PEOPLE LIKE US.flv


Uploaded by timsears69 on 12.04.2010

Transcript:
>> He looks lower class, definitely.
And if he's not, then he's certainly trying
to look lower class.
>> Blue collar, yeah, the plaid shorts.
>> The lower middle class,
something about the screen door behind him.
>> Pitiful.
>> Lower class?
>> I mean, look how high his pants are.
My gosh. Wait a minute, I'm sorry, no offense.
It's something he would do.
>> Upper class.
>> Yeah, definitely.
>> Oh, yeah.
>> Looks like he's the CEO of some business.
>> The country club set, that picture of smugness.
>> The stereotypical, my family was rich, I got the money
after they died, now we're happily ever after.
>> Yeah.
>> They don't really look that happy, though.
[ Music ]
>> It's basically against the American principle
to belong to a class.
So naturally, Americans have a really hard time talking
about the class system because they really don't want to admit
that the class system exists.
But the reality is, it does, and sometimes it's based on looks
and popularity, sometimes it's based on money,
and sometimes it's based on how big your house is
or where your daddy works or if your mother came out at,
you know, the Infirmary Ball in New York City,
there are all kinds of measures of class in America.
>> Somehow it's reassuring, to me, anyway, to live in a house
that I've been in all my life, and knowing that, you know,
my forbearers lived here too.
>> This is John Armstrong, the fellow who built the house,
in a general's uniform, the War of 1812.
Over here is his wife, the former Alida Livingston.
She had the money.
He didn't have any money.
This is Sam Ward here, who is my great great grandfather.
Have a look at him.
Oops, it availed today.
>> I wouldn't drive a Volvo.
Volvo is plumpish middle age, middle class,
or when too many children and an uncontrolled dog.
I certainly wouldn't drive a Ford.
It's probably stolen.
>> I love for a salesman to show up on a job in a suit.
He never comes to my job again in a suit, you know?
I've demanded that they take their damn tie off
and their jacket off
when they're talking to me, and they do.
[ Music ]
>> Kind of frumpy.
Yeah, she's frumpy, the one in the blue.
He's dorky, or loser.
He was just frumpy.
His shoes are kind of like dorky.
They're kind of like not in style and stuff.
He's ghetto.
These people coming up our door.
[ Music ]
>> America is a nation of tribes.
And every American is a member of at least one of them.
>> Are you proud to be called a redneck?
>> Oh, hell, yeah.
>> When you get a full fledged redneck to say, oh, hell, yeah,
he really means that, you know what I mean?
>> I've been born and raised here.
>> They're the people we live amongst,
the people who have similar backgrounds to ours,
the people we feel most comfortable with.
>> There's definitely a level of people who have attained a lot
of success in different fields of endeavor here,
financial markets and different businesses,
venture capital, dot com businesses.
>> [ Inaudible ]
>> Fashion and finance.
>> Yeah.
>> That's pretty much it, fashion and finance.
>> We are the [inaudible], mighty, mighty
>> Our tribes can be defined by what we do or how much we make,
and also by our opportunities and aspirations.
>> Here is Vince again.
>> Here we are right here.
>> And that's on Ducan [phonetic] Street,
it looks like.
>> In my particular case, my father would always say,
whatever you choose to do, just try to be the best at it.
>> Wow, that's what my father used to say.
>> He said, I'll support you in whatever you do.
>> Right.
>> Just as long as it's legal.
>> As we move through life, we separate ourselves,
often unconsciously, from people who don't fit in our group
and don't fit in our social class.
>> To me, there's some people who just,
they could just have a bathing suit on at the beach
and not know they didn't belong.
>> Didn't belong?
>> Yeah, well, to a certain class.
No, no, I don't mean didn't belong
on this earth, but I mean just
>> In fact, America is a country divided by class,
split into a thousand different social distinctions,
the kind of neighborhood you live in, how far you got
in school, the type of food you eat, the way you wear your hair.
Class is everywhere, yet it's often hard to see.
>> I grew up in a small town.
And the people who lived on the hill were the rich people
and the most powerful people and the most respected people
and the most prestigious people.
And the people who lived at the bottom of the hill
on the other side of the tracks were the no nothings
and the do nothings, and that's how they were regarded.
>> It's a hard thing to acknowledge,
because if there are social classes, well,
then there must be kinds of inequality
that you can't explain very easily, you know,
that just keep perpetuating themselves.
>> A generation ago when you sent your kids
to private school was because you didn't like black people.
And now when you send your kids to private school,
it's because you don't like poor people.
It's all about class.
It's all about I want my kid to go to school
with the right kinds of people so that he can get into Harvard,
or, God forbid, because he's not that smart,
which is usually the case, he'll get into one of those schools
with one of those names like, you know, Sara something
or William something or one of those schools.
We'll get you in, we'll get them in.
Give us some money and we'll get them in.
But it's all about class.
>> Now we're going in the dining room.
>> I think this is where your own personal sense
of taste comes in very, very much.
>> And here we are in the dining room with Ben's grandfather,
Benjamin Junior, Benjamin Griswold Junior.
It sort of gives me pause because Ben's looking more
and more like him every day.
>> In this divided world, where do you fit on the spectrum
of class and privilege?
What group are you a part of?
How have your own class attitudes shaped your life?
>> Tuscany had an influence on us.
Southern Italy, too.
The feel may be of an old French country kitchen
or an English farmhouse kitchen.
>> An English farmhouse, yeah.
>> And that's we incorporated a lot
of those things in the feel of this.
We tried to, anyway.
>> It's a Mitsubishi 50 inch, I'm sorry, 60 inch TV.
We originally got it because we had a person in this house
who used to come here to visit us.
She was shorter than the TV.
So that would have been a great comparison.
>> Looking at class differences reveals basic things
about Americans, about our hopes,
our fears, our prejudices.
In the great game of social class, we're all players.
>> Newbarish [phonetic], cell phone, house in the suburb,
kids, maybe in a public school, only if it's good.
Private school otherwise.
Vacation in the winter, vacation in the summer.
When you got it, baby, flaunt it, so they flaunt it
and let you know all about it.
Lots of jewelry, maybe a boat, whatever it takes.
I'm rich now, pay attention to me!