Privilege Blog

In Response Redux

I return to the question, do we, the High WASPs, as a class, as one woman sitting on a Pottery Barn sofa in fact, have anything to offer the world of 2009? We watch our role as the dominant culture fading away, disintegrating. That is what happens. I understand. What then is there to say? I have two thoughts. First, I believe now and always will that our code of conduct is a good one, a sound one on which to build a civilization. It makes for singularly reasonable behavior, unless of course we are in a colonial mode, for which I cannot apologize too often. As you have remarked, and I appreciate, it is not our code alone, nor is it rocket science. But reminding is a time-honored mother tradition, and I am a mother first and foremost.

Second, I believe that the High WASP emphasis on social signaling, so core to our aesthetic, can be useful in certain situations. For example, if you have to go to your son’s graduation and everyone else there has way more money than you do and the women look more fabulous than you could possibly, and you care, what to wear? For example, if you have to go into a work situation where you are surrounded by people in power, or to an interview for a job you really want, what to wear? The High WASP culture knows about power. It knows about correct and appropriate. It knows how to signal, “I am a person of resources, I have the code, you can count on me to behave correctly.” I think America still speaks High WASP, here and there. Not everywhere. Here and there. If you, in your days, have need for that language, here you go. I’m giving it away for free. Maybe $0.50 a pop. Along with some pretty pictures, raptures, food for Belgium, and the usual maternal doting on children. Yard sale, I think, is the right image. Albeit with English lavender, peach roses, and pink penstemon digitalis growing round the small lawn.

4 Responses

  1. And that's why we're here.

    I agree. America still speaks High WASP. There's comfort in knowing what to do and how to behave in certain social and/or professional situations.
    And it's fun to hear you talk about it too.

  2. Maybe if no one came over on the Mayflower, maybe if you are not a DAR, maybe if you don't know exactly how many greats away the last signature on the Declaration of Independence is (nine for me) then maybe the accoutrement of wasp-dom would not be as comforting. But they did and I am and I do and it is. And there is sincere value in comfort.

Comments are closed.