Brian Spears

Poet, Editor, Teacher, Blogger.

How elite am I?

Claire Berlinski over at Ricochet responded to Charles Murray’s inane piece (but I repeat myself) in the Washington Post about elitism and the Tea Party, pointing out the obvious problems with his reasoning.

But the fun thing she did is take Murray’s claims and turn them into a handy little quiz to test your level of elitism (or plebianism). Let’s see how I’d do.

1. Can you talk about “Mad Men?” Not this season, but past seasons, yes.

2. Can you talk about the “The Sopranos?” I can’t. I never got into it. But The Wire? We’ll go all night on that one.

3. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker on “The Price Is Right?” Drew Carey, right? But I haven’t watched him as host.

4. Have you watched an Oprah show from beginning to end? Not in years

5. Can you hold forth animatedly about yoga? Nope.

5. How about pilates? Not really sure what this is

5. How about skiing? Think I missed my window with this one. I’d probably tear off the lower half of my body if I tried to take it up now.

6. Mountain biking? My bike is mountain-bike-adjacent–looks like a mountain bike, but is far too heavy to actually go on mountains with it. Besides, when I go to nature, I like to wander through it at a pace where I can actually see it.

7. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is? He’s a NASCAR driver and has been champion multiple times. He’s dominated the sport in recent years. I don’t watch anymore, but I used to follow it pretty closely.

8. Does the acronym MMA mean nothing to you? I don’t watch it, but I know what it is, and if pressed could probably name five fighters

9. Can you talk about books endlessly? Endlessly? Probably not, but I can hold my own, depending on the crowd.

10. Have you ever read a “Left Behind” novel? No, but I have read novels in the genre, though not for a long time.

11. How about a Harlequin romance? Not in a really long time, but I have.

12. Do you take interesting vacations? Not in recent years, but I have in the past and would like to again soon.

13. Do you know a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada? Not so much in the Sierra Nevada, but I’ve done some good hiking in the Sangre de Cristo

14. What about an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor? Where’s my bookmark for Google Maps again?

15. Would you be caught dead in an RV? I’ve spent some time in one before, but I generally prefer to camp in a tent

16. Would you be caught dead on a cruise ship? If I could afford to be on one, you bet your ass.

17. Have you ever heard of of Branson, Mo? Yes. I even know Yakov Smirnoff has a theater there

18. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club? No.

19. How about the Rotary Club? Nope

20. Have you lived for at least a year in a small town? Grew up in a number of them, and lived as an adult in them until I went to grad school (assuming Fayetteville AR doesn’t count as small).

21. Have you lived for a year in an urban neighborhood in which most of your neighbors did not have college degrees? I’m going to make some assumptions here, since I don’t know my neighbors very well, but given the neighborhoods I’ve lived in as an adult, I’d say the chances are I’ve lived more in those places than not.

22. Have you spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line? I’ve been in that situation multiple times in my life.

23. Do you have a close friend who is an evangelical Christian? Yes.

24. Have you ever visited a factory floor? Yes

25. Have you worked on one? yes

So–do I qualify as elite? I have no idea. I’m a poet with a terminal degree in the fine arts who held a fellowship at a prestigious west coast university. I teach creative writing and literature full-time. I’m a political liberal. And yet I grew up as an evangelical Christian, spent years dirt poor (and am only barely middle-class now), and worked physical blue-collar jobs as recently as 5 1/2 years ago. Can you pigeonhole me, Mr. Murray?

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October 27, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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