Sunday, March 23, 2014

The widening divide

I cyberstalk a lot of people that I grew up with. I know, I'm a sad person, but it reminds me of where I came from and lets me keep track on where most of my former classmates are at in their lives. They did end up on a wide range of trajectories, but academically the median finished high school and attended some community college. Many left the neighborhood where they grew up for low end suburban lives. From the median and below group, almost everyone is married and had 2-3 kids by the time they reached 30. They work non-white collar jobs. I don't quite know how to define the DMV, bank tellers, department and convenience stores, hair salons, car sales, etc. Some are repairmen. On the high end of the spectrum are the college grads that ended up as nurses, military, corporate sales, and nondescript office positions, with an engineer or two sprinkled in.

What got me reminiscing, was that one of the female people from my past just took their son to Hooters for his 10th birthday, and not because he wanted to. In this demographic, there is little outrage about inequality and sexism. They want manly men, and women that have several kids and only work part time. Most of their Facebook posts are about getting drunk, with highlights including going to sporting events, and vacations to Cancun or the Caribbean. Several of them are republican and vote against their own self interests. They have no problem buying their kids the latest Mily Cyrus album. They cheer when their kids win a fight at school. I want to tell them that they should be ashamed of themselves, but are they really wrong? My old friends would just tell me to fuck off and mind my own business. With education and insulated socialite lives, we train ourselves to suppress our natural instincts. We convince ourselves to feel guilty for being competitive and wanting to win and dominate others. And yet capitalism depends on winning and sex sells. Is being hyper PC and sensitive individuals really in the best interest of human civilization?

My life these days is so very different, and the people I interact with can't even conceive, yet alone relate to the people I grew up with, which are the growing majority of the US. It makes me feel strange and out of place. I would much rather have a beer and talk about the game then drink wine and discuss the latest geopolitical conflict. I do however enjoy my comfortable, elitist life, and take great pride in being able to have a discussion about global politics. A lot of these things I still instinctively get drawn to, even though I know better. For example, I am not a fan of the anti-bullying movement. Bullying is not going away. It is too instinctively ingrained in us as animals. There will always be bullies, and if kids don't learn how to deal with them when they are young, how are they going to interact with them as adults? Cyberbullying between kids is even more ridiculous. So your feelings got hurt. Would it be the end of the world if you simply stopped having an internet presence?

1 comment:

  1. I like beer and sports bars and off-color jokes; I am very comfortable among the football-watching, burger-eating crowd.
    The people around me in academia are all very PC, wine drinkers, healthy eaters (many vegetarian), and many are the enlightened religious so absolutely no cursing. I feel like a filthy pig around them much of the time; all of the time, actually, except when discussing science.