Thursday, May 01, 2008

Middle-Class Woes

Someone recently expressed to me his concern that he had a drinking problem. He said that he consumed between two and three glasses over the course of an evening. I told him that I thought chronic drunkenness the more likely indicator of genuine alcoholism; that he was being silly. He conceded this with a shrug, then whined: "I guess it bugs me because it's just so middle-class."

Ah me! Would that he could understand that it doesn't get any more middle-class than moaning on about being middle-class. Would that he could grasp that if there is, in fact, anything wrong with the middle-class, it is exactly this sort of self-important preoccupation that middle-class individuals have with the middle-class as a whole. Their shameful inability to recognize that any hypocrisy that they might be guilty of does not begin with the personal enjoyment of modest privileges, but with the knee-clattering worry that they are a collective--a conspiracy! a hive!--of hypocrites.

For the sake of his pride, this fellow would no doubt prefer if I called his belief in the apparent decadence of the average, perversity. Alas, no, not even that. His is just ignorance and dreadful, dreadful irresponsibility. To that extent, at least, I guess he can boast that his aren't middle-class values.