Posts Tagged privilege

Ah yes, the Mary Be James Crossdressing Games

Grinnell College gets a reference in NY Times today:

School traditions might also indicate where you belong. Take Colgate University and Grinnell College, two rural liberal arts colleges on pretty campuses that accept students with similar SAT scores and grades. Colgate students begin and end their college careers with a torchlight procession to a bonfire where they sing the school song. A big tradition at Grinnell is the annual Mary B. James cross-dressing ball. It should be no surprise that Colgate is beloved by preppy scholar-athletes while Grinnell is a haven for hipsters who discuss Derrida into the wee hours.

My impression of Grinnell students is that we are way more hippie than hipster, but okay.

On a related, albeit tangential topic, Grinnell alums recently started a facebook group that has been fascinating for the glimpses it provided into life now of Grinnell alums and life then. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Romney’s “I enjoy firing people” Gaffe Really Reveals About Him

Courtesy of Paul Krugman from Digby’s Hullabaloo:

. . . Romney’s sense of privilege, and a relationship to the world around him that is alien to most Americans and reinforces everything that is wrong with the 1% in America.

The key part of what’s off-putting about the gaffe isn’t the first part about liking to fire people, so much as the second part about “who provide services to me.” Liking to fire people is bad enough, but this is the real kicker.

When it comes to basic services like healthcare, almost no one in America sees the relationship that way. Most of us wouldn’t speak of “firing” our health insurance company. No matter how much we might detest our insurance company, we probably wouldn’t describe the experience of removing ourselves from their rolls an enjoyable one.

Mitt Romney isn’t at fault for having been privileged, he’s at fault for having no sense that other people aren’t:

Romney talks about paying for health insurance as if it were the same as getting a pedicure, hiring an escort or getting the fancy wax at a car wash. It’s a luxury service being provided to him, and he doesn’t like it, he can take his business elsewhere. Romney’s is the language of a man who has never wanted for anything, never worried about where his next paycheck would come from, never worried about going bankrupt if he got sick.

It is the language of an entitled empowerment utterly alien to the experience of most Americans, who feel victimized and bled dry without recourse by these rentier corporations. Romney sees himself as in charge of the relationship between himself and these entities. Most Americans don’t. That’s why the statement rankles and feels so off-putting to us. The mention of enjoying the act of “firing” them is just icing on the cake.

 The divide between Romney’s experience and the experiences of most Americans is vast.  Most of us can’t imagine firing our insurance company because – as sucktacular as they are – we can’t risk being without their half-assed, unreasonably priced sevices.

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