Thursday, February 27, 2014

Poll: Is The Official Preppy Handbook Satire?


For some, The Official Preppy Handbook (1980) was a beginning, and others, it was an end.  For some, it was "of its time", for others, it was timeless.  It got some things very wrong and some things very right.  It was, not surprising given its collection of authors, a fish-eye lens zoomed in on prep school and college life, and getting increasingly abstract as it moved away to childhood and parenthood.  To most people, it was a very funny read.

One characterization of The Official Preppy Handbook is that of satire.  So today's poll question is simply that.

Is The Official Preppy Handbook Satire?
  • Yes.
  • No.

Final Results

IS THE OFFICIAL PREPPY HANDBOOK SATIRE?

Yes
  386 (72%)
No
  148 (27%)

Votes so far: 534
Poll closed 

79 comments:

  1. Sometimes, the best way to satirize things (especially those that take themselves seriously), is to describe them exactly as they are.

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  2. I played tennis forever, rowed on a crew for four years, drove and rode horses, sailed small boats, crewed on larger boats and still play golf. What in hell would I need an Official Preppy Handbook for?

    MGC

    P.S. As always, Muffy, I look forward to your father’s photographs. No handbook could replicate their authenticity.

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  3. I believe that Liza Birnbach likes preppies. I feel that "Handbook" is more like tribute to preppy culture and lifestyle.

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  4. Based on the below definition, I vote no. As I recall, it sure uses "humor, irony, exaggeration." But it does not venture into the realm of "criticiz[ing] people's stupidity or vices." That's too harsh.

    But this is not to say it should be taken seriously!

    "sat·ire
    noun
    1. the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
    synonyms: mockery, ridicule, derision, scorn, caricature"

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  5. No, the Official Preppy Handbook is definitely not a satire, but a piece of American social history.

    Satire, as I understand it, focuses on ridicule and exaggeration -- none of which is present in this book. And who exactly is nervously laughing? Was Tacitus writing a tongue-in-cheek satire on the ancient Germanic tribes in his “Germania,” or was he just describing the way things were? Same applies to Birnbach here.

    In five-thousand years (all of you will of course be dead, but I will still be making payments to the orthodontist) when future archaeologists comb through the wreckage and remains of what was once the mighty United States, they’ll be fascinated to discover such an insightful work on a part of its long defunct people and culture.

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  6. Muffy your father's photographs ARE the official preppy handbook. They are prefect examples of people getting on with their daily life, at a time when nobody knew what 'preppy' was.

    I must have read the Handbook years ago and paid little attention. I re-read it a few years ago, and it is often glaringly accurate with a satirist's eye. I suggest everybody read it just for a laugh and maybe some insight.

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  7. “Friendly satire may be compared to a fine lancet, which gently breathes a vein for health's sake.” ―Samuel Richardson.
    "The Official Preppy Handbook" is always a delight to open. I've always thought of it as a nimble writer's view of their perceptions gathered growing up in or around what has become to be considered as "preppy". In between the broad strokes drawn for mass consumption, the "Handbook's" finer lines really answered a few of my own questions and fond memories.

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  8. I remember seeing it in the "humor" section of Barnes and Noble way back when. They must have thought so.

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  9. My friend Ellis Duncan went to Hampden-Sydney and was pictured in the book as the 'good ol' boy'. I agree with Piece du jour that it was meant as a tribute. Believe it or not in my small rural town in Southwest Missouri I grew up with the same values, wearing the exact same clothes, driving the same cars with my house decorated the same way. Were we preppy? No. Just traditional. I love reading your comments as much as I do your articles.

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  10. As others have said, the book was a tribute in the form of very gentle satire.

    Looking through it now, the book is like one of those British society books about the "last season" before one of the World Wars: all that innocent joy before the fall, after the Preppy elite lost their control of the centers of economic and political influence, the prep schools were democratized, the elite colleges started looking closely at applicants' grades and test scores, the good stores all went out of business, and the only means by which old preppies could recreate their roseate joy was by buying used stuff on eBay.

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  11. Muffy,

    Great question. I say yes it is a satire, because it makes a caricature of preppies.

    It is however a great book and it is important to remember that comedy is not funny if it does not possess truth.

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  12. Yes. If you ask Lisa, she would confirm that it's satire. You should send her a tweet at the end of the poll, and reveal her answer.

    EMJ

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  13. I am no longer sure what "preppy" means. In my mind it is a bit like using the term "classy", both terms obviously very un-U and capable of causing everyone present to squirm. As I understand it The Preppy Handbook was meant to be humorous and i believe the biggest laugh came when the author realized it was being taken seriously. The author took what was a quintessentially American style and gave it a label thereby reducing it to the level of a "fashion" or "trend". It definitely was laughing at its subject. The concept was funny, I thought, but the book only"meh". The remake, however, verged on fantasy, was not amusing and (despite the attractive cover) I returned it as did my friends. I vote: satire

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  14. There are plenty of comical critical judgments in the book, at least I think so. The difficulty with irony is that there is often nothing to signal it's use... "genetically attached beer can," "one-third go to Montana to repair cars,""who needs LV or YSL when you can lay claim to a discreet EBW III?" "Philanthropist. Necessitates wealth. Garners admiration while allowing plenty of time for golf." Just thumb through the book, examples of ironic satirical humor are easy to find--unless you don't share the attitudes of the authorial voice.

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  15. I remember when the PH came out and being dumbfounded to find my life dissected in its pages. Dumbfounded for a number of reasons --- that my life was such a stereotype, and that it was all explained to "them" -- the great unwashed. At the end of the day I think it was both a satire, and also right on the mark. Reggie

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  16. yes, satire. Lighthearted satire.

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  17. Had I know known or become related to many "real" preppies, I wouldn't have had a clue. But so many things in the book jumped off the page when I looked around (30 years ago) at the people I was associating with at the time. But time doesn't stand still and some things have passed on, just as they always have. The book is almost nostalgia now.

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  18. Here's another thought on the subject: the preppie handbook can be both satirical and factual but what do you think of the Ralph Lauren magazine advertisements? Of course it's meant to be taken seriously but the reality is, it's pure fantasy--sort of--just to sell clothes.

    I remember the first time we saw the Official Preppie Handbook. Someone was reading from it as we munched our doughnuts and sipped our coffee in the parish hall after church (high church, of course). This was just up the street from the White House and the person reading passages from the book was a lobbyist. Everyone was laughing at the things in the book but the men all checked their jackets to make sure they had the correct number of buttons. Seriously.

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  19. I agree with Reggie Darling, it's definitely both.

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  20. Having studied at a prep school (albeit one whose name was misspelled in the OPH), I will take a rigorous view on the division among literary forms. I think the principal purpose of the authors was humor rather than ridicule, so I voted no. There's a copy of OPH at the DC J. Press for the perusal of customers.

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  21. I have two copies of the book: one is satire but the other is not. I enjoy them equally.



    An unwitting bohemian,
    w.g.

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  22. The tone of the Official Preppy Handbook is light satire. I remember when it was first published, and many people in Northwestern Connecticut had an adverse reaction to it. It focused attention on clothing & lifestyle that we had taken for granted, and people started to say things like "Oh, you're such a preppy," and created a league of "wannabes" and also tourists who actually came into your yard to ask who did your gardening, until it became somewhat uncomfortable...you didn't want to be pointed out as "preppy."

    I purchased a light blue Renault sedan just so people wouldn't lump me in with the despised "preppies." Our family usually drove Saabs & Volvos. I would say OPH was intended to be gently satirical, and that the depiction of the lifestyle was accurate and still is to a degree.

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  23. You're kidding! I had three Renaults because I liked Renaults (my French period). I also had two Rover sedans and a Land-Rover (my English period). But when I got married, I settled down and we've had Volvos ever since (except a 195,000 mile flirtation with Ford).

    I never had to worry about being mistaken for a preppie but I know what it's like to be visiting with relatives (at their house) and being interrupted by people wanting to see where such-and-such general from the Civil War lived. People do ask if I'm related to a certain baseball player but I'm not.

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  24. I still crack up when I read the "Etiquette in Connecticut" bit, about being rear-ended on the Turnpike and discovering the guy crewed on someone's boat. I always took it for _granted_ you always know someone who knows anyone if not everyone! ; )

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  25. "The Preppy Handbook" changed my life. I was 16 when the book came out. I did not go to private school, and my formative years were the 70s. I confess I owned more than one velour pull-over. Sure there were silly things in the book. But it taught me the where and why to buy certain garments. I was frankly clueless, and the book was an enormous help to me! I would call it an homage to the "prep".

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  26. It is satire, more specifically self-satire. Thing is you have to be in on it to get the joke. Otherwise it appears to be a real how to manual. If you recognized your college room in the description you got the joke, if you didn't you saw it as a goal. Not all satire has to be cutting, and I always had the feeling that it was written with a sense of instant nostalgia.

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  27. Of course it's a satire! The best satire is painstakingly reported and accurate, with just a touch of the absurd. And one of the best satirist's tools is exposing the depths running below still waters, which The Official Preppy Handbook does beautifully, so successfully in part because it recognizes that effortlessness is at least partly a fabrication. And there's nothing funnier than exposing hidden deliberateness.

    Of course, like many trenchant social criticisms, it benefits from the insider/outsider perspective of its author--a Jewish person who attended prep school before that became practically an admissions requirement. The insider can accurately report on the scene and has credibility because she is is in it, while the outsider develops heightened skills of observation honed to allow her to fit in, and therefore notices things others might not--and finds humor where true insiders don't.

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  28. "Many a Truth is told in jest"_William Shakespeare

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  29. On it getting things right and other things wrong. I think this is because of two things. 1) And this is the lesser reason; it was satire. And to point out some absurdities the work had to make errors that the in-the-know reader would see. 2) And this is a point I have made before here and I think is a slightly headier reason for the work missing the mark to some readers; prep is different to different people. (Indeed growing up I would rarely have even heard the word prep itself. I feel silly using it as anything other than a noun even now.) Prep exists outside of New England (despite the regions thoughts on the subject). It exists in NY and Philadelphia and way out in California too. Each of the schools in these regions have a slightly different affect. Outside of school I would also suggest that there are small to large differences in regional prep-itude. Specifically because of what I tend to think of as city prep and town prep. The difference between say NY and Concord for example, or say Philadelphia and Newport. Geographic location might make subtle differences seem glaring. Clothes and customs would be different, slightly. I always remember the list of preppy handbook colleges and how sprawling the list seemed. I think the two reasons explain the college list. Because of reason 2 the list goes across the US (and offers a wide variety of prep styles to choose from), and because of reason one omits certain schools because we, the reader, in our in-the-know wisdom already know the real answers.

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  30. I had not seen this book in years, but when I saw the photo on your post the first thought that came to mind as I cracked up laughing was: "Look Muffy, a book about you."

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  31. Honestly, I suppose definitions change from misuse. Are we confusing Parody with satire?? Satire, true satire, P.G. Wodehouse, Benchley, or Thurber essays, well. Read some satire before deciding what satire is, for heavens sake. The Preppy Handbook was a moneymaker and early retirement for the author.

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  32. Anon 10:44 very interesting comment.

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  33. Parody and satire are not mutually exclusive. Parody primarily refers to the form (e.g., The Official Preppy Handbook could be considered a parody of a field guide or anthropological text if it is organized and presented in a way that imitates those forms) and satire primarily the ideas and content.

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  34. If it was "satire," it certainly must have been stinging satire to be so attentively debated 34 years after publication.

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  35. …and G.R. Stokes for the win. Damn, I wish I had said that.

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  36. It's tongue-in-cheek. Is that the same thing as satire? It's funny, with an element of truth, but not absolute truth. None of us fall absolutely into the parameters set by the book, obviously. It would be analogous to saying that all Jews are money hungry, all Chinese good at math or all Blacks good dancers.

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  37. It's satire, but truthful. And always a good read. My favorite section is on the Prep dog. LOL Couldn't be more true. My best friend and I still have our copies. And we still laugh. --Holly in PA

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  38. @HHH…and that all gay men are fabulous, when in fact many are not, remotely.

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  39. I think that is both satire and spot on.

    The illustrations provided many people with very good guidelines on how to dress "preppy" (for those who did not know).

    For those of us who did, it was something of a reinforcement, while still being a tongue in cheek swipe at the lifestyle and mores of prepdom.

    I was in the service at the time and knew many people, both officer and enlisted who just did NOT know how to dress in civilian attire. Several of my colleagues, who had noted how I dressed out of uniform asked me where and how I learned to dress the way I did (i.e. Preppy) and how could they do the same?

    With no tongue in cheek, I suggested they buy TOPH and read it cover to cover, try not to be critical or laugh too loudly to themselves and at the end, start hitting certain stores from which to purchase their new wardrobes.

    I was a tad surprised that several of these same officers followed my advice and I pointed out to them that those who had purchased better quality clothing from BB, LL Bean, J Press, et al would pay more upfront, but replace their clothing less frequently. That seemed to help.

    Remember though, that TOPH came out in 1980 when far more of our clothing was still MADE IN THE USA than is the case today.

    Still, 34 years on, I maintain that TOPH is still a valuable resource if one needs ideas or suggestions for what to where and when.

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  40. It's preposterous, of course

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  41. Dear Muffy:

    My father's opinion was that the OPH was quite silly; my mother on the other hand felt its publication was an unforgivable social gaffe.

    I haven't read it, so therefore I must retain any and all opinions.

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  42. I recall reading it when it was published mostly because it was loosely about "us" although on record I'm a year older and I only have one friend called Trip out of all the Trips I know and the dog was an Irish Setter not a Golden. But Lisa went to Brown so of course it's satire.

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  43. Lisa Birnbach once described the book as "affectionate satire," and I think she nailed it.

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  44. I honestly thought everyone was like that.

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  45. When the OPH came out my friends and I spurned it – as MGC said in an early comment, "What in hell would I need an Official Preppy Handbook for?" Then a year or so after it came out I entered graduate school and my roommate gave me a copy for my birthday. I read it and had the same reaction as Reggie Darling – I could not believe how spot-on accurate the book was, down to the very finest details. Was it possible that we were all such "types" that we could be so perfectly described?

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  46. I would say it's best thought of as good natured satire but then I think that's really describing parody.

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  47. At the time of publication, the book provided those of us who were unfortunate enough not to have grown up in the world it described with a guide to dressing in a civilized manner.

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  48. I have an old, brilliant and terribly funny friend who lives in a house on the National Historic Register that has been in his family for generations. It’s filled with museum quality American furniture, well-worn orientals covered in dog hair, and a portrait of his great-grandfather painted by Winslow Homer. As he put it, ‘if the market crashes, there’s always the painting.’

    He attended a boarding school in Massachusetts and speaks with the North Shore version of a Locust Valley lockjaw, learned no doubt at his mother’s knee. He has always driven Saabs, Volvos and Peugeots and still pays his Social Register dues every year. And yet……

    My friend wears hand-hammered leather hats made by an ancient Rockport hippy, weird double breasted fuzzy sweaters knitted by yak herding women, clunky sandals from East-Block countries, and extra-thick wale corduroy pants that only a French mime would wear in public. Sometimes my friend even sports a beret (I can barely type the word without my hands shaking).

    Perhaps the Official Preppy Handbook was meant for him.

    MGC

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  49. If you combine 2 parts Paul Fussell with 1 part OPH and 2 parts Marlin Perkins, you get Richard Conniff's _The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide_. Positively hilarious, he nails a wider variety of types, and tells you more than you ever knew about all the ways in which people resemble bonobos.

    If you adore the OPH, this will tickle your funny bone the same way.

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  50. To those born into wealth and privilege, the book was most likely a satirical hoot. To the rest of us 99 percenters it was an insider's take on the lives of those careless yet influential people that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nelson Aldrich wrote so eloquently about. Make no mistake, just because you dress and act like a preppy, you're not in Muffy's club unless you're one of them.

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  51. Sailboats wing-on-wing are always a favorite of mine (John Rousmaniere would be jealous).

    On topic, at my grad school a couple of friends and I went to hear Lisa Birnbach speak a few years after publication of TOPH. The university we were at had a fairly large Greek contingent- all of whom showed up decked meticulously According To The Book. One of my friends was from Cranbrook, the other Rosemary Hall, and I brought the Californian view from my own school. We had a grand time cracking up at Ms. Birnbaum's remarks pointedly directed at the good Greek brothers/sisters. If only they themselves had understood how mercilessly she was pillorying them....

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  52. I answered 'yes' on the poll, but I also realize that in every gallon of humor there's a pint of truth...and TPH has a far higher concentration than that.

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  53. I think this blog is the official preppy handbook. Frankly, it presents the prep set in a much more flattering way.

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  54. I'm enjoying reading through the comments, and was just thinking that it is too bad the second book did not measure up. I wonder what the official preppy handbook would look like if it were written today?

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  55. A friend gave me the OPH when first published with the note 'this is your life'. As I read through it, I realized she was right! Now 34 years later, not much has changed . . .

    I do prefer TDP though!

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  56. Coming from Mexico to attend Vanderbilt (not mentioned in TOPH), it helped me understand a certain percentage of my peers in a more anthropological sense. It helped me understand their value set, mannerisms and aesthetics different than Sloane Rangers in the UK, BCBG in Franco-phone countries and Gente Bien/Fresas/Mirreys in my Nation. In the end, I enjoyed its humour, and realized that like with all generalizations, it has a certain degree of fault. Regards

    Oscar Corrales

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  57. I would agree that it is both. I would bet that many of you have seen the reprint of the article cited below from the Toledo Blade that came out just weeks before the release of the OPH. I particularly love the section entitled "Parameters of the Preppy Life-Style." IMHO, that section of the article perfectly captures the spirit of the preppy life-style, even though some of the references are now dated.

    http://theivyleaguelook.blogspot.com/2009/09/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know.html

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  58. The link that I cited did not work. Here is the article from another site:

    http://this-is-prep-that-is-not.tumblr.com/post/31267992933/everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-prep-but

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  59. My father is a fairly stoic, well-dressed man, now in his mid 70s. He graduated from a top-of-the-list, private university when it was still all male. In the 80s, when I was young, I remember my mother getting the book from the library for him. He laughed so hard he cried.

    He said for most people it would be satire but for him it was just so close to the truth.

    Similarly, I've heard famous musicians say that "Spinal Tap" made them cry because it too accurately described the "you wouldn't believe it if I told you" situations they found themselves in when they were struggling artists.

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  60. "Everything I write has a precedent in truth." ~~ Ian Fleming

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  61. The only bit of satire in the book is the title. Why would a person need a handbook to be "preppy" that is the irony .If it is a lifestyle one grows up within - and it comes natural to them. This is the way it has been done for generations in the family. Things are handed down. That is the true irony one would not buy the book it would be handed down but since the book never existed thus not being handed down to the generations of families maintaining the culture/habits of New England Old money because it was a sensibility. What one needs now is a Field Guide to Ralph Lauren. Where the outlet malls are, what color s the current fashion , what size logo is appropriate to a function etc.

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  62. @TJK

    I enjoyed your comment, and it brought back a memory of how one can identify very personally with experiences that are available to us all..

    When my husband and I were newly engaged in 1990, we invited my parents and his to see the play "Love Letters" with us. I think we all enjoyed the play, but my husband's father later wondered why. He felt that if one didn't attend the schools referenced in the play, and didn't have the same East Coast upbringing, one could not appreciate the nuances of the play.

    I didn't agree with him at the time, feeling that the relationship between the two actors was universal, but I never forgot his remarks, which were made with utter sincerity. - MH

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  63. Don't know; never read it.

    MGC: Would love to know where your friend found weird fuzzy sweaters knitted by yak herding women. I suspect they (the sweaters, not the women) are older than the hills and are only available in that part of the world?

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  64. @Sara 1:02 PM , you’re right, older than the hills. My friend brought them back from a grand tour in the early 1970’s (can’t remember where, but it included parts of Asia). They were really ugly, died in shades of mustard and burnt umber, with crude hand-made buttons. I once referred to them as trophy pelts, which made him chuckle.

    He has always marched to a different drummer and has never felt the need to prove anything to anybody; in other words, comfortable in his own skin. His wife, who grew up in an old New England family and was raised as a diplomatic brat, is quite like him, completely unpretentious. That’s what makes them so delightful.

    MGC

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  65. Regarding defining "prep" to include oneself,

    I feel that none of us would be here if we did not somehow genuinely relate to the lifestyle in some serious manner.

    Let us not forget that the "Ivy League Look" swept America throughout the late 50s and early 60s, long before TOPH could popularize its more youthful interpretation--prep.

    Those who adopted the look in the 1950s have since passed it down three generations. These people may not be orthodox, but they are not necessarily faking it, either.

    I feel this is often the case with the South.

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  66. Before closing this topic, please clarify a bit of history for me as my memory of the times is admittedly cloudy. The book was published in 1980 when we had a glut of the "handbook" genre thrown at us, right? It appeared after the sartorially disastrous decade of the 70s (as well as a financially and politically troublesome time) which contributed to the reassurance of simpler times and tastes, right? Perhaps my memory is failing....feel free to correct it. Cheers ;)

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  67. The book was hilarious back then... poking fun at everyone and at one's self. Love the photos. Number three man is late.

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  68. Diversity is why I love The Daily Prep community. No matter if you are Prep, Trad, Yuppie, WASP or whatever else you might consider yourself to be, have money, have no money, come from a legacy background or not etc., I think we all come here for the same reason. We appreciate the content the Aldrichs share so generously with us and we sense its Authenticity and how much Thought and Love goes into each post. And in the process of interacting with each other we learn a great deal about the lives and realities of others and our own.
    Like the saying by Laozi says: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”

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  69. Knowing whether "The Official Preppy Handbook" is satire or not is a good litmus test of a true prep versus a wannabe. Unfortunately, wannabes adopted it as a "how-to" manual, which I think was the beginnings of the ersatz prep style. The popped collar comes to mind as an immediate by-product of Lisa's book. Lisa alludes to popped collars on polo shirts; by the mid-80s, wannabes were popping the collars on every shirt and jacket possible. So, while the "Handbook" as satire is a classic, the "Handbook" as how-to manual sparked an expansion of preppy style to designers and consumers who just didn't "get it."

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  70. Satire or not, and the vote here seems to be landing more heavily that it is satire, I have often wondered why Lisa Birnbach and her fellow authors did not cajole and or otherwise convince someone to re-print the original (despite the publication of the sequel.

    Again separating the tongue in cheek nature of the text, I personally believe many of the illustrations first used back in 1980 are as relevant today as they were when the book was first released.

    I remember that when the book came it, it did spawn a new level of interest in the culture and style of prepdom and after the fashion excesses of the disco era, the return to a more classic and classy style of dress was appreciated by many.

    If one is a practical person, non-trendy styles that are classic in nature and of better quality manufacture will almost always serve the owner of these items more faithfully than trendy styles will.

    The fact that Muffy has posted so many pictures with examples of various items purchased, in many cases, 20+ and then some years ago would seem to bear this out.

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  71. Max, your comment reminded me of a lecture I attended in school during which the professor told a story of the time he climbed to the top of a mountain where there was a Buddhist(?) temple and inside there was an inscription that revealed the secret to a happy life. At the end of the story, he told us the inscription read that the secret to a happy life is to know how much is enough. Well, I was more than a little disappointed at this revelation at the time, but the older I get, the more I understand it to be true.

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  72. Something the Official Preppy Handbook illustrates in its own way is how little we sometimes know about other people. True, it was satire and very well written, but the humor is only apparent (and in almost every line, too) if you really know something about the subculture, in this case, the so-called preppy subculture. It isn't that narrow and confined and overlaps with other subcultures, such as fraternity-sorority college circles and Ivy League. It goes without saying that preppie types may know as little about other people as others know about them. Sometimes I even wonder if people exaggerate their social characteristics when they imagine they're being examined.

    I wonder if Vanderbilt got passed over for inclusion in the original book because it's in Nashville, much better known for country music and the Grand Ole Opry--but also the location of a reproduction of the Parthenon, complete with Athena, but I'm sure it was an oversight.

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  73. Anonymous at 957: Brilliant response.

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  74. Anon February 28, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    There are many similar clubs you can join besides the one you mention. While what you say is true, do what you naturally enjoy. People don't seem to say this much around here but there are different arenas for this thing. Let me illustrate, Deerfield is (technically) hard to get into; Trinity-Pawling is not (particularly) hard to get into. Both of these schools are prep schools that board. There are also day schools that count too. Moreover, there are more "local" prep schools too. Plus anything with the words Friends or Military in it are prep schools too. They will all offer different types of experiences and entries into different clubs as it were. IF you want to talk levels boarding is better than day, schools with historical ties to the ivy league is better than local. If you went to a friends or military school some might think you had a bit of sorting out to do. But any of them could end up meaning you simply must attend the charity ball or whatever happens in your region.

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  75. The novel, "Seating Arrangements," is a hilarious sendup of preppiedom - "Where did he prep?" the main character actually asks - that is probably more effective than the OPH.

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  76. FERD! Where are you???
    Help us ALL set the record straight!

    My gripe: Some people took this book *way* too seriously.

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  77. I may have taken it more seriously than college but I didn't attend an Ivy League school. I do believe the preppie handbook still may have been valuable to me, more so than Amy or Emily.

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  78. Overall, this has proved to be a great respite from studying, but- by golly, I'm left wishing that Ferd would comment on this (followed by further clarification from Greenfield, of course)..

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