Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Thursday, November 03, 2005  

The first public criticisms I've seen of the recently-opened Hooters restaurant and bar have appeared today, in a letter to the Guardian by Rain Newel Lewis, daughter of the late architect and artist John Newel Lewis (whose seminal book, Ajoupa, I'm currently reading).

The letter (which I won't link to, as it's not a permalink and I'm yet to work out the new and apparently confusing permalink system at the Guardian website) takes the predictable line, attacking Hooters, and those who've brought it here, for objectifying women. Newel Lewis also critcises what she sees as racism at Hooters in the hiring of mainly light-skinned women as waitresses.

I'm hardly about to disagree, but what has been more of interest to me is the way Hooters is being marketed here. In the US, Hooters is essentially a working class--one might even say white trash--establishment. Here, however, it has been branded as middle class, and is located in an upscale area with, one assumes, prices to match.

What this says about our middle class or classes nicely illustrates Lloyd Best's assertion that Trinidad is a classless society, and that the only real difference between the classes here is money. The other aspects of class--behaviour, lifestyle, pastimes and so on, are quite often no different.

This question of our middle classes is one that I've been thinking about for a while, as has been Nicholas, who says that there is nothing wrong with being middle class. He cites Albert Gomes and Arthur Cipriani, among others, as men of the middle class who had the interests of the people at heart, but that was many decades ago; where are the Gomeses and Ciprianis of today? (One could cite the coming of Independence and the rise of nationalism and tribalism and so on, but that's another post.)

Perhaps there isn't anything wrong with being middle class, but before I pass judgement, I think I'd like a workable definition of what a middle class is and should be, and then apply it to our own middle classes of today and see how they stack up.

posted by Jonathan | 8:48 AM 0 comments


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