Thesis My Words: Religion, Separatism, and Elitism
Listening with a blue-collar ear.
"I honestly can't say that the next time I see Princeton on a job applicant's resume … I won't think of this," said Firstinlastout,shaking his head over perceived low standards after following the link (in this Christopher Hitchens "Fighting Words") to read Michelle Obama's undergraduate thesis. But readers were conflicted in a personal way: The thesis might be fair game or it might not—your view probably depends on whom you support—but who would really want their own student writings brought, blinking, into public view? It wasn't a comfortable thought. There was a long discussion on the thesis, and on everyone's grammar, here—special opportunities for anyone with an opinion on the phrases "brilliant genius" and "repellently failed dictators." Whatfur didn't like a speech Michelle Obama gave and was firmly told by IntegrityFirst "[you] were listening with a blue collar ear."
So how about that Jeremiah Wright? Wsbh says, "There isn't a Sunday that passes in this country where parishioners don't return home griping about the sermon—the preacher is often just an adjunct to the ceremony, the tradition, the whatever." Bigsky007 defended the pastor, while Kroert16 was clear: "Obama is either the worst judge of character since Christ and Judas, or he did what was politically expedient." Ladykrystyna had a theological doubt that Judas was the right example—we can only conclude that not many people saw this post, as it could have turned into one mighty long thread, being just the kind of discussion Fraypeople like to get their teeth into.
They loved getting their teeth into George Orwell, too, after reading Jeff Greenfield's "Politics" article on elitism and the British socialist, obviously because of the contrast with the complete lack of any class consciousness in U.S. society. This was clearly demonstrated in any random collection of phrases: "Hmm, I'm interested in what dumber people think" came from jwschmidt; "lex talionis in the land of NASCAR"—thank you Waliyuddin; "you never explained what arugula was"— Real Slim K,complaining to jwschmidt, above. "Why do working-class Americans hate socialism?" Ralph7 wanted to know. Moodyguppy asked if socialism had "a sales problem or a product problem" in a post with a splendid use of strike through—if you go and look, you'll find a fascinating diagnosis of the ills of the American left.
HBFreddie had some stern words:
Varying degrees of socialism have always appealed to smug elitists who see themselves as the apparatchiks of a strong central authority imposing its will on what they as an unsophisticated population.
There was parallel tough talking from jbunker
The downtrodden and the unwashed masses are, for the most part, ignorant, uninformed, and incapable of critical thinking. Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh have been very successful utilizing this unspeakable truth.
Thomaspain was evenhandedly mean to everyone, concluding "we really need to be reminded that it's time to grow up, to put our Bibles down with our guns, and face the uncertain future we, not God, have created." We're not sure how long he thinks it'll be before that happens.—MR … 8.30 p.m. GMT
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We have to take issue with DuckworkerMike, with his rather rude words about English cooking after reading the "Food" item on Brit chef Gordon Ramsay: Of course sweeping generalizations of dubious worth are the very lifeblood of the Fray, but you don't want to get on the wrong side of the English Fray Editor that way. And no, we're not repeating his insults—go and look if you must. However, we might let Mike off because we like the sound of his asparagus recipe. There are quite a few recipes and tips in the thread here: Don't read while hungry. Garlic mashed potatoes, pilaf, salad, butterflied stuffed lamb, grilled or roasted, scrambled egg and couscous (together? Yes), and here, shrimp ceviche (warning: tempting hints but no recipe). There was a discussion on the availability or otherwise of ingredients: One day the conclusion to these loooong threads might be that you can't get those weird things in the big city, but come to my local 7-Eleven and you'll be fine. That day has not yet come. The thread turns up with every Slate article on cooking, so we also saw it here last week with Sara Dickerman's item on food writers and money. In fact, did anyone care much about Gordon Ramsay? Well Nutmiffin did, in a way: "Yeah, Americans will read the book while eating a Big Mac, over discussions like; 'how much does this guy make a year?'" But a thread about Rachel Ray ("grating, hyperactive munchkin chef"—no, jbtowers, tell us what you really think, though we're not repeating your mean hope for her and the knife) generated more heat about its subject, along with detailed discussions of her methods.
Moira Redmond, a former "Fray" editor at Slate, is a freelance writer living in England. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph of Michael Chabon on the Slate home page by Mark Mainz/Getty Images.