Published on Essay Daily Blog (2015), Ned Stuckey-French reflects back on the second edition of the Best American Essays, discussing the selected essays and its “middle class” audience. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
For us, it is disgraceful to say you’re lower class, distasteful to say you’re upper class. Such denial has long been part and parcel of American exceptionalism but it served the Reagan Era especially well. The New Yorker, for instance, had always juxtaposed celebrity profiles with hand-wringing liberalism, ads for good scotch and fur coats with cartoons that poked fun at the people who wore the furs and sipped the cocktails, but it was in the 1980s that such self-deprecation soured into self-hatred, and a novel that starred a New Yorker fact-checker on a cocaine binge became a bestseller.
Read the full essay here.