Monday, November 19, 2012

"The WASP Ascedancy"

I posted, the other day, an excerpt from a posting by The WASP Manifesto.  As I work my way through old posts, I find some great stuff.  I am sincerely impressed by this blog.  If you have the opportunity, you should check it out.

Below is an excerpt from a posting of Joseph W. Alsop's article, "The WASP Ascendancy."  The following paragraphs really hit a chord with me:

"The greatest advantage, I should be inclined to say, was that the young had their careers laid out for them in advance so there was no foolish waffling and wavering about what to do. If you had special talents in science or architecture or scholarship or some other respectable pursuit, you sought very hard to get to the top of the tree you had chosen for yourself. If you had no such inclinations you could then choose between the various ladders that led to a respectable or even a high place in the WASP ascendancy of your time. The ladders were essentially the various professions, headed by the law, plus businesses of the kind then held to be respectable, with finance and banking at the head of the list.

"It’s too easily forgotten now, or at any rate it used to be too easily forgotten by the young people who complained this or that 'doesn’t turn me on,' that any healthy man is 'turned on' by the mere act of putting his foot on the lowest rung of the ladder. If he is a serious and ambitious young man he will then wish to get to the top of the ladder, in short to achieve a conspicuous success. These were the reasons why young men of the WASP ascendancy did not suffer from the kind of inner anguish and self-questioning that is all too common today. Even guilt, I fear, was an almost unknown quality in the WASP ascendancy, although its members had plenty to be guilty about, I suppose. Certainly the young people whose parents and grandparents formed the WASP ascendancy appear to me to be extraordinarily guilt-ridden."


"Above all, if you belonged to the WASP ascendancy, you knew pretty well who you were. I have never to this day understood the phrase “identity crisis” or, indeed, understood why people had identity crises. But this, again, is probably another sign of the narrowness and provincialism that too often marked the ascendancy in the old days."

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