Sunday, June 10, 2012

A new recurring theme for OE

I have to run in a few minutes so I won't have time to go into much detail but Joseph's recent post seems like a good opening for a topic that's been popping up in our phone calls for the past few months:, the shifting role of inter- vs. intra-group perceptions and interactions.

The groups I'm primarily focused on here are based on class, generation, race, region, party and, particularly in the case of journalism,  profession (for example, the only way to find any intellectual coherence in Jack Shafer is to view his writing as a defense of the journalistic tribe and its hierarchy with writers like Michael Kelly and Maureen Dowd at the top).

Much of the odd, talking-past-each-other quality of many of our recent debates becomes more understandable if you allow for the possibility that a different set of rules and definitions are being applied to the speaker's group. Phenomena like mass incarceration or the perceived hardship of getting by on 300K only make sense when viewed in terms of an us-them dynamic.

And to loop things back to Joseph's post, I suspect that executives with ostentatious lifestyles are more likely to identify with their own class and coworkers and less likely to worry about the interests of mostly middle class investors.

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