Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WASP culture its flaws and its acheivemnts

What is a WASP? A WASP is a white-anglo saxon-protestant. WASP culture was essssentially the dominant culture of the United States ever since its foundation and it still is, however it was for a long time the only culture in the United States that led its sensibilites and pop culture in every way shape or form. let's look at the main characteriositcs of a WASP self-satisfied, hard-working, moderate, introspective. Lets look at the extremes of wasp culture, the narcissist, the loner, the greedy Ceo, etc.
WASP culture like every culture has its enclaves. One great example is the Upper East Side neighboorhood of Manhattan. It has to this day still the highest concentration of wealth in the world. Traditionally the Upper East Side was so WASP and you could tell from its appearance. It had many private schools all single-sexed of course, lots of french resteraunts (because what WASP doesnt want to be considered French). An Anglican Church, many fancy shops. It was even written in the new york Times in the 1960's is the Upper East Side in America? This joke was received with quite hilarity to many but the point hear is that the Upper East Side is one example of a WASP enclave. Another one is of course the NYC suburb of Greenwhich, Connecticut, a land of old money and a former british loyalist colony, the LA suburb of Newport Beach ( both communities are by the sea, WASP love the water or at least seclusion, which brings me to my next point.) The WASPs love seclusion, WASPs are even said in an extreme to not really like people. The extreme WASP even the extroverted one is a misanthrop or a narcissist. Thing of the blude-eyed blonde high school chearleader the sort of its all about me stereotype that is still meshed in with American society or the sulky introverted loner, ebenezeer scrooge at worse. Then again think of the rich man such as bill gates who gives a large percentage of his money away, or the strong sense of volunteer work in WASP culture. WASP culture is very contradictory. For one thing Americans have a reputation for being loud and brash, and WASPS have a reputaion for being either a sulky introvert, a londer, or a misanthrop. Now this is quite contradictory partly because of reigonal confusion in the United States. The stereotype of Americans as friendly, extroverted and outgoing comes from the Texan, the midwesteerner, the southerner or the man out west of usually working-class background. It does not come from the man from Connecticut or New York City, or San Francisco, if one were in Greenwhich Connecticut one notices how no one smiles or looks at anyone and everyone minds their own business, everyone wears black in the winter, etc.
Lets go onto the topic of sexuality in WASP culture. WASPS are not portrayed as being very sexual. After all what is the stereotype of the horsey girl from Connecticut who while pretty is not into dressing up or being sexual in any way, or the young man just out of boarding school so focused on either stocks and bonds, the military, and having everything just right that sex is sort of in second place. Now these are extreme stereotypes and very old ones but lets not forget they are true ones. When I was at the mall in the WASPY enclave of Fairfield county, Connecticut which is located in Stamfo0rd, Connecticut which is now very diverse a spottted a couple that seemed like the typical old world WASPS. The man was tall and blonde very buttoned-up and serious and the woman was dressed very formally and had brown hair and both were clearly a couple yet hardly showed any signs of affection. Both were serious and stiff to the point of hilarity especially next to the very liberally dressed working-class hispanic couple enxt to them who were clearly having public displays of affection. Now Im moving onto another apsect of WASP culture that is the attitude the WASP has towards homosexuality. The WASP is probablly the most tolerant towards homosexuality of anyone. The reason for this is probablly because WASPs don't really have to fear it because when it is looked down upon in their culture its by backward religious extremist of the right such as the fundamentalist Christian. However, the typical WASP is not concerned with homosexuality as much as let's say the Italian-American, the Hispanic, the African-American. Think about if you will there tolerance of single-sexed schools such as they brought over from England or the fact that a very wasp state such as Massachusetts was the first to legalize same-sex marriage or the the wasp neighboorhood of Greenwhich Village as a gay culutral mecca, the fact that the WASPy extremely wealthy suburb of NY Westport, Connecticut has the oldest gay bar in the country (which is 68 years old). Now these are not examples which msot people think about. One often thinks of lets say the fundamentalist Christian or in American Beauty set in a wasp LA suburb the redneck homophobic father who would rather his straight son be dead then even be bisexual. Now these are examples that exhist quite frankly either due to natural fear and homohobia which exhist in all cultures or fundamentalist chistianity which the backward WASP embraces quite strongly.
I think it is safe to say that on the issue of homosexuality an educated non fundamentalist WASP is incredibly tolerant, and as a heterosexual WASP I must say I had no problem covering this topic in my essay.
Lets now move onto some negative WASPS in contemporary society think of George W. Bush, Paris Hilton, the recent wall street brokers that cheated others out of their money, all of these people have one thing in common that is a characterisitc of WASP culture: narcissim. The WASP culture is built on narcissim because WASPs in their extremes are self-centered and do not like other people. Think of ebeneezer scrooger or Mr. Potter in Its a wondefrul Life. Then again think of the opposite think of George Bailey in Its a wondeful Life, think ofg Bill Gates who gives a way lots of his money, think of charity organizations and help for thoise less fortunate being so strongly influenced in WASP culture that a must bring up the next characteristic of the WASP: hypocrisy. The WASP is quite hypocritical a WASP may give you the shirt of their back then not talk to you for a week do to a disagreement. WASPs always love holding grudges, they do it better than anyone. The old British stereotype of never telling someone when you are upset with them is quite evident in WASP culture.
The WASP culture dominated the arts for quite sometime think of the broadway musical (despite the stereotype of broadway show producers as being Jewish many more were WASP), Bing Crosby, the BEatles, punk-rock, the carpneters, ect. All of these are quite popular WASP activities. And just like the misinformed information about broadway producer many hollywood movie producers were not Jewish but in fact WASP the Warner Brothers were protestant, and were the oldest studio head. Think of the fact that now pop music such as light love songs is now unpopular and has been replaced with loud angry violent trahsy excuse for music such as hip-hop or rap. Many WASP subruban teenagers from all over the middle-class and above income brackets love this garbage why? Karen Carpneter from a working-class WASP suburb of Los Angeles, was probablly a great role-model for WASP teenage girls then what happened? Well pop is still popular fro the WASP female think hillary duff, The Veronicas, or other teeny-ccopper music which is an sinsult to pop culture. However we are talking about the WASP male and his musical taste and role models who used to be bing crosby, Dean Martin, Barry Manilow, Paul Simon, etc. These men were to put it the term real men. Bing Crosby was seen in images as a hunter, Barry Manilow was a family man, Paul Simon was an everyman, etc. Now you have justin timberlake, the backstreet boys and michael buble, while they do have talent can anyone picture any of these men with a hunting rifle? As a family man? As an everyman? They are all so boyish and quite frankly feminine looking that a WASP male teenager has to look for a bad rock star with tatoos, or a rapper who sings about dealing drugs and raping women. A WASP male has fewer choices than he has ever had, he is sometimes wanted by females to be sensitive (Not practical and to the point like before) and he has to be obsessed with his appearance. Why how ridiculous? Why should men have to put up with this? they shouldnt and many don't. Cary Grant and David Niven were both known for having good dress sense however if a woamn told them to be sensitive Im sure that relationship would end quickly.
Let's now think about the Columbine tragedy, this happened for two reasons and failures in WASP culture: 1. The idea that men should not talk about their feelings or show emotions (remeber it happened in pioneer land Colorado not Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey Ie Gun laws and free thinking attitudes) 2. The WASP idea that every man is for himself and remeber were talking about the pioneer WASP the uneducated one of the mountain states, so if someone is being bullied those at the top do not act. Therefore the situation ends in tragedy.
Lets now talk of former WASP enclaves as we have discussed ones that are still WASP by nature. first of all the north shore of long island, and scarsdale both affluent NYC suburbs. If one must now something about American society it is that for some absurd reason it always has to change. Dont' get me wrong I think some change is good, however I think American society is obsessed with change. Long Island was once WASP now it is very Jewish. Is this good or bad? Neither. Scarsdale was once WASP it is now very Jewish. Good or bad? neither. The problem with both these transformations is if the WASP himself was so into multiculturlaism these communities would be an even mix of both jews and wasps hoever they are not. For example roslyn, Long Isnald and great neck, Long Island both very Jewish affluent suburbs were once WAsp, the change happened because when Jews moved in WASPS moved out. The same thing happned with Scarsdale a community historically so WASP that its name says it Scarsdale sounds like the name of an Englsih lord. Theres this site named stuff that white people like and it is really about stuff that Wasps like. One of the things is diversity and the desription given for diversity is white people love diversity but only as it relates to resteraunts. How sadly true this joke is is the reason why nassau county and westchester county are no longer as waspy as they were before or waspy at all. When Jews and Italians move in Wasps say goodbye.
The biggest problem in my view is WASPS failure to appreciate the past, due to Americans obsession with always having someone new. Why should a wasp stand for boyish idiots like the backstreet boys or streetwise thugs in rap music as role models when they used to have bing crosby, or paul simon. Let the WASP continue on its path and another columbine could occur or much worse nothing as what is usually the case when a WASP doesn't act.