Do You Live in a Bubble?
PBS NewsHour quiz "Do You Live in a Bubble?"
It posted back in March 2012 but this is the first I’ve seen it, perhaps demonstrating that I either live in a bubble or that my bubble doesn’t include the NewsHour. Regardless, the premise is interesting:
White America is coming apart at the seams.
That’s the thesis Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, puts forth in his new book, “Coming Apart.” In a piece soon to appear on the NewsHour, Murray argues that the super wealthy, super educated and super snobby live in so-called super-ZIPs: cloistered together, with little to no exposure to American culture at large.
Those people, he says, live in a social and cultural bubble. And so he includes this 25-question quiz, covering beer to politics to Avon to “The Big Bang Theory,” to help readers determine how thick their own bubble may be.
Whatever one’s view of Murray’s scholarship, and mine is mixed, I found the quiz interesting and quite accurate. Here’s Murray’s breakdown:
The higher your score, the thinner your bubble. The lower, the more insulated you might be from mainstream American culture.
48-99: A lifelong resident of a working-class neighborhood with average television and movie going habits. Typical: 77.
42-100: A first-generation middle-class person with working-class parents and average television and movie going habits. Typical: 66.
11-80: A first-generation upper-middle-class person with middle-class parents. Typical: 33.
0-43: A second-generation (or more) upper-middle-class person who has made a point of getting out a lot. Typical: 9.
0-20: A second-generation (or more) upper-middle-class person with the television and movie going habits of the upper middle class. Typical: 2.
I scored a 67, which is typical of “A first-generation middle-class person with working-class parents and average television and movie going habits” but also overlaps with “A first-generation upper-middle-class person with middle-class parents.” I’m in fact a first-generation upper-middle-class person with working class parents who became middle class with somewhat elite television and movie going habits.