The Working Class White-Collar Blues


This Colby Cosh post, about the weirdness of being a non-lefty columnist from humble origins, should rightly have descended into self-parody, but instead struck me as poignant. Excerpt:

[B]ecoming a political writer has had the perverse effect of radicalizing me, emotionally, about class matters. I followed what now seems like a pretty singular path into this job; the enormous majority of my colleagues, on all points of the political spectrum, seem to have backgrounds that can safely be described as affluent. There are exceptions, but very few. And while I wouldn't quite say as a rule that the most strident protectors of the working class were raised the furthest from it–well, golly, it sometimes seems that way. I don't know if I can describe, as someone who once lived in a trailer park, how it makes me feel to hear Naomi Klein (parents: doctor, filmmaker) or Avi Lewis (no genealogical comment necessary) or Linda McQuaig (parents were, as I recall, some sort of doctorate-wielding consultants) mash the W word and the C word together in that self-satisfied way of theirs. […]

Leftist writers raised in affluent circumstances–as I think even they would admit, in honest moments–suffer from heroic self-image as an occupational disease. And perhaps this is equally true of the conservatives as well. But when you come from the actual working class–when your father is someone who actually helps assemble buildings, as opposed to designing them–you can never, as a professional intellectual, shake the suspicion that you are going to get caught and sent back to learn a proper living.

Whole thing here.