The Honor of the Quinn

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Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 7, 2000, 4:03:55 AM9/7/00
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(this is an essay I wrote in response to someone who had written an essay
claiming that, first, one could not meaningfully speculate about "cartoon
characters" having sexual intercourse, and secondly that, if one could
meaningfully speculate about this, Quinn was definitely sexually experienced).

"The Honor of the Quinn"
by Jordan S. Bassior

Daria is a fictional reality. In order to ask logical questions about the
"internal" state of any fictional reality (i.e., what is implicitly true about
the reality based upon consistency with what has been explicitly shown), we
must willingly suspend our disbelief and, temporarily, believe that the
fictional reality is "really real."

This doesn't mean that we go insane and really believe that Daria, Quinn, Jane
etc. are "real people" in the sense that we might run into them on the street
someday. They are not really real, not in the sense that you or I are real. It
means that we play "let's pretend", and pretend for the sake of argument that
the fictional reality is real.

Now, this is true regardless of the mode of presentation of the story.

"Cartoon" is a "mode of presentation", not a "level of reality." The
Morgendorffers are no "more fictional" than the Bunkers or the Bundys, despite
the fact that the "mode of presentation" of Daria is "cartoon" and the "mode of
presentation" of All in the Family and Married With Children is "live action."

"Degree of realism" is a seperate issue from "mode of presentation." Monty
Python's Flying Circus is a (mostly) live action show, but its "degree of
realism" is very low. By contrast, Macross is a cartoon (specifically, an
"anime" styled cartoon), but its "degree of realism" is fairly high. One can
assume that characters on Macross are capable of having sex; one can't be quite
as sure that characters on Monty Python's Flying Circus are.

Daria has a fairly high degree of realism. Some slightly slapstick things
happen, but for the most part they are mildly improbable rather than wildly
impossible. The main improbability is the number of funny things that happen,
but that's because the "type of fiction" that Daria falls into is "comedic
drama." The level of realism is, in fact, roughly equivalent to (or higher
than) Married with Children.

There is absolutely nothing in Daria that suggests that the characters live in
an asexual universe. Characters fall in love, lust after each other, and make
sexual advances. Yes, the camera cuts away from them before they actually do
anything more explicit than kissing or very tamely caressing one another, but
that's because the show is, in terms of "degree of sexual explicitness," what
would normally be considered "PG" (there is some dirty language and sexual
innuendo, but no actual presentation of nudity or explicit sexuality).

It is thus reasonable to assume that, in the "internal reality" of the show
there is actual sex going on. What do you imagine O'Neill and Barch did after
the camera cut away in "The Daria Hunter" or "Just Add Water", or Helen and
Jake did in "Antisocial Climbers" or "Fire!"?

Now, you might argue, a character such as Kelly Bundy has a real physical body,
so she can "have sex" in a manner which Quinn cannot. So the question "Is Kelly
a virgin" has a meaning which "Is Quinn a virgin" does not. Right?

Wrong.

Kelly Bundy has no more "reality" than does Quinn Morgendorffer. Both are
fictional characters, living in a fictional world. The body you see displayed
is that of the lovely Christina Applegate, whose virginity or lack thereof has
no real bearing on Kelly Bundy's. To confuse the two is the classic mistake of
the "obsessed fan" who mistakes the actress for her character.

(In fact, Christina Applegate and Kelly Bundy have almost antithetical
personalities: Christina is a an intelligent and classy woman, while Kelly is a
mindless bimbo; it's almost certain that the answer to the question would have
been respectively "yes" and "no" during any of the early episodes, in which
both Christina and her character were in their mid-teens).

The only difference between Quinn and Kelly in regard to the "reality" of their
bodies is that Quinn's body is portrayed via a series of animation cells, while
Kelly's via the motions of Christina Applegate. The cells are not Quinn, and
Christina is not Kelly; in both cases they are "really real" only within their
fictional realities.

(Consider the following: Quinn may also be portrayed in text, as she is in the
script that the actress reads from, or in a fanfic. These means of portrayal
don't make her "less real", though in the case of the fanfic the "Quinn" you
are seeing is "less canonical", which is another issue. The same things apply
to Kelly, of course).

As for Quinn's age, I don't see what there is about her being 15 1/2 years old
that makes the question inherently perverted or silly. It's relevant, of course
... if you asked me "Is Aunt Amy a virgin" I would answer "almost certainly
not" (because she's in her 30's and the chances are very great that she's had a
lover or lovers by that time); likewise if you asked me "Is Rachel Landon a
virgin" I would answer "almost certainly yes" (because she's prepubescent and
there's no reason to think she's being sexually abused).

Quinn being around 15 means that she's old enough that if she wants to have
sex, and isn't particularly scrupulous about whom she has sex with, she almost
certainly isn't a virgin; it's also young enough that if she is reasonably
moral and hasn't had any great love in her life, she almost certainly is. One
of the many poignant things about adolescence is that it's the period when most
people first make decisions of this nature.

Personally, I think Quinn's a virgin. Why? Because she clearly has no real love
(or even liking) for the guys she dates: she shows an aversion to physical
contact of any sort coupled with a general immaturity; and she was raised by a
couple with traditional sexual values (the same couple that raised Daria, who
is notably prudish).

It's obvious from this that she probably wouldn't want to have sex with any of
her dates. Was she pressured into it?

Maybe. But when we see Quinn with guys in the show, it's very obvious that
she's the one in charge. Quinn manipulates men; she rarely lets herself be
manipulated in return, not figuratively and (I suspect) not literally either.
Does Quinn's behavior fit any sort of common pattern? Yes, she does. She's a
classic "flirt" or "tease" ... she uses (what appears to be an implicit promise
of) sex to induce guys to attempt to please her, then gracefully maneuvers out
of actually delivering on this promise.

What she's doing is playing "the game of dating", in which the guy tries to get
sexually as far with the girl as fast as possible while giving her as little
time and money as he can get away with, and the girl tries to get as much out
of the guy in terms of time and money while giving him as little sexually as
she can get away with. And she's very aware that it's a game, but she is so
obsessed with it that she doesn't even realize that a more mature approach to
love or sexuality is possible.

(Note: by "a more mature approach" I do not mean "more sexually active." What I
mean is an approach that relates her actions to her emotions and that of the
person she's inolved with, and the long-term serious prospects of the
relationship, rather than to a game being played for arbitrary social points).

Quinn is very good at this game precisely because she's NOT romantically or
sexually interested in any of her "boyfriends." She doesn't love any of them,
and she's not really turned on by physical contact as such (she might be
seducible by someone who knew how to sexually excite her starting with kissing
and mild foreplay, but chances are that she doesn't know anyone fitting this
description, since her dates are selected on the basis of social status, not
sensuality).

As a result, Quinn probably has no problem saying "no" when she deems it
inadvisable to proceed further. Despite all her talk of romance, what she's
doing is as cold-blooded and calculating as one of Helen's legal negotiations.
Neither her heart nor any less mentionable regions are seriously involved in
the issue.

My theory is further supported by Quinn's strict rule about not dating anyone
more than once per n weeks (I forget the number she quoted). The whole point of
such a rule is to prevent the guy from being able to advance the argument
"We've been going steady for [t amount of time], if you really liked me you'd
go further." Quinn's strategy lets her go on an endless number of "first
dates," and at 15 not even someone who flirts as outrageously as she does is
really expected to go farther than first base on a first date.

(Her strategy is not going to work forever: as she gets older she's going to
have to choose between "playing the game" and her moral values. But that's
another issue entirely)


--
Sincerely Yours,
Jordan
--
"Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
--

M Man

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Sep 7, 2000, 7:01:47 AM9/7/00
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In article <20000907040355...@ng-cd1.aol.com>,
jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:

SPOILER
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IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN DYE DYE MY DARLING
OR IS IT FALL YET
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THIS
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SPOILER ENDING SOON; YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
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>
> Personally, I think Quinn's a virgin. Why? Because she clearly has no
real love
> (or even liking) for the guys she dates: she shows an aversion to
physical
> contact of any sort coupled with a general immaturity; and she was
raised by a
> couple with traditional sexual values (the same couple that raised
Daria, who
> is notably prudish).
>

<SNIP>

> My theory is further supported by Quinn's strict rule about not
dating anyone
> more than once per n weeks (I forget the number she quoted). The
whole point of
> such a rule is to prevent the guy from being able to advance the
argument
> "We've been going steady for [t amount of time], if you really liked
me you'd
> go further." Quinn's strategy lets her go on an endless number
of "first
> dates," and at 15 not even someone who flirts as outrageously as she
does is
> really expected to go farther than first base on a first date.
>

I hadn't seen "Daria Dance Party" until this past weekend and I was
surprised at Quinn's vehemence about "not slow-dancing until the fifth
date". Quinn is so uncomfortable with physical contact I doubt if
she's ever really "made out", strange as that may seem. Have we ever
seen her kiss? I don't remember it. Unless some guy took her by
surprise or physically pinned her down, I really doubt she has.

At this point (after DDMD and IIFY), even if Daria and Tom have never
progressed beyond what we've actually seem (hugging and lip-kissing),
Daria is almost certainly more experienced at "making out" than Quinn.
Not just more experienced, but more comfortable and competent as well.

As Jane would say "Que ironico!"

Daria's going to be shocked when Quinn comes to her for advice on the
matter.

> (Her strategy is not going to work forever: as she gets older she's
going to
> have to choose between "playing the game" and her moral values. But
that's
> another issue entirely)
>
> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo
Emerson)
> --
>


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

SM

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Sep 7, 2000, 10:23:02 AM9/7/00
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"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:
>
> My theory is further supported by Quinn's strict rule about not dating
> anyone more than once per n weeks (I forget the number she quoted).
> The whole point of such a rule is to prevent the guy from being able
> to advance the argument "We've been going steady for [t amount of time],
> if you really liked me you'd go further." Quinn's strategy lets her
> go on an endless number of "first dates," and at 15 not even someone
> who flirts as outrageously as she does is really expected to go farther
> than first base on a first date.
>

I have to agree with you wholeheartedly there.

"Get your fake sweaty palms off me! I don't slow dance until after the
fifth date." -Quinn in "Daria Dance Party"

In this, "the third date is the one where you get lucky" world, Quinn's
statement would suggest that she doesn't want anything to do with guys
on a physical level. Because of her attitude towards men and bow she
treats them like slaves instead of romantic partners, I would bet that
she hasn't done much of anything with anyone.

Sara

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 7, 2000, 12:27:07 PM9/7/00
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M Man said:

SPOILERS for "Dye Dye My Darling" and "Is It Fall Yet"


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>I hadn't seen "Daria Dance Party" until this past weekend and I was
>surprised at Quinn's vehemence about "not slow-dancing until the fifth
>date".

Yep. She was outright _angry_ at those guys.

>Quinn is so uncomfortable with physical contact I doubt if
>she's ever really "made out", strange as that may seem. Have we ever
>seen her kiss?

I assume she's kissed guys mostly because some degree of kissing (at least a
goodnight kiss) is customary when dating. She also once makes a reference (in
"Road Worriers") to the need to bring "smudge-proof lipstick" to a double date
with a particular guy. However, I don't think she's gone much farther than
kissing, if she's gone farther at all.

>At this point (after DDMD and IIFY), even if Daria and Tom have never
>progressed beyond what we've actually seem (hugging and lip-kissing),
>Daria is almost certainly more experienced at "making out" than Quinn.
>Not just more experienced, but more comfortable and competent as well.
>
>As Jane would say "Que ironico!"
>

Well ... I don't think it's that Daria was "more experienced", because there's
good reason to suppose that this was her first kiss (in DDMD). I think the main
reason Daria was "comfortable" was because she really liked Tom as an
individual, and thus _wanted_ to kiss him, rather than viewing kissing him as
something she had to do in return for the "status points" he was supplying her
by being seen with her.

It's quite possible that by the end of IIFY that Daria's gone farther than
Quinn, though I don't think she went _very_ far with Tom.

>Daria's going to be shocked when Quinn comes to her for advice on the
>matter.

Heh ... that _would_ be amusing :)

M Man

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Sep 7, 2000, 2:32:06 PM9/7/00
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In article <20000907122707...@ng-cf1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:

But it wouldn't surprise me if Quinn's response is that she doesn't
do that until the n-th date.

> She also once makes a reference (in
> "Road Worriers") to the need to bring "smudge-proof lipstick" to a
double date
> with a particular guy. However, I don't think she's gone much farther
than
> kissing, if she's gone farther at all.
>
> >At this point (after DDMD and IIFY), even if Daria and Tom have never
> >progressed beyond what we've actually seem (hugging and lip-kissing),
> >Daria is almost certainly more experienced at "making out" than
Quinn.
> >Not just more experienced, but more comfortable and competent as
well.
> >
> >As Jane would say "Que ironico!"
> >
>
> Well ... I don't think it's that Daria was "more experienced",
because there's
> good reason to suppose that this was her first kiss (in DDMD).

I was only referring to Daria vs Quinn after IIFY.

> I think the main
> reason Daria was "comfortable" was because she really liked Tom as an
> individual, and thus _wanted_ to kiss him, rather than viewing
kissing him as
> something she had to do in return for the "status points" he was
supplying her
> by being seen with her.
>
> It's quite possible that by the end of IIFY that Daria's gone farther
than
> Quinn, though I don't think she went _very_ far with Tom.
>
> >Daria's going to be shocked when Quinn comes to her for advice on the
> >matter.
>
> Heh ... that _would_ be amusing :)
>

Although people like Jodie and Kevin and Brittany had trouble believing
Daria was dating Tom, did everyone notice that Quinn tossed out the
line "you're obviously very compatible" so casually. Of course Quinn
knew about before everyone else, nevertheless she doesn't seem to think
it's anything out of the ordinary.

I wonder if Quinn's sudden interest in her tutor is at least partially
due to observing Daria and Tom (even with their halting start) and
deciding her own game-playing approach to dating has not been very
satisfying by comparison.

> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo
Emerson)
> --
>

GNW III

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Sep 7, 2000, 8:35:11 PM9/7/00
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And as to Daria, her self-respect would preclude any greater intimacy with Tom;
Quinn's also maturing to the point where flirting does not demand anything more
serious.

"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:

> Sara said:
>
> >In this, "the third date is the one where you get lucky" world, Quinn's
> >statement would suggest that she doesn't want anything to do with guys
> >on a physical level.
>

> It also suggests that Quinn is going to encounter a conflict between her real
> feelings and the social expectations of her role if she keeps trying to play
> this role into adulthood. (Remember: at 15 it is most definitely _not_ assumed
> that "the third date is the one where you get lucky"). IMO, which way Quinn
> resolves this conflict is going to be crucial: if she surrenders to the demands
> of the "role", she's going to hurt herself very badly on the deepest
> psychological levels.


>
> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
> --

--
-----------------------------------------------------
Click here for Free Video!!
http://www.gohip.com/free_video/


Michael Sears

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Sep 7, 2000, 9:17:41 PM9/7/00
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In article <8p8mv5$7ap$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,

M Man <mma...@my-deja.com> wrote:
> > SPOILERS for "Dye Dye My Darling" and "Is It Fall Yet"
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
> > *
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>
> I wonder if Quinn's sudden interest in her tutor is at least partially
> due to observing Daria and Tom (even with their halting start) and
> deciding her own game-playing approach to dating has not been very
> satisfying by comparison.
>
It would make sense. She saw Daria and Tom in a relationship where
both partners benefited from each other and realized that her parasitic
dating style wasn't really working. So she started looking into the
possibility of a relationship that would provide her with more than the
instant gratification of money and attention.
And then there's David's line "All you have going for you are your
looks. And they won't last forever." And since she clearly grew to
respect David's opinions, she'll now be on the lookout for a guy who's
interested in her beyond the glandular level.

--
Michael Sears armi...@berk.com
"No turning back where the end is in sight.
There's a job to be done, a fight to be won."

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 8, 2000, 4:26:21 AM9/8/00
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Invid Fan said:

>Um, why? Daria may feel that sex is just a physical activity humans do,
>no different then walking.

The emotional intensity and hence (if you're honest with yourself) involvement
is at least a _bit_ higher than that involved in taking a walk. This is because
there is another person involved, with whom the experience demands considerable
emotional interaction.

Now, _masturbation_ is "just a physical activity humans do" etc, but that isn't
what we were talking about ...

>In all honesty, I don't see where some fans
>get the idea that she's a prude, or has these extreamly high moral
>standards.

Her frequent expression of deeply grounded moral beliefs on almost every topic.
It would be rather strange if sex was the _one_ thing that she had _no_ morals
about.

(Incidentally, given that her _own mother_ has suggested to her that her moral
standards may be "too high", and was _relieved_ to see her kissing her
boyfriend, that is a strong hint that this is not the case!)

>She's just a girl who hasn't thought anyone would WANT to be
>with her in that way, and so has mocked others to make herself feel
>better.

That's one way in which her words and actions could be interpreted. But, most
of the time, Daria has behaved honestly.

>Who knows what she's dreamed about in her room,

About both love _and_ sex, probably linked in most cases, if she's at all
emotionally normal ... and there's no indication that Daria isn't, in that
regard.

>or how she'll
>act once she's discovered someone who likes her for what she is.

Ah, but now you're talking about her reaction to another human being because
she finds him to be "special." You're no longer talking about the casual and
emotionally meaningless sex that you were implying coming _in_ to this
conversation. What you're talking about, in fact, is "falling in love."

Aaron Baugher

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Sep 8, 2000, 10:00:21 AM9/8/00
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Invid Fan <in...@localnet.com> writes:

> Um, why? Daria may feel that sex is just a physical
> activity humans do, no different then walking.

You've been watching too many MTV soaps and 'reality'
shows. :-)

> In all honesty, I don't see where some fans get the idea
> that she's a prude, or has these extreamly high moral
> standards.

She has extremely high moral standards about _everything_.
That's kind of the point of the show. We're talking John
Galt A=A morals here though, not just Ten Commandments
morals.

> She's just a girl who hasn't thought anyone would WANT to
> be with her in that way,

No, she hasn't met a guy in Lawndale yet who thinks on her
level enough to recognize her value. I don't think there's
any evidence that she thinks she'll be unable to find
someone. In the glimpses we get of her vision of the
future, she always seems to have someone and be content.
(Except the one where Trent's a couch slob, but that didn't
last long.)

> and so has mocked others to make herself feel better.

And because they deserve it. She'll still mock people even
when she's getting some; she doesn't do it out of
loneliness. Look at Aunt Amy -- she's clearly a confident
adult who's far from a spinster, and she's still got that
sarcastic attitude.

> Who knows what she's dreamed about in her room, or how


> she'll act once she's discovered someone who likes her for
> what she is.

Well, when we've seen her dream about Trent, they've been
talking in front of a fireplace, not going at it in bed. :-)
In fact, whenever she has an image of the future, it focuses
more on her successful career than on romance. I get the
feeling that Daria is far more hungry for good conversation
and moral compatibility than for sex, and that when she
finds someone who can provide the former, the rest will come
naturally as a minor but important part of that. I don't
actually think Tom can meet her on her level for long --
he's not nearly as morally strict -- but the writers might
disagree with me on that. :-)


Aaron
--
abau...@esc.pike.il.us - Coatsburg, IL, USA
Extreme Systems Consulting - http://esc.pike.il.us/
CGI, Perl, and Linux/Unix Administration


SM

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Sep 8, 2000, 12:30:56 PM9/8/00
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Aaron Baugher wrote:
>
> She has extremely high moral standards about _everything_.
> That's kind of the point of the show. We're talking John
> Galt A=A morals here though, not just Ten Commandments
> morals.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that

Sara

cusc...@my-deja.com

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Sep 8, 2000, 12:41:48 PM9/8/00
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In article <8p7sik$763$1...@nnrp1.deja.com>,
> Daria's going to be shocked when Quinn comes to her for advice on the
> matter.
>

Daria may well now be more experienced, but I don't think she will want
to talk about it. That is way too private for her to talk about. Daria
has a lot of trouble taking the walls down.

cusc...@my-deja.com

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Sep 8, 2000, 12:38:20 PM9/8/00
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In article <20000907040355...@ng-cd1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
> "The Honor of the Quinn"
> by Jordan S. Bassior
>

Lots of good points.

From the title, I now have this image of Quinn in a RMN uniform with a
Hello Kitty treecat on her shoulder.

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 8, 2000, 4:22:54 PM9/8/00
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Aaron Baugher said:

>She has extremely high moral standards about _everything_.
>That's kind of the point of the show. We're talking John
>Galt A=A morals here though, not just Ten Commandments
>morals.

Yes, which means that she probably wouldn't consider it immoral to have sex
with someone whom she was seriously in love with (regardless of marital status)
_and_ she would consider it immoral to pretend to love someone whom she didn't,
for personal advantage (also regardless of marital status). The consistent
point in Daria's moral scheme is "honesty", and that cuts both ways: in some
situations it means she'd be more willing to be sexual than someone with a
purely religious code of values: in other situations it means she'd be _less_
willing.

>No, she hasn't met a guy in Lawndale yet who thinks on her
>level enough to recognize her value. I don't think there's
>any evidence that she thinks she'll be unable to find
>someone. In the glimpses we get of her vision of the
>future, she always seems to have someone and be content.
>(Except the one where Trent's a couch slob, but that didn't
>last long.)

Daria comes out of a stable and mostly happy family -- she complains a lot
about it (all teenagers do) but it's obvious that Helen and Jake love each
other and love her as well, and that this has been something she could always
count on. She would, based on her background, consider it plausible that she
would (as her mother did) wind up in a loving, long-term monogamous
relationship.

What we've seen of her fantasies make it obvious that she sees marriage as a
good thing, _if_ one is married to a worthy man. Daria's definitely an
"equality feminist" in that she doesn't consider herself inferior because of
her sex, but she's not a "radical feminist" by any means: she has no inherent
hostility towards men simply because they're male, and she doesn't see marriage
as an Evil Patriarchal Conspiracy.

(Note that in the one where Trent was a couch slob, one of the things wrong
with her life was that she was an unwed mother).

>> and so has mocked others to make herself feel better.
>
>And because they deserve it. She'll still mock people even
>when she's getting some; she doesn't do it out of
>loneliness. Look at Aunt Amy -- she's clearly a confident
>adult who's far from a spinster, and she's still got that
>sarcastic attitude.

Exactly. Daria probably _will_ grow more tolerant of the failings of others as
she grows older, but that doesn't mean that she'll morph into a totally
different personality.

>Well, when we've seen her dream about Trent, they've been
>talking in front of a fireplace, not going at it in bed. :-)
>In fact, whenever she has an image of the future, it focuses
>more on her successful career than on romance.

That's a very good point. What she's looking for, then, is a man who will above
all be her friend and partner in life first and foremost, rather than someone
who romantically thrills her or sexually excites her as his primary attribute.
(I'm not saying she would thnk _poorly_ of these as secondary attributes, mind
you! ;-))

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 8, 2000, 4:28:33 PM9/8/00
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Cuscutis said:

>From the title, I now have this image of Quinn in a RMN uniform with a
>Hello Kitty treecat on her shoulder.

Hee hee hee -- a fellow Honor Harrington fan! :)

Actually, I think Daria and Honor would get along fairly well ...

Mikel Midnight

unread,
Sep 9, 2000, 11:18:02 AM9/9/00
to
In article <haruchai.m2...@esc.pike.il.us>, Aaron Baugher
<abau...@adams.net> wrote:

> > Um, why? Daria may feel that sex is just a physical
> > activity humans do, no different then walking.
>
> You've been watching too many MTV soaps and 'reality'
> shows. :-)

I'm now picturing Daria wandering through the cast of "Undressed."
That would make hilarious fanfic, actually.

--
_______________________________________________________________________________
"She always had a terrific sense of humor" Mikel Midnight
(Valerie Solonas, as described by her mother)
blak...@best.com
__________________________________________________http://www.best.com/~blaklion

Michael Sears

unread,
Sep 9, 2000, 11:10:41 AM9/9/00
to
In article <20000908162833...@ng-cf1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
> Cuscutis said:
>
> >From the title, I now have this image of Quinn in a RMN uniform with
a
> >Hello Kitty treecat on her shoulder.
>
> Hee hee hee -- a fellow Honor Harrington fan! :)
>
> Actually, I think Daria and Honor would get along fairly well ...
>
I don't see it. Honor is a strong-willed woman with zero tolerance for
fools and a willingness to put them in their place. Daria is...
Hmmm, maybe your right. :)

--
Michael Sears armi...@berk.com
"No turning back where the end is in sight.
There's a job to be done, a fight to be won."

ferriswiel

unread,
Sep 14, 2000, 12:57:25 AM9/14/00
to
Wow, a mention of John Galt in a post about an MTV show that's a spinoff of
Beavis and Butthead. I'm impressed (I really am).

"Aaron Baugher" <abau...@adams.net> wrote in message
news:haruchai.m2...@esc.pike.il.us...

Lady Interference

unread,
Sep 14, 2000, 11:33:01 PM9/14/00
to
ferriswiel wrote:
>
> Wow, a mention of John Galt in a post about an MTV show that's a spinoff of
> Beavis and Butthead. I'm impressed (I really am).

Heh.

Who is John Galt? *wink*

LI (who managed to connect "Atlas Shrugged" with Simon LeBon
once...long story)
--
Lady Interference
(http://www.ladyinterference.com/)
* member, Nick Rhodes Worshippers Unlimited *
"reinvent the human race, you just got the invitation"
* New Romantic, Anglophile, proud Latina *

Phill Harvey-Smith

unread,
Sep 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/15/00
to
ladyIDONTLIKES...@earthlink.net (Lady Interference) wrote in
<39C19CE9...@earthlink.net>:

>ferriswiel wrote:
>>
>> Wow, a mention of John Galt in a post about an MTV show that's a
>> spinoff of Beavis and Butthead. I'm impressed (I really am).
>
>Heh.
>
>Who is John Galt? *wink*
>
>LI (who managed to connect "Atlas Shrugged" with Simon LeBon
>once...long story)

I can understand that... I could do it....lets see...I'm into DD and Rush,
Rush's drummer Neil Peart, has taken a lot of inspiration from Ayn Rand,
who wrote the aformentioned book.....yeah I know contrived :)

Phill.

Al B

unread,
Sep 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/23/00
to
>> Um, why? Daria may feel that sex is just a physical
>> activity humans do, no different then walking.
>
>You've been watching too many MTV soaps and 'reality'
>shows. :-)
>
>> In all honesty, I don't see where some fans get the idea
>> that she's a prude, or has these extreamly high moral
>> standards.
>
>She has extremely high moral standards about _everything_.
>That's kind of the point of the show. We're talking John
>Galt A=A morals here though, not just Ten Commandments
>morals.

Which makes me wonder about these high moral standards of Daria's...she's off
put by Tom's family's wealth and social position, enough to use it as a reason
to kibosh her first romantic relationship....even talks to herself about it,
and how they're from different worlds.

Why don't we ever see her considering her own class/status level? Both her
parent's are professionals, the Morgendorffers live in a big, suburban house,
and she has every material need filled. Yet, she never seems to be torn up by
the idea that others don't have it so good.

If she's so class conscious, and so well read on the historical movements
related to these issues (conversations with Tom in DDMD), why doesn't she show
a bit more anger about this? Seems like a perfectly normal thing for an
overly-bright 17-year-old to get worked up over.

If nothing else, the amazingly shallow materialism the rest of her family
demonstrates would tend to drive her in that direction out of reaction.

Antithesis: Unless, of course, she is a Randite and is only out for herself,
believing that those less capable deserve their lots.

me

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
Al B said:

>Which makes me wonder about these high moral standards of Daria's...she's off
>put by Tom's family's wealth and social position, enough to use it as a
>reason to kibosh her first romantic relationship....even talks to herself
about it,
>and how they're from different worlds.

I think this was an _excuse_ on her part because she was afraid of and
uncomfortable with the whole situation, _especially_ because Jane was mad at
her about it.

>Why don't we ever see her considering her own class/status level? Both her
>parent's are professionals, the Morgendorffers live in a big, suburban house,
>and she has every material need filled. Yet, she never seems to be torn up by
>the idea that others don't have it so good.

She's upper middle class; Tom's family is rich; and in any case this really
wasn't the issue.

>If she's so class conscious, and so well read on the historical movements
>related to these issues (conversations with Tom in DDMD), why doesn't she
>show a bit more anger about this?

Because she's _not_ really "class conscious" in some silly Marxist sense.

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
Ouroboros said:

>Do you feel that having some "silly Marxist sense" is outdated?

I think it was "outdated" when Karl Marx first thought of it, too.

>Has the idea of a class based system been wiped clean with the deft hand of
globalism?

Actually, we stopped basing our "system" on "class" in 1776.

>Has working class, middle and upper class become simply, first world and
third?

Nope: there never have been hard and fast class boundaries in America, unless
you want to count racial "class" (and we're moving away from _that_ mistake,
too). There are "classes", but one is neither condemned nor guranteed to remain
in the class of one's birth.

>And where the hell is the second world...

That referred to the Communist world. That's mostly vanished, with the death of
Communism as an important international ideology. North Korea and Cuba are the
pathetic, poverty-stricken remnants of _that_ evil dream.

>> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
>

>or a woman...

Whoever would be a man must be a woman? ;-)

Al B

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
>"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:
>
>> Al B said:
>>
>> >Which makes me wonder about these high moral standards of Daria's...she's
>off
>> >put by Tom's family's wealth and social position, enough to use it as a
>> >reason to kibosh her first romantic relationship....even talks to herself
>> about it,
>> >and how they're from different worlds.
>>
>> I think this was an _excuse_ on her part because she was afraid of and
>> uncomfortable with the whole situation, _especially_ because Jane was mad
>at
>> her about it.

I respectfully disagree. She seemed pretty bugged about it -- especially since
she interpreted Tom's insensitive behavior (not letting her know she was
invited to the ball, not being announced to his family at all) as his somehow
being ashamed of her. And why would he be -- in her mind at the time -- if not
because she's not as posh as she is?

As it turns out, she was wrong -- but it was a reasonable assumption. Probably
driven by her own misgivings over Jane and her own personal fears, I grant you
-- but it seemed like more than mere excuse-making from my view.

Approximate quote: "Isn't it bad enough that the whole town grovels at the
Sloans' feet without having to put up with it in my own home?"

Sounds like Daria, all right.
>>

>> >If she's so class conscious, and so well read on the historical movements
>> >related to these issues (conversations with Tom in DDMD), why doesn't she
>> >show a bit more anger about this?
>>
>> Because she's _not_ really "class conscious" in some silly Marxist sense.

Well, no, I guess she wouldn't be...on MTV -- a fantasy land where there is no
class, and poverty is merely being "street" and "real."

>Do you feel that having some "silly Marxist sense" is outdated?

>Has the idea of a class based system been wiped clean with the deft hand of
>globalism?

>Has working class, middle and upper class become simply, first world and
>third?

Some would like to think so. I'll grant that most Western nations, especially
the US, have more class mobility than they did. But this does not erase the
idea of class.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

me

Suzie Q. Doe

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
>Why don't we ever see her considering her own class/status level? Both her
>parent's are professionals, the Morgendorffers live in a big, suburban house,
>and she has every material need filled. Yet, she never seems to be torn up by
>the idea that others don't have it so good.

Because she is a suburban teenager. Speaking as a teenaged daughter of two
lawyers who has been raised upper-middle-class, the large portion of us don't
usually think of the people who don't have it so good. Speaking for myself, I
don't need the guilt. Sure, it may not be right. But it's the truth. There are
many things I could do, but I don't want to. Sure, there's probably a problem
with that. But I, using the selfishness of any teenager, would rather care
about myself and the various problems incurred by hormones and such.

Besides, I have enough guilt over the Holocaust.

~Aabi
"I'm not here for your amusement, you're here for mine.
And stop throwing things at me!" ~Johnny Rotten

Evil waiter will recieve an unholy tip!

M Man

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
In article <20000924142044...@ng-ba1.aol.com>,
alanb...@aol.comnojunk (Al B) wrote:

> I respectfully disagree. She seemed pretty bugged about it --
especially since
> she interpreted Tom's insensitive behavior (not letting her know she
was
> invited to the ball, not being announced to his family at all) as his
somehow
> being ashamed of her. And why would he be -- in her mind at the time -
- if not
> because she's not as posh as she is?
>

I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding brewing between Tom and
Daria. Tom thinks of his new girlfriend as cynical, intellectual, and
anti-social - all of which is very true up to a point. What he doesn't
yet realize is that she's very much a traditional romantic in a lot of
ways. Her desire to go the ball and meet his parents looks like a
desire to be "shown off" by Tom.

Now, will Tom realize this? Of course, he doesn't know anything about
her fantasies (such as the one about Trent in Write Where It Hurts),
but he might remember her comparing his gesture of knocking down "Leo"
in I Loathe a Parade with throwing a cape over a mud puddle. Even
though she was clearly warming up to Tom by then, that was still a very
uncharacteristically flirtatious moment from Daria - inspired by
something she saw as very romantic.

M Man

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/24/00
to
In article <20000924115947...@ng-fl1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:

SPOILER FOR IS IT FALL YET


>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Nope: there never have been hard and fast class boundaries in
America, unless
> you want to count racial "class" (and we're moving away from _that_
mistake,
> too).

Maybe not in Lawndale. Does everyone else see a certain season 5 plot
development coming from a mile away?

The Landons are seeking to join a very posh country club - the Sloans
are among the most prominent members. Do you think that club has any
non-white members yet? Do you think the Landons will get in without a
stink? Or at all? Don't change that dial!

<Ouroboros>

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 11:03:20 AM9/24/00
to

"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:

> Al B said:
>
> >Which makes me wonder about these high moral standards of Daria's...she's off
> >put by Tom's family's wealth and social position, enough to use it as a
> >reason to kibosh her first romantic relationship....even talks to herself
> about it,
> >and how they're from different worlds.
>
> I think this was an _excuse_ on her part because she was afraid of and
> uncomfortable with the whole situation, _especially_ because Jane was mad at
> her about it.
>

> >Why don't we ever see her considering her own class/status level? Both her
> >parent's are professionals, the Morgendorffers live in a big, suburban house,
> >and she has every material need filled. Yet, she never seems to be torn up by
> >the idea that others don't have it so good.
>

> She's upper middle class; Tom's family is rich; and in any case this really
> wasn't the issue.
>

> >If she's so class conscious, and so well read on the historical movements
> >related to these issues (conversations with Tom in DDMD), why doesn't she
> >show a bit more anger about this?
>
> Because she's _not_ really "class conscious" in some silly Marxist sense.

Do you feel that having some "silly Marxist sense" is outdated?


Has the idea of a class based system been wiped clean with the deft hand of
globalism?
Has working class, middle and upper class become simply, first world and third?

And where the hell is the second world...

>
>


> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

or a woman...

>
> --

--
P r o j e c t M a y h e m
http://www.pmayhem.org


<Ouroboros>

unread,
Sep 24, 2000, 10:32:31 PM9/24/00
to

"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:

> Ouroboros said:
>
> >Do you feel that having some "silly Marxist sense" is outdated?
>

> I think it was "outdated" when Karl Marx first thought of it, too.

>
>


> >Has the idea of a class based system been wiped clean with the deft hand of
> globalism?
>

> Actually, we stopped basing our "system" on "class" in 1776.

What is it now based on?

>
>
> >Has working class, middle and upper class become simply, first world and
> third?
>

> Nope: there never have been hard and fast class boundaries in America, unless
> you want to count racial "class" (and we're moving away from _that_ mistake,

> too). There are "classes", but one is neither condemned nor guranteed to remain
> in the class of one's birth.

I think there have been class rules- definitely, but they have just been less
obvious than in England.
With the absence of royalty in America as a governing factor, the rich by birth
lineage was not an applicable system.
Also the idea that it is simple to transgress the conditions of your birth is quite
ludicrous- it helps, of course, if we all believe that we can succeed (what is
success anyway?), and buy more stuff and live the material dream. And yes in one
way we have imploded into a huge middle class, with more expendable income, but in
terms of real power- nothing has changed.

>

>
> >And where the hell is the second world...
>

> That referred to the Communist world. That's mostly vanished, with the death of
> Communism as an important international ideology. North Korea and Cuba are the
> pathetic, poverty-stricken remnants of _that_ evil dream.
>

> >> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
> >
> >or a woman...
>

> Whoever would be a man must be a woman? ;-)

I just get pissed when i see exclusive language being used to speak for both
genders- it is hideously outdated, in a society that absolves it's self of any
gender based difference ;)

>
>
> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Phill Harvey-Smith

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote in
<20000924115947...@ng-fl1.aol.com>:

>Ouroboros said:
>>And where the hell is the second world...
>

>That referred to the Communist world. That's mostly vanished, with the
>death of Communism as an important international ideology. North Korea
>and Cuba are the pathetic, poverty-stricken remnants of _that_ evil
>dream.

Why, Why do you keep refering to Comunisim as "evil" ? Can you justify that
statement ? And no I don't mean Stalin did bad things and therefore
Commnisim is bad. I'm talking about justifying that the *IDEA* of
Communisim is bad.

For the record, I think it as Capitalisim, is neitehr in iseslf neither
good or bad, but it has got tainted as being bad because of what people
have done in it's name, likewise for Capitalisim.

BTW Jordan, serious question, and it is sorta relevant, approx how old are
you, ball park figure will do...hehehe I'm kinda 31ish :)

Phill.

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
M Man said:

>SPOILER FOR IS IT FALL YET
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>

>Jordan S. Bassior said:
>
>> Nope: there never have been hard and fast class boundaries in America,
unless
>> you want to count racial "class" (and we're moving away from _that_
mistake,
>> too).
>

>Maybe not in Lawndale.

Why do you see Lawndale as a particularly racist place?

>Does everyone else see a certain season 5 plot
>development coming from a mile away?
>
>The Landons are seeking to join a very posh country club - the Sloans
>are among the most prominent members. Do you think that club has any
>non-white members yet?

I have no idea.

>Do you think the Landons will get in without a
>stink? Or at all?

Probably. If they're rich enough to be likely candidates for membership,
they're also rich enough to massively sue the club if it refuses them based
upon race.

Actually, the conflict I saw looming was the one foreshadowed by Helen and Jake
wanting to go to that banquet and realizing that they lacked the money. Not a
"class conflict" in the sense of the Sloanes rejecting the Morgendorffers, but
rather a matter of envy of the Sloanes _by_ the Morgendorffers.

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
Ouroboros said:

>I think there have been class rules- definitely, but they have just been less
>obvious than in England.

Below a certain level of "obviousness", you aren't talking about social
"classes" any more, but rather "subcultures" -- and most of these subcultures
are open to new entrants.

(the only truly closed "class" I can think of in America are the "Boston
brahmins", the old Northeastern elite. But they don't run the country anymore,
and haven't for over 100 years, since the Gilded Age saw nouveau riche run
right over them. Their Southern equivalent, located mostly around Virginia, was
shattered by the American Civil War, a decade or two earlier).

>With the absence of royalty in America as a governing factor, the rich by
>birth lineage was not an applicable system.

Then if wealth is not based solely or even primarily on "birth lineage," we
don't have "classes" in the sense that one is doomed to remain at the status of
one's family, or even near it. Which is to say that, compared to most times and
places, we are a "classsless" (or semi-classless) society. What we have are
"income levels", which are variable.

>Also the idea that it is simple to transgress the conditions of your birth is
>quite ludicrous-

What do you mean by "transgress the conditions" of one's birth?

>it helps, of course, if we all believe that we can succeed (what is
>success anyway?), and buy more stuff and live the material dream.

Most Americans _do_ succeed in those terms. As for "what is success?" -- I'm
not sure what you mean. An economic system can only provide material goods --
it can't guarantee happiness. The track record of Marxism in terms of providing
_either_ "material goods" or "happiness", however, is quite dismal compared to
that of a free enterprise system.

>And yes in one
>way we have imploded into a huge middle class, with more expendable income,
>but in terms of real power- nothing has changed.

I'm not sure what you mean by "real power" -- I'd argue that in America, "real
power" is held primarily by those ambitious to attain it. And "nothing has
changed" since _when?_ 1776?

I suggest you study some more American history!

>I just get pissed when i see exclusive language being used to speak for both
>genders- it is hideously outdated, in a society that absolves it's self of
>any gender based difference ;)

1) In English, "man" embraces both genders when used as a general term: i.e.
"every man must follow his own path".

2) The notion that we should specify "man or woman" instead originated about 25
years ago. Emerson lived in the 19th century. Are you saying that I must:

a) refuse to quote from people who wrote longer than 25 years ago (thus
trashing most of my own cultural heritage), or

b) mangle existing quotes by rewriting them?

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
Phill Harvey-Smith said:

>Why, Why do you keep refering to Comunisim as "evil" ?

Fundamentally, because it denies the rights of human beings to enjoy their own
property. Furthermore, because the Marxist variety disenfranchises its
political opposition, paving the way for dicatorship.

> And no I don't mean Stalin did bad things and therefore
>Commnisim is bad.

Not just Stalin. Also Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and pretty much _every_
Communist dictator has ruled abominably by Western standards. Frankly, I see
"Communist" and "Fascist" as morally indistinguishable, and "Leninist" the
equivalent of "Nazi".

>I'm talking about justifying that the *IDEA* of
>Communisim is bad.

When an idea results in (at worst) megadeaths and (at best) economic stagnation
every time it is put into practice, while its antithesis leads to (at worst)
economic stagnation and (at best) broadly based prosperity; reality is giving
us a broad hint that this is a Bad Idea.

>For the record, I think it as Capitalisim, is neitehr in iseslf neither
>good or bad, but it has got tainted as being bad because of what people
>have done in it's name, likewise for Capitalisim.

I reject the proposed moral equivalence. Capitalism has enabled freedom (*) and
produced prosperity; communism has justified tyranny and produced economic
stagnation. (**)

(*) As Marx (!!) was one of the first to point out.

(**) Marx, of course, was hoping that Communism would produce _more_ freedom
and prosperity than capitalism. History has proved him wrong.

>BTW Jordan, serious question, and it is sorta relevant, approx how old are
>you, ball park figure will do...hehehe I'm kinda 31ish :)

35. Old enough to remember the campus crowds cheering the victory of Communism
in Vietnam, and their pointed silence as the victors began to slaughter the
victims.

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
Al B said:

>I respectfully disagree. She seemed pretty bugged about it -- especially
since
>she interpreted Tom's insensitive behavior (not letting her know she was
>invited to the ball, not being announced to his family at all) as his somehow

>being ashamed of her. And why would he be -- in her mind at the time -- if


>not because she's not as posh as she is?

Ok -- Daria was insecure, and judged Tom unfairly. Which means she's Not
Perfect.

Horrors :)

>Approximate quote: "Isn't it bad enough that the whole town grovels at the
>Sloans' feet without having to put up with it in my own home?"

Which was, of course, an overstatement.

>Well, no, I guess she wouldn't be...on MTV -- a fantasy land where there is
>no class, and poverty is merely being "street" and "real."

There's no real "class" system in modern America. What we have is the faint
remaining shadow of the class systems of the past. If you'd ever seen a real
class system in operation, you'd recognize the difference.

>Some would like to think so. I'll grant that most Western nations, especially
>the US, have more class mobility than they did. But this does not erase the
>idea of class.

It's an idea that is increasingly indistinguishable from "subculture".

>Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Ok: can you reasonably argue that, in America, most people are doomed to remain
at the level of status and wealth that they were born into?

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
M Man said:

>I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding brewing between Tom and
>Daria. Tom thinks of his new girlfriend as cynical, intellectual, and
>anti-social - all of which is very true up to a point. What he doesn't
>yet realize is that she's very much a traditional romantic in a lot of
>ways. Her desire to go the ball and meet his parents looks like a
>desire to be "shown off" by Tom.

Yes!!! You've got it! And you stated it very well too!

Daria is _not_ truly a cynic (*). She never has been. Her "cynicism" has always
been basically an armor she has grown to protect her idealism and romanticism
from the cynicism and callousness of _others_. Most of the time she gets
_angry_ it's because someone is failing to live up to her high standards: in
DDMD and IIFY, she was very angry at _herself_ for failing to do so!

(*) Not in the routine meaning of the term, though she is, of course, in the
sense _Diogenes_ meant it!

She is, of course, an intellectual. And, additionally, a supergenius. Which has
increased her alienation, because she realizes that most of the people around
her don't even _comprehend_ the issues that are important to her.

Her anti-social behavior derives directly from the lack (or perceived lack) of
people she can be "social" with _on her level_. This is why when she met Jane,
she quickly made friends with her, and when she allowed herself to really
notice Tom, she fell in love with him. She _wishes_ for the company of people
whom she can relate to as equals: she is however afraid to open up to most
people (and with good reason!)

>Now, will Tom realize this? Of course, he doesn't know anything about
>her fantasies (such as the one about Trent in Write Where It Hurts),
>but he might remember her comparing his gesture of knocking down "Leo"
>in I Loathe a Parade with throwing a cape over a mud puddle. Even
>though she was clearly warming up to Tom by then, that was still a very
>uncharacteristically flirtatious moment from Daria - inspired by
>something she saw as very romantic.

The big question here is this: is Tom also genuinely idealistic or romantic in
the same general ways Daria is? If not, he may fail to appreciate or even
notice this aspect of her personality, before it's Too Late.

Incidentally, one of the reasons she always liked _Trent_ was that he is, under
the grunge, a genuinely kind, caring, and even chivalrous soul -- and she saw
it. She stopped pursuing Trent when she decided that his flaws were too great
for him to overcome.

M Man

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
In article <20000925091233...@ng-mf1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
> M Man said:
>
> >SPOILER FOR IS IT FALL YET
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >Jordan S. Bassior said:
> >
> >> Nope: there never have been hard and fast class boundaries in
America,
> unless
> >> you want to count racial "class" (and we're moving away from _that_
> mistake,
> >> too).
> >
> >Maybe not in Lawndale.
>
> Why do you see Lawndale as a particularly racist place?

Generally, no. But the Sloans and their friends aren't typical. For
one thing, their kids don't go to Lawndale High. Mrs Sloan, when she
learned Daria attended Lawndale High instead of Tom's private school,
seemed to be trying to force herself to act tolerant about it.

They probably don't even know that the football captain and
valedictorian-apparent at Lawndale are both black.

>
> >Does everyone else see a certain season 5 plot
> >development coming from a mile away?
> >
> >The Landons are seeking to join a very posh country club - the Sloans
> >are among the most prominent members. Do you think that club has any
> >non-white members yet?
>
> I have no idea.

They often don't. And Andrew Landon seems to be putting a lot of
effort into getting into the club - golf lessons for the family,
schmoozing Tom when he found out who his mother is. Landon's financial
success, social position, and general all-around suburban upper middle-
class lifestyle OUGHT to make his admittance a done deal - unless he's
to be the first black member of the club.

>
> >Do you think the Landons will get in without a
> >stink? Or at all?
>

My point is that the story line introduced in IIFY about the Landons
applying for membership, the pointed snobbishness of the Sloans' world,
and Mrs. Sloan's position on the country club membership commitee all
looks like it's leading to the plot-development I mentioned.

> Probably. If they're rich enough to be likely candidates for
membership,
> they're also rich enough to massively sue the club if it refuses them
based
> upon race.

Probably they can. Maybe they will. Andrew Landon, however, seems
like the type who will (at least, at first) try to schmooze his way
through anything.

Jodie will be mad as hell.

Of course, the club won't ADMIT that race was the turn-down reason.
Exclusive clubs still do this sort or thing, even though it usually
backfires on them - they get bad publicity, members in the public eye
have to resign, the applicant usually gets admitted in the end anyway.

>
> Actually, the conflict I saw looming was the one foreshadowed by
Helen and Jake
> wanting to go to that banquet and realizing that they lacked the
money. Not a
> "class conflict" in the sense of the Sloanes rejecting the
Morgendorffers, but
> rather a matter of envy of the Sloanes _by_ the Morgendorffers.
>

> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo
Emerson)
> --
>

M Man

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
In article <20000925094631...@ng-mf1.aol.com>,

jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:
> M Man said:
>

Probably he is. He seemed to appreciate Daria's cape over the puddle
comment. In the same episode, his "thank you for sharing the moment"
was a romantic comment delivered in a romantic way. Probably the sort
of comment that would have been wasted on his then-girlfriend Jane.

> Incidentally, one of the reasons she always liked _Trent_ was that he
is, under
> the grunge, a genuinely kind, caring, and even chivalrous soul -- and
she saw
> it. She stopped pursuing Trent when she decided that his flaws were
too great
> for him to overcome.
>

Jon Reiss

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
> >I'm talking about justifying that the *IDEA* of
> >Communisim is bad.
>
> When an idea results in (at worst) megadeaths and (at best) economic stagnation
> every time it is put into practice, while its antithesis leads to (at worst)
> economic stagnation and (at best) broadly based prosperity; reality is giving
> us a broad hint that this is a Bad Idea.

Communism, on paper, is a perfect system. The problem is that people are imperfect
beings. Communism doesn't currupt communism, people corrupt communism. (I sound
like an NRA spokesman) Communism is a great idea, nothing wrong with it at all,
it's just that it doesn't work as long as humans are running the show.

By the way, for those interested you can now hear me on WRPI, 91.5 in Troy, NY at
midnight on thursday nights. Listen online at http://www.wrpi.org

--
Jon Reiss
AIM: NukeBuddha
http://www.j51.com/~improv
Ralph Nader for Prez!

=====================================
"If everyone would vote for Ralph Nader the world would be a better place."
-- Eddie Vedder ... 8/3/00

SM

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
Jon Reiss wrote:
>
> Communism, on paper, is a perfect system. The problem is that
> people are imperfect beings. Communism doesn't currupt communism,
> people corrupt communism. (I sound like an NRA spokesman) Communism
> is a great idea, nothing wrong with it at all, it's just that it
> doesn't work as long as humans are running the show.

Woah... back the opinionated truck up there. Communism is not a perfect
system to everyone. Those of us who believe in the objectivist (in the
Randian sense, not the painting movement :) line of thought would have
_serious_ problems with your assertation.

(According to the online Miriam Webster dictionary www.m-w.com)
"com·mu·nism
1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property
b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all
as needed"

I am not going to get into a political debate here about my feelings on
Communism and the Green Party in general but I will say that blatantly
stating that, "Communism, on paper, is a perfect system," is a
bold/foolish/incorrect statement because not everyone subscribes to the
views that you do. Take a look at www.aynrand.org/objectivism. Just
because you want to share your hard earned money with some lazy shmoe
off the street who would rather guilt hard working people into giving
him money than get off his ass doesn't mean that the rest of us want to
do the same. I work for _myself_, no one else.

> =====================================
> "If everyone would vote for Ralph Nader the world would be a better place."
> -- Eddie Vedder ... 8/3/00

"He's my very favorite slacker multi-millionaire."
-ten points if you know where this quote comes from :)

(from the Green Party homepage, www.gp.org)
"1. We call for an economic system... which put[s] human and ecological
needs alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the
communities in which they function."
"2. Community-based economics constitutes an alternative to both
corporate capitalism and state socialism."
"Recognition of limits is central to a Green economic orientation. The
drive to accumulate power and wealth must become recognized for what it
is, a pernicious
characteristic of a civilization headed, ever more rapidly, in a
pathological direction."

Personally, it repulses and frightens me that people actually believe in
this stuff... I'm buying my own island somewhere... I think I'll call
it... Galt's Gulch.

Sara

Michelle Klein-Hass

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/25/00
to
In article <39CFC27B...@mail.com>, SM <n0s...@mail.com> wrote:

> (According to the online Miriam Webster dictionary www.m-w.com)
> "com·mu·nism
> 1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property
> b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all
> as needed"

> (from the Green Party homepage, www.gp.org)


> "1. We call for an economic system... which put[s] human and ecological
> needs alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the
> communities in which they function."
> "2. Community-based economics constitutes an alternative to both
> corporate capitalism and state socialism."
> "Recognition of limits is central to a Green economic orientation. The
> drive to accumulate power and wealth must become recognized for what it
> is, a pernicious
> characteristic of a civilization headed, ever more rapidly, in a
> pathological direction."

To put it more simply, quoting Frank Zappa:

"Socialism doesn't work. The second word a kid learns, after Mommy, is MINE."

This proves the reason why I cannot possibly support the Greens. They say
they are against State Socialism and then turn around and say that they
believe in community-based economics. What is that, if not socialism.

Unfortunately, no party really speaks to my real political beliefs. After
Gore came out as pro-State Censorship, there is only one person I can hold
my nose and vote for, and that is Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate.
At the very least he wants to dismantle the drug war and is
anti-censorship.

I really respect Nader. Don't get me wrong here. As a consumer advocate
he's great. But as President...naaah.

--.\\<-H--

--
The Site That Wouldn't Die is back...
http://www.lawndalecommons.com/ !

Get rid of the "NOPE" and change the other caps into numbers and that's my address...sorry about the spamblock.

"Cutting Boards are sacred / cutting boards are great
If a board gets stepped on / Iron Chefs get quite irate."

Stefan Backstrom

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 7:11:36 PM9/25/00
to
SM <n0s...@mail.com> wrote:

> (According to the online Miriam Webster dictionary www.m-w.com)
> "com·mu·nism
> 1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property
> b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all
> as needed"

A dictionary is, almost by definition, a bit simplistic. In particular, b)
does not entirely ring true with my perception of communism. As Marx and
Engels say in _The German Ideology_: "Communism is not for us a state of
affairs which is to be established as an ideal to which reality will have to
adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present
state of things."

The system referred to in b) would IMHO be socialism.

> I am not going to get into a political debate here about my feelings on
> Communism and the Green Party in general but I will say that blatantly
> stating that, "Communism, on paper, is a perfect system," is a
> bold/foolish/incorrect statement because not everyone subscribes to the
> views that you do. Take a look at www.aynrand.org/objectivism.

This economic view sounds a bit... naive, I guess. Much in the same way as I
think of socialism. Separation of state and economy is generally a Good Thing
IMO, but if you draw it to its extreme, it just becomes silly, and in some
places clearly contradicts the goals of the philosophy. Free markets only
function under certain conditions, and some kind of power has to enforce those
conditions. Hence, we have governments. Sure, we can argue how *much*
economic power they should have, but I can't see what good it would do to get
rid of them entirely. Too much in the objectivist economic manifesto sounds
like longing for good ol' medieval barter trade, to which I'm not that keen on
returning.

> Just
> because you want to share your hard earned money with some lazy shmoe
> off the street who would rather guilt hard working people into giving
> him money than get off his ass doesn't mean that the rest of us want to
> do the same. I work for _myself_, no one else.

Good for you. Socialism doesn't change anything though; you can still work
for yourself, you just won't receive a substantial material compensation for
your efforts. That's why socialism can be seen as utopian in nature: it is
ultimately based on the premise that you don't *need* material possessions
beyond the bare necessities; that humanity has outgrown them [1]. Clearly,
that is not going to happen anytime soon.

-- Stefan.

[1] Obviously, this is not a position with which Marx would agree, as he
disagreed with utopian socialists.

Lab Rat

unread,
Sep 25, 2000, 11:39:30 PM9/25/00
to

SM <n0s...@mail.com> wrote in message news:39CFC27B...@mail.com...
> Jon Reiss wrote:

>
> "He's my very favorite slacker multi-millionaire."
> -ten points if you know where this quote comes from :)


The Simpsons? Sounds like something Homer said while reading Wired/"Weird"


labrat
______________________________
Why is it that the first piece of luggage
out of the chute at the airport never
belongs to anyone?
____________________________
If Mike Brady was such a great
architect why did they have 6 kids
and only one bathroom?
____________________________
Cocaine is God's way of telling you
that you have too much money


Ashley D Ford

unread,
Sep 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/26/00
to
In article <STUz5.7180$tl2.5...@bgtnsc07-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,

Lab Rat <westw...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
>SM <n0s...@mail.com> wrote in message news:39CFC27B...@mail.com...
>> Jon Reiss wrote:
>
>>
>> "He's my very favorite slacker multi-millionaire."
>> -ten points if you know where this quote comes from :)
>
>
>The Simpsons? Sounds like something Homer said while reading Wired/"Weird"
>
>
>labrat

I think it's Weird Al. My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder. "She thinks
he's so darned dysfunctional and Generation X-y!"

-Ash

--

Mikel Midnight

unread,
Sep 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/26/00
to
In article <20000925093355...@ng-mf1.aol.com>, Jordan S.
Bassior <jsba...@aol.com> wrote:

> > And no I don't mean Stalin did bad things and therefore
> >Commnisim is bad.
>
> Not just Stalin. Also Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and pretty much
> _every_ Communist dictator has ruled abominably by Western standards.
> Frankly, I see "Communist" and "Fascist" as morally indistinguishable, and
> "Leninist" the equivalent of "Nazi".

Not exactly fair. I actually *agree* with you (and view the world
pretty much the same way) but you're changing the terms of the
argument.

--
_______________________________________________________________________________
"She always had a terrific sense of humor" Mikel Midnight
(Valerie Solonas, as described by her mother)
blak...@best.com
______________________________________http://www.best.com/~blaklion/comics.html

SM

unread,
Sep 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/26/00
to
Ashley D Ford wrote:
>
> >SM <n0s...@mail.com> wrote in message news:39CFC27B...@mail.com...
> >> Jon Reiss wrote:
> >>
> >> "He's my very favorite slacker multi-millionaire."
> >> -ten points if you know where this quote comes from :)
>
> I think it's Weird Al. My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder. "She thinks
> he's so darned dysfunctional and Generation X-y!"
>
> -Ash

Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner :)

SM

unread,
Sep 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/26/00
to
Stefan Backstrom wrote:

>
> SM <n0s...@mail.com> wrote:
>
> > I work for _myself_, no one else.
>
> Good for you. Socialism doesn't change anything though; you can still work
> for yourself, you just won't receive a substantial material compensation for
> your efforts.

And I wholeheartedly believe that is morally wrong. Why work if you
will not receive what you deserve? What's the motivation?

Anyway, to get back to my original off topic topic - :) - I just think
that stating Communism is perfect, even in theory, is too absolute a
statement because I was trying to point out that there are many people
with completely opposite views on the ideal economic theory.

(You know, I usually hate off topic postings but I always slip when no
new episodes come out for a long time - please accept my apologies for
inappropriate ng behaviour - I'll shut up now)

Sara

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 26, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/26/00
to
Stefan Backstrom said:

>Free markets only
>function under certain conditions, and some kind of power has to enforce
>those conditions. Hence, we have governments. Sure, we can argue how *much*
>economic power they should have, but I can't see what good it would do to get
>rid of them entirely.

That's an argument against anarcho-capitalism, not Objectivism. Objectivists
are in favor of a classical liberal state: one which maintains police,
judicial, and military functions.

>Too much in the objectivist economic manifesto sounds
>like longing for good ol' medieval barter trade, to which I'm not that keen
>on returning.

Unless they've changed a _lot_ since Ayn Rand's death, I'm not sure what you're
talking about.

>Good for you. Socialism doesn't change anything though; you can still work
>for yourself, you just won't receive a substantial material compensation for
>your efforts.

So -- I have the right to work, and others have the right to steal everything I
make? This doesn't sound like a very moral system.

> That's why socialism can be seen as utopian in nature: it is
>ultimately based on the premise that you don't *need* material possessions

>beyond the bare necessities; that humanity has outgrown them.


>Clearly, that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Clearly, that isn't going to happen _ever_. Even if technology advanced to the
point that we could convert energy into anything we wanted, there would still
be at _least_ one economically scarce good -- energy. And I personally believe
that space and time, and probably several other inputs, would remain "scarce"
in economic terms (*)

(*) Meaning that people would still want more than existed, so "effective"
demand would have to be compared to supply in some fashion, and this fashion
would be either be a market or some less efficient rationing system.

>[1] Obviously, this is not a position with which Marx would agree, as he
>disagreed with utopian socialists.

Indeed -- Marx may have been seriously wrongheaded, but at least he
acknowledged reality to _that_ extent!

Al B

unread,
Sep 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/27/00
to
>There's no real "class" system in modern America. What we have is the faint
>remaining shadow of the class systems of the past. If you'd ever seen a real
>class system in operation, you'd recognize the difference.
>
>>Some would like to think so. I'll grant that most Western nations,
>especially
>>the US, have more class mobility than they did. But this does not erase the
>>idea of class.
>
>It's an idea that is increasingly indistinguishable from "subculture".
>
>>Denial is not just a river in Egypt.
>
>Ok: can you reasonably argue that, in America, most people are doomed to
>remain
>at the level of status and wealth that they were born into?
>

Adapted from a chart at: http://inequality.org

Change in Average US Household Net Worth, 1983-86:

Bottom 40 percent: -76.3 percent

Middle 20 percent: 10 percent

Next 20 percent: 20.7 percent

Next 10 percent: 23.7 percent

Next 5 percent: 20.8 percent

Next 4 percent: 21.4 percent

Next 1 percent: 42.2 percent

Source: Edward N. Wolff, "Recent Trends in Wealth Ownership, 1983-98," April,
2000, Table 3. http://www.levy.org/docs/wrkpap/papers/300.html

I don't agree with your very narrow definition of social class, or that only
truly class-stratified societies must function exactly as did Victorian
England.

By David Cody, Associate Professor of English, Hartwick College, posted to
http://landow/stg/brown.edu/victorian/history/history.html

"Class is a complex term, in use since the late eighteenth century, and
employed in many different ways. In our context classes are the more or less
distinct social groupings which at any given historical period, taken as a
whole, constituted British Society. Different social classes can be (and were
by the classes themselves) distinguished by inequalities in such areas as
power, authority, wealth, working and living conditions, life-styles,
life-span, education, religion, and culture.

Arguing that class is nothing but a subculture is beside the point --
subculture can be and is a definition of class -- if that subculture's
distinctive qualities derive from its social condition and means.

"This basic hierarchical structure (presented here in highly oversimplified
form), comprising the "upper classes," the "middle classes," the "Working
Classes" (with skilled laborers at one extreme and unskilled at the other), and
the impoverished "Under Class," remained relatively stable despite periodic
(and frequently violent) upheavals, and despite the Marxist view of the
inevitability of class conflict, at least until the outbreak of World War I. A
modified class structure clearly remains in existence today."

The quote above correctly talks about a modified class-structure -- reformed
through pressure brought to bear by labor movements, liberal reformers and our
government's efforts to redistribute enough wealth to prevent uprisings by the
very poor. (Well, that was a goal up until 1980, anyway. Then, we started
building prisons.)

You're asking me whether rigid class stratification exists in the US. It does
if one can argue that there are significant impediments to most individuals
attaining either capital (as in our old friend, means of production) or
political power.

When exactly was the transformation that eliminated all impediments for
everyone? Who owns American corporations? Lots of people own a little bit, but
how many have a controlling interest?

"As of 1995, 40 percent of American households owned stock either directly or
through a mutual fund or some sort of retirement plan. _Almost 90 percent of
the value of all stocks and mutual funds was held by 10 percent of the
households._ " (Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances) --
http://inequality.com

The chart above shows that a majority of people -- at least 60 percent -- would
find becomeing owners difficult today -- they are therefore trapped in their
class. This bottom 60 percent -- probably more -- most likely cannot buy the
educations -- and homes in ZIP Codes -- that would connect them to power elites
-- such as board memberships in major corporations, seats in legislatures or
professional credentials. Or memberships at the Country Club, n'est pas?

From "Explorations in Social Inequality, found at
http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/strat.html

"A 1979 Carnegie study ("Small Futures: Children, Inequality, and the Limits of
Liberal Reform", Richard de Lone principal investigator) found a child's future
to be largely determined by social status, not brains. Consider Bobby and
Jimmy, two second-graders, who both pay attention in the classroom, do well,
and have nearly identical I.Q.s. Yet Bobby is the son of a successful lawyer;
Jimmy's works infrequently as custodial assistant. Despite their similarities,
the difference in the circumstances to which they were born makes it 27 times
more likely that Bobby will get a job that by time he is in late 40s will pay
him an income in the top tenth of all incomes in this country. Jimmy had about
one chance in eight of earning even a median income."

I could write and source even more about educational inequalities built into
our school systems -- wherein financing districts through local property tax
insures lousy educations for those in the "subculture" who live in low-income,
de-industrialized areas. And I could write and source still more about
inequalities and corruption in policing that permits, for example, illegal
street sales of narcotics in low-income areas, insuring that a "subculture" of
people live in fear, and whose nearest business opportunities generally lead to
incarceration. Speaking of which, let's think about the "subculture" of
convicted felons -- many more than 2 million strong -- who will certainly have
a hard time rising above their current station -- and don't even have the right
to vote, much less hold political power.

Granted, a family may improve its situation gradually, over generations. And
there are always blessed, talented individuals for whom the US may seem truly
"classless," because they've managed to greatly improve their own lots. The US
is a great country for that _select few_.

Then why does it _seem_ like the US is a classless society?

"The Gini coefficient is a complex statistical measure of inequality; a 0
coefficient is perfect equality (everyone has the same share), while a 1
coefficient is total inequality (one person has everything). In 1997, the
United States had a Gini coefficient of 0.375, up from 0.323 in 1973. The 1997
figure is higher than any other "wealthy" country. Britain's is 0.346,
Germany's 0.300, Canada's 0.286 and Sweden's 0.222. However, these figures
relate to income, and Alan Greenspan points out that when applied to
consumption, the Gini number for the U.S. falls by about 25 percent. In other
words, the poor are more likely to own the same televisions, washing machines,
etc., as the rich, than income figures might suggest." (Fortune, 9/4/00)
Source: http://inequality.org

Revolving credit does not make a society classless -- or free.

me

Jordan S. Bassior

unread,
Sep 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/27/00
to
Al B said:

>Change in Average US Household Net Worth, 1983-86:
>
>Bottom 40 percent: -76.3 percent
>
>Middle 20 percent: 10 percent
>
>Next 20 percent: 20.7 percent
>
>Next 10 percent: 23.7 percent
>
>Next 5 percent: 20.8 percent
>
>Next 4 percent: 21.4 percent
>
>Next 1 percent: 42.2 percent

The flaw in your reasoning is that you're assuming that each individual remains
in his category over the period. For instance, a kid who grows up, gets a job,
and moves into his own apartment is likely to drop to a "poorer" group, despite
the fact that his situation has actually improved. Likewise, in an ethnic
group, a whole wave of immigrants may move up and be replaced by recent
immigrants in the bottom category: this may be tracked as a reduction in wealth
of that "category" despite the fact that the overall trend for that group is
upward!

>You're asking me whether rigid class stratification exists in the US. It does
>if one can argue that there are significant impediments to most individuals
>attaining either capital (as in our old friend, means of production) or
>political power.

The principal impediment to attaining capital is the need to put your nose to
the grindstone. The principal impediment to attaining power is the need to
become involved in politics. Most people don't bother, because Life is
Comfortable.

>When exactly was the transformation that eliminated all impediments for
everyone?

I never said that "all impediments" were eliminated for "everyone". However,
the vast and continuing growth of wealth in America from 1750 to the present,
and the expanding participation in our republican politics, has dissolved
_most_ impediments for _most_ people.

Perfection is unattainable.

>Who owns American corporations? Lots of people own a little bit, but
>how many have a controlling interest?

By definition, only _one_ person may have a controlling interest in any given
corporation, if anyone does. This is irrelevant, as _wealth_ is determined by
share ownership, not board control.

>The chart above shows that a majority of people -- at least 60 percent --
>would
>find becomeing owners difficult today -- they are therefore trapped in their
class.

Why must someone own a controlling interest in a corporation to become rich?
Futhermore, what prevents people from starting their _own_ corporations?
(answer: very little, and many people do justthat).

>This bottom 60 percent -- probably more -- most likely cannot buy the
>educations -- and homes in ZIP Codes -- that would connect them to power
elites
>-- such as board memberships in major corporations, seats in legislatures or
>professional credentials.

I'm not sure what you mean by "connect" -- in reality, members of "power
elites" are simply people, whom (because we _don't_ have a rigid class
structure) anyone with the willingness to network can get to know. I personally
know a 16-year old girl who has no trouble interviewing celebrities for an
online news site, fer pete's sake! Show some initiative!

>Or memberships at the Country Club, n'est pas?

Jodie's father, incidentally, is very obviously _already_ a member of the
"power elite." Note the banker's reaction in "Partner's Complaint."

In fact, if business ownership and professional credentials are the keys to
membership in this elite, Jake and Helen are, too. Jake owns a consulting firm,
and Helen is a lawyer.

The fact that the Sloans are at an even higher level should clue you in to the
fact that there is not simply one wealthy class, but rather numerous
subcultures at all economic levels, whose interactions are much more complex
than the Marxist model would imply.

>Revolving credit does not make a society classless -- or free.

No society is _completely_ classless. America's in 2000 is about as close to it
as any society has ever become. Incidentally, the _reason_ why Americans are
able and willing to buy on credit is that they have good expectations of
increasing their personal wealth in the future; they can see that they are
richer than they were in the past, and richer than their parents and
grandparents were.

As for being "free", what society has ever been freer?

Stefan Backstrom

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Sep 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/27/00
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jsba...@aol.com (Jordan S. Bassior) wrote:

> That's an argument against anarcho-capitalism, not Objectivism. Objectivists
> are in favor of a classical liberal state: one which maintains police,
> judicial, and military functions.

But which doesn't interfere with the economy. Call me a commie pinko, but I
do feel the state has a role to play even in a purely economic sense, like
breaking up monopolies and printing money.

> Unless they've changed a _lot_ since Ayn Rand's death, I'm not sure what you're
> talking about.

Well, my point is that free markets in a decentralized economy might not work
as efficiently as you'd think they would. For markets to function optimally,
everyone has to have equal and perfect access to information. I see no
incentive in objectivism to provide such services, and decentralization is in
this case likely to create many small monopolistic markets rather than one big
free one. I'm not saying we have anywhere near perfect information in today's
society either, but no one's saying that we live in an ideal economy.

Just curious: what is the standpoint of the objectivists on
patents/intellectual property? Do they expire? Does the holder have complete
control over them?

As for the barter economy part, I was just pointing out that few modern
economies have managed to function without a centralized banking system. The
government's role as lender of last resort and issuer of money is vital to
keep the financial system alive; yet if the state is to be separated from the
economy, it must relinquish control of monetary policy.

> So -- I have the right to work, and others have the right to steal everything I
> make? This doesn't sound like a very moral system.

Since there are no rights to personal property under socialism, others can't
steal anything from you; you don't own anything. Theft is not a valid concept
where there are no material possessions.

> Clearly, that isn't going to happen _ever_. Even if technology advanced to the
> point that we could convert energy into anything we wanted, there would still
> be at _least_ one economically scarce good -- energy. And I personally believe
> that space and time, and probably several other inputs, would remain "scarce"
> in economic terms (*)

I agree. I'm not sure if I made it clear that I'm not advocating socialism as
a functioning system. It's just that I feel that all philosophies and
ideologies are utopian to some extent, and to claim that one won't work is
pretty futile. No ideologies are perfect; it's just a question of which is
easier to adapt to reality. Or maybe the other way around.

-- Stefan.

<Ouroboros>

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Sep 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM9/27/00
to

"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:

> Al B said:
>
> >Change in Average US Household Net Worth, 1983-86:
> >
> >Bottom 40 percent: -76.3 percent
> >
> >Middle 20 percent: 10 percent
> >
> >Next 20 percent: 20.7 percent
> >
> >Next 10 percent: 23.7 percent
> >
> >Next 5 percent: 20.8 percent
> >
> >Next 4 percent: 21.4 percent
> >
> >Next 1 percent: 42.2 percent
>

> The flaw in your reasoning is that you're assuming that each individual remains
> in his category over the period. For instance, a kid who grows up, gets a job,
> and moves into his own apartment is likely to drop to a "poorer" group, despite
> the fact that his situation has actually improved. Likewise, in an ethnic
> group, a whole wave of immigrants may move up and be replaced by recent
> immigrants in the bottom category: this may be tracked as a reduction in wealth
> of that "category" despite the fact that the overall trend for that group is
> upward!

The fact of the matter remains that the current economic system that we use in the
West has a fixed base of a few very rich and a large base of middle and poor. A new
study has revealed that statistical differences in income are not based on
individual changes in circumstance- rather it appears that the base statistics
reiterate through out the whole system as a stable pattern, much a like a fractal.

> >You're asking me whether rigid class stratification exists in the US. It does
> >if one can argue that there are significant impediments to most individuals
> >attaining either capital (as in our old friend, means of production) or
> >political power.
>

> The principal impediment to attaining capital is the need to put your nose to
> the grindstone. The principal impediment to attaining power is the need to
> become involved in politics. Most people don't bother, because Life is
> Comfortable.

I think this is a rather naive and pompous statement- plenty of people work very
hard just to make it in the black. Politics is a puppets game, the idea of gaining
power through the political game is an illusion. Real power comes from having both
the resources and the income to push your agenda *through* the figure heads. This
is why media moguls, the ones controlling representation in an increasingly image
and media saturated world, are counted among the richest and most powerful people
in the world.

>
>
> >When exactly was the transformation that eliminated all impediments for
> everyone?
>

> I never said that "all impediments" were eliminated for "everyone". However,
> the vast and continuing growth of wealth in America from 1750 to the present,
> and the expanding participation in our republican politics, has dissolved
> _most_ impediments for _most_ people.

I would not attempt to speak for most people if i were you.

>
>
> Perfection is unattainable.


>
> >Who owns American corporations? Lots of people own a little bit, but
> >how many have a controlling interest?
>

> By definition, only _one_ person may have a controlling interest in any given
> corporation, if anyone does. This is irrelevant, as _wealth_ is determined by
> share ownership, not board control.

Yet statistically only few are getting very very rich-

>
>
> >The chart above shows that a majority of people -- at least 60 percent --
> >would
> >find becomeing owners difficult today -- they are therefore trapped in their
> class.
>

> Why must someone own a controlling interest in a corporation to become rich?
> Futhermore, what prevents people from starting their _own_ corporations?
> (answer: very little, and many people do justthat).

The big corporations leaning on the little ones for a start- the economic game is
not fair, there is a ceiling.

>
>
> >This bottom 60 percent -- probably more -- most likely cannot buy the
> >educations -- and homes in ZIP Codes -- that would connect them to power
> elites
> >-- such as board memberships in major corporations, seats in legislatures or
> >professional credentials.
>

> I'm not sure what you mean by "connect" -- in reality, members of "power
> elites" are simply people, whom (because we _don't_ have a rigid class
> structure) anyone with the willingness to network can get to know. I personally
> know a 16-year old girl who has no trouble interviewing celebrities for an
> online news site, fer pete's sake! Show some initiative!

Propaganda relies on this symbiosis between media and image. Does an interview
equate to sharing power?

>
>
> >Or memberships at the Country Club, n'est pas?
>

> Jodie's father, incidentally, is very obviously _already_ a member of the
> "power elite." Note the banker's reaction in "Partner's Complaint."
>
> In fact, if business ownership and professional credentials are the keys to
> membership in this elite, Jake and Helen are, too. Jake owns a consulting firm,
> and Helen is a lawyer.
>
> The fact that the Sloans are at an even higher level should clue you in to the
> fact that there is not simply one wealthy class, but rather numerous
> subcultures at all economic levels, whose interactions are much more complex
> than the Marxist model would imply.
>

> >Revolving credit does not make a society classless -- or free.
>

> No society is _completely_ classless. America's in 2000 is about as close to it
> as any society has ever become. Incidentally, the _reason_ why Americans are
> able and willing to buy on credit is that they have good expectations of
> increasing their personal wealth in the future; they can see that they are
> richer than they were in the past, and richer than their parents and
> grandparents were.

Yes, we can see how this model works on a grand scale via third world debt.

>
>
> As for being "free", what society has ever been freer?

I have never lived in any society other than my own, Australia mind you, not
America- i would image freedom is relative and value systems and notions of
"wealth" subjective..

>
>
> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
> --

--

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 27, 2000, 9:58:45 PM9/27/00
to
Ouroboros said:

>The fact of the matter remains that the current economic system that we use in
the
>West has a fixed base of a few very rich and a large base of middle and poor.

First of all, most non-rich (in America anyway) are middle class. Our system is
diamond-shaped, rather than pyramid-shaped as pre-industrial societies were.

Secondly, while the bulk of the population cannot (by definitiion) be "rich",
the general level of wealth rises continually, so what it means to be "middle
class" constantly improves.

Thirdly, what's the alternative? Attempts to replace capitalism with communism
have simply led to greater poverty in the societies which have tried it.


>I think this is a rather naive and pompous statement- plenty of people work
>very hard just to make it in the black.

"Very hard" by modern standards is _nothing_ compared to what it meant 100 or
200 years ago. And the improvements in working conditions were made possible by
the economic growth resulting from capitalism.

>Politics is a puppets game, the idea of gaining
>power through the political game is an illusion.

How do you imagine politicians gain power, then?

>Real power comes from having both
>the resources and the income to push your agenda *through* the figure heads.

The people who are actually elected to office are far from "figure-heads" --
you should learn how the system really works. It's fascinating and much more
complex than your propaganda.

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 27, 2000, 10:41:54 PM9/27/00
to
Stefan Backstrom said:

>But which doesn't interfere with the economy. Call me a commie pinko, but I
>do feel the state has a role to play even in a purely economic sense, like
>breaking up monopolies and printing money.

I have no real problem with that, though I think that the only truly dangerous
monopolies are coercive ones, and that a state has to beware of the temptation
to try to print its way out of a deficit.

>Well, my point is that free markets in a decentralized economy might not work
>as efficiently as you'd think they would. For markets to function optimally,
>everyone has to have equal and perfect access to information.

"Information costs" are going to exist in any system. No market can even
theoretically be perfect, therefore. But a market made imperfect by
informational problems is better than one made imperfect by direct intervention
-- it's easier to fit.

>I see no incentive in objectivism to provide such services, and
decentralization is in
>this case likely to create many small monopolistic markets rather than one
>big free one.

In practice, unless you have a "natural" (geographic) monopoly, local
monopolies tend to have to remain competitive or suffer from the spread of
other firms into their area.

Also, political decentralization isn't the same thing as economic
decentralization, as long as sovereignity is undivided and banditry is
suppressed.

Incidentally, I'm not an anarchist, and neither are objectivists.


>Just curious: what is the standpoint of the objectivists on
>patents/intellectual property? Do they expire? Does the holder have
>complete control over them?

I don't know --- SM, do you know?

>As for the barter economy part, I was just pointing out that few modern
>economies have managed to function without a centralized banking system. The
>government's role as lender of last resort and issuer of money is vital to
>keep the financial system alive; yet if the state is to be separated from the
>economy, it must relinquish control of monetary policy.

Mmm, I don't see any real problem with a state bank, as long as the state
resists the temptation to use it for political ends. The current US system with
the Federal Reserve works pretty well, though I think Fed mismanagement back in
the 1920's was partially responsible for the Great Depression.

>Since there are no rights to personal property under socialism, others can't
>steal anything from you; you don't own anything. Theft is not a valid
>concept where there are no material possessions.

Since, however, I still need material possessions to live, and even more so to
_enjoy_ life, this puts me at the mercy of whatever agency controls the
possessions.

<Ouroboros>

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Sep 27, 2000, 10:55:37 PM9/27/00
to

"Jordan S. Bassior" wrote:

> Ouroboros said:
>
> >The fact of the matter remains that the current economic system that we use in
> the
> >West has a fixed base of a few very rich and a large base of middle and poor.
>
> First of all, most non-rich (in America anyway) are middle class. Our system is
> diamond-shaped, rather than pyramid-shaped as pre-industrial societies were.

Aye- so the class structure is still there. However if you look at the global
economy, which has replaced ideas of capitalism, the shape of wealth distribution
is triangular. It's all good and well to speak from a privileged position about how
everything is fair and wonderful for all, but the fact remains, that this is a
presumptuous and incorrect analysis. If you think the systems working, talk to
someone who isn't.

>
>
> Secondly, while the bulk of the population cannot (by definitiion) be "rich",
> the general level of wealth rises continually, so what it means to be "middle
> class" constantly improves.

It's also called inflation- to keep up with rising goods and property prices,
peoples wages rise, and vice versa.
Materially we are improving, however as our expendable income is spent mostly on
the accouterments of image (as our basic needs are taken care of)- ala fashion
club, i fail to see how this synonymous with evolution or even progress.

If we really wanted to focus on progress we would look at how our throw away
lifestyles are impacting on the very earth we live on and with.

But again- ideas of progress and evolution (not in the Darwinian purest approach),
are thoroughly culturally subjective.

>
>
> Thirdly, what's the alternative? Attempts to replace capitalism with communism
> have simply led to greater poverty in the societies which have tried it.

I do not advocate one or the other- I find flaws in both. Many people believe that
capitalism has had it's day and has now been replaced with globalization. If you
look at capitalism, which grew out of geographical expansion and economic theory of
the 18 Century, you will find that the governing principle behind it is
Rationality.
i.e. Progress and civilization is achieved through a rational application of
science and economics. Economics was meant to serve the people- this is rational.

However, as a system capitalism/globalism has ceased to be rational, even ideas of
left and right are still part of the same irrational structure. They appear to sit
in binary opposition but in fact define the same thing through their opposition.

This irrationality can been seen in a system that supports itself ( cybernetic) but
is thoroughly abstracted from the people it is meant to serve. Like politics
really.

I think the first alternative is to recognize this- although it is difficult
because it looks at the basic structures that govern our lives in the West.

>
>
> >I think this is a rather naive and pompous statement- plenty of people work
> >very hard just to make it in the black.
>
> "Very hard" by modern standards is _nothing_ compared to what it meant 100 or
> 200 years ago. And the improvements in working conditions were made possible by
> the economic growth resulting from capitalism.

Look at slave labor, the sweat shops that produce the garments that us middle
class spend our expendable income on blissfully unaware that for a lot of people
life is very hard. The under class- the people that toil to support this structure
at the bottom just so they can pay their rent on time- are hidden.

>
>
> >Politics is a puppets game, the idea of gaining
> >power through the political game is an illusion.
>
> How do you imagine politicians gain power, then?

That is not the question- the question is that power is not a political game, it is
an economic one.

>
>
> >Real power comes from having both
> >the resources and the income to push your agenda *through* the figure heads.
>
> The people who are actually elected to office are far from "figure-heads" --
> you should learn how the system really works. It's fascinating and much more
> complex than your propaganda.

Propaganda?

My ideas, my point of view- and before you go belittling anyone over their
perceived lack of knowledge you might want to read up on postcollonial economics-
try John Ralston Saul "Voltaire's Bastards" then read "The Unconscious
Civilization". Also a background in Post Structuralism may indeed break down some
of those firmly ingrained and ultimately elitist and exclusivist notions of yours.

>
>
> --
> Sincerely Yours,
> Jordan
> --
> "Whoever would be a man must be a non-conformist" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Indeed- <ironic smile>

Jordan S. Bassior

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Sep 28, 2000, 1:51:22 AM9/28/00