Perils of assimilation

If only life came with subtitles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I have not enjoyed a single text we have covered in my Post-PoMo class. Each text,Resuscitation of a Hanged Man, The Shipping News, Alburqurque, show a range of people at the "border" of our culture, groups of people that we possibly cannot understand because the culture is so different. These texts become the coffeetable books of the bourgeoisie, displayed as if by reading the text they have somehow taped into the world of the lowerclasses. They make these writers their pets. Joanne, my professor, tells us that we cannot understand these worlds, because we are so far removed. I beg to differ. SHE cannot understand because she is of the country-club trash that turns ethnic and regional writers into lapdogs. I, ethnically, cannot identify with the writers or their writings, but I can identify with them because of my class. Don't say that America is not a classist society, it is.

I am from East Troy, the town just north of Lake Geneva. Lake Geneva is Chicago's northern-most suburb, where the rich folk from the 'burbs have their summer mansions. The people in Lake Geneva itself are the poorest around. They, along with the people from surrounding towns, work for the rich bastards. It's decent money, if you're white. But if you're not, good luck getting anything near minimum wage.

I worked at a tiny Bistro in the downtown area for a very short while over the summer. I have written about this hellhole before, check the June entries. It was owned by a pretentious bitch named Stacy McDermott. She made me her little pet, called me "Lizbit" when affluent people were around and would show me off to her customers, and swore she could not do anything with out me. All signs in the place where in faux Italian, with every accent mark misplaced and horrible mashups of french words. I could handle Stacy and her pretentions, but the woman I couldn't handle was Debbie.

Debbie was Stacy's "business partner" in a cake-catering scheme. The only thing Debbie did was introduce Stacy to the woman who made the cakes, and then took a cut of the profit. She would come in, eat for free, insult the employees in the most pretentious way possible. She would turn around and leave the shop if any Latinos came in. She later told me that we should not be serving them because of the image the shop was trying to present. She also recommended that Caleb and Megan be fired because they were too "alternative," meaning Caleb's hair was long and Meg wore hemp jewelry. Debbie brought her children in and left them there sometimes. they were the most demanding bastards in the world. They were given every advantage in the world, and therefore were ungrateful trash.

I was treated like shit in a passive aggresive manner by these women, the customers, and my co-worker, Astrid. Astrid had once been a shopper for the elite. She would tell of the parties she used to go to, the clothes given to her by designers and of her close friendship with Monaco Royalty. She was too good to lift a finger around the place, but I could because, and this is her wording: common.

Class tensions run high in the LG, The rich people from Fontana and Genoa City must go to the same public schools as the poor from Lake Geneva ans Pell Lake. The rich want their own high school so their precious children woun't have to rub shoulders with the poor.

When the bourgeoisie disdain the common people as such, the current trend in literature, the 'hick chic' writers, is perplexing. The attempt to identify with, or even the worship of tthe lower-class aesthetic is an enigma. Don't disdain us and then praise the fictionalized, romanticized version. Give us respect, don't give us this two-faced bullshit.


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