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August 19, 2012

Comments

mlrosty

Unlike chav-baiting, which was pure bullying

Outside of the Guardian I've only heard 'chav' used to describe the kind of scum who nick stuff and bully other people.

David

mlrosty,

“Outside of the Guardian I’ve only heard ‘chav’ used to describe the kind of scum who nick stuff and bully other people.”

Whenever I’ve heard the term used, it’s almost always been by someone of modest or average means to denote someone else, often a neighbour, who’s rude, vulgar or antisocial, or possibly criminal, or actually criminal, or simply rough and obnoxious. As I said before, I’m fairly sure the gormless baseball-capped youth who was caught in my neighbour’s back yard looking for things to steal would qualify as a chav. The old lady I chatted with at the bus stop a day or so later almost certainly wouldn’t. It’s a description of behaviour, not of an entire social class.

But quite a few Guardianistas - Barbara, Zoe, Polly, Tom, Jemima et al - seem eager to conflate “not having much money” with “being the kind of ill-mannered tosser you don’t want living next door.” All while claiming that this is what other, less enlightened people are doing. And while vainly trying to rob respectable working class people of a word that’s often used to distinguish themselves from their less respectable neighbours.

Min

So being prejudiced against posh people is an 'artform' and 'protest' but calling anti-social prolescum 'chavs' is bad and 'bullying'?

#Guardianlogic

Bart

"Mocking the posh and smirking about silver spoons rammed into gobs is a comic artform honed by the masses as a response to centuries of oppression"

Given the amount of such mockery that's directed at the regiments of ex-public school poser revolutionaries who write for the Guardian/Observer, that's quite the spectacular own goal you've just scored there.

David

Min,

“#Guardianlogic”

It’s the logic of identity politics, according to which, you must always treat people as social categories, as examples of some put-upon victim group. Or some notional oppressor group. To which, various contradictory and often patronising assumptions must be applied regardless of the particulars in any given instance. By this reckoning, when various oiks at my old comprehensive school picked on a new arrival who was well-spoken and polite, the people doing the bullying were righteous, entitled and “responding to oppression.” Their shoving and sneering was apparently “an instinctive protest against inequality.” But my calling them “oiks” for doing so is practically a hate-crime. You see how it works?

Lucas

By this reckoning, when opportunist oiks at my old comprehensive school picked on a new arrival who was well-spoken, polite and somewhat studious, the people doing the bullying were righteous, entitled and “responding to oppression.” Their shoving and sneering was apparently “an instinctive protest against inequality.”

But oiks never have 'power' so they're always right.

#Guardianlogic.

David

Lucas,

“But oiks never have ‘power’ so they’re always right.”

Several Observer readers do in fact try that hustle. “The unprivileged” tormenting “the privileged” isn’t obnoxious at all and can’t ever be, apparently. Though I’m not sure how that convenient formulation addresses the well-spoken newcomer mentioned above, who was repeatedly cornered and harassed - for fun - by a group of knuckle-dragging predators. When half a dozen scrotes blocked his way, stole his bag and physically intimidated him, and did this for weeks on end, I’d say the scrotes were the ones with the power. The kid in question had apparently arrived from a private school that his parents could no longer afford and was unprepared for the kind of welcome he received - and kept on receiving just because he was amiable, unthreatening and slightly posh. Incidentally, this made him exactly the kind of person that the Guardian’s Zoe Williams thinks should be tormented and humiliated in the name of “social justice.” (“As for vindictive, ha! Good.”)

Socialists, see. They just ooze human kindness.

Stuck-Record

So Ellen's basis for righteous class hatred is the gap in economic status between two individuals. Humiliation must be accepted by the 'upper' classes because it isn't as bad as the firing squad or noose that they truly deserve as enemies of the oppressed.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I suspect her income and status far exceed my own. It certainly exceeds the income of the vast majority of the 7 billion on Earth. So, is my angry mob (6 billion of us) justified in picking on her for simply existing (as opposed to actually treating her as an individual and ridiculing the dumb things she says)? Will she applaud our pitchfork and torchlit mob as we kick down her front door?

Thought not.

Mr Grumpy

"Perhaps Ms Ellen, like Ms Toynbee, feels that people who live in the rougher parts of town shouldn’t have a word to describe those whose behaviour, not their income, lowers the tone or makes their lives a misery."

Well, of course. If only they could be induced to read the right newspaper they would understand that such people are not responsible for their actions. But then the class consciousness of the "aristocracy of labour" has always been a sad disappointment.

David

Mr Grumpy,

“If only they could be induced to read the right newspaper they would understand that such people are not responsible for their actions.”

As noted previously, the chav issue is largely about the distinctions that respectable working class people have always made between themselves and their dysfunctional neighbours. But Guardianistas often have difficulty with the notion of being respectable as it connotes a certain bourgeois aspiration, which is of course counter-revolutionary and thus to be disparaged. (God forbid the “oppressed” proletariat should actually quite like bourgeois middle-class values and perhaps find they lead to a more agreeable life. What of the great Class War then?)

And Guardianistas tend to be sympathetic to the working class - as a concept – only when the working class agrees with Guardian orthodoxy. Which, it has to be said, isn’t very often. Hence the endless efforts to “correct” them from on high. And if the “oppressed” working class start expressing views directly at odds with Guardian orthodoxy, then the “voiceless” proletariat mysteriously become “middle Englanders” or “little Englanders” and therefore the Guardianistas’ favourite objects of disdain.

It’s a complicated relationship.

svh

Perhaps Ms Ellen, like Ms Toynbee, feels that people who live in the rougher parts of town shouldn’t have a word to describe those whose behaviour, not their income, lowers the tone or makes their lives a misery.

Nailed it.

David

svh,

Every couple of months, the Guardian tries to convince us that “the poor” are some homogenous and passive category with no internal differentiation and no possible agency of their own. Zoe Williams, for instance, wants us to believe that the problem with ‘problem families’ is simply that they’re poor. The kind of people who abuse their neighbours for no reason, who let their kids run wild, or who throw pets from tenth floor windows are, she says, being “shunted out of society for not being rich enough.”

We’re not supposed to notice that such people are typically feckless, infantile and all too often a nightmare for their equally poor yet law-abiding neighbours. Zoe follows the standard Guardian template in claiming that other, less enlightened people “assume poor people to be criminals.” To point out the obvious – that some poor people are authors of their own misery, which they then inflict on others – is, she says, “the demonisation of the poor.” Yet she’s the one who’s repeatedly trying to blur distinctions between people who don’t have much cash and those who are practically feral or downright malevolent.

AmbushPredator

"We’re not supposed to notice that such people are typically feckless, infantile and all too often a nightmare for their equally poor yet law-abiding neighbours. "

That's the bit that really, really enrages me - their insistence that these feckless minority need stay right where they are to make the latte-sipping crowd happy.

David Gillies

The victim-vs-oppressor dialectic (where 'victim' and 'oppressor' are and can only be seen through the lens of 'class struggle') is such a foundational doctrine of Marxism and all its smelly offspring as to be crushingly banal. The only problem with this analysis is the question-begging assumption that Barbara Ellen (why do I always think she sounds like a character from Dallas) is smart enough to know the provenance of her inverse snobbery. Perhaps a more parsimonious explanation is she's just not very nice.

David

Julia,

“That’s the bit that really, really enrages me - their insistence that these feckless minority need stay right where they are to make the latte-sipping crowd happy.”

But isn’t this what happens when a person’s moral calculus is based on vanity – on wanting to be seen caring (or pretending to care) for the latest, most exciting victim group? Imagine for a minute you’re a Guardian columnist. If Mrs Wilson’s life is being made hell by her equally poor but much more colourful neighbour – the one whose fatherless children run riot and who blasts out loud music at 3am – who are you going to pick as most in need of your solidarity and compassion? Mrs Wilson is just an old dear who scrapes by without much fuss or need of social workers. Her troubles aren’t self-inflicted and are therefore rather dull. She may even, God forgive her, vote Conservative. From the viewpoint of the devout Guardianista, there are more Bogus Compassion Points to be scored by picking the household with all the exciting and intractable problems. And so you rush to their defence - rhetorically, of course – with no thought for Mrs Wilson.

Stuck-Record

Also, there is no money to be made defending Mrs Wilson.

Imagine the council social services was designed to make the life of the law-abiding majority better (snort! I know, ridiculous isn't it?). The team would investigate Mrs Wilson's life. They would quickly realised that the problem, and that of most of the neighbours, was the feckless idiots at number sixty-nine.

They would be removed.

Mrs Wilson, and her neighbours, would do a little dance of joy and get on with their hard-working, law-abiding lives and, most importantly, not require any more input from social services.

To your typical Guardian reader, whose job probably depends on there being a problem, this is a very bad situation.

As Cicero said: “Cui Bono?"

Greg

For those with an ounce of self respect and self discipline, there are a wide range of opportunities for improvement these days. Also, the meaning of the word 'poor' is now somewhat relative; and almost as flexible as the term 'social justice'.

Given these, it is useful to reflect that 'chavs' are not arseholes because they are poor; they are poor because they are arseholes.

sackcloth and ashes

When it comes to contempt for the working classes, and the poorer sections of society, the Guardianistas and their kind showed it in spades last August when it came to the riots. How many people were burnt out of their homes, or lost livelihoods they had battled for? Which parts of London and other cities did they live in? And how much sympathy did they get from the Farringdon Road massive?

Fuck all. The Guardianistas were too busy acting as apologists for the mobs that pillaged them.

mojo

"posh", suppossedly, comes from "port outbound' starboard home" - the shady side of the ship on an India tour.

Rafi

The kind of people who abuse their neighbours for no reason, who let their kids run wild, or who throw pets from tenth floor windows are, she says, being “shunted out of society for not being rich enough.”

Zoe's heart bleeds for anti-social scum bags -provided they don't move in next door to her.

Rob

For an illustrative example of the Guardian's attitude to the working class, take Essex. Essex towns like Basildon rejected the lunacy of Labour and voted Tory, and ever since the Left has hated Essex. Just mention the word 'Essex' and they will sneer, it's like tapping someone's knee with a small hammer.

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