“He who dies with the most toys wins.”
When I first saw that it seemed obviously ironic, since being dead makes your toy pile size irrelevant. I was surprised when I originally met someone who took that at face value: “He who dies with the most toys wins! Wheee!” I wonder how most people read it?
The most interesting part of this post, for me, is how it shows just how deeply ingrained our ideas of class are. Nouveau-riche twits! They’re so declasse they haven’t even had the sense to be born into old money! Good thing the perpetually rich can rely on social constructs like “taste” and “class” to remind those who merely have gobs of money that they’re of a lower class. Because liking the right operas, collecting the right art, and knowing the correct fork to use are, when you come to think of it, the truly important measures of human worth.
The flipside of ignoring the fundamental similarity between old and new money is also just as dangerous of a misdirect. In the U.S. those building new empires still get to wear the mantle of Scrappy American Entrepreneurs, all the while quietly amassing wealth, avoiding taxes and becoming the new aristocracy…
I agree that this idea of a strict hierarchy of higher and lower classes is problematic, but I still think that the denial of class separate from wealth has its own problems.
I know that there are cultural differences regarding this question and that in the US the idea that class is - or at least should be - purely economic, but I am not quite convinced.
I don’t mean to deny the importance of class—which is alive and well in the US even if it differs from old-world structures—just that valuing people according to class seems just as stupid as valuing people according to wealth… and that despite the stupidity of this concept it is one that pretty much everyone has internalized to an alarming degree.
Yeah, I was gonna say. Do normal people actually use “nouveau-riche” as an insult? I was pretty sure you needed a monocle and top hat to do that.
Well, the premise of this game wouldn’t work as well for established family dynasties. There’s no need to worry about building social status as quickly as possible when your ancestors have spent the last several generations doing it for you.
If I ever win the lottery, I’ma go round in a monocle and top hat with ‘arriviste’ rattle-canned on the back of my frock coat in neon pink.
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