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79148.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:46 pm Reply with quote

Thanks, that's helpful - not least because it identifies another question: is it commonly regarded as better to be a member of the progressive and revolutionary working class than, say, the progressive and evolutionary working class?

79153.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:00 pm Reply with quote

That would depend on whether you are a Marxist or not.

79156.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:22 pm Reply with quote

So, as most people are not Marxists (by conviction, anyway), the answer to the question is "no" - it is not commonly regarded as preferable?

79159.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:57 pm Reply with quote

First, the personal explanation.

My grandfather left Gdańsk for North America with little more than the clothes on his back, with a heavily pregnant wife, and with a son as well by the time he arrived in the Land of Opportunity. He worked on the railroads as an itinerant laborer, and seems to have supplemented his income in some less than totally legal ways as well. (Bootlegging and numbers games, but I won't elaborate.) Accordingly, I reckon it would not be unfair to say that he really was of the lumpenproletariat.

When my father grew up he lived in a permanent building not a trailer, had some possessions of value, and once he settled in Vancouver he worked on the city's public transportation system for nearly thirty years. But he was more or less a Communist, and as a child I was often told not to forget where I came from.

And I have never done so. Much as I now have a respectable job, live in a suburban semi and all the rest of it, a part of my soul will always be that of a penniless migrant from Central Europe.

While not lumpen, my father was solidly working class. Because of that (and, I suppose, because of my personal leftist politics), I like to think that I am the same - much as my present circumstances might suggest otherwise. And that's really all I was saying. As for the word "one", well I was using it to mean "I" - it's just the way I sometimes write.

There is a more serious generalisation here though - in various sections of society throughout the Western world, it appears in some way "desirable" to be left wing. The academic world is in large part one such place, and the world of intelligent comedy seems to be another. You don't hear many comics applauding the decision to make war on Iraq, the achievements of Margaret Thatcher, or whatever. Stephen Fry's background hardly marks him as a person who is likely to be left wing, but nonetheless he is. Apart from the desperately unfunny Jim Davidson and Jackie Mason who I just find offensive, I'm struggling to think of a comedian who has been avowedly right wing.

Why this is so, I can't really say.

79161.  Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:02 pm Reply with quote

Bernard Manning?

Quaintly Ignorant
79191.  Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:44 am Reply with quote

I should imagine that 50's and 60's America had right wing proclamations from entertainers/comedians, how heartfelt they were is perhaps another matter. I think the demonisation of the views of the left has created an interesting environment in which one feels slightly subversive for not agreeing with McCarthy era propaganda. It's funny how long such events remain in public conciousness seemingly involuntarily.

79195.  Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:52 am Reply with quote

Thanks for that - I misinterpreted you to mean, as you point out, "much as everyone would like to think of themselves" rather than "much as I like to think of myself".

As for the right-wing comedians, I think I could name quite a few who would qualify in terms of their private views, though perhaps none who use a right-wing viewpoint as part of their act. I don't really understand the terms right and left in politics any more, though - what do you call an authoritarian wealth redistributor, for example?

Of course there are many segments of society in which a left-leaning starting point is not at all the norm, on any analysis.

79233.  Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:59 am Reply with quote

Thanks Flash.

That husband of mine is currently alleging that anyone so pompous as to use "one" to mean "I" just has to be middle class. However, my response to this included a word that no respectable middle class girl would ever use, so it can't be so...

I do not doubt that there are many entertainment personalities who vote Conservative / Republican / etc., but they do not normally mention the fact in their act. I don't know much about Bernard Manning, but my husband concurs with samivel's suggestion. Moving from comedy to music, Bryan Ferry apparently used to go on a bit about his Conservative allegiance as well - but since this is practically unheard of for a miner's son from the north east, well why not!

Flash's comment that the terms "right" and "left" don't mean what they once did is entirely valid - they seem now to have less to do with economic policy and more to with one's attitude to things like military and environmental policy. (Those opposed to the Iraq war are often labelled left wing, for instance.)

Finally, Flash's last sentence is interesting. As I said yesterday, a left-leaning starting point seems usual in academia and in the performing arts and media world. In places like the police and the military, a right-leaning starting point would certainly be considered usual.

Is the same still true in any of the major civilian occupations? I accept that at one time it was so in professions such as law and finance, but I'm not sure it's still the case.

79399.  Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:53 pm Reply with quote

Of course any attempt to characterise particular job or class descriptions as inherently left- or right-inclined is simply stereotyping. But if we're looking for stereotypically right-wing civilians we could try farmers, tabloid journalists, taxi drivers, old-age pensioners, gamekeepers, entrepreneurs, industrialists, and bankers, for starters.

Also: the reason why humourists' acts appear to you to be left-wing is that humour is by its nature subversive - it mocks; that's why it's humourous. The point of subversion is that it is opposed to the status quo, and opposition to the status quo appears to us to be a left-wing position.

But I'm afraid this is a fairly barren debate, simply a re-stating of our respective prejudices. Let's try this instead:

Stalin - leftist or rightist? Discuss.

79413.  Thu Jul 13, 2006 4:04 am Reply with quote

Perhaps it's time to steer the MV Things E back towards it's original course settings....

Elba, Mt
Everest, Mt
Elbrus, Mt
Escondida - largest copper mine in the world
Hampton, East
Ernest Hemingway
Ernie, Bert &
E, the key (with obvious variants) of
Emmanuel Goldstein
Emmanuelle, the series
Estates - famous and interesting bequeathals
Elle MacPherson
Elle, the magazine

79421.  Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:19 am Reply with quote

What? Back on topic? What is the world coming to?

Saves me writing an essay in response to Flash's last question anyway. I'll settle for the one word answer instead - "both".

Now back to those E topics. What is QI policy regarding real people - do they appear in the series appropriate to their given name or to their surname? Both given and surnames appear in the various lists posted here, and I'd hate to spend hours preparing material on e.g. Ernest Hemingway only to find that he won't even be considered until the H series.

Ebbw Vale
Ermintrude (Magic Roundabout)
Elgin Marbles (so long as William G Stewart doesn't frequent these parts)
Ewbanks (cleaning devices, not monocle wearing former pugilists)
El Dorado (whichever thing of that name takes your fancy)
Effingham Junction
Etobicoke (perhaps not - except for the silent "k", there is nothing remotely QI about this dormitory town near Toronto)
Et cetera

79422.  Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:29 am Reply with quote

Euouae- the longest word in the English language to consist of only vowels. I wonder what the longest word that contains only consonants is?

79424.  Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:35 am Reply with quote

New thread on this coming shortly - I'll keep this thread on topic.

79425.  Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:40 am Reply with quote

I'd also do a Forum search on this - I believe I started a thread on this kind of thing a couple of years back.

79426.  Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:45 am Reply with quote

OK, I've had a look, and there are two threads which might be of interest - one begins at post 17914 and the other at post 9787.


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