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June 29, 2012

Paul Fussell (1924-2012): Wit. World View. Punditry. Courage. And His Enduring "Class".

The Bible of American Social Strata. Do you dress up to ride on planes? Are your clothes always new? How about your car? Is it usually a newer model? Do you routinely use words like interface, lifestyle and bottom line? Do you display "collectibles" in your home? And does it have wall-to-wall carpet or hard wood floors? If the latter, are your oriental rugs threadbare or new? In his 1983 non-fiction book Class, Paul Fussell, the professor, polymath, author, WWII veteran and wit who died last month at the age of 88, wrote a tongue-in-cheek marvel and satire on American manners that is funny, nasty and true. Upper classes, in Fussell's world, drink Scotch on the rocks, and say “Grandfather died”. Middles: “Martoonis” or "Teenies" and “Grandma passed away”. Proles: beer in a can, and “Uncle Tommy was taken to Jesus.”


Posted by JD Hull at June 29, 2012 11:59 PM


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