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July 14, 2007

Exclusivity

I think Scott McLemee makes a great point on the social anxieties of not only the Georgetown jerks set, but most exclusive groups:

The point of a club like Late Night Shots is, in large part, to keep other people out of it. That’s obvious. But those other people have to (be imagined to) want in.

The greatest terror is not that they will try to overthrow you—or even that they might somehow break through the barriers of exclusivity. It’s that the outsider might laugh at the exclusivity.

July 14, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Sex and fat body can do everything with Viagra

Posted by: EI Ei | Jul 14, 2007 5:55:48 AM

Conservatives just don't know how to party.

Also: there are many reasons to hate everyone who appears onscreen on MTV's My Sweet Sixteen. But the biggest may be their incredible misconception about what makes a great party. A great party does not involve fire-eaters, costumes, musical guests or engraved invitations. A great party involves getting drunk, high and laid. Not necessarily in that order.

Posted by: Freddie | Jul 14, 2007 9:37:12 AM

"The point of a club like Late Night Shots is, in large part, to keep other people out of it."

No, it's to have fun, get drunk and laid. Ohhh it's nice to feel some exclusivity, but exclusivity as an ends, without significant other benefits, isn't worth a crap.

Posted by: DM | Jul 14, 2007 11:55:44 AM

Ezra, Your blog is fantastic lately. Thanks!

Posted by: Casey | Jul 14, 2007 11:56:33 AM

'Last Days of Disco'
'Van's' final lines.

Posted by: has_te | Jul 14, 2007 12:36:01 PM

With great priviledge comes great responsabillady!

Posted by: Uncle Ben | Jul 14, 2007 12:43:56 PM

Wait a minute: this "exclusive" club has 14,000 members in the D.C. area? 14,000?

I think the point is correct: in my understanding, REAL blue bloods don't go out of their way to insult the lower social orders. They are quite comfortable with their money and status, and aren't really defined by it as people. Some of these chattery LNSers seems on less stable ground- I don't know if their just young or maladjusted to their ruling class patrimony.

Also- you don't have to have a lot of money to get drunk and laid, so I'm not sure what there is to envy here, even if the lower classes were so inclined. It would be one thing if the parties were at exotic places or ridiculously lavish. But these parties occur in Washington D.C. bars *during the summer months*. And I like an open bar as much as the next guy (probably more), but I wouldn't consider it an accoutrement only accesible to the elite...So again, what about this is enviable if you already have a handle of Canadian Club and some attractive friends?

Posted by: P | Jul 14, 2007 2:21:22 PM

P: The quoted bits reek of class insecurity. Probably some people that know their position depends on continuing to make their real masters happy.

Posted by: NBarnes | Jul 14, 2007 4:47:19 PM

The greater in-group exclusivity speaks to a previous point Ezra made about how tricky it is to define "class" using personal wealth as a proxy variable. Putting old money aside, "blue bloods" and "hipsters" seem increasingly to be equally educated people, presented with equal career opportunities, who simply chose diverging paths based on prospective trade-offs (foremost of which is salary vs. leisure time/aspirations of personal fulfillment).

Posted by: Jon | Jul 14, 2007 5:20:49 PM

The greater in-group exclusivity speaks to a previous point Ezra made about how tricky it is to define "class" using personal wealth as a proxy variable. Putting old money aside, "blue bloods" and "hipsters" seem increasingly to be equally educated people

I dunno. There is nothing academically or even financially distinguishing about the LNS crowd. Their sense of superiority seems to come from the fact that they have achieved positions that were competitive within their own circumscribed social milleu (eg, they managed to join a fraternity at their mediocre college and managed to get a political staff position with their local Congressman). As a consequence, they believe they are part of a vaunted, superior station in life. Hipsters seem to be more than well aware of the fact that there are lots of other people who make more money than them and came from more elite families than they did. The LNS crowd is stunningly clueless about this reality... yet it sort of explains LNS-- lacking any outlets in which they could be exclusive, they needed to create their own.

Posted by: Tyro | Jul 14, 2007 6:16:36 PM

I suspect, if this thing really is upper crust and exclusive (which, at 14,000 members, I agree, sounds like its not), someone is saying "oh Brent, shut up" about those comments. Class tells. And looking down on others for their menial jobs or their social position relative to yours, is just, well, not done (or certainly not so tastelessly) when real class is involved. Which is not the same thing as "let's all socialize at the same parties." It's just that I'm sure some people don't want the snottiness made quite so explicit.

That said, I think the "outsider looking in" aspect of the article and the blog post can't be avoided either. You can't, really, succeed at being dismissive of something that captures your attention quite so much. Their exclusivity has power not just because people in it feel superior, but because on some level, the people outside it agree to that as well. I've been behind enough velvet ropes to know that the feeling of exclusivity is nice, but not all that, and that, with enough energy and attention, you too can get there... if that's what you want. If not, why does any of this matter?

Posted by: weboy | Jul 14, 2007 8:29:31 PM

You can't, really, succeed at being dismissive of something that captures your attention quite so much.

Pretty much. You ignore someone by ignoring them, not by saying "I'm ignoring you". That's not even to accuse any of the LNS reporting of class envy, just that a cover story in the local alt weekly kind of undercuts McLemee's point about the rest of the world blithely failing to acknowledge their exclusivity.

Posted by: kth | Jul 14, 2007 11:00:43 PM

Anyone who's anyone in 3S -- the Secret Society Set -- knows that the LNS crowd is a bunch of tools. My outfit, Late Night Beers, certainly doesn't associate them. LNS doesn't even get invited to the convention!

Posted by: Rat | Jul 15, 2007 3:49:09 AM

Apparently, none of you were tapped. Pity.

Posted by: Yea Verily | Jul 15, 2007 5:49:35 AM

I don't think the fascination with LNS people indicates that one is in some way jealous of them. They are fascinating in the same way that Furries are. How can one's prurient interest not be aroused by a subculture that can come up with the atrocious slang "turbo" and "takedown." "Takedown" is probably the dumbest euphemism since "hook up" was introduced.

Posted by: FinFangFoom | Jul 15, 2007 11:39:13 AM

Apparently, none of you were tapped. Pity.

Yea, Verily. :)

Posted by: weboy | Jul 15, 2007 1:15:40 PM

These people talk about sex like it's pro wrestling. I went to poundtown! There's Brent Gildedshit putting a triple reverse helicopter bodyslam on Tricia McTwitterknickers! Takedown!

Posted by: Wells. | Jul 16, 2007 2:40:35 AM

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