The Imperial Middle: Why Americans Can't Think Straight about Class

Benjamin DeMott, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-55710-023-8
In a ringing indictment, DeMott ( Surviving the Seventies ) attacks the myth that the U.S. is a classless society. Denying that class differences exist, that we all belong to the middle class, robs us of personal knowledge, whitewashes the prevalence of unearned advantages and perpetuates social wrongs, charges the author. He analyzes in detail the media's masking of class differences, with examples ranging from The Cosby Show to the ``Baby M'' surrogate mother case. He debunks the idea that schools are ``fairness zones'' free of unearned privilege, and dissects the ``omni syndrome'' (the myth that ``each has access to all''), a syndrome supposedly shared by Peace Corps volunteers, aspiring rock singers and gentleman farmers. As an antidote to the presumption of classlessness, DeMott turns to the pretension-puncturing ``talkback'' of stand-up comics and actors. He calls for a reassessment of our laws and institutions to gauge the extent to which they foster class advantage or disadvantage. (Oct. )
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-300-05482-8
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