Anti-WASP tropes in the ‘NYT’

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From the New York Times, David Brooks on Jeb Bush:

That doesn’t mean the party will snap back to its old establishmentarian tendencies. Bush had several moments [in last week’s debate] to deliver a devastating blow — like challenging Trump for going after his wife — but he couldn’t quite turn them into hot-blooded signature moments. Three hundred and fifty years of WASP reticence have left habits of gentility and emotional guardedness that inhibit him, just as they inhibited his father.

And Marissa Rothkopf on a new restaurant that is

small and understatedly elegant. It befits a chef [Christine Nunn] who also wrote “The Preppy Cookbook,” a set of recipes inspired by and catered toward the Locust Valley lockjaw set.

She linked that phrase to William Safire, back in the 80s; and her brother David Rothkopf, the editor of Foreign Policy, reveled in it on twitter:

The latest from my sis, @marissarothkopf: Getting well beyond lunch for the lockjaw set at Picnic on the Square

(This is prejudice justified in the speakers’ minds by the belief that they are Jewish outsiders. Says a friend: “Imagine if somebody wrote, ‘Three hundred and fifty years of Jewish insularity had left Chuck Schumer with habits of tribal loyalty and paranoia that inhibit him, just as they inhibit others.’” My Protestant wife says no one speaks lockjaw except Katherine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story. When she came into my family 25 years ago, my father called her Brenda Frazier, a reference to a debutante in the 1940s who was on the cover of Life Magazine– because my wife has perfect manners. She politely pointed out to my father, Did he really think that was a compliment? Brenda Frazier was an airhead who repeatedly tried to kill herself and drank herself to death. Riding back to NY, she said without inhibition, “I saw all the Woody Allen movies, I know about anti-Semitism. I never heard about anti-anti-Semitism.”)

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Bigotry dies out with time. I’ll admit I had no clue what “lockjaw” even was up until now. Also, nobody under the age of 50 would ever link to Safire, which of course reinforces my first point. Yeah, anti-WASP prejudice is socially accepted in America although I’d say I’ve only… Read more »

I remember back in the 80’s, Russell Baker described Trump as a “pushy WASP” –(which I guess he is, I think German Americans qualify).

The richest WASPs are perhaps laughable for ultra good manners, emotional restraint (emotional frozenness) but also enviable for running America as they used to do and probably still do (more than these materials suggest). The richest Jews are laughable for (in some cases) having no discernable manners at all, for… Read more »

Probably the only time I have found myself agreeing with Philip Weiss.

WASPs are the only group it is socially acceptable to be prejudiced against or mock. WASPs are much more vulnerable than Jews in this respect.