Mixing of the classes

Cara Ginter

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Would it have been possible, if one so greatly desired? I mean by sneaking around of course.
If so, how would one have gone about doing this. Say, leaving second or third class, to pay a trip to first. Or vice versa.
In the Titanic movie, what they did, would that have been possible? Jack going to dinner with them, and Rose in return going to third class to partake of their party? How would this have been accomplished?
Cara
 

Dave Gittins

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Cara, this is on another thread somewhere. I believe the consensus was that on some ships there was limited mixing of the classes.

The writer R A Fletcher in Travelling Palaces warns first class passengers against intruding on lower classes. He calls it,"...a shocking exhibition of bad manners and low inquisitiveness."

There's more on this in John Maxstone-Graham's The Only Way to Cross. The bad manners seem to have been commoner in the earlier years.

The movie is not worth worrying about. Rose and Jack did all sorts of things that passengers were not permitted to do. From the flying scene on the bow to the attempted suicide scene on the poop, reality is ignored for the sake of what is jokingly called a plot.
 

Cara Ginter

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Thanks very much. It was confusing me, because I didn't think it altogether likely, or possible for that matter.
happy.gif

Cara
 
Feb 24, 2004
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>>The writer R A Fletcher in Travelling Palaces warns first class passengers against intruding on lower classes. He calls it,"...a shocking exhibition of bad manners and low inquisitiveness."

But some of them did it anyway. . . .
'-)

Roy
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>because I didn't think it altogether likely, or possible for that matter.<<

Oh it was possible. Anyone who really wanted to could get around to all kinds of forbidden areas if they tried hard enough, but as mentioned, it was considered to be excruciatingly bad manners. The practice was...if I recall correctly...known as "slumming" and was strongly discouraged.
 
Dec 31, 2005
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I think the restrictions were unquestionable,because according to it's design,Titanic had three elevators for first class and one for second class.
 

Ben Lemmon

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Why was "slumming" looked at as a bad thing? Why was it referred to as "a shocking exhibition of bad manners and low inquisitiveness"?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Because 'visitors' from the Cabin Classes could be (and often were) perceived like tourists visiting a zoo. Nobody likes rubberneckers intruding on their space. Had I been a 3rd Class passenger and I encountered a bunch of toffs out to observe me and my family in our natural habitat I'd have sent them on their way with a few choice words!
 

Ben Lemmon

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O.K., I have another question then. How did the stereotypical Edwardian man with Edwardian values perceive a friendship between two social classes, such as Upper-middle class and lower classes? On Wikipedia (though I know it is not a completely reliable source), it says that the class system was very rigid. Would such a friendship have been somewhat of a taboo, then? Would it have been viewed in the same way as an interracial friendship has been viewed in the past (a good example is in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn with the titular character and Jim)?
 

Jim Kalafus

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>How did the stereotypical Edwardian man with Edwardian values perceive a friendship between two social classes, such as Upper-middle class and lower classes?

Are you talking American stereotypical, English stereotypical, french stereotypical, Dutch stereotypical.....

Speaking for American stereotypical Edwardians, who I best understand:

~Great importance was placed on the concept of social equality as a national trait...

...but

~ We had backslid a LONG way from the rabidly anti-Imperial stance of ca 1820, witness the putrid ideals represented by "THE Mrs. Astor" and her ilk, and so what people SAID and what they actually practiced were two separate things. When Eliza Monroe, ca 1822, tried to import a greater level of formality to the White House, she was aggresively and very publically shunned for her anti-American royalist pretension; two generations later something very much resembling a Court system, but based on wealth, was not only accepted here but seemingly admired... NOT a shift for the better, IMHO.

So a typical Edwardian American MIGHT have boasted, on the 4th of July, about living pridefully in a country where the ice man carried equal importance to the banker. But, would never in a million years have invited the ice man in to the parlor, even as he simultaneously wondered why the banker never accepted his invitations.

America DID have a great deal of social mobility: a surprising number of the run-of-the-mill millionaires rose from $0 backgrounds. BUT, that did not lead to anything approaching mass social conscience among the newly wealthy; in fact, just the opposite was true, as those who worked for A.T. Stewart or the owners of the Triangle Factory would have told you. Some of the most horrifically venal had risen from nothing. And some of the most admirable; Alva Belmont, for instance; were generations removed from anything approaching want.

So an American would more likely than not profess that there was nothing wrong with a friendship that crossed class lines, as long as it was not a member of his family STEPPING DOWNWARD. Grooming your daughter to snare a RICH husband was viewed as vulgar, yet it seems to have been a mindset common in ALL classes. NO ONE groomed their daughter to marry downward. SO, if your daughter or son on the Titanic was mingling UPWARD it would be seen as "democratic." If your daughter or son was mingling DOWNWARD, it would have been viewed as grounds for intervention.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Why was "slumming" looked at as a bad thing?

Because it exposed people of refinement and high standards, like Irene Corbett and Annie Funk, to vulgar people of the lowest sort, with eroded morals and crude standards, like the Astors. And protecting those of impeccable morals from the rabble was a 24/7 calling among the Victorians and Edwardians.

Exposing someone of breeding, like Irene Corbett or Annie Funk, to open whores ( deVilliers/ Aubart) adulterers (Guggenheim/Astor) and plain white trash (Gibson) would have been seen as bad form, and was zealously guarded against.
 

Jim Kalafus

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(Continuing after phone call) "Slumming" carried with it, as Bob said, the uncomfortable connotation of a human zoo excursion. And, equally obnoxious, it bore the connotation of a "Lady Bountiful" excursion, in which fine women of both sexes made a lot of pointed observations and asked a lot of very intrusive questions which they would never have dreamed of asking of (or answering to) a member of their own class; usually without dropping their voices. When accompanied by small denomination coins distributed amongst the "wretches," the effect was singularly appalling.

All of this was wrapped in a garish mantilla of Moral Superiority. One would NEVER dream of looking at Mrs. Guggenheim, with her children, her philandering husband who was traveling with his latest whore when he died, and her sudden widowhood, and apply the amusingly redundant term "Unfortunate wretch" in public. Although her lot in life was no different than that of many a Whitechapel or Lower East Side widow, but for a lot of money and the assumption of class based moral superiority.

Slumming was offensive on many different levels.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Even the Royals were not averse to slumming. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) visited a London slum incognito but well-protected, and pronounced that something must be done. But it wasn't.

His grandson King Edward VIII liked to knock on doors in the tenement slums of Glasgow. "May I come in?" "Mebbe. Who are youse?" "I am your King." "Is tha' a fact? Annie, put the kettle on for His Majesty. But we've no biscuits, ye ken?" Like his grandfather, the King pronounced that something must be done. But it wasn't.

More recently the current Prince of Wales outdid his forebears by visiting the largest slum in the world in Mumbai. He thought they were doing quite well in the circumstances.
 

Jim Kalafus

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These visits were appalling to those who lived in poor neighborhoods but who weren't *ahem* wretches. The *ahem* respectable poor did not enjoy being lumped in with *ahem* wretches, a mindset which became VERY evident in the U.S. a generation after the Titanic when "slum clearance" began and people seemed *ahem* quaintly and inexplicably attached to the small homes they had paid for themselves.

The Assumptiom Of Superiority often bubbled to the surface, like toxic waste or raw sewage, in the wake of disasters. Post General Slocum there was much... condescending... commentary on how miraculously clean German immigrants kept their apartments, even though ther apartments were in marginal neighborhoods. Post Triangle Fire, we learned that poor Eastern European Jews and poor Italians held their daughters to surprisingly high moral and ethical standards, despite living in poor neighborhoods. Post Titanic, survivors saw themselves described as being "From the better class of Irish" presumably based upon their being survivors AND clean-looking. And so it went....

People did not enjoy the Assumption Of Being Morally Flawed any more than you think they would. In her Civil War Diary, Southern Old Family scion Mary Chestnut writes- quite indignantly- of a humiliating incident in which she tried to check into a hotel sans husband, and everyone assumed she was an aging "fallen woman" and treated her as such. In that case Gender Assumptions... almost as toxically prevalent as Class Assumptions... came in to play. She was rich, her family dated back two centuries, she was educated and was on a confidante level of friendship with the wife of the president of the Confederacy. BUT she was 40-ish and traveling without a male protector (husband or brother) and so NATURALLY had to have been a prostitute. And was treated like one.

This mindset came to a head in NYC, ca 1875, when department store magnate A.T. Stewart built a lavish hotel for Respectable Working Women on lower Park Avenue in New York City. The project was gilded with the best of all intentions and failed miserably, partly because the rates were too high and partly because the rules were SO stringent and demeaning (based on an assumption that the women were "respectable" only because they had not yet been presented with a chance not to be) that the target audience of women would rather have taken their chances in boarding houses and common hotels than submit to living in what was basically a convent, but a convent that charged extortionate rent.

Almost as bad as the outright neglect, or the Superior/Inferior assumptions, was the treating of the poor as chess pieces. "Instead of improving the infrastructure of your existing neighborhood, we are condemning the entire district. True, many of you own your own homes and businesses here, and have multi-generational ties to the neighborhood but...well...you'll get over it!" The end results were generally large, lacked ANY services such as shops, were visually bleak, and only now are being replaced by small-scale development meant to foster a sense of neighborhood among the residents.
 

Jim Kalafus

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About gender assumptions. A sticking point with women, at least as far back as the 1860s, was that while *respectable* woman had to prove their respectability 24/7 (Letters of reference were a must if they moved town-to-town and wished to get an apartment or a job; there were special "women's parlors" to which women traveling unescorted could retire and not give a Respectable Hotel the appearance of being over- run with prostitutes) actual prostitutes were allowed to move about with impunity.

This, in turn, forced an odd social situation upon the respectable when they found themselves thrown in among the company of sluts. Friends and social acquaintances of Guggenheim and Baxter would have known exactly what Aubart and deVilliers were. Business acquaintances of "Mr. Thorne" would have known what "Mrs. Thorne" was. Yet it does not seem that the level of shunning one would have expected (given the fact that many rstaurants of the day would not have served Mrs. Astor herself if she came in single, in order to "keep up appearances,") came into play with these ladies and gentlemen. If you weren't a prostitute, you were treated as if you were. If you WERE a prostitute, the polite fiction that you weren't was maintained.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Even the Royals were not averse to slumming. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) visited a London slum incognito but well-protected, and pronounced that something must be done. But it wasn't.

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL!

http://www.sphere.com/world/article/prince-william-spends-a-night-on-a-london-street/19291413

Pause, briefly, to vomit.

That this sort of theatre-disguised-as-activism still exists would be sad, if it wasnt so angering.

This is 2009. "Making people AWARE of the plight of the homeless...." uhhhh...guess what... Dickens covered that ground during the reign of Victoria, thank you.

People are WELL aware.

And, if you have a secure bed to go to the following night; a bank account; a HOME, then you understand NOTHING about the plight of being homeless after spending a night on the street. You've merely been uncomfortable.

This is slumming, under a more benign name. If it makes you feel even slightly uncomfortable, Ben, then you'll have the best possible grasp on why first class forays in third class were discouraged.
 
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Yes, Jim. Prince William "enduring" a night in a cardboard box, getting down with the "homeless" and with his security team in attendance, is not very convincing. Maybe the homeless got better food, though? And they certainly got media coverage.

I don't like this, but I don't know what else William can do. He's not allowed to live a normal life, he has to pick "worthy" causes which always result in controversy and derision, and he's photographed wherever he goes. He's sent into the Forces, but not allowed to fight, as is his brother.

I don't know why he and his brother don't just suddenly say that they are renouncing their claim to the throne, and get on with being normal with their relatively normal girls. I suppose it's because they've been brought up to believe this is impossible. It is not, though, and they could pre-empt the inevitable decline of the monarchy by deciding to live their own lives.

I find the idea of being royal quite unimaginable, horrible, confining, and rather like a luxurious but debilitating house arrest. They're used to it, though. They can't get out of it themselves because of a weird sense of duty, so they need to be released them into the wild (society). Mind you, they'd be far less wealthy....
 

Jim Kalafus

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>I don't like this, but I don't know what else William can do.

Perhaps he can perform a real service by A)persuading other celebrities to abandon Activism-as-Theatre, by example, as B)he works quietly behind the scenes to effect change. Your Mr. Profumo did just that, due to the unwelcome nature of the publicity which surrounded him once upon a time, and ended up doing quite a bit of admirable work WITHOUT seeming like the publicity was of at least equal importance to the cause.

William, by nature of his family, is very well networked. Unlike his grandfather, who recently generated yet more bad publicity by making a must-have-been-blind joke about a tie being worn by someone who is actually blind, William is not saddled with a reptilian public image. The media likes him, and the general public- if not quite as enamored with him as the press coverage would suggest- seems to favor him over his father. So, he is in the POSITION to be quite effective as a reformer having, as he does, contacts in or access to financial, social, royal circles AND a good relationship with the media.

>I don't know why he and his brother don't just suddenly say that they are renouncing their claim to the throne, and get on with being normal with their relatively normal girls.

Look at what happened when Edward tried that with his Olive Oyl-lookalike divorcee. He and she were reduced to a life of leeching off of wealthy people who were willing to fund them. This funding came forth, regularly, from vulgarians who hoped to endow THEMSELVES with the "cachet" of association with an unemployed cadaverous looking man with no job skills and his pretensious American wife who looked like Olive Oyl. In the world of 2010, are there enough ambitious social climbers underfoot to assure William and Harry cradle-to-grave support if they were self-freed into the wild? SURE, they'd be popular party fixtures but.... sad to say.... the world is a changed place since Edward and Olive Oyl did their "Leech, while maintaining an air of cutting hauteur" act, and I dont think there are many people who'd wish to LIVE with them 24/7 or pay their bills. They'd have to find jobs... pay rent....marry a VERY wealthy old lady, feed her lots of undercooked chicken and hope for the best... it's a grim thought.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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There's no doubt that being "royal" seriously clogs the brain cells. Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne and kept a commoner without a title by his determined mother, and about #11 in line to the throne, married last summer. His Canadian bride renounced her Catholicism. Well, I can understand why anyone might suddenly decide to do that, but she did it so that he could maintain his distant position in the throne inheritance and to get the Queen's approval. Daft, or what? She probably thought it didn't matter much either way, but it'd have been better to shout at him "For God's sake, the other 10 aren't suddenly going to all die together! You've no chance, and don't even want it anyway!"

The family is very wealthy, and I think both William and Harry would be quite happy to live normal forces careers and take their chances on dying in Afghanistan (they're never allowed to train for anything else), slob around in nightclubs on leave, and do everything that other people in their 20s do etc., marry their ordinary girls eventually and let them have a career, have a family etc. They'd still be privileged, of course, but then so are lots of other people.

Their problem is that there is a large body of hangers-on who want the monarchy to continue to preserve their own jobs / position, and who will enslave anyone born into it for that reason. The Queen has done a sterling job over the last 57 years, but who would want anyone else to have to do it? I wouldn't. And poor old William, who is only in his twenties and rapidly losing his hair, is being touted as the next King, to leapfrog his father. What chance does he have? It's all so silly.

They're terrific charity figureheads, paparrazi-fodder, the unwilling guardians of tradition and religion, and African dictators like to be photographed with them. If I were one of them, I think I'd have quite a few problems with my role in the modern world.

If I were Harry, I'd tell Chelsey - or whatever her name is - that she should become the lawyer she almost is, and just carry on. And that I'd renounce my claim to the throne and be a normal soldier - so long as they took the target name "WALES" off my helmet. And that if I died ... I died.