Class: A Guide Through the American Status System
by Paul Fussell (p. 27)
As amusing as it manages to be in parts, the book ends up being a perversely recursive bit of meta-irony embodying what it sets out to parody: a smug and very much class-based ridicule, hauteur, contempt.
Nonetheless, to quote...
Not that the three classes at the top don't have money. The point is that money alone doesn't define them, for the way they have their money is largely what matters. That is, as a class indicator the amount of money is less significant than the source. The main thing distinguishing the top three classes from each other is the amount of money inherited in relation to the amount currently earned. The top-out-of-sight class (Rockefellers, Pews, DuPonts, Mellons, Fords, Vanderbilts) lives on inherited capital entirely. No one whose money, no matter how copious, comes from his own work -- film stars are an example -- can be a member of the top-out-of-sight class, even if the size of his income and the extravagance of his expenditure permit him to simulate identity with it. Inheritance -- "old money" in the vulgar phrase -- is the indispensable principle defining the top three classes, and it's best if the money's been in the family for three or four generations.
Only reason I'm posting this is that I was struck by the line drawing of those two old fucks. No disrespect intended. That and I'm interested in Old Money of the sort that was floating around California for about a century before the sixties hit. And here's what I'm thinkin... Esalen, right? Prime piece of real estate like that? Where'd it come from? Michael Murphy got it from his folks. Might have to look that one up, but I'm pretty sure. And what I want to know is: what kind of world were his, you know, People living in before Mikey was a come-hither glint in Mom's eye?
I'll be sure to let you know what I find out...
A high prole regarding a destitute with disdain, but less for his poverty than for his style.