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Class warfare north of Boston

Seth Gitell considers the Beverly July Fourth parade and its Gloucester haterade and says it's just the latest proof that we're becoming a region divided by class:

... One of the unique aspects of Eastern Massachusetts, unlike much of the country which is defined by brand new, nondescript, "subdivisions," is that the region still has cities and towns with unique identities. Also unlike other regions, such as the Southwest (Anglo v. Latino,) South (white v. African-American,) where divisions are primarily ethnic and racial, you're still dealing with towns, which have similar racial and ethnic profiles. Our area, therefore, provides a good litmus test on class. And it's ugly. ...

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Comments

that may be true, but the hate parade is supposed to spoof local event in an unpolitically correct manner. So I don't think this is a good example of classism.

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Good point. Horribles parades - and Beverly is hardly the only place to have one - always do stuff like that. In fact, I saw a comment in some story about whatever Rhode Island town it is that has the July Fourth parade that Buddy Cianci always used to march/ride a horse in about how it would be terrible if he were in the parade this year, because then it would just be another Horribles parade (he marched anyway).

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Our culture has become so thin-skinned that mocking anything, no matter how stupid or ridiculous it is, has become completely forbidden. That's not just a shame, that's not the American-way. I would say that there is a long and honorable tradition in the English-speaking world of bawdy and cruel mockery of foolish and embarrassing behavior and the parade was an all too rare fragment of this tradition.

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I doubt it. Then again, you probably aren't female trailer trash or a person of color. Do you honestly think this sort of "mockery" and "political incorrectness" really begins, ends, and stays with this parade?

It's all funny when you got privilege and those "thin skinned" people who "just can't take a joke" are the ones who have to deal with negative stereotyping on a constant and unrelenting basis - not just during a parade, but every single f-ing day.

And then we wonder why the kids get it in their heads that being a mom at 16 is their fate in life.

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We're all people of color. I'm varying degrees of white or pink or even sunburnt red.

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Or would that require a coulee imitation?

If you can't figure out that standard cultural shorthand (and census term used by many, including the media), I can't help you.

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I totally want to see Swirly's coulee imitation!

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I've heard "people of color." It's a bullshit term. Both the census and the media are wrong.

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like you and me.

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Oh yes, boo-hoo, let's all hear about the plight of the poor white man!

Such an under-represented group!

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I guess that since I mention the "English-speaking" world you would assume that I am a white straight guy. In fact my own little special interest group has been mocked and derided very often and sometimes I find it amusing, others not. We've all got our crosses to bear and our chips to carry--what's yours, Swirly?

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I knew there was a reason I should have been getting out of English class. I should have said Canterbury Tales was too bawdy.

I'll have to tell my old North Shore high school there should be no talk of The Miller's Tale and hot pokers, butts and extra-marital affairs in public schools, especially while we have an epidemic of people who don't understand satire. I'm sure there were jokes in there about pregnancy in the whole Wife of Bath section, but I'm too peeved to come up with one.

Someone should pelt these people with copies of Voltaire's Candide.

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The parade is intended to ridicule, and any ridicule can involve a certain amount of tastelessness. But this went way over the line, especially for a 9 am parade that many children are watching.

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from the aspect of classism; there's always been this division along class lines - North Shore Yankee old money vs. South Shore nouveau riche, courtesy of the Big Dig, even those who 'made good' and left the triple deckers of Dorchester and Southie to settle in Scituate or Holbrook. Heck, I've heard stories of people moving into certain neighborhoods in Hingham where the local ladies popped by to do their welcome wagon bit, only to really be more concerned that the color of your kitchen curtains passed muster and you hadn't put plastic pink flamingoes on the lawn or the Union Suit hanging on the line in full view of the street.

Personally, I'd have the flamingoes out as soon as possible...

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they limit the colors to paint your house on main street, not visible clotheslines, etc.
but they're not saying that they're better than other towns, they're just trying to be expensive & pristine.
I think there's more classism with people playing golf rather than going to the dog track; going to europe rather than marshvegas; drinking expensive wine vs beer - that type of thing

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Um ... not news, no. Not limited to North or South Shore, either (or limited to the Boston area, for that matter - ever hear of gated communities? Trailer parks?). It has been painfully apparent since I first explored various areas of Boston nearly 25 years ago, and noted the extreme changes at neighborhood boundaries or heard people charactarize each other according to miniscule municipality of origin - like it mattered.

As for the suburbs, it has been going on around here since towns and cities have controlled their own zoning. From the looks of things, segregation into feudal microzones with boundaries dating to the Tudor period will continue to worsten to the point of erecting walls to keep out the riff raff.

As one Weston idgit once said, in response to a planned bike path extension (paraphrase) "Well, we let people from other towns drive on our roads. Isn't that enough?".

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Its true, Ive been to many other cities (and know people from all over) and they dont fully understand how we can be so seperated. The students and some of the young professionals in the city dont have a clue because they have been here for 2 years, but there are huge walls everywhere you look, especially outside the city.

How often do you hear that someone lives on the Lynn/Swampscott line? Now think back and see how many people say they live in Swampscott but on the Lynn line, never happens! What difference does a border make, nothing until you see the border of Mattapan and Milton , you literally run into a brick wall when entering Boston from that angle, I know because the welcome to Boston sign is hung on the wall.

I live on the North Shore and people literally break things down by STREET. Street A is not safe, street B is all Italians and is sometimes safe, Street C is on the water and is considered very safe. Lynn goes from creepy downtown (the new lofts are helping tho) to the "Diamond District" within a few blocks, its incredible. Downtown Chelsea flows into Admirals Hill Chelsea which has a conveniently places swinging gate that closes at night. Places like Dorechester feature hills that are topped by pristine and ringed by urban areas. I was in a community room for a meeting in Salem and the person asked if anyone knew anybody from a neighbering city who could help with the project, after 5 seconds of silence the person threw their hands up and said "of course not, were all from Salem" even when it comes to non profits and charitable associations we all tend to get this provincial attitude.

Its not that bad until someone like Beverly shows up to the party and throws salt on the wound of a poorer neighbor. Everyone knows the soccer moms from Beverly are bitchy and the kids spoiled, so its no suprise.

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Its not that bad until someone like Beverly shows up to the party and throws salt on the wound of a poorer neighbor. Everyone knows the soccer moms from Beverly are bitchy and the kids spoiled, so its no surprise.

So everybody who lives in Beverly drives one of those stupid Mazda SUVs (the one with the kid in the back who asks "Mom, what does 'spoiled' mean?" and mom just grins, although you're never quite sure if it's because she's glad her kid is a pliable doormat with the IQ of a turnip who doesn't know what "spoiled" means or because she's just a spoiled bitch or both)?

Nah, no stereotyping there.

Of course, I didn't even know where Middleton was until I looked it up on Google Maps on Sunday, so what do I know? Maybe Beverly really is like that.

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Can you point me to a Google street view of this wall? I'm not sure where it is.

The boundary may look sharp at Blue Hill Avenue, but it's pretty fuzzy further east. No matter which side of the river you're on, if you can see the Walter Baker sign, you're in Lower Mills.

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This is real-estate terminology that can produce some amusing results at times. For instance, a Craigslist apartment search for

Cambridge "Somerville Line"

finds a number of ads like this one:

Located on Blanchard St, near Fresh Pond and on the Cambridge / Somerville Line.

Umm, no. You're on the Cambridge/Belmont Line. That's a long walk from any place in Somerville. (Also, it's actually Blanchard Road.)

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One of the unique aspects of Eastern Massachusetts, unlike much of the country which is defined by brand new, nondescript, “subdivisions,” is that the region still has cities and towns with unique identities.

I've lived in more than my fair share of major metropolitan areas -- Los Angeles and Chicago come to mind. And while, just like Boston, both of those cities do have some surrounding areas that are somewhat nondescript "typical suburbs", they also all have many, many very unique surrounding towns with, as you put it, unique identities. Pick a major city and I'm sure you can find plenty of unique towns within a 20 minute drive. I can't conceive of how you could consider this phenomenon unique to Eastern Mass.

Also unlike other regions, such as the Southwest (Anglo v. Latino,) South (white v. African-American,) where divisions are primarily ethnic and racial, you’re still dealing with towns, which have similar racial and ethnic profiles. Our area, therefore, provides a good litmus test on class. And it’s ugly.

I've never lived in the South, but I'm 99% sure it's as true there as it is in the Southwest: Every "real" ethnic division almost exactly corresponds to class boundaries as well. For the entire history of mankind, class has been the single most significant source of division among populations. Not to say that race and ethnicity don't play a large part -- but to suggest that you can distinguish Eastern Mass from the rest of the country in that it's divided along class lines when other regions are divided along ethnic/racial lines is flat-out nutty.

I can think of several other places in the region where a few miles means a major difference in income.

Again, go to any major city in the country (or the world, for that matter), find a wealthy suburb, and in almost every case you can drive a few miles in one direction and find yourself in a totally different economic world.

I’ve watched some communities, such as Needham and Newton, go from affluent communities with good school systems, to homes for the super-rich.

Right. And you've also watched (or perhaps ignored?) not-quite-so-affluent communities become affluent, or poor communities become less poor, or vice versa. It's not exactly a shocker.

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For five years I lived in Santa Monica, a suburb surrounded by Los Angeles on three sides and the Pacific Ocean on the fourth. In many ways, Santa Monica's people and government defined themselves by their difference and separateness from LA. Someone dubbed us "The People's Republic of Santa Monica" and we quickly adopted that nickname as a point of pride.

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Big spurting penis truck? No, really, I'm not being offensive for amusement. That's what the rednecks of Beverly brought to the parade.

I can just imagine how much fun it must have been to take your kids to that parade.

Daaadddyyy, what does "She smelled like tuna, I should have pulled out soona" mean?

Well, son, it's got to do with the fishing industry...

If that's the way the folks in Beverly prove they've got more class than the people in Gloucester, I think they've got a ways to go.

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Mimsy! Pookums! Chip and Buffy - Gather 'round!

We must teach them Chaucer in the summer program so they won't be upset. Seems those unwashed proles just aren't educated about finer English traditions of ribald humor and satire at their expense!

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Seriously, Swirlygrrl, I have got to say that I really hate people like you. No matter what kind of "liberal" cause I get involved in, there is always someone who is more oppressed than I am whining away about how bad they have it compared to me. It is an excellent silencing strategy and people like you have perfected it. So, keep on using your Surly Grrrrl power to shut people up because they aren't as oppressed as yourself is some way--it usually works to keep everyone on edge--and you win the sad, oh-so-sad, prize of being the most trod upon. Yay!

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My coworkers and I all got a chuckle a few years ago from some Wellesley High girls who taunted the Needham High girls they had just finished playing in a Powder Puff Football game. The taunt went something like this:

"Hey, white trash: Why don't you get in your Chevy and go back to Needham?"

I still laugh at that comment. Both towns are fairly expensive to buy into and to afford tax-wise. If Needham is downmarket, though, I can't imagine what those girls thought of Dedham. Eeek!

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Used to be east Needham, but then the good burghers decided Needham was getting a bit too Irish and split off. The town is named for Samuel Welles, the son-in-law of H. Hollis Hunnewell, who owned a good part of that side of the town (his family still owns a farm, complete with cows, on Rte. 16 by the Natick line) and who thought naming the town after his son-in-law would be a good present for his daughter.

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In fact, there are many oldtimers in Needham who still refer to Swellesley by its former monikers: West Farms or West Needham. Just their Yankee way of thumbing noses at the upper crust.

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I assume these are named for the same family? Wellesley Park may be the fanciest street in all of Dot.

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A lot of the schools don't officially allow it, causing it to go underground.

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If you can still sleep at night knowing that you have an interest-only mortgage, a car that you're leasing so as to impress your "friends", and piles of credit card debt, it's not all that difficult to imagine living in one of Boston's tonier suburbs. The rest of can drive off to our "trashy" communities in our paid-for-in-full vehicles and teach our children that tolerance and class is something that you simply can't buy.

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But I think those floats went over the line for a family event. I watched a video on YouTube and when I saw the giant squirting penis, I winced, thinking of the people with kids there. Hey, I'm the first one to say "Lighten up!" when barbs are getting thrown around. But, you have to remember that this is a parade, with lots of little kids there on their bikes, looking at the fire trucks, buying cotton candy, and looking at a giant squirting penis.

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Can you provide a link so I don't have to search "Giant Squirting Penis"? I'd like to see the parade video and not the porn. :)

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Click on the word considers in Adam's story.

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Well worth following it, but definitely not something for the kids.

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She starts her spawn on Chaucer before they're out of diapers. And of course there's the greek theatre acted out with ample props before breakfast. They're all sooo enlightened. Rich people like me and my wife Muffy and my son Biff and of course you are repressed and ignorant of our cultural traditions. Really, everybody should have big spurting penises on their trucks. But we're too uneducated.

Oh, please help us, Swirly Girl!

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Horrified that children might find out what a penis is. Typically American - even the liberals are Puritans.

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I think theres a difference between the actual body part, and a giant caricrature of one floating down the street. Its all in the context.

Do you think every childrens tv show should feature a giant penis maybe?

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Blueblooded Beverly Farms - the North Shore snobs whose Fourth of July parade poked fun at working-class Gloucester’s teen pregnancy scandal - has a teen baby mama problem in its own backyard, the Herald has found.

Between 2000 and 2006, there were 93 recorded teen births overall in the city of Beverly, compared to 118 in Gloucester, according to the state Department of Public Health.

In fact, in 2003 and 2005, Beverly, which has almost 9,000 more residents, surpassed its Cape Ann neighbor in the teenybopper diaper derby.

bostonherald.com...Mama_mia!_Teen_births_haunt_Beverly

the caption under the picture in the article:
‘Wicked disrespectful’

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Yeah but after becoming a teenage mother she can no longr afford to live in Beverly, and moves out to a town she can afford! Maybe thats why they never noticed, they just export all their problems across the border to a "poorer" place.

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Teenage pregnancy has long been a big problem in our society, which should neither be glorified or made a joke out of. It's symptomatic of some seriously big problems in our society that need addressing, and, from what I read/heard about that parade in Gloucester that made fun of teenaged pregnancy, it sounded like it was way over the line. A teenaged girl who ends up that way is clearly calling out for help, in some way or other.

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Hey anon -- is your name Miki, by any chance? You sound a lot like someone who used to post here.

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Yeah, there seem to be a couple other Miki-style posts from the past few days too!

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So what.

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"So what."

I meant no disrespect -- I just thought I recognized your writing style, and it seems I was right. Welcome back, independentminded/Miki. I hope you're well.

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A current post, from an "ex-poster". Ow, my head.

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