2005_06_artstrump.jpgWe can't help agreeing with some people that something seems slightly off in the tone of the Times's "Class Matters" series. Maybe it should be ascribed to the paper's status as one of the American elite's most important organs; maybe it's because the paper is an exemplar of that peculiar New York parochialism that views most people and things west of the Hudson with surprise and/or wonder. Class plays itself out differently in New York than elsewhere. There's something heartening about a place so densely populated that almost everyone ends up rubbing shoulders, but that also means that everyone is regularly confronted with stomach-turning displays of wealth and poverty.

In any event, Charles McGrath's observations about class and pop culture reminded us how often we wonder why everyone on television, no matter what their supposed job or situation, has cuter clothes than we do. Fiction and film tend to offer more realistic depictions of American life than television, reality or otherwise, so perhaps America is not ignoring class as strenuously as McGrath seems to think. "There is an un-American secret at the heart of American culture," he writes, "for a long time, it was preoccupied by class." We would submit, however, that there's nothing un-American about that preoccupation at all. America has not defined itself as a classless society; we like to think of ourselves as a society in which class can be fluid if you work hard enough or catch some lucky breaks. Whether we're turning into a society in which economic disparities lock you into your class upon birth--that's a question Gothamist is not prepared to answer.

Next Wednesday the Moth takes on class at the very classy New York Public Library with "Up, Down, In, Out: Stories about Class in America." Call SmartTix (212.868.4444) to get your $10 tickets now and enjoy an open bar at 6:30, at 7:30 stories told by Harper's editor Lewis Lapham and heir-cum-filmmaker Jamie Johnson, among others. And don't forget, kids--you'll never be as classy as Trump.