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Do You Live in a Bubble?
Today's fascinating link comes via Aaron, and is closely related to yesterday's screed about dumb things rich people say. It's a quiz on the PBS site, titled "Do You Live In a Bubble?" It's 25 questions, and gets quite nicely to the core of what makes up the experience of the typical white, educated and wealthy upper-middle-class person as opposed to the typical middle class. Simply going through the questions is fascinating food for thought -- it's really about culture, not politics or wealth per se -- and it pegged me pretty accurately at the end. (I scored 28.)

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I scored a 56 and fall staunchly between:
A first-generation middle-class person with working-class parents and average television and movie going habits.
A first-generation upper-middle-class person with middle-class parents.

I score a 39 -- and I suspect a large chunk of that is that I just plain don't have either the time or the desire to watch TV or go to the movies. {: Too many other things I'd rather be doing.

And there is no mass-market beer in my fridge. He's allergic to alcohol and beer gives me a headache.

I am sort of fascinated by the idea that the bubble would necessarily indicate wealth. Many of those bubble-denoting answers neatly encapsulated my childhood - and so did the answers denoting life below the technical poverty line.

My beloved introduced me to Paul Fussell's concept of the "velvet underclass" - lots of education, little money, and so forth - that seems to apply here reasonably well.

Hadn't heard the term, but I can easily see it. Jane's situation was quite interesting, since her parents were sort of aspirational Britophiles: they never had any money to speak of, but considered education to be absolutely pre-eminent and were quite cultured in many ways. Jane had some definite adjustment to my lifestyle, which is pretty solidly upper-middle-class -- she already had many of the cultural touchstones, but had to get used to the ones that came with actually having money. (Although she picked all of that up quite quickly.)

Overall, though, what I love about the quiz is that it is mainly about culture instead of wealth per se. There is a *correlation* with wealth, but it's far from consistent...

I found the first several questions baffling in their vagueness.

Really? What parts were vague?

Heh. I got a 61.

Unfortunately, I think the really telling scores will be from my kids' generation.

As someone who works in training development. I found this interesting as a potential warning to developers to watch out for their assumptions as their cultural bias may be inadvertently showing.

Yep. What I found fascinating here wasn't just the number of questions to which I answered "no", but the number to which I suspect many of my friends would answer, "Of *course* not! Duh." The description of it as a "bubble" is probably more accurate than most folks would like to admit...

I scored a 58. This doesn't surprise me too much. I grew up in a military family which was also often a single income family. My father's life was in some ways a step down from his middle-to-upper-middle class family, but a step up for my Mom from her lower-class family. Since high school I've been in a thicker bubble because of the advantages of getting into a good school and having had consistent employment in higher ed.

I scored a 49, although some of that's no doubt due to not drinking beer at all and not really bothering w/most TV shows and popular movies (know about them, yes; watch them, no.). My family is definitely working class (which I only realized after I left home for college & then moved to Boston; we were fairly middle-class in my small, rural hometown), but with a fair amount of middle-class aspirations: once we got cable TV, we watched quite a lot of PBS, and my parents put a lot of emphasis on doing well in school, behaving well, and going to college. Working-class w/some middle-class attitudes, perhaps? I still feel as if I don't fit in w/a lot of the people I know, most of whom went to private colleges (small state school for me), have traveled overseas (does Canada count?), and generally don't worry as much about money as I've had to over the years...and that's not even getting into the differences between a small-town rural upbringing and one in the city or the suburbs...

33 although I think being from the UK may have slewed things a bit

I tried to go for the context rather than the letter of the question.

Oh my, yes. Especially on the expectations that you might recognize any of the US Military insignia. (Well, I wouldn't be surprised if -you- did, but the average Brit?) But also geography. It's just far easier to be in 'the middle of nowhere' when you have more of it.

57. Not too surprising.

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Interesting, although I had trouble with the questions about the status of the communities I've lived in. I'm from New England and upstate NY - I don't KNOW my neighbors, so how can I know what their education status is? It's only been six years - you shouldn't rush these things...

I just chose to answer what I thought he was getting at. It did nail the fact that my family isn't that far from the farm...

Interesting. My score was 48. Not too surprising, though. Some of the questions were a little hard to answer because both answers could be considered true depending on *when*. My first iteration through the quiz yielded the Ultimate Answer (42), though, because I answered the edge questions differently than the second time through.

The factory floor question was a problem. I've walked the factory floor as a intrtoduction to what my job affects and what we produce. It wasn't routine or part of my regular job function, but it was required by my employer. And not a bad requirement at that, I think.

Based on your score, you need to get out more... ;^D