The Drive To Be Head Of The Class

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 10 2013 @ 6:16pm


In honor of historian Paul Fussell, who passed away [NYT] last year, Dean Robinson digs up a great quote from Fussell's "Class: A Guide Through the American Status System":

Americans are the only people in the world known to me whose status anxiety prompts them to advertise their college and university affiliations in the rear windows of their automobiles. You can drive all over Europe without once seeing a rear-window sticker reading CHRIST CHURCH or UNIVERSITÉ DE PARIS. … These stickers pose an ethical problem uniquely American: How long after a family member has ceased to attend a classy college may one display the sticker? One year? Ten years? Forever? The American family would appreciate some authoritative guidance here, perhaps from the colleges themselves.

(Photo by Steve Snodgrass)