, 2022-07-27 17:20:00,
A demographer friend of mine, Miriam Powell, pointed out to me recently that I am a member of the American Gentry. Also, that when I cross the border into Canada I become a member of the Canadian Gentry. Then Miriam recommended this Substack essay by Patrick Wyman to introduce me to the American Gentry.
But very few of my classmates really belonged to the area’s elite. It wasn’t a city of international oligarchs, but one dominated by its wealthy, largely agricultural property-owning class. They mostly owned, and still own, fruit companies: apples, cherries, peaches, and now hops and wine-grapes. The other large-scale industries in the region, particularly commercial construction, revolve at a fundamental level around agriculture: They pave the roads on which fruits and vegetables are transported to transshipment points, build the warehouses where the produce is stored, and so on.
The first few times I read Mr. Wyman’s American Gentry: Local Power and Social Order I wanted to throw hub caps at him. It seemed unfair to me. While I fit the demographic profile of American Gentry I didn’t behave like the people he describes. I took it as an inaccurate personal attack.
In time, I had to admit that I have seen all of these bad behaviors in members of my social class. Hell, I can add to Mr. Wyman’s database. The American Gentry love power boats, big powerboats. These boats are the miniature version of the Russian Oligarchs yachts, and sometimes not so miniature.
They particularly love these boats when they are parading up and down lakes, their boats covered in Trump signs, and their companions are fashionably attired in tiny bikinis apparently made from the American Flag. It is essential for the true peak experience that everyone on the boat be hammered and behaving badly. Swamping other small boats is mandatory for having a good day at the parade.
You may have deduced that I don’t like power boats. Accurately, I hate them. I don’t own one and never would. I prefer my kayaks and wind powered Laser Class sailboats. I did once contemplate mounting a small cannon on the bow of my sea kayak so I could patrol local lakes sinking the wake generating powerboat yahoos. But physics got in the way.
I don’t think I have ever mentioned here my mad love affair with ancient weapons. I first learned to make cannons in metalwork classes in Grade Eight. Apparently we…
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