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Manners and Society

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Vogue - October 1952


The Despondent Blueblood (Coronet Magazine, 1958)

Alas - yet another article by a highborn, forlorn WASP who, having been plagued by illustrious forebears and over-burdened by a bountiful trust fund, could take no more of it - and so she broke-down and scribbled the attached expose in hopes that the whole highfalutin' plutocracy would come crashing down on top of all those icky, pompous know-it-alls - while she rubs elbows in the meritocracy of Hollywood, making movies no one will ever see, and wondering all the while why it was CORONET MAGAZINE that ran her article and not TOWN and COUNTRY.

"Life for America's so-called social aristocrats is colorless and uninspired. Our education, now that I look back at it, seems to have produced a frightening number of properly mannered, emotionally passive and intellectually sterile young snobs... This training is not easily overcome."

Gosh. We thought only Howard Zinn wrote like that.

 

The Gilded Cage of the 1930s Debutante (Collier's Magazine, 1933)

The attached COLLIER'S article was written by two post-debs of the Boston/Manhattan variety who were both products of what they called "the approval mill" of America's upper-crust. Having been run through the right schools and the right summer camps, they attended the right parties and made charming with all the right people; looking back in their 20s, they were able to see how this long-treasured practice prepared them poorly for life - tending to perpetuate the spiraling vortex of women who were educated and polite, yet unable to think. Among other assorted maladies, they believed that this Debutante Gulag that society had established on their behalf had created a feminine upper-class that was two-faced:

"She is effusive and admiring with her friends and acquaintances; behind their backs she is viciously critical. She derives a keen enjoyment from this."

Click here to learn how uneducated Americans in the 1860s were able to teach themselves proper manners.

 

American Society and Near Society (America, 1932)

Clever writer and charming guest, Clare Boothe Luce (1903 1987) succinctly summed-up the good and the bad that could be found at the highest levels of social America in the Thirties...

 


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