Saturday, August 28, 2010


On our way to breakfast at my favourite café this morning, The Flatmate and I were discussing class signifiers. I recounted Paul Fussell’s observation that the middle class likes to extend the number of syllables in everything it touches – hence the outdoor pool we were driving past was called an “Aquatic Centre”.

“Why do they do that?” The Flatmate asked. “Is it to show that they have an education and know some big words?”

“I think it’s just because it’s more. And more is better.” I replied.

“Not necessarily.”

“Well no, but for most of human history it’s been the case that extra = prestige. The prestige car was covered in chrome bits. The prestige house had fancy wrought iron railings. The prestige icecream had chocolate-coated almonds and butterscotch bits in it. In our modern age of cheap excess we know that understated minimalism can speak volumes, but the further down the class ladder you go the less this is understood.”

By that stage we had reached the café, and as I was crossing the road I kicked this little object that someone had dropped.

It’s a key ring. The BMW logo is a tiny battery-powered colour LCD screen that flashes. The other side is coated in a reflective hologram film.

Sometimes life hands you these little proofs of your viewpoint on a platter.


Blogger TimT said...

Stupid upper middle class, always going on about how they want more understated minimalism, MORE understated minimalism, MORE UNDERSTATED MINIMALISM. The best sort of understated minimalism is when it comes in very minimal amounts.

Besides, some big things really are better. Pay packets, for example.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would you explain a bikini on a blond - no 'more' about that.

1:22 PM  
Blogger TimT said...

Possibly an example of overstated minimalism?

1:44 PM  
Blogger emawkc said...

So what class has elitist condescension as its hallmark?

2:29 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

Actually I think that all classes have their condescending elites.

6:34 PM  

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