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Angry White Men Why Obama's Nobel Prize will only further inflame the right. by E.J. Dionne Jr: A Comment

December 24, 2009
by Lawrence Gulotta

E. J. Dionne is correct to describe the current period as “weird.” In a few well chosen words, Dionne defines the “body politic roiled by years of cultural warfare, partisan animosity and ideological extremism.” I could also add the side effects of a religious fundamentalist “Awakening.”

Gillard argues that in Australia’s high unemployment, particularly the displacement of men from previously well-paying jobs, helped unleash “the politics of the ordinary guy versus [these] elites, the opera-watching, latte-sipping elites.”

Clearly, the hatred directed at the so-called “opera-watching, latte-sipping elites” is pop sociology at its most shallow. I recently attended a performance of “La Tosca,” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Curiously, the audience was one-half Russian speaking immigrants enjoying a Saturday matinee with either wives. The well worn-out phrase “latte-sipping and opera-watching” class is sociological drivel. What does it really mean?

It does not take a social scientist (or even an honorable member of the Australian Labor Party) to appreciate that a 10%+ unemployment rate, damaged credit markets, high home foreclosure rates, technological displacement, historically high college tuition rates, unequal and uneven health care insurance systems will create instability in the land. For some columnists, it is a wholly surprise that men support families including wives, children, aging parents, mortgages, etc.

Yes, working men and women are angry! Why would the case be different? Working men and women are hurting and it is silly to think they are just angry at the latte-sipping, opera-watching elites of the land.

Perhaps we need a serious analysis of the American working class and its discontents rather than thro’-away lines about fancy coffee and opera-watching elites.

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