Chris Carlsson: Nowtopia

DIY guru Chris Carlsson recently spoke on KUOW about his book Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant–Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today!, a title which reminds me of “futurist” non-fiction published in the 70s, which is perhaps appropriate, considering his rambling, la-la style of speaking. But he has lots of interesting ideas.

One thing he talked about was the confused state of American attitudes about class. He interviewed people, and asked them whether they considered themselves working class, middle class, or what, and he got all kinds of long convoluted answers. People tallied their job histories, their parents’ work histories, their cultural affiliations, etc. Then he asked them if they thought there was an upper class in America, and they all said yes without hesitation.

What this points to is that average Americans are clear that there is a class that holds power, and that they don’t belong to it. But they are somehow muddled about what class they do belong to. Carlsson says that they obviously belong to the other class – the one that does all the work.

Audio is available from the KUOW website.

The photo is from the incredible collection at Sarah’s Transistor Radios.

More fascinating audio


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~ by lolarusa on July 17, 2008.

One Response to “Chris Carlsson: Nowtopia”

  1. I think Americans think of class more as something that you can acquire by learning good manners. So they would naturally think they are upper class. Example, I have class; I eat with a fork and knife. Just an observation.

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