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Quantifying my elitism

Apparently, Charles Murray’s latest bit of faux-populism has spawned a meme. Let’s see just how much of an out-of-touch elitist I am, shall we?

1. Can you talk about “Mad Men?”

Yes, but only because I absorb vast quantities of pop culture by osmosis. I can also talk about “Jersey Shore”, “Dancing With The Stars”, and “American Idol”, even though like “Mad Men” I’ve never seen a single episode.

2. Can you talk about the “The Sopranos?”


3. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker on “The Price Is Right?”

Drew Carey. And Johnny Olson once kissed my great-grandmother. Top that!

4. Have you watched an Oprah show from beginning to end?

I regularly see bits and pieces of it – Tiffany often has it on in the afternoon – and have probably seen one all the way through, but couldn’t swear to it in court.

5. Can you hold forth animatedly about yoga?

I took some yoga classes for awhile, but it never really suited me. Among other things, I’m the least flexible person you’ll ever meet. So, while I can speak non-stupidly about yoga, I don’t think I rise to the “hold forth animatedly” standard.

5. How about pilates?

Yep. It’s my main form of exercise other than walking.

6. How about skiing?

Once every four years, during the Winter Olympics, maybe a little.

6. Mountain biking?

Dude, I live in Houston. I don’t even know what a “mountain” is.

7. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is?

Apparently, this refers to some NASCAR guy and not the helmet-haired former football coach. I saw them mention him on a recent “Fox NFL Sunday”. Does that count?

8. Does the acronym MMA mean nothing to you?

Yes. See the answer to Question 1 and my pop-culture-osmosis ability.

9. Can you talk about books endlessly?

Sure, but outside of mysteries and children’s books I’ll be faking it.

10. Have you ever read a “Left Behind” novel?

No, but I’ve read all of The Slacktivist’s excellent writing about them.

11. How about a Harlequin romance?

Probably not a branded Harlequin, but I’ve read a few similar trashy romance novels of some other stripe.

12. Do you take interesting vacations?

We visit my parents in Portland every year. Does that count?

13. Do you know a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada?

No, but I could probably find the Sierra Nevada on a map if I had to.

14. What about an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor?

Never heard of the place.

15. Would you be caught dead in an RV?

Sure, why not?

16. Would you be caught dead on a cruise ship?

Sure. I’ve been on two, a Windjammer and a Carnival, and would love to do an Alaskan cruise some day.

17. Have you ever heard of of Branson, Mo?

Heard of it? Sure. Have any desire to visit it? No.

18. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club?


19. How about the Rotary Club?

No, but Tiffany has – she got a Rotary scholarship that helped her get through grad school. Boy, talk about your conflict of elitism there!

And though you didn’t ask, I’ll tell you that I once attended a Knights of Columbus dinner at which my godfather and great-uncle Mike was being honored, and once attended a K of C fish fry in El Paso with my best college buddy. Where does that fall on the plebe/elite spectrum?

20. Have you lived for at least a year in a small town?

Nope, I’m a big city boy all the way.

21. Have you lived for a year in an urban neighborhood in which most of your neighbors did not have college degrees?

Never thought about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Where I lived on Staten Island was pretty blue collar back in the day.

22. Have you spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line?

I was a grad student for almost three years. You do the math.

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

Yes, several. Is it elitist of me to say I know devout members of other faiths, too?

24. Have you ever visited a factory floor?

No, but I’ve been to three refineries and a chemical plant.

25. Have you worked on one?

No, but I worked for several years on a help desk that supported those refineries and chemical plants.

So now you know. How much of an elitist are you? And how much of one do you suppose Charles Murray is?

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