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Subject: Has anyone read "Coming Apart"? rss

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William Boykin
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36.

I was scoring pretty well till it got to the section on buying domestic beer.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
36.

I was scoring pretty well till it got to the section on buying domestic beer.

Darilian


Elitist snob. You clearly aren't an average American.
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MisterCranky wrote:
I got so bored looking at that quiz that I watched some Judge Judy re-runs.


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Her tears of blood on that tat are more poignant than any seven episodes of Dr. Phil that I could name.
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bjlillo wrote:
Based on the scores we're seeing, it looks like those of us who don't live in a bubble tend to be conservative while those who do live in a bubble aren't. Come on lefties, get out there and see some people outside of your classist bubble!


Except that it isn't "outside of the bubble" we're talking about, it's just a different bubble. Why is one bubble more important to experience than the other?

Not that the quiz really did a good job of assessing anything about which "bubble" you're in anyways.
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The Message wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Based on the scores we're seeing, it looks like those of us who don't live in a bubble tend to be conservative while those who do live in a bubble aren't. Come on lefties, get out there and see some people outside of your classist bubble!


Except that it isn't "outside of the bubble" we're talking about, it's just a different bubble. Why is one bubble more important to experience than the other?

Not that the quiz really did a good job of assessing anything about which "bubble" you're in anyways.


Because members of one bubble have little to no impact on running the country, while members of the other bubble very much do.
 
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The Message wrote:
Except that it isn't "outside of the bubble" we're talking about, it's just a different bubble. Why is one bubble more important to experience than the other?

Not that the quiz really did a good job of assessing anything about which "bubble" you're in anyways.


That's not quite true. It seems the intent was to draw from the average American's life experiences. That isn't a bubble: it's an average of bubbles.
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The Message wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Based on the scores we're seeing, it looks like those of us who don't live in a bubble tend to be conservative while those who do live in a bubble aren't. Come on lefties, get out there and see some people outside of your classist bubble!


Except that it isn't "outside of the bubble" we're talking about, it's just a different bubble. Why is one bubble more important to experience than the other?

Not that the quiz really did a good job of assessing anything about which "bubble" you're in anyways.


It doesn't even determine that much. I got a high score and I'm not at all the person that the author is hoping to describe. It says nothing other than the guy operates on stereotypes. Many stereotypes are true, but the sum of all of the test gives you an average American rather than the average American. The bubble is a tool that he is using to sell books. Some people want to believe that their lives are justified and true and all others are off track. This plays like a fortune from a flim-flam artist. He is just describing the people that he wants to buy the book and they feel good about themselves for being validated. As the majority (something close to 80%) of America lives in urban areas, you know right off of the bat that this is hooey. If you are a politician you should do your best to understand this subset of America, just as it serves you well to understand all your constituents.
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XanderF wrote:
The Message wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Based on the scores we're seeing, it looks like those of us who don't live in a bubble tend to be conservative while those who do live in a bubble aren't. Come on lefties, get out there and see some people outside of your classist bubble!


Except that it isn't "outside of the bubble" we're talking about, it's just a different bubble. Why is one bubble more important to experience than the other?

Not that the quiz really did a good job of assessing anything about which "bubble" you're in anyways.


Because members of one bubble have little to no impact on running the country, while members of the other bubble very much do.


How low does your score have to get before you start to see those benefits?

And all of this is still missing that the quiz isn't even very good at what it's trying to do. You get points for hanging out with someone while they're smoking? What, is he serious? For buying a truck? For happening to live near a certain type or quantity of people even if you don't ever associate with them? This is like if I tried to assess how musically aware you were by asking you questions only about obscure bands that I enjoy, it's completely inane and provides no useful information.
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Drew1365 wrote:
travistdale wrote:
Yes, it's problematic that the policy-making elite grew up in an upper-middle class bubble and know little about how the average American lives. That's bound to lead to policy that doesn't serve the lower classes as well as it should.


Yes!


This is fine, but since it's only talking about white people, the most you can say - assuming he somehow shows that policy-makers are in thicker bubbles - is that white elite policy-makers know little about how the average white American lives. But since policy-makers on the national level need to make policies for all Americans, knowing how thick the bubbles are with regard to white people is neither sufficient nor really useful.

I suspect - though I am not sure - that if you made culturally relevant equivalent questions, you'd find that minority policy-makers are more in tune with the average minority population than white policy-makers are with the average white American.
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bjlillo wrote:
sisteray wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Based on the scores we're seeing, it looks like those of us who don't live in a bubble tend to be conservative while those who do live in a bubble aren't. Come on lefties, get out there and see some people outside of your classist bubble!


I scored a 71 (72 if you count watching Lost on DVD). If it had asked if I had a mullet I'd be rollin' in the points.


Clearly the problem isn't with my analysis. The problem must be with you.


 
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Drew1365 wrote:
If you look at the scoring, I don't think that counts. He seems to be talking about neighbors who are 25 and older.

There were a few questions to which I answered "yes" that I later went back and gave a "no" response once I figured out what he was aiming at.


Sure, but I'd still answer 'yes' with 25 and older I think. The university towns I've lived in were pretty thoroughly mixed with the community. Perhaps this isn't so in the US, I don't know. It's an ill-thought out question.


Still, the quiz has other issues. Firstly it's obviously not asking about whether you live in a bubble, but whether you live in a bubble that disconnects you from the American rural lower classes. Which is fair enough, since that's mainly what the book seems to be about.

However it does obviously ignore other bubbles. The American slant is fair enough, but you could also ask questions along the lines of

'Do you have a close friend from a different religion/ race/ country / with a different mother tongue/ of a different sexuality, etc?'

These are also questions suggestive of bubbles, albeit different ones from the one the quiz is aiming at. The quiz also lacks a certain symmetry, not knowing someone who got straight As seems to me to be as much a bubble as the C student question. However this is all class related and I think it's fair to say that upper and middle class bubbles are more of a choice than lower class ones, so in some ways it's fairer to ignore the lower class bubble. I would have pointed this out more clearly though.

Some of the questions are certainly not careful in avoiding a political slant either. The protests in 19 explicitly mentioned are left wing ones. He could have simply ruled out any political marches (the tea party, for example, is as middle class as any other similar rally).


However, it's most important error, for me at least, is it's focus on the rural (or at least semi-rural) lower class. It's seems fairly plain to me that someone from an urban lower class background will likely score much lower on this quiz that someone from a rural lower class background. This seems absolutely unjustified to me, especially given that lower classes are hardly unheard of in urban areas.

The fishing question seems the most obvious example of this slant (though there are clearly others). Perhaps things are different in the US, but fishing is a sport I pretty firmly associate with the middle and upper classes for the most part. If nothing else, it's both a time and money intensive hobby. As I say, perhaps this is different in the US, but I find it hard to imagine many people from traditionally lower class backgrounds spending a lot of their time fishing, at least on average.
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
The university towns I've lived in were pretty thoroughly mixed with the community.


Andrew, according to your profile, you were at Durham, the poster boy of town-gown confrontation!
 
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Salo sila wrote:
Dolphinandrew wrote:
The university towns I've lived in were pretty thoroughly mixed with the community.


Andrew, according to your profile, you were at Durham, the poster boy of town-gown confrontation!


Mixed in the sense of who your 50 closed neighbours will be

The student local population is certainly somewhat separate. On the other hand, your neighbours will likely only be predominately students if you live in the centre, which is a very small place and quite expensive. You move out of college and get to the outer suburbs it's pretty different. At least, the places you can afford on a student budget are pretty different.

I was also at Nottingham, which had different areas, but I guess was mostly mixed.
 
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
Salo sila wrote:
Dolphinandrew wrote:
The university towns I've lived in were pretty thoroughly mixed with the community.


Andrew, according to your profile, you were at Durham, the poster boy of town-gown confrontation!


Mixed in the sense of who your 50 closed neighbours will be :)

The student local population is certainly somewhat separate. On the other hand, your neighbours will likely only be predominately students if you live in the centre, which is a very small place and quite expensive. You move out of college and get to the outer suburbs it's pretty different. At least, the places you can afford on a student budget are pretty different.


Surely the studentification of places like Newton Hall means that these days even when you move out from the centre you're more likely to have a greater proportion of students as neighbours?
 
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Salo sila wrote:
Surely the studentification of places like Newton Hall means that these days even when you move out from the centre you're more likely to have a greater proportion of students as neighbours?


Sure, but, at least in my day, the majority of the students were living in places like Gilesgate or the other outer suburbs. And certainly, you'll have a lot of student neighbours there too, but these places also served as homes for people working in the nearby industrial estates in Dragonville (not as cool a place as it sounds).
 
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Hmmm, I got fourteen ...


Then again, I am non-American, so I guess that explains everything?
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I guess the British version of this quiz would have the question "Where did you last eat a pasty?"

Greggs: 4 pts.
West Cornwall Pasty Co.: 2 pts.
Can't remember: 0 pts.

But seriously, the idea of the "bubble" does seem to be related to "pasty-gate": in the search for authenticity, to escape their bubble and present themselves as men of the people, salts of the earth etc., politicians of all stripes and in all countries attempt to adopt stereotypical markers of what they see to be working class culture, often to great (unintended) comic effect. Unfortunately, this directs the debate away from the substance of the issues under discussion and towards the personalities of the people implementing them.


Dolphinandrew wrote:
Sure, but, at least in my day, the majority of the students were living in places like Gilesgate or the other outer suburbs. And certainly, you'll have a lot of student neighbours there too, but these places also served as homes for people working in the nearby industrial estates in Dragonville (not as cool a place as it sounds).


I think that depends on what side of Gilesgate you are on. It has some very gentrified bits.
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Salo sila wrote:
Dolphinandrew wrote:
Sure, but, at least in my day, the majority of the students were living in places like Gilesgate or the other outer suburbs. And certainly, you'll have a lot of student neighbours there too, but these places also served as homes for people working in the nearby industrial estates in Dragonville (not as cool a place as it sounds).


I think that depends on what side of Gilesgate you are on. It has some very gentrified bits.


Oh, absolutely. But not generally the places student tend to be able to afford.

Unless they were Hatfield or Castle people.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
Fishing is as easy and cheap as walking down to the lake with a cane pole, putting a worm on a hook, and tossing the line in. Sure, it can be really expensive, if you have to have the most awesome bass boat, and a really high-tech rod and reel, with fish-finders an' everything.

But otherwise, the cost of entry is dirt cheap. And I dunno, but where I grew up, everyone went fishing. When I was a kid, I spent many evenings rowing a boat around the lake where my grandparents lived, fishing for bluegills. Container of waxworms, cheap fishing rod and reel, mosquito repellant.

Is it really that different in Europe?


I don't know, and I can only speak for the UK, not the whole of Europe. Maybe there are just fewer suitable rivers, we did pollute them quite a bit, or the lower class are more likely to be in urban areas than in the US.

But I would certainly not associate 'having access to a rowing boat' with 'lower class'. Quite the opposite. I tend to think of 'cheap fishing rod' in the same sense I think of 'cheap golf club' (perhaps slightly less extreme).

Either way, it's certainly not an urban lower class activity.
 
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Dolphinandrew wrote:

But I would certainly not associate 'having access to a rowing boat' with 'lower class'. Quite the opposite. I tend to think of 'cheap fishing rod' in the same sense I think of 'cheap golf club' (perhaps slightly less extreme).

Either way, it's certainly not an urban lower class activity.


When I was growing up, rowboats were a luxury, but everyone had a fishing pole and a friend with a pond on his land. This was in the country.

But in most urban areas I've seen with public water (not a given) there are lots of people with a string in the water.
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chaendlmaier wrote:

In Germany it is illegal to fish without a license. In order to get the licence one must pass an exam. That (course/examination/education fees, book, printing of the license itself) costs about €180.

The fee for illegal fishing is usually about €100-500 but can go up to €5000. It also comes with a criminal charge.


Somehow that doesn't surprise me. laugh

Here licensing is state by state. In Michigan, you don't need one until 14 (or 16?) and it's fairly inexpensive (less than $30) for general fishing.

That being said, I've never gotten a license, but have gone to a local pond with my son and watched. Fishing is a step above watching grass grow for me. (On par with golf without the exercise of walking.... )
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qzhdad wrote:


That being said, I've never gotten a license, but have gone to a local pond with my son and watched. Fishing is a step above watching grass grow for me. (On par with golf without the exercise of walking.... )


Amen to that. I don't have anything against fishing, I just don't get it. I imagine other people feel the same way about spending four hours playing a board game, though, so maybe I just like a different flavor of boring.
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qzhdad wrote:
That being said, I've never gotten a license, but have gone to a local pond with my son and watched. Fishing is a step above watching grass grow for me. (On par with golf without the exercise of walking.... )


Yeah, it was always something to do while you were playing around by the creek/river/pond/lake when I was a kid. We weren't serious fishermen (fisher kids?).
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quozl wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
That being said, I've never gotten a license, but have gone to a local pond with my son and watched. Fishing is a step above watching grass grow for me. (On par with golf without the exercise of walking.... )


Yeah, it was always something to do while you were playing around by the creek/river/pond/lake when I was a kid. We weren't serious fishermen (fisher kids?).


I grew up lower class (income-wise) and fishing was just a part of what everybody did. Not just lower income folks but all the way up to the wealthy. When my dad worked his way into middle-class he bought a fishing boat. The highways and backroads of America are clogged with cheap boats on wobbly trailers every year because so many people of all backgrounds and incomes fish. It is a huge, huge market in every respect.

Idaho rakes in a few hundred million a year easily from sportsmen and tourists coming here for Cuthroat Trout, Steelhead Salmon as well as just to take in the beauty while holding a flyreel or cane pole. It's big because the geography of America is big. Europe, not so much. Plus we have no tradition of royal hunting areas or edicts about who owns the choice cuts and who gets humble pie. Culturally, fishing and hunting are ingrained into all but the most urban of citizens.

So I reckon fishing or hunting would be part of an upper-class bubble in the UK or Europe but here the only distinctions are the price of your boat or tackle and whether or not you buy your clothes at Bass Pro Shops or the local WalMart.

To me fishing is slightly less boring than golf on the radio. Except for one type... Gar fishing in East Texas. Holy shit! That is an adrenaline rush and actually pretty dangerous if you don't pay attention to those toothy bastards.

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