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Climbing the Social Register

Those who are in the Social Register know who they are and they know each other ("Becoming a Socialite," News & Features, Aug. 23). The upper classes always have communicated in code and the reason Washington, D.C., has never been a Social Register town is because government is the main industry and social and political power and not mutually exclusive.

It is interesting that Style Weekly found it necessary to include politicians on both the list of who's in and who's not. Social Registers have been around for a long time, and although the notion of social superiority and being on or off of lists by virtue of birthright and breeding is repugnant to many in our so-called "classless society," its purposeful elusiveness confirms that there are organizations which exist today into which one can neither buy, work, campaign nor marry.

We fought a war with England to get rid of aristocracies, but even in our materialistic and politically correct world, there lingers a suspicion that another dimension of society exists. It is why social satirists, who have accessibility to "Society" by virtue of their social position, write about it from a totally different perspective than do social scientists who are observers, not participants, in the process.

The very subject of social stratification, when not defined by economic and political indices, raises and lowers blood pressure faster than the daily rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Whether one is born, bred or bored with Society, it has to be dealt with.

In fact, the first winner of Style Weekly's "You Are Very Richmond If ..." contest demonstrated a visceral knowledge of the social dimension of one's position in life. It could just as easily applied to a conversation in similar circumstances anywhere in the United States. The entry read, You Are Very Richmond If ... "at a cocktail party you see an attractive lady from across the room and say to your friend, 'Who was she?'"

Elizabeth White

When Rules Made Sense

I agree with Nancy Finch's Back Page ("The Bad Old Days?" Sept. 6). It is unbelievable that a young woman would be allowed to leave her dorm and no one would have any information as to where she was going.

Marian Warren
Class of '68, Richmond Polytechnic Institute

Blaming Bar Owners? Then How About My Dog?

I would like to thank T. Ford for his commentary on how the bars are to blame for all the problems in the Fan ("Missing From Bar Guide: Drunks in Neighborhoods," Letters, Aug. 30: He wrote that the bar owners "should be policing the corners of these local watering holes to cut down on the ... nuisances," and that since the bars "are responsible for sending drunks into our neighborhoods, they are also responsible for keeping our streets clean, quiet and, above all, safe."

Are you serious?!

I'm sure this is news to the bar owners. I thought bar/restaurant owners were there to run their businesses. Aren't the police responsible for policing? Like it or not, these establishments are part of the neighborhood. Some people probably like having a good "restaurant" right down the street. If you don't like it, move.

I also didn't know all college kids were drunks. I also didn't know that only college students go to the Fan "restaurants." I'm glad I look that young, but I want to see proof of my stealing, screaming and public drunkenness. I'll have you know, I will vigorously defend myself.

I had a great laugh over this, however; it is precisely this attitude that is the problem. McDonald's makes people fat. Bars create people that are loud, drunk, thieves. I suppose Ford should be prosecuted for a hit and run, because they made the car. I guess every college kid that comes to town should get taken directly to the city jail for processing. I'm sure everyone realizes how ridiculous this sounds.

The individual is responsible for his or her behavior. People shouldn't litter, steal and be a nuisance. It's going to happen, but unless it is the bar owner doing it he or she is no more responsible for it than my dog is. I would love to write on about this, but I have a phone call coming in. I think it's one of those bar owners. They usually call on Thursday. They hypnotize me into coming to the Fan. I don't know what happens, but I usually wake up Friday morning with a hangover, a few "no trespassing" signs in the car, and a couple pieces of lawn furniture.

Paul Dillard
Henrico County


We misspelled the name of the publisher of "World, Other World" by Simon Just ("Recently Read," Arts & Culture, Aug. 30). It is Ferrell Tallman Publishing. Style regrets the error.

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