Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Queen's English, looking classy, and Marx's insight on ruling ideas

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas.” –Karl Marx, The German Ideology

This is a truth so simple that it's often missed: the ruled get their guidelines from the rulers. "Proper English" is "The Queen's English", not "The Gardener's English". Ideal clothes and manners are "classy" or "high class", not "common" or "working class". The most praised art is the art valued by the elite, the most popular religion is the religion of the elite, the food considered best is the food of the elite. Often, the words we have for the things considered best come from the ruling class—English-speakers eat "beef" instead of "cow" because the English peasants took care of cows, but as soon as meat from those cows was placed on the tables of their Norman rulers, it became "boeuf".

Yeah, nothing new here. Just wanted to rant a little this morning. Though you could consider this an intro to my previous post about neoliberalism; it was inspired by the quote at the beginning of Credentialism and Corruption: Neoliberalism as Lived Experience.

ETA: The title of this post nagged at me, so I googled and found that "insight on" is very common, but it should properly be "insight into". It is good to know what the elite expects so you can decide if you want to give it to them.