Pretentious. Idiotic. Arrogant. Snob. Pompous. Mean. Unaware. These are just a sampling of the “arrows” that are daily shot at me (and have been of course) if I try to interact at all online nowadays. But while I may sometimes be unintentionally mean and I can be a little snobby about matters of taste (not about people and yes there is a difference actually) I’m none of the others. No, I’m really not. And yes, I’m aware many reading this would angrily disagree. (Doesn’t mean they’re right.)
Here’s an idea none of you have seemingly thought of before: you’re shooting the messenger.
When I first started writing about class (as I’ve said many times) I did so out of my own deep frustration at the passive aggressive cattiness people were daily showing me in regard to class in the perfume community online. Often they tried to find some way to outdo me or one-up me. Although it was other more painful things as well. (It’s impossible to discuss perfume without touching issues of class but that’s why you need to be truly kind and broad-minded about it. Not judge people for their collection or taste in a snotty or truly pretentious way in any direction regardless of class, for example. More on that in a second.)
It was toxic competition for years (in the best case scenarios) and it made enjoying the beauty of perfume impossible without suddenly unfollowing lots of people, blocking others, etc. and perhaps not interacting with almost anyone. I didn’t see a way forward with that (although I tried some of it). I had come to be known as what I am: a genuinely nice person. I wanted to interact with people. And so one night I decided that I should do the opposite of being even more careful about sharing my blessings than I already was (some were likely already been upset by what they figured out or what I had shared). I thought to share more. Detail things most people don’t. Truly don’t. I think I thought people would just roll their eyes and metaphorically “walk away”, shrug their shoulders and say “whatever” and then there would be a few others who would be angry. And I surmised that those who would be the angriest would be the vain, egotistical twats who truly just wanted to be superior. But no. Most people were angry. And again, here’s why: you all shot the messenger.
The thing is, if you read my blog (or do a study of the origins and history of the American Social Register) you’ll find that while America doesn’t openly acknowledge our own class system (organized by birth) we do have one. I was raised aware of it because of my father’s academic and intellectual awareness and interests. He lovingly took time to try to explain it as it really is (that was one area in particular where he really did try to be a good parent – with explaining things well). And as people had (at least) quietly always known it to be. It was just almost always relabeled in the US (sometimes to sell things and other times for much more high-minded, Godly and humanistic reasons) and to the credit of many in my country there was actually more social mobility than in many other countries. Maybe even most countries. Almost all countries? We did try to be a true and pure meritocracy. But it’s impossible (to be that purely).
“Impossible?!?! No! That can’t be!” you say. “That’s not right.” (I see your loaded gun pointed at my head. It’s been there for a while.). But unless you’re a dangerous fool or a sociopath you don’t want to destroy human love and/or nuclear families (as class is passed down over the years through both) and unfortunately given that we’re a species with certain tendencies to organize ourselves it’s virtually impossible to totally “get rid” of social classes. It’s just how we naturally arrange ourselves. We can’t help it anymore than we can help our need to eat or use a toilet. Or how we all eventually die…
And that’s why we have to be kind to each other. (And aware of reality, and the true mechanics of class, and deal with our racism, anti-semitism and etc.) And in the world of perfume what I was hoping for was a shift towards more acceptance of each other, including our different backgrounds and a refocus away from competition about who was “better” towards a purer focus on the objective beauty of perfume. Beauty for the sake of beauty instead of the nitpicking, narcissistic daily battle the perfume community seemed to have become. *sigh* (My sighs are meant to convey the real frustration of another human being by the way and not the idiotic or melodramatic whimpering of a trashy, stupid, bourgeois jackass you so desperately want to imagine I am. Force through delusional, blind and stubborn rage to be true.)
In an age of sincere rage about the promises made toward egalitarian progress that were truly broken over the last few decades worldwide…I seemingly pointed out the truth. About myself and about all of us. A raw, ugly and often tragic truth about life. Then most people (reading this blog) proceeded to hunt me in (your) their various ways. Justified it along the way through (sometimes narcissistic) insults.
But there’s good news. We can fix things. The big, meaningful things motivating any justified (misdirected) anger.
Actually, ironically, when blue bloods controlled more (They still have unspoken power and are at least subconsciously extolled in society, albeit they’re often misunderstood and maligned.) there was more local accountability and more of a sense of honor in our leadership. One American leader (who quickly comes to mind), Robert Kennedy was raised in such a Patrician environment of duty, honor and respect. He was infinitely far from a perfect man (as most of us are imperfect humans). But…he did care. Genuinely care. And he was deep enough, and well educated enough and intellectually mature enough to be a true leader on a grand level. The true WASPS and those who were heavily influenced by that culture in their schools and the groups they tried to assimilate into (and did to some degree) were light years away from what we know today… After the late 1990’s the cachet of the Social Register was almost destroyed entirely by the mythology of celebrity. And although it still exists, it’s not…what it was. Even the American Bush family (as much as we talk about their clubs at Yale) isn’t truly what once was.
They were a flawed people for certain. Ugly at times. But at its best it was about honor. Truth. Meaning. It was about finding some genuine goodness in a brutal world. But they lost their teeth last century… (Sometimes literally) And the pure wolves took over. But…ironically that’s the work of egalitarianism. (I see that gun.) Misguided goodness.
So…as you try pathetically to snub me these days using the tools (you might not understand) of the frozen elite or call me idiotic or shallow or whatever insults suit you best, please realize as I’ve said before: I’m not your enemy. If there was a genuinely happier or better life for all of us I would wholeheartedly join it especially not despite if it means us becoming more equal in our blessings. I don’t look down on anyone for pure reasons of class. No one who’s raised with any sense of true (stable) good taste and honor does look down on other people as people. I just pointed out reality. If you’re not a grandiose, fake, simpering, dim and sociopathic asshole let’s hope we can salvage something of a broken, flawed but wonderful country together (in the US). And for those of you elsewhere I apologize. The US meant well but we were foolish in thinking we could fix things so magically and perfectly as to recreate Heaven on Earth. (Not that I’m advocating evil or anti-idealism or anti-Americanism.) Hopefully our (my) country will grow-up soon though and realize what we did when we decided to run the world (or when that role fell on us)…and often send many of our best to their untimely, almost certain (and often heroic) deaths.
I’m not all that hopeful. But I at least wanted to try to open your eyes. Stop you from just blindly insulting me or anyone who makes you uneasy…