Special Opinion to the Mirror by Paul Plante
In a thought-provoking post in a recent edition of the venerable Cape Charles Mirror, which is everything the failing Washington Post wishes it could be but isn’t, our fellow American patriot and Cape Charles Mirror regular Chas Cornweller did what he does so well, which in this case was to focus our attention on what is called the “culture gap” here in America, and he mused, as I read his piece, anyway, as to whether that gap could be closed, or whether we were past the tipping point, which it seems to me, an older American, we are.
As to the term “culture gap,” Wikipedia tells us that a culture gap is any systematic difference between two cultures which hinders mutual understanding or relations, and with the recently-concluded Blasey Ford hearing before the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate, we were treated to a view of the immensity of culture gap in America such as we have not been treated to in such detail in my lifetime, anyway, as the Democrats in the Senate shamelessly exploited that poor, emotionally-disturbed woman for partisan political gain.
As Wikipedia tells us, such differences include the values, behavior, education, and customs of the respective cultures.
In the Blasey Ford hearing, we common folks from out in the country with our rural, simple values had the values of our societal betters and cultural superiors literally jammed in our faces as we learned from the various media sources what the lives of the upper crust of America in the Washington, D.C. what the lives of the privileged in America are all about, and for some of us, perhaps many of us, what a shock it really was.
For example, NBC News had an article entitled “Accuser’s schoolmate says she recalls hearing of alleged Kavanaugh incident” by Ken Dilanian and Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Popken on 19 September 2018, where we learned of the values of the uppoer crust in America, as follows:
King’s post described a culture of heavy drinking among the students of the elite male and female private schools of Washington, D.C., including her own Holton-Arms and also Georgetown Preparatory School, which Judge and Kavanaugh attended.
And that takes us back to Wikipedia, where we are told that a generation gap occurs when the experiences and attitudes of one generation differ significantly from those of another.
Clearly, to me, anyway, who had a quite boring upbringing as a poor person out in the countryside compared to these upscale Holton girls and Georgetown Prep boys which culture produced the emotionally-disturbed Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the generation gap or cultural divide between them and myself is immense, too huge to bridge, perhaps, which takes us back to this from Wikipedia, to wit:
The “Youth culture” of adolescents and teenagers seeking to stake out their own identity and independence from their parents often results in a cultural divide.
Younger generations have experienced different technologies, freedoms and standards of propriety.
And that thought takes us to a Washigton Post article entitled “Boys will be boys? As Kavanaugh debate rages, teens are saying some adults still don’t get it” by Samantha Schmidt on 21 September 2018, where we learn as follows about the “youth culture” of the Washington, D.C. area, as follows:
Unlike her mother, Brynn has been taught that attempted sexual assault between teens is a crime.
The 16-year-old has learned about affirmative consent in her health class at Walt Whitman High.
But as with many teens coming of age during the #MeToo era, there’s a gap between what she is being taught and her rising awareness, and what still happens around her.
She’s been to parties in the D.C. suburbs.
Parents still turn a blind eye to booze.
The lines still become blurred.
“This is just as much of a problem now as when my mom was in high school,” Brynn said.
To me, with my boring, mundane childhood, the key sentence in there is “parents still turn a blind eye to booze.”
How can that be, I wonder, but there it is, and if it wasn’t true that it was happening, the Washington Post would not have been able to print it.
That Washington Post article on the culture gap in America between rich and poor continued as follows:
Anjali Berdia, 18, went to the same all-girls high school as Ford, Holton-Arms in Bethesda.
Anjali, who is now studying at the University of Pennsylvania, said she never encountered a situation quite like Ford’s.
“But I do 100 percent think that this type of thing could happen at a party in Montgomery County this Friday,” she said.
The prep school social circle has a pervasive “hookup culture,” she says, “and in many ways I think hookup culture perpetuates rape culture.”
The single-gender nature of many prep schools puts added pressure on parties over the weekends, because it’s the only time guys and girls get to hang out, Anjali said.
“It becomes this mash of hormones, sweat and alcohol in some Montgomery County basement.”
As to Montgomery County in Maryland, Wikipedia informs us thusly:
Montgomery County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Maryland, located adjacent to Washington, D.C.
As one of the most affluent counties in the United States, Montgomery County also has the highest percentage (29.2%) of residents over 25 years of age who hold post-graduate degrees.
The county has been ranked as the one of the wealthiest in the United States.
So with these articles which came out as a result of the Blasey Ford Hearing, we country folks are certainly getting a close-up view of how the better half in America lives, and what their values are compared to ours, as we can see from this Washington Post article entitled “‘100 Kegs or Bust’: Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge, has spent years writing about high school debauchery” by Marc Fisher and Perry Stein on 22 September 2018, as follows:
A review of books, articles and blog posts by Judge — a freelance writer who has shifted among jobs at a record store, substitute teaching, housesitting and most recently at a liquor store — describes an ’80s private-school party scene in which heavy drinking and sexual encounters were standard fare.
He described a party culture of “drinking and smoking and hooking up.”
During senior year, Judge said he and his pals hired a stripper and bought a keg for a bachelor party they threw to honor their school’s music teacher.
“I drank too much and did stupid things,” he said in his memoir.
“Most of the time everyone, including the girls, was drunk,” Judge wrote in “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” a memoir of his alcoholism and recovery.
“If you could breathe and walk at the same time, you could hook up with someone.”
“This did not mean going all the way . . . but after a year spent in school without girls, heavy petting was basically an orgy.”
Judge has written about his Prep years as a time of drunken debauchery.
Beach Week, a summertime excursion with classmates, was a nonstop roller coaster of drinking, sexual encounters with girls from other prep schools, blackouts and more drinking.
“It was impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated,” he wrote.
Such experiences filled weekends during the school year as well, and on Monday mornings during senior year, the boys would tell their Marriage and Sex teacher, Bernie Ward, about their excesses.
“The drinking was unbelievable,” said Ward, who later spent two decades as a radio talk-show host in San Francisco and served six years in federal prison for distributing child pornography.
“It was part of the culture.”
“A parent even bought the keg and threw one of the parties for the kids.”
I have to say that that is so far outside of my own cultural experiences that we might as well be talking about some people in America being on Venus, while others are on Mars.
Getting back to the culture of our societal betters in Montgomery County, Maryland, the Washington Post tells us further as follows:
Ward, who taught Judge, Kavanaugh and future Supreme Court justice Neil M. Gorsuch in his religion and sexuality courses, said his students “talked plenty about men and women and taking advantage and respect for each other.”
“They took umbrage when I compared their rooting around with girls to dogs in heat.”
“They’d say they were in love, and I’d say, ‘Wait a minute — then how come you have another girlfriend in two weeks?’”
“We’d have heated arguments.”
Judge wrote that he came to view Ward as an example of his school’s fall from Catholic orthodoxy and traditional discipline into a New Age emphasis on feelings and liberal notions about faith and politics.
Now, to me, a traditional American, that last sentence about a “New Age emphasis on feelings,” and “liberal notions about faith and politics” goes very far to explain the vast gap that exists in America today between those who self-identify as “liberal,” and those of us in America who have more traditional values, which gets us labeled as conservatives, with that term being hurled at us as a pejorative, or in the case of Wellesley College grad Hillary Rodham Clinton, we are nothing more than a “basket of deplorables,” which takes us back to the Washington Post article as follows:
Like Kavanaugh, Judge grew up in a Catholic Washington that formed its own social world, centered in the big old houses of Chevy Chase, Bethesda and Potomac, places today known as home to millionaires but through most of the second half of the 20th century communities where police officers, civil servants and teachers lived alongside lawyers and doctors.
“Formed its own social world,” a social world so different than that which I knew when young that it might as well have been on another planet, which takes us to another Washington Post article entitled “Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford moved 3,000 miles to reinvent her life. It wasn’t far enough.” by Jessica Contrera, Ian Shapira, Emma Brown, and Steve Hendrix on 22 September 2018, as follows:
In Bethesda, Ford’s life was one of cloistered advantage, with her time spent at a private school for girls, at the Columbia Country Club and at parties where she moved easily among the privileged and popular.
That life of cloistered advantage that Christine Blasey Ford grew up in, among the privileged and popular at the Columbia Country Club was structured to keep out riff-raff from the country such as myself, riff-raff in their eyes, anyway, white trash and such, is what serves in my mind to make this cultural divide that exists in America today so wide that there is no way to bridge across it.
Getting back to the Washington Post and the culture divide between America‘s upper crust and the rest of us who are lumped together in Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables,” we have as follows:
Growing up, she was just “Chrissy,” and in the way of younger siblings, was often described by her relationship to someone else: sister of Tom and Ralph, daughter of the older Ralph, a golf course regular who would go on to become the president of the exclusive, all-male Burning Tree Club.
Ford’s mother, Paula, was well-liked among the kids at Columbia Country Club because she remembered their names.
“You weren’t just a chaise longue to be walked past to her,” said Stephen Futterer, a Chicago doctor who was on the club’s swim team with Ford.
“There were definitely those families that had a little controversy, like the parent who drinks too much or the son who was caught stealing from the men’s locker room, but that was not the Blasey family.”
“They were just average for the club.”
Like many affluent families in the area, the Blaseys sent their children to single-gender private schools.
For Ford, that meant six years at Holton-Arms, where students wore blue plaid skirts they would try to convince their mothers to hem shorter.
Her classmates included the daughters of the King of Jordan and members of the J.W. Marriott clan.
Coach purses were the it-bag to carry, and at lunch, the girls were allowed to sit outside, tanning their legs and drinking Tab.
Ford’s inner circle was, “How do you say this?”
“The pretty, popular girls,” explained Andrea Evers, a close friend.
“It wasn’t like we were a bunch of vapid preppies, but God, we were preppy then.”
Weekends were spent shopping at the White Flint mall, flashing fake IDs at Georgetown’s Third Edition club — the drinking age was 18 then — or flocking to the house of whoever’s parents were out of town to drink six-packs of Hamm’s or Schaefer.
Every summer, the “Holton girls” would pack into a rented house for Beach Week, an annual bacchanal of high-schoolers from around the region.
The prep schools that formed Ford’s overlapping social circles usually gathered at a Delaware beach town each year.
Like Kavanaugh, Ford was part of that alcohol-fueled culture.
And the common people in America like myself weren’t, and I think that makes all the difference in the world as to how we view life, responsibility and reality.
Can the cultural divide that now exists in America be bridged?
Or are we in fact past the tipping point?
Any thoughts, America?