he sits down. He pulls up his trousers to pre-
serve the crease.” And King George IV is said to have observed
of Robert Peel: “He’s not a gentleman: he divides his coattails
when he sits down.”

The difference between high- versus low-caste effects in men’s
is partly the of the upper orders’ being used to

weanng SUIts, or at least Jackets. As Lurie perceives, the suit “not
only flatters the inactive, it deforms the laborious.” (And the
athlet.ic or muscular: Arnold Schwartzenegger looks
espe,:lalIy m a suit. For this reason the suit-preferably
the dark smt a weapon in the nineteenth-century
war of the. the proletariat. “The triumph of
the … SUlt, says Lune, meant that the blue-collar man in his
best clothes was at his worst in any formal confrontation with his
‘betters.’ ” We can think of blacksmith Joe Gargary in Dickens’s

dressed to the nines for an appear-
ance m the CIty, bemg patromzed by the comfortably dressed Pip .
. “This s.trategic disadvantage,” Lurie goes on, “can still be seen
m operation at local union-management confrontations, in the
offices of and loan companies, and whenever a working-
class man VISIts a government bureau.” That’s an illustration of

. John T. Molloy’.s general principle of the way men use clothing
, to convey class SIgnals. When two men meet, he perceives, “One

. man’s clothing is saying to the other man, ‘I am more important
than . you are, please show respect’; or, ‘I am your equal and
expect to be treated as such’; or, ‘1 am not your equal and do not
expect to be treated as such.’ ” For this reason, Molloy indicates,
proles who want to rise must be extremely careful to affect
“Northeastern establishment attire,” which will mean that
Brooks .Brothers and J. Press will be their guides: “Business suits
should be plain; no fancy or extra buttons’ no weird color stitch-
ing; flaps on the breast pocket; no on the sleeves; no
belts m the back of the jacket; no leather ornamentation; no cow-
boy yokes. Never.”
. It’s largely a matter of habit and practice, says C. Wright Mills
m The Power Elite (1956): no matter where you live, he insists,

60 PAUL fUSSELL

“anyone with the money and the inclination can learn to be un-
comfortable in anything but a Brooks Brothers suit.” And, I
would add, can learn to recoil from clothes with a glossy (middle-
class) as opposed to a matte (upper-middle-class) finish. Middle-
class clothes tend to err by excessive smoothness, to glitter a bit,
to shine even before they’re worn. Upper-middle clothes, on the
other hand, lean to the soft , textured, woolly, nubby. Ultimately,
the difference implies a difference between city and country, or
labor and leisure, where country betokens not decrepit dairy farms
and bad schools but estates and horse-leisure . Thus the popularity
among the upper-middle class (and the would-be upper-middle
class, like members of Ivy university faculties) of the tweed
jacket. Country leisure is what it implies, not daily wage slavery
in the city.

The tweed jacket is indispensable to the upper-middle-class
trick of layering. A man signals that he’s classy if, outdoors, he
comes on in a tweed jacket, with vest or sweater ( or two), shirt,
tie, long wool scarf, and overcoat or raincoat. An analogy is with
the upper-class house, which has lots of different rooms for dif-
ferent purposes. Wearing one shirt over another-axford-cloth
button-down over a turtleneck, for example-is upper-middle-
class, and the shirt WOrn underneath can even be a dress shirt
(solid color is best) with its own collar , a usage I’ve seen in warm
weather on Madison Avenue in the upper eighties. Since sweaters
are practically obligatory for layering, it’s important to know that
the classiest is the Shetland crew-neck pullover, and in ” Scottish”
colors-heather and the like, especially when a tieless Oxford-:-
cloth shirt (palpably without artificial fibers) just peeps over the
top. Add a costly tweed jacket without shoulder padding and no
one can tell you ‘re not upper-middle at least. The V-neck
sweater, designed to prove conclusively that you’re wearing a
necktie, is for that reason middle-class or even high prole. It’s
hard to believe that sometimes people tuck pullovers into the top
of their trousers, but I’m told they do . If this does happen, it’s a
very low sign .

The interpreter of men’s class appearances can hardly do better
than study the costumes of the Presidents as they come and go.
The general principle here is that the two-button suit is more.
prole than the three-hut ton Eastern-establishment model. Most
Presidents have worn the two-button kind before, and when they
assume the leadership of the Free World, they feel ob,liged to

CLASS 61

change, now affecting three-button suits and resembling the
Chairman ‘ of the Board of the Chase Manhattan Bank. This is
what made Richard Nixon look so awkward most of the time.
He was really comfortable in the sort of Klassy Kut two-button
suit you might wear if you were head of the Savings & Loan
Association of Whittier, California. His successor, Gerald Ford,
although brought up on the hick two-button model, managed to
wear the three-button job with some plausibility, being more
pliable and perhaps a faster study than Nixon. But he never really
pulled off the con, in features resembling as he did Joe Palooka
rather than any known type of American aristocrat. James Earl
Carter knew himself well enough to realize that he should reject
two- and three-button suits alike , sticking to blue jeans and thus
escaping criticism as one who aspires to the Establishment but

– fails.
Ronald Reagan, of course, doesn’t need to affect the establish-

ment style, sensing accurately that his lowbrow, God-fearing,
intellect-distrusting constituency regards it as an affront (which,
of course, to them it is). Reagan’s style can be designated Los
Angeles (or even Orange) County Wasp-Chutzpah. It registers
the sense that if you stubbornly believe you ‘ re as good as educated
and civilized people-i. e., those Eastern dudes-then you are.
He is the perfect representative of the mind and soul of the Sun
Belt. He favors , of course, the two-button suit with maximum
shoulder padding and with a Trumanesque squared white hand-
kerchief in the breast pocket, which makes him look, when he ‘s
dressed way up, like a prole setting off for church. Sometimes,
for leisure activities (as he might express it), he affects the cowboy
look, which, especially when one is aged, appeals mightily to the
Sun Belt seniles. One hesitates even to speculate about the poly-
ester levels of his outfits.

Indeed, Reagan violates virtually every canon of upper-class or
even upper-middle-class presentation. The dyed hair is, as we’ve
seen, an outrage, as is the rouge on the cheeks . (Will the President
soon proceed to eye shadow and liner?) So is the white broadcloth
shirt with its omnipresent hint of collar stays. (Anxiety about
neatness.) The suit materials are scandalously bucolic middle-
class: plaid, but never Glen plaid. The necktie is tied with a full
Windsor knot, the favorite of sophisticated high-school boys
everywhere. When after a press conference Dan Rather, not
everyone’s idea of a Preppy, comes on to “summarize” and try

62 PAUL FUSSELL

to make sense of the President’s vagaries, his light-blue Oxford-
cloth button-down and “regimental” tie make him, by contrast,
look upper-middle-class. The acute student of men’s class signals
could virtually infer Reagan’s politics of Midwestern small-town
meanness from his getups, just as one might deduce Roosevelt’s
politics of aristocratic magnanimity from such classy accessories
as his naval cape, pince-nez, and cigarette hol<:kr.

It’s not just Ronald Reagan who violates all canons of gentle-
manly attire. It’s the conspicuous members of his “team” as well,
like Al Haig . (Even though he’s no longer Secretary of State, he
wants so much to be President that he ‘s appropriately dealt with
here.) It’s cruel, of course, to demand that a soldier know any-
thing about taste on those occasions when he’s obliged to disguise
himself as an ordinary person. (Although there’s always ,the ex-
ample of General George C. Marshall, who, after a lifetime of
appearing in uniform, managed in mufti to wear the three-but-
ton, three-piece suit as if to the classy manner born.) Al Haig’s
class stigma is the gaping jacket collar, always a prole giveaway.
Here, the collar of the jacket separates itselffrom the collar of the
shirt and backs off and up an inch or so: the effect is that of a man
coming apart. That this caste mark is without specifically reac-
tionary political meaning is confirmed by a photograph of Rich-
ard Hoggart, the British radical critic and Labour Party
enthusiast, used to promote a recent book of his: his jacket collar
is gaping a full inch at the rear, ample indication that jacket gape
afflicts the far left as well as the far right. What it betrays, indeed,
is less the zealot than the stooge. Like the poor chap interviewed
on TV recently by William F. Buckley. He was from Texas and
wanted to censor school textbooks to repress, among other evils,
pro-mis-kitty. (As gently as possible, Buckley corrected this mis-
pronunciation of promiscuity so that the audience would know
what the poor ass was talking about.) But even if the Texan had
not , with complete confidence in his unaided powers, delivered
repeatedly this prole mispronunciation, his perceptiveness and
sensibility could have been inferred from the way his jacket collar
gaped open a foll two inches . Buckley’s collar, of course, clung
tightly to his neck and shoulders, turn and bow and bob as he
might. And here I will reject all accusations that I am favoring
the rich over the poor. The distinction I’m pointing.to is not one
between the tailored clothes of the fortunate and the store clothes
of the others, for if you try you can get a perfectly fitting suit

CLASS 63

Prole jacket-gape

collar off the rack, or at least have it altered to fit snugly . The
. difference is in recognizing this as a class signal and not being

awa.re of it as …

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