I have come upon some thought-provoking books recently. These books are from very differing eras from each other and from today. Each has magnificent things to say. This is a feeble attempt at acknowledging their importance to me and their importance in general, as I see it.
The Status Seekers ———- Vance Packard
A Pelican Book 1965 issue by 1914 born Vance Packard resonates with the, to some, recent new or revisited spectre of elitism in British life. In essence that people of influence exclude what they class as less than themselves; by birth and background; education and standards; attitudes and politics. The, now labelled, Class Ceiling. It could be said that it was ever the case. Packard regarded it as worthy of investigation in his America of the 1950s.
His chapter headings, with their few words, speak volumes about the foci he saw as relevant to the subject. We only need to role the headings around in our thoughts to actually Get It:
CHANGES OF STATUS
Chapter 1 A Classless society?
Chapter 3 Emerging: A Diploma Elite
Chapter 4 Obstacle Course for Outsiders
MARKS OF STATUS
Chapter 5 Snob Appeal—– Today’s Home Sweet Home
Chapter 6 Choosing a Proper Address
Chapter 7 Totem Poles of Job Prestige
Chapter 8 Pecking Orders in Corporate Barnyards
Chapter 9 Shopping for Status
Chapter 10 Behaviour That Gives Us Away
Chapter 11 The Sociology of Sex Appeal
Chapter 12 Who Can Be a Friend?
Chapter 13 Clubs, Lodges, and Blackballs
Chapter 14 The Long Road from Pentecostal to Episcopal
Chapter 15 A Sociological Peek into the Voting Booth
Chapter 16 The Moulding of Tender Minds
Chapter 17 Gauging Social Position
STRAINS OF STATUS
Chapter 18 The Price of Status Striving
Chapter 20 Nine Pressures Towards a More Rigid Society
Chapter 21 Exploiting the ‘Upgrading Urge’
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
Chapter 22 Should Status Lines Be Maintained?
Chapter 23 Problems in Understanding
Chapter 24 Widening the gates to Opportunity
(c) Adrian Regis 2015
The Man Who Planted Trees
London publishers Peter Owen presented the very short, 52 page A5 book, The Man Who Planted Trees ISBN: 0 7206 0739 6., in 1989 from the 1954 original; re-copyrighted by Conde Nast in 1982. A magnificent addition to the book is Michael McCurdy’s wood engraving illustrations. Holding this little book evokes gentleness. The book was written by Jean Giono; famous to those who know of him. He was awarded, Norma L. Goodrich tells us in the Afterword section of the book, the Prix Monegasque,French high literary honour in 1953.
The fictitious tale of Giono’s is meant to remind us of the importance of beauty seen and beauty in action. It is the tale of a man returning to his home landscape after it had been ravaged by warring . After seeing the awfulness of that desolation he covertly undertakes the task of planting broadleaf trees across that landscape. Thousands of trees. So successful and abundant are they that when this same character, Elezeard Bouffier, has a bonfire the local authorities warn him not to because the forest (his planted forest) is a long established, significant, worthy of protection, natural forest. We smile with the character at this statement.
Giono is reported to have said,” There are times in life when a person has to rush off in pursuit of hopefulness” Do that; and try to find a copy of this little book for yourself.
(c) Adrian Regis 2015
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