I want to reflect a little on the idea of class, and the difference between having any and being in one. The reflection, of course, is motivated by the explosion of really unclassy behavior that besmirched the comment threads following various posts here and elsewhere about who is really rich. ...
One diagnostic of class is being comfortable, and making others comfortable, in any company. This is harder than it looks, because getting self-confidence mixed up with arrogance or pride, or dissembling actual membership in the group you’ve fallen among, are both fatal. A real lady or gentleman adds value to any group without taking it over or getting lost in it, including groups of peers. Such a person is welcome back again, and does not have to hide out in a gated community. Julia Child had class that sat on her like a halo. ...
Having good manners is an excellent strategy. This can easily go rancid, when people with no class use specific learned routines, or the lack of them, as social sorting tests, but people with really good manners have no problem learning to accept a business card with two hands in Asia or arriving at 10 for an “8 PM” dinner in Mexico; people who think etiquette is a stick to beat their lessers with, on the other hand, don’t travel well. A classy dresser contributes to a social occasion by showing respect for, and improving, the whole visual experience of the other guests without trying to draw a spotlight. A classy dresser is not an egotistical showoff, neither in a track suit at a formal dinner nor in a swimsuit on a red carpet.
All this from the same guy who earlier referred to L'affaire Henderson as follows:
The next time you come upon a Chicago law professor in his scuffed Gucci loafers and tattered Armani on the sidewalk, holding up his libertarian down-with-government sign and shaking his tin cup to get his doctor wife and hollow-eyed waifs through another tough week in their million-dollar hovel, please don’t just walk by. Remember, it could be you. Be a mensch: throw a nice shiny 3/8″ washer and couple of nickel slugs in there, with my blessings.
Over at Huff Po, they referred to O'Hare as thereby "mockingly compar[ing] Henderson to someone in "scuffed Gucci loafers and tattered Armani," living in a "million-dollar hovel." And although O'Hare has now struck through the remarks, he described the original post as "this truly amazing pasticcio of mendacity, ignorance, and small-minded cupidity."
Real civil. Real good manners. Real classy.
- Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye. (Matt. 7, 3-5)