As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really think that this ‘culture gap’ between me and some of my uni friends may be a class thing. Or at least have something to do with where I’ve grown up in relation to them.
So if we take Simon for example. He grew up very near to London, went to private school and is a bike ride away from Windsor Castle. He’s visited museums and galleries in the capital; as they are easily accessible amenities. He listens to classical music while he’s studying. He goes home in between semesters and listens to his friends’ stories from their travels around the world, eats at expensive restaurants because he simply can and talks politics, art and philosophy over a beer at the pub.
Simon is, by definition, cultured. He is indeed “characterized by refined taste and manners and good education” as Google suggests.
I come from a lower class background; but do not feel in any way underprivileged because I wasn’t taken on expensive holidays to faraway places for cultural enlightenment – Sun holidays and Mr Whippys did just fine! My parents didn’t have much, but we always seemed to get what we wanted – I’m sure if I said I wanted to go see a theatre production rather than get the whole set of Bratz dolls and a Furby for my birthday, my parents would’ve made it happen.
I would say that I had access to a good education and my parents always pushed me to do well at school. I do however believe the emphasis, at least at the school I went to, was on learning enough to pass exams rather than learning for life.
But isn’t this something that you have to do for yourself anyway?
I haven’t visited an art gallery. Nor have I seen a Shakespearean play. I don’t listen to classical music on the daily and I haven’t the greatest understanding of philosophical concepts. But who is to say that you are more informed in 2017 if you know all of this stuff anyway? A google definition?
Whenever my dad is going on about politics, I always ask him who his sources are because a lot of the time, it sounds like hes making it up. Why? He’s not well read and certainly does not have good taste (couldn’t resist from including this massive fashion faux-pas here – the, “it’s a little bit sunny so I’m going to mow the lawn” outfit – don’t ask about the gnome 🙈)
He also dropped out of college, watches the occasional documentary and thinks he is an expert in the field and when he was 19, moved 20 miles down the road to a new town to ‘find himself’; swiftly returning three months later begging my Mum to take him back.
He replies, “the University of Life”. NOTHING RILES ME UP MORE. however when you stop and think about it, surely basing your opinion on policies that have had an adverse effect on you or things you have seen implemented badly makes sense? (he tends to be very negative when it comes to government issues). You don’t need to study the entire history of the British government to understand what is going on in the here and now. A vote for Brexit does not determine someone racist, as much as the remain campaign like to propgate – if a choice is made on an informed basis and said person genuinely believed that their vote for ‘leave’ was the best option for our country, surely it was an educated decision.
But yet, understanding politics is considered cultured, right?
By being ‘cultured by definition’, Simon is well spoken, knows his stuff on current affairs and can hold good conversation on most subjects. There’s no denying that it sets him apart from many people our age who make no effort with global politics apart from sharing the occasional Trump meme over social media. However, continuing to learn and accepting the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around you is the important part of being cultured in 2017. Wanting to go to a Shakespearean play knowing you’ll stick out like a sore thumb and being confident enough to engage in political debate because you know your opinion is as worthy as anyone elses is the first step towards this. As much as I’ve poked fun at my dad here, I love him dearly and listen to him regardless of whether the world sees him as cultured or not. (maybe not his fashion advice though 😜)
Do you think class and culture are linked? I’d love to hear your opinion! Tweet me at @tillyy22 or comment below 🤓
Tilly Turnip xox