September 18, 2009

Honk if you love the class system

In his book Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen relates the story of an interesting experiment on American attitudes towards social class and status.

It had to do with honking horns and cars.

Two students drove around Burlington, Vermont, first in a new luxury car and then in an old junker. In each case, they would sit at a stoplight after the light turned green to see how long it would take drivers behind them to honk.

The results were pretty striking. It took less than seven seconds for drivers to honk at the junker, but almost twice as long (13.2 seconds) for them to honk at the luxury car.

When you consider that statistically speaking most of the honkers were working class people, this shows how many Americans unconsciously ascribe respect and deference to people who seem to enjoy a higher social position.

That explains a lot.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD. From Ken Ward's uberblog Coal Tattoo, here's a post about Rich Trumka, the new president of the AFLCIO. Trumka is former president of the UMWA.

HEALTH CARE REFORM. Here's a statement from Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Senator Baucus' health care reform plans and here's Paul Krugman on whether the bill is or can be made to be up to snuff.

WHY THE #*$& DO WE CUSS? Dealing with pain may be part of the answer.



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