Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Middle-Class Twerpiness

I couldn't help blogging this à propos lecture on the overriding importance of class in matters English. A superlative example of how the middle-class grates on the lower- and upper- classes alike can be found at this dingalink to an episode of BloggingHeads.tv featuring one Anatol Lieven, pictured here.

A British man or woman will straightaway twig Lieven as an academic parvenu. Accent is the marker of class, and Lieven's too-precious tones, cultivated BBC-isms -- his prissy "t"s for instance -- brand him as a middle-class boy trying to affect an upper-crust: which indeed he is. One telling moment was his American interlocuter, Anne-Marie Slaughter, on the titter at Lieven's use of the down-market Shakespearean "lilies that fester." To North Americans (apparently) that is dashing erudition; for any British it is equivalent to your "deja vu all over again"-- C.S. Lewis (speaking of down-market) used it as an essay title already in the early nineteen-fifties.

Click on the title of this post to see and hear Anatol Lieven: "middle-class twit of the year" for 2006.

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