If Cynthia Peters is as good an activist as she is analyst and writer, the next American Revolution can’t be that far off. She wrote a brilliant piece on Noam Chomsky, praising him (natch) but pointing out that the ‘what to do?’ question is not so obviously answered as he sometimes thinks (I think he’s reluctant to do folks’ thinking for them. He does not want the guru status that some [not Peters] would like him to adopt.)
Back in October last year Z magazine published a short essay of hers entitled “The Boy Next to Me Sings All the Time” , about what happens to kids in elite versus public schools and the differing resources, expectations and outcomes. It’s poetic, passionate, nuanced and has stats to back up the assertions. It’s immensely thought-provoking, and haunting. Please please please, go and read it now.
Back? Were you blown away? If you’ve comments on it, please do write in. Anyhow, for me, it’s going to be the essay I pull out whenever someone starts wittering on about how everyone gets an equal start in life blahdefuckingblah.
Alongside playing Pulp’s 1995 epic song “Common People”
A rich woman is planning to go ‘slumming’ but the lyrics remind her
“Still you’ll never get it right
Cos when you’re layin’ in bed at night
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your dad he could stop it all.”
And finally, on the subject of rich and poor seeing the world differently, at the end of 2010, the New York Times reported on scientific studies looking at the ability of rich people to pick up non-verbal cues.
(I thought the whole POINT of being rich was that you didn’t have to waste mental bandwidth on whether this or that underling was irked or peeved. I mean, they are all just interchangeable widgets….)
A word on the title of this blog post. There is an unfortunate double meaning that she is “acting” when she talks about class. I’ve tried other permutations to keep a pun but lose the ambiguity, without success. Any better ideas gratefully received…
Intellectual Self-Defence website on Education versus training
Bourdieu’s habitus – way people perceive the world etc
Brilliant piece by Cynthia Peters on “Women who bathe together“