Claire Berlinski, after reading Charles Murray’s Washington Post op-ed about out-of-touch elites, translates his criteria for eliteness into a “How Plebe Are You?” quiz. I think this deserves meme-dom, so I’m passing it along. Here are my answers:
1. Can you talk about “Mad Men?” No.
2. Can you talk about the “The Sopranos?” No.
3. Do you know who replaced Bob Barker on “The Price Is Right?” I think so.
4. Have you watched an Oprah show from beginning to end? Yes.
5. Can you hold forth animatedly about yoga? No.
6. How about pilates? No.
7. How about skiing? No.
8. Mountain biking? No.
9. Do you know who Jimmie Johnson is? Yes.
10. Does the acronym MMA mean anything to you? Yes.
11. Can you talk about books endlessly? Yes.
12. Have you ever read a “Left Behind” novel? No, though I recently read The Shack.
13. How about a Harlequin romance? Yes. I once got the idea in my head that I should try writing a romance novel. This was a superlatively dumb idea, but I did it anyway (it was an adventure romance set in Peru). Before I started, though, I read half a dozen Harlequin romances to get a flavor for the thing. They were surprisingly badly written.
14. Do you take interesting vacations? Define “interesting.” But I suppose the answer is yes.
15. Do you know a great backpacking spot in the Sierra Nevada? No.
16. What about an exquisite B&B overlooking Boothbay Harbor? No.
17. Would you be caught dead in an RV? I never have been, but I wouldn’t mind trying it.
18. Would you be caught dead on a cruise ship? Marian and I took a Tahiti cruise once. I didn’t really care for it, though.
19. Have you ever heard of of Branson, Mo? Yes.
20. Have you ever attended a meeting of a Kiwanis Club? No.
21. How about the Rotary Club? No.
22. Have you lived for at least a year in a small town? No, I’m a child of the suburbs.
23. Have you lived for a year in an urban neighborhood in which most of your neighbors did not have college degrees? No. See above. On the other hand, neither of my next-door neighbors had college degrees when I was growing up.
24. Have you spent at least a year with a family income less than twice the poverty line? No.
25. Do you have a close friend who is an evangelical Christian? Yes.
26. Have you ever visited a factory floor? Yes.
27. Have you worked on one? No.
Keep in mind that you have to know how to score these questions. For example, the correct plebe answer to questions #1 and #2 is No, while the plebe answer to #3 and #4 is Yes. However, if you don’t know at least this much, you should just give up and accept your out-of-touch elite status without complaint.
Anyway, I scored 17 out of 27, which is 63% — though I would do much better if graduating from a non-Ivy League university got as much attention as it did in Murray’s op-ed. Are we grading on a curve here?