Blogosphere

Recommended reading

📰 I like stories about working-class people who got an opportunity for an elite education, because something like that happened to me. In the UK, James Rebanks tells his story about getting to go to Oxford, and how much he learned about the well-to-do for whom such an experience is just a normal part of life. Read What Oxford taught me about posh people

Red and green
Sears KSX-P, 50mm f/1.7 Auto Sears MC, Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia Reala 100, 2021.

💻 When skiing downhill, don’t look at the trees. When you’re unhappy, don’t look at the source of your unhappiness. So says Andrew Bosworth, who tells us what he thinks we should look at instead. Read Finding The Line

📷 Richard Haw offers some advice and instructions for bleaching radioactive (!) camera lenses. If any of your old camera lenses have turned yellow, they probably have radioactive thorium oxide in them. You can bleach them by bombarding them with light. Read Repair: Bleaching Radioactive Lenses

📷 Alex Luyckx takes a look at Minolta’s X-7a, which is the all-black version of the X-370. Read Bonus Camera Review: Minolta X-7a

Do you enjoy my stories and essays?
My book, A Place to Start, is available now!
Click here to see all the places you can get it!

Standard

10 thoughts on “Recommended reading

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    I found James Rebanks story of class and education in England interesting, but it’s an old story there; where the class structure is far more locked in stone than in the United States. My Dad and all his brothers were from a working class family in the Chicago area, and weren’t on college track until they served in WWII and were able to utilize the GI bill to attend after the war. My Dad had an OK professional life, but some of his brothers became wildly successful. My Dad and his brothers also had a cultural education from their parents before ever going to college: listened to jazz, symphony, and opera, read books. My parents taught me to be an autodidact and always said the library was down the block and free.

    The thing I pick up from Rebanks article is the brooding animosity of the working class for the well-to-do; something I see from the multi-generational blue collar in my industrial town. This behavior many times manifests itself in almost a “reverse” self-improvement mentality. Making fun of college kids and refusing to personally educate yourself about things you might be interested in, is a long time feature of this mentality, and falls under the category of “cutting your nose off to spite your face”. I also hear a lot of talk about how educated people and the white collar are “screwing them”, and somehow responsible for their place in the world; it’s a common theme. I have to pipe-up, when I can, and tell them there is no cabal having secret meetings trying to figure out how to keep the blue collar down, and in fact, they aren’t even a subject anyone ever thinks or talks about!

    Back in places like Milwaukee and Chicago forty years ago, there was the old German working class, that was all about self-improvement and “trade” education (these are the people that worked at the plant and sent their kids to college), and a much smaller part, was just the weird less skilled that didn’t do anything to improve themselves, and built up a hate for the educated in their kids. In the world today where there’s very little manufacturing any more, these are the people I still see around, and it’s scary!

    When you work in Washington DC like I did, it IS easy to see “old families” with a certain level of status, but unlike Britain, most of the U,S. has a hierarchy based solely on money. Uncle Joe’s plumbing shop gets big, he moves to the suburbs, and his kids go to high-school with other kids of means, and generally blend right in, for the most part. No one is getting snubbed because they can’t recite Shakespeare from memory or read the Greek classics. For the most part, employers are interested in hiring you to solve a problem, and make or save them money, except for a few instances of nepotism, nobody cares who your parents are; at least nowhere near how they do in England!

    The United States focus on money and profits has for the most part, saved us from developing a class structure as rigid as the Brits!

      • Andy Umbo says:

        Thanks for the reference, and interesting read. A buddy of mine recently went back to college for some courses, and had a sociology unit about “Class in America”, much of which we talked about between us, and much of which is covered here! I do find the idea of America returning to some sort of “ruling class” culture that has the best interests of the country in mind to be an anathema for the type of people that tried to pull down the Capitol; part of the problem is the suspicion garnered by that end of the population against people that have more education than they do!

        The whole reductive attitude about localized decisions and states rights, that have manifested itself in “anti-vaxers”, and “anti-maskers”, has it’s roots in individual states trying to keep their slave laws against the idea that the federal government wanted to end slavery; it goes back that far. That type of thinking has been chipping away at a national will for years, so that now, people are willing to go without a life saving vaccine or wear a mask that may save lives, because they don’t want to, and think it’s their right (it isn’t, by the way).

        I think I might have mentioned on here before, that I was up late one night listening to the BBC, and they were talking to an international polling institute about Trump voters, and general election in America. The organization was trying to come to the bottom of all the variations, and as such, had devised a poll that asked similar questions different ways, to try an illicit some truths. Their results? At the end of the day, when the data was extrapolated, what it really discovered, was that a large amount of the Trump voters working class population, basically just hated the educated! I was very difficult to get them to seize on any ideas that promoted some sort of stance, other than the general hate for people who went to college!

        • I can’t tell whether that education envy is ignorance or envy. Probably both. The banal right-wing media perpetuates that hatred by framing colleges as indoctrinating young skulls full of mush into left-wing thought. That happened to neither of my sons, who recently completed college.

        • Hating the educated and believing that college professors are filling the brains of susceptible students with “liberal” mush is one of the hate- and orgasm- inducing talking points of the current right in USA. Meanwhile, they believe that Fox news tells them what is happening in the real world. In effect, they are creating a class structure in which they have voluntarily and aggressively decided to be in the lower class and impose this tyranny on their descendants.

          Andy and Jim, excellent comments.

        • I experienced this 32 years ago when working on a large farm right after I graduated from college. I was awaiting my first teaching job. About half of the harvest crew were full time farm guys, and the other half were college guys like me. No question, they resented us being there and made it known every single day. Three decades later, that is the same group wanting to sidestep medical knowledge in favor of whatever sounds good at the time. Scientific method be damned. Even in my own family, there’s a sociopolitical divide between the educated and those who are not. It’s sad, really, and doesn’t bode well for the future of our country.

  2. Andy Umbo says:

    Also an interesting look at “radioactive” lenses! I heard about this years ago, mostly about Pentax lenses. This article made me look up the Pentax lenses that are supposed to be radioactive, and found a chart that showed that even a few “K” series lenses had the problem, mostly 50’s. In the olden days, they recommended leaving your lenses on a white sheet of paper, caps off, on a shelf that got sunlight all day, and after a few days the ‘yellow” faded. From an era where the atom was going to fix everything!

    • I believe I have one Takumar lens that’s yellowed. I wonder if the K series lenses that had this problem were Takumar designs.

    • My wife’s 1971 55mm ƒ/1.8 Super Takumar (ser. 3309438) became quite yellow over the years. It also had a yellowish coating. I eliminated most of the yellow in the glass in a few weeks by placing the lens on aluminum foil and shining an inexpensive IKEA goose-neck lights through it. I did not want to put the lens in the windowsill because of the heat here. I also have a later SMC Takumar 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens that is still clear. None of my Leitz lenses have the thorium glass.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.