Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:15 PM
TrogL (31,874 posts)
The distress of the privileged
Distress of the privileged is the feeling the privileged get when ordinary people start to get what they have.
The Distress of the Privileged
In a memorable scene from the 1998 film Pleasantville (in which two 1998 teen-agers are transported into the black-and-white world of a 1950s TV show), the father of the TV-perfect Parker family returns from work and says the magic words “Honey, I’m home!”, expecting them to conjure up a smiling wife, adorable children, and dinner on the table.
This time, though, it doesn’t work. No wife, no kids, no food. Confused, he repeats the invocation, as if he must have said it wrong. After searching the house, he wanders out into the rain and plaintively questions this strangely malfunctioning Universe: “Where’s my dinner?”
Privileged distress. I’m not bringing this up just to discuss old movies. As the culture evolves, people who benefitted from the old ways invariably see themselves as victims of change. The world used to fit them like a glove, but it no longer does. Increasingly, they find themselves in unfamiliar situations that feel unfair or even unsafe. Their concerns used to take center stage, but now they must compete with the formerly invisible concerns of others.
If you are one of the newly-visible others, this all sounds whiny compared to the problems you face every day. It’s tempting to blast through such privileged resistance with anger and insult.
Tempting, but also, I think, a mistake. The privileged are still privileged enough to foment a counter-revolution, if their frustrated sense of entitlement hardens.
4 replies, 1322 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
The distress of the privileged (Original post)
Response to TrogL (Original post)
Wed Jan 16, 2013, 01:13 PM
bemildred (90,061 posts)
3. Yep, it's mainly about maintaining their "status".
It's not so much that they need more money as they need the rest of us to not have enough.
“Men nearly always speak and write as if riches were absolute, as if it were possible, by following certain scientific precepts, for everybody to be rich. Whereas riches are a power like that of electricity, acting only through inequalities or negations of itself. The force of the guinea you have in your pocket depends wholly on the default of a guinea in your neighbors pocket. If he did not want it, it would be of no use to you; the degree of power it possesses depends accurately on the need or desire he has for it, – and the art of making yourself rich, in the ordinary mercantile economist's sense, is therefore equally and necessarily the art of keeping your neighbor poor.” – John Ruskin “Unto this Last”