Hail Winter’s Bone

Though Intrade gives it the lowest odds of winning best picture tonight, like Tyler my fav was Winter’s Bone. Like another Oscar contender, True Grit, it is the story of a teen girl’s gritty struggle. Except that the world of Winter’s Bone is rural and low class. A colleague’s wife confessed to me that she was so horrified and repulsed by the world depicted as to make her reluctant to venture out of the city. While most folks in our society pride themselves on their respect for other cultures and ethnicities, such folk have little reason to fear being mistaken for someone from most such cultures. Their respect extends the least to “white trash,” who they have the most reason to fear being confused with.

Words like seamy, sleezy, and seedy are negatives vaguely associated with sloppiness, immorality, and low class, as if to imply that such things naturally go together. Which seems to me the worst sort of vague insinuation. I can accept that low class folks tend to be sloppier, and in some folk’s morality that in itself makes them less moral. But while I’m happy to celebrate our new better top class, if we are talking about an economists’ sort of immorality, i.e., hurting other folks on net, it isn’t clear to me that low class folks are less moral. They contribute a larger fraction of income to charity, if I recall. I can see you might be terrified of associating with them if you feared being confused with them, but I can’t sympathize much with that, as your desire to keep your status high comes at the expense of keeping the status of others low. I don’t see great cause to fear more direct harms.

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