Wednesday, 16 October 2013
The Big Question
Blimey. I can tell you now, blog reader, that there really aren't that many people on this earth than can have me attempt to be vaguely coherent at 9:10 after having done 3 hours of homework, let alone trying to write something vaguely amusing and interesting and not littered with more spelling mistakes than the English essay of somebody from 'Educating Yorkshire'. But here I am. Why? I won’t lie, I’m getting a weird kind of attachment to this page, and although my articles aren't exactly great works of literature, I still like to see them on here. And I’ve noticed that my posts are becoming less and less apparent on the blog. This worries me. There are three things that bring active enjoyment into my life: History, Acting, and Winston Churchill, and I get the vague feeling that the ludicrous amount of extra 'stuff' I’m doing is distracting from all three of those. So I am making a New Days Resolution to write more articles. Please don't let this put you off reading the blog, you can just skip my articles and read the good ones. Okay, I’ve said my piece and made my point. Now to the 'good' bit ( I hope).
I've always been taught that when you speak to somebody, three things are 'off the table' in terms of conversation: Politics, Religion, and Somebody’s Wage. For as long as I can remember, that has been the golden 'dinner rule' (although we never actually had anyone over for dinner, but I assume I'll use it in later life). Now, for as long as I can remember that idea has been branded neatly into my brain next to 'remember to dust the lampshade' and 'remember to redden the step'. And before you ask, I’m not willing to explain what 'reddening a step' is, just look it up. But the thing that I was never told to not discuss, I have just grown to known not to, is class. The large, prejudiced, ugly elephant in the room. And I suppose that's because up until relatively recently you didn't have to guess what class somebody was, you just knew. That was the way the divide was. But now lines are blurred, with working class kids going to school with middle class kids and the ideologies mixing, creating a new kind of 'mixed class'. Don't get me wrong, I’m not saying it's a bad thing at all, I'm purely noting that for some people it causes all sorts of issues with personal identity. See, I always have and always will consider myself working class. I may not 'talk working class' anymore, or live in a particularly working class area, but I still consider myself working class. Why? Because that’s what I was brought up to be. Both of my parents are working class, and I spent the early years of my life in a very working class environment. But it's not just that. It's the set of values that comes of being working class, values that I see as intrinsic to who I am. The working class work. We're not snobby; we'll do whatever job comes our way, if it puts money in the pocket and food on the table. That's why I’m proud to consider myself working class, if slightly spiced with middle class attributes. But speaking to my Nan the other day, she made the statement that she certainly considered me to be middle class - look at my education. I must say, I was shocked and slightly offended. Not because there is anything wrong with being middle class, but because being working class was one of those things that I just was. Personality traits change as you grow, your perception of your sexuality might, but I have always thought of class as something that stayed constant. And therefore was part of you, your identity. The history of the working class, the Jarrow Crusades for example, I had always taken on as my history, something that I could fall back on when the ever-looming question of adolescence 'but who am I' hits me. So instead of deciding that now I was going to abandon my culture and dedicate my time to becoming thoroughly middle class, I did a very weird thing for me, and sat down and thought. And through that dangerous action, I’ve come to the conclusion that, with the blurred class lines, you're whatever class you think you are. If you think you're working class, and you've grown up with the values, and believe that is your history, then you are. And I won't lie, at the moment that doesn’t sit too well with me, but I rarely agree with myself. So here's a little tip: if you're talking to me about current politics, don’t open with 'well you're middle class...'
So, here's the Big Question: What class are you? Or do you even care?