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Assailing the Dream: U.S. Social Critics
"For a nation perceived by much of the rest of the world as insufferably self-satisfied and smug, we Yanks have turned out a fair number of cynical and interesting social critics."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
In a hilarious essay entitled "An Intellectual Experiment," who skewered intelligentsia and lowbrows alike by reading an issue of the "New York Review of Books," watching network television, and then comparing these two cultural undertakings?
William F. Buckley
P. J. O'Rourke
In his incisive book "Class", author Paul Fussell argued, focusing on one particularly egregious example, that "large assets or high income" do not necessarily "confer high class". Whom did he use as his example?
C. V. Whitney
Barbara Ehrenreich recently authored a work of non-fiction suggesting in part that at present in the US, social mobility out of the low-wage classes may be drastically limited by circumstance and that "bootstrapping" one's way up from poverty may be a relic of a bygone age. On what was this interesting if profoundly disturbing book based?
Six months spent as a "workfare" case officer.
Interviews with former welfare recipients who'd moved into the workforce.
The author's attempt to survive on low-wage, low-end service sector jobs.
Close statistical analysis of the famous "Middletown, USA" studies.
Which somewhat alienated observer of American life coined the terms "conspicuous consumption", "invidious comparison" and "parodic display"?
This somewhat unlikely social critic has theorized that Washington, D.C. "was built on a stagnant swamp some 200 years ago, and very little has changed; it stank then and it stinks now..", that the rumored death of a noted pop icon may have been because he "realized how shallow the pursuit of money was and took his own life", and that parents push their kids into sports competition "to compensate for their own failed dreams of glory"?
Perhaps a better sociologist than writer, this midwesterner so memorably portrayed a vulgar, ignorant, small-minded, Mammon-worshipping middle American businessman that the character's name remains a part of the American vernacular. Who was he?
William Dean Howells
He wrote not only that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation", but also that "most of the luxuries... of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind." Who was he?
Henry David Thoreau
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
William Cullen Bryant
The protagonist of this writer's most famous book describes the Grangerfords, a family of "well born" hereditary aristocrats who are involved in a feud with another aristrocratic family, the Shepherdsons. The reader discovers that all the aristos are murdering thugs, albeit with a code of honor. Who was the writer?
What great muckraker wrote "The Jungle", concerning the exploits of Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkus, and graphically detailing the grim plight of the blue-collar worker (and the appallingly unsanitary practices) in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the 20th century?
Perhaps the grandaddy of all critics of U.S. corporate culture and conformity, this author's book, "The Organization Man," published in 1956, is still considered a classic nearly a half-century later. Who was he?
C. Wright Mills
William H. Whyte
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Compiled May 20 13