Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, October 24, 2022

"Prep and old money WASP are interchangeable from my perspective" - A Comment from Yesterday

 

A comment from yesterday, on cars:

Fairfield county native though we spent summers in Cape Ann on the North Shore of MA growing up. My father gave me his old 7 when I turned 16, I bought a Z4 in college, moved to a 5 series when I made VP and have been trading in new 7’s ever since it died. Jeep GC for the nanny and extra trips; recently

Traded in for an F-150 so we can trailer horses to and fro. My wife went from Wrangler to Mini Cooper to Volvo XC90 when the kids showed up - now on her 3rd Suburban. Both boarding school, DC for College. Four kids and most parents (moms) of our ilk drive Suburbans, Land Cruisers, X5s or GLs - that’s the view at Country Day car line. Prep and old money WASP are interchangeable from my perspective. Who the heck knows how they are trying to redefine prep in this day and age. No one on tv looks like us any more - so we watch old school content. Safety, prosperity and culture thrives in the bubble. And BTW Subaru is NOT prep nor (on the other extreme) is anything a rapper or professional sports player would drive. Good luck. 

- Comment left on What Are the Best New Cars (Make and Model) Today?

92 comments:

  1. Subaru is prep in my opinion. Prep encompasses people from both sides of the aisle. Those who lean left can be found in Subarus. Those who lean right more likely Suburbans. Though now days I think un-registering and camping out in the middle is the best idea, in which case maybe a Land Cruiser. If you think F150’s are prep you are way off base. I am also a Fairfield County native.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh gosh, thanks God we didn't go for a new Forester...

      Delete
    2. I've known many a WASP who own trucks for utility use. I agree that it wouldn't be a daily driver but to own one would be for, as OP put it: "hauling the horses", very prep/wasp---in my opinion.

      Delete
  2. Subarus, absolutely. I was a bit late to the party but so glad I’m here. Love my Outback wagon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Insightful original post, here is my rebuttal. Seems an attempt to try and justify and/or fit in hence the “look at me” attitude. We live on the south shore of Massachusetts in a wealthy town. If you drive along the Main Street with mansions you see many homes with Subaru outbacks, VW wagons, Volvos and Teslas. Drive thru Beacon Hill you see the same. Nothing showy just practical/pragmatic. Real money does not show it. When I went to boarding school in 80s Andover old cars dropped off shaggy boys and corduroy wearing girls. Same at 90s Harvard, same at 20s Dartmouth for my twins. Old confidence/money does not wear it or drive it. :)

      Delete
    2. We are still delighted with the decision to trade out a seven series BMW for 2010 Subaru Forrester 13 years ago prior to the birth of our daughter. Still going strong (has had regular maintenance), and we anticipate that our daughter will continue to drive it when the time comes.

      Delete
    3. Seconding "real money does not show it."

      Delete
  3. One, they are paid for & reliable. Roll with 240 Wagon & Land Cruiser. Of course my bride , drives a A 7 sedan.not a Mom car according to her.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The quotation seems much more prep than WASPy old money.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There are a lot of men that read this blog. Do you know what your readers demographics are?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Subarus are northern prep, absolutely, but not southern prep. There is a distinct difference. Subarus are also old money WASP, but northern old money WASP. Again, once you hit Virginia, the culture changes. What you describe sounds more southern, especially with the emphasis on Suburbans and then the F1-50. True WASPy Yankee stock values practicality and utility above all else, and Subaru has fit that bill for years now, especially since Volvo has morphed into something sleeker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's more complicated than that. I live in Northern Virginia, but the real Virginia doesn't begin until you pass Clark Brothers gun shop on Rt. 29 on the way to Charlottesville. I'm less certain about other directions but travelling on the interstates tends to override the traditional boundaries and, anyway, they keep changing. In the Carolinas, Virginia is in the North. Incidentally, my son-in-law drives a Subaru Forester.

      Delete
    2. From Anonymous at 4:55: "True WASPy Yankee stock values practicality and utility above all else, and Subaru has fit that bill for years now, especially since Volvo has morphed into something sleeker."

      I've wondered how an Outback compares to an old Volvo 200-series, which I take as the quintessential wagon.

      Per the NADA, in 1993 a base Volvo 240 wagon had a retail price of $22,800. That's 161% of a base Honda Accord ($14,300) the same year.

      In 2022, a base Volvo V60 wagon is $48,800. Which is $184% of a base Honda Accord this year ($26,520).

      So, yeah, the Volvo has probably moved upmarket relative to other cars made over the same period of time.

      Another way to think of it is that the old 240 wagon mentioned above would cost $46,832 in today's dollars, which isn't that far off what a V60 goes for today.

      I do think the Outback wagon is a better match for the 240's utilitarian attitude, but it's cheaper than the 240 ever was.

      Delete
    3. I appreciate this comment. I've been perplexed by the focus by so many on WASP culture somehow being one of ostentatious displays of wealth when in my experience it's the grandmother, or mother, or, ahem...self and husband, wearing decades old clothing and driving even older cars because, "why, this coat is just fine!" and "nothing wrong that car that an oil change won't fix." Shabby chic ain't got nothing on old school WASP.

      Delete
    4. @Heidi, I completely agree. Whenever I see someone wearing a tattered Barbour, frayed khakis, and loafers that have seen better days, I think "this person may be worth knowing."

      Delete
    5. WASP's hang on to their vehicles for decades and the many reason is frugality. An old Ford Country Squire wagon was paid off eons ago, so you just have the upkeep and the minimal taxes each year. This goes for any of the old prep cars: Volvos, Peugot, Scout, Jeep, etc. If you were a smart WASP, you would've had your car coated in Ziebart so they didn't rust out. Again, just my opinion.

      Delete
  7. Do you have your cake and eat it too, if you’re waiting in line at Country Day in your F-150?

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Middleburg ,Upperville , and Warrenton hunt country is full of Subaru outback’s. Our next-door neighbor has lived on his family‘s farm of 350 years. He drives a silver Subaru outback with a racehorse hood ornament. Just one example of dozens of people. Impossible to be older school or older money.
    The neighbor on the other side as a land rover and a Bentley convertible. Sold his tech company for 2 1/2 billion dollars 10 years ago. Just not quite right

    ReplyDelete
  9. It would be interesting to hear from someone who studies human behavior. I imagine that there are many similarities between WASP old money and the traditional prep. The upper and upper-middle class could likely be divided into myriad groups including northern WASPs, southern WASPs, northern traditionalists (preps) and southern traditionalists. I could see similarities in attire and recreational pursuits but variations in preferred schools, careers, vacations, cuisine and cars. I personally view Virginia as Mid-Atlantic with part of the state leaning towards northern traditions and the rest toward southern traditions. As others have mentioned the Subaru Outback today is what Volvo used to be for many traditional folks, only without the cachet of the old 240 Volvo.
    -JM, VA

    ReplyDelete
  10. There still exists in Virginia the Paul Mellon wasp type. They were and are an interesting mix or New England and Virginia. Here as in other areas the percentage of these is dwindling.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I live in Washington and have friends who are heavily involved in the horse world in Middleburg and Upperville, as well as in Baltimore County, and I agree you see plenty of Subarus amongst the truly old old money wasp folks, and Volkwagon station wagons. I also spend a lot of time in Thomasville, Georgia, the quail hunting capital of the country, and amongst my friends- all boarding school educated old money folks, with historic in town houses, and plantations in the country, almost all have a Subaru Outback. How else can you maneuver the dirt and gravel drives in the country? Anyone who drives a Mercedes or BMW suv is identified as a yuppie, with no place in the country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So very happy to see my adopted hometown of Thomasville, GA mentioned here. I lived there for twenty years and go back every change I get. Thomasville and my friends there truly are classics!

      Delete
  12. Haven't like the Subarus (Foresters) since the 2005 model. They've steadily reduced the window size (and visibility) and added too many electronic geegaws. Also, they've dropped the Forester's manual shift option in 2022, which is a deal-breaker for us. We've likely bought our last Subie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed -- I tried a new Subaru a few years ago and the visibility was terrible. I remain pleased with my 2004 model. Call me old fashioned, but I do prefer knobs and dials to having to navigate a touchscreen for everything. Alas, I think the trends of poor visibility (gargantuan C pillars) and touchscreens are here to stay. I'll have to buy an electric someday, which is great by me, but I will miss the no-nonsense controls that cars used to have. I spend enough of my days looking at screens, and in cars, they just seem unsafe.

      Delete
    2. @Nevada — If I had the power to do so, I'd ban touch screens on dashboards. To use them you have to take your eyes off the road, which is never a good idea.

      Dashboard controls should use only sliders, knobs, and switches, each with a unique shape easily distinguished by touch alone. And if some action can't be done with these controls, it has no place on the dash.

      Delete
  13. The comment, to me, reflects oblivious consumerism, not a prep mindset. Preppy means understated quality and reliability, not ‘look at me’ vehicles. BMW 3 series (especially E46), not 7 series, Tahoe or Grand Cherokee but definitely not a Suburban or F150. The Chevy Suburban is not only the #1 fleet car purchased by the US government, it’s also the only vehicle that has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - along with many athletes and rappers. Whatever that is, it’s not prep.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Subaru Forster AND a Suburban, both bought used. Fourth generation NE boarding school and Ivies.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Car choice is comedic these days. A pretty wealthy guy I knew drove a very generic GM station wagon for ages, living in the Northern NJ suburbs and working in the city. It was great for hauling kids, groceries, or golf clubs. My friends in Boston or Annapolis drive dinky cars because the streets are narrow and on street parking is so limited. On the west coast where the sand and chemicals used to treat icy roads are not needed, the fun car rules, lots of Porsches and ragtops. In Texas very large SUVs or trucks, complete with rhino (RINO?) guards, are necessary to provide a suitably large air conditioned environment for family and friends and intimidate me in my Mini. Plus they support the energy industry! Seriously, drive what meets your needs and your local conditions. Drive it long enough and it will eventually take on a personality, good or bad.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I know someone who works at Mercedes and he told me their wealthiest customers, the ones who come in and pay cash without blinking, as oppose to someone who pays under a corporate lease, buy E-Wagons. They may have other, flashier, cars, but they always have an E-Wagon. They drive them for 10 or 12 years then pass them on to a lucky relative and buy another one. He says he's sold many E-Wagons to the same families over and over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to have one and could actually pay cash. But when it came time to replace my V-40 (started giving trouble at 140,000), my wife said, "You're not getting a Mercedes and please don't get a pickup truck." I've mentioned that before. I got a Ford Escape. Paid cash. Easiest car to drive that I've ever had, if not exactly the most interesting.

      There are of course people who are car enthusiasts but there are really very few cars these days that would interest a real car enthusiast, at least not in my opinion. There are a couple of older Porsches stashed in garages in the neighborhood and one fellow a couple of blocks up the street has been working on a Shelby something or other. No Rovers, though.

      Delete
    2. A mechanic friend of mine was selling a client's E-500 wagon on consignment, and I gave it real consideration: fair price; low miles; a v8 motor making 300hp; a real wolf in sheep's clothing; I had visions of doing burnouts in the carpool line; until he told me that even oil changes (not to mention everything else) would be about 3x more expensive than what I was used to. I still dream about that car, though ...

      Delete
    3. I had a used E-500 wagon awhile ago. It was a fantastic car-luxurious, loved the feeling of security for the family, and very fun to drive. Two of the kids learned to drive with it, which was both good and bad. It was good for the safety, but bad because of the V8. But unfortunately you are so right about the high maintenance cost. We ended up with a Honda Pilot, which has a lot of room and a third row, but is not as much fun to drive. I also still dream about that wagon, though!!! Maybe some day.........

      Delete
  17. I'm not sure where on Cape Ann the original commenter spent summers, but here on my part of the north shore, I have to play Outback roulette in parking lots. I usually get the right one by the second try.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I suspect that if you have to think about this sort of thing and hash it out all the time, you don't really get it and are doing something wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My husband and I have a particular type of lifestyle, so our vehicle choices correlate. We are serious boaters, so to tow our 6,000 pound boat up around the northeast lakes and the coast, we need our F-150. This not only hauls the boat, but all our gear and our dogs. Can't see doing this with a Subaru. For local life, our luxury sedan serves us very well. --Holly in PA

    ReplyDelete
  20. You have many choices in the automotive market. When you spend more than $40k it’s not about transportation.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Surprising that this is a topic for serious conversation, vs the merits of Laphroaig over Talisker. Now there's conversation in which to engage! Prost!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ardbeg or Lagavulin?

      Delete
    2. I concur. Slainte Mhath!

      Delete
    3. Let’s hope this will be Muffy’s next topic of debate. (This blog is enjoyable but I’m not sure it’s meant to be too serious.)

      Delete
    4. $.02 = Edradour aged in a sherry cask. Can't find it in my neck of the woods; it was a sad day when that warm, bright bottle of goodness was finally emptied.

      Delete
  22. Just buy what you like, don't worry about what "message" it sends. And as far as flashy things, no one is impressed. Those who don't have as much as you will see you as arrogant and inconsiderate. While those who have more than you will see you as a pretentious try-hard. BTW - Honda CRV, partly on the advice of my mechanic who grumbled "Just get a Honda".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE my Honda CRV! :)

      Delete
    2. I love my Honda CRV too. It's a 2009 with only 48,000 miles, but as my mechanic said yesterday, "Yeah, the mileage is really low, but old age crept up on it," so I have to have a $3K new exhaust system installed on it. But I like this trusty car because its exterior design is more aesthetically pleasing, plus, as someone else here mentioned, it's free from all those overcomplicated electronic gewgaws.

      Delete
    3. Please, “just get a Honda.” Most good mechanics will tell you. A Honda is the easiest car to repair.

      Delete
    4. I loved my CR-V as well. It was a 1998 and died just last year. What a dame she was. Ended up getting a Honda Fit am liking it almost as much.

      Delete
    5. Seems there is somewhat of a CRV fan base among visitors to this site. Makes sense - they are unpretentious, practical, high quality, and reasonably priced. Very much in line with the general culture here, I would say.

      Delete
  23. Subaru Outbacks have conquered snowy New England roads since the 90s. Preps need to get to the slopes. After the company began using redesigned engines that largely eliminated head gasket problems that plagued the vehicles in the past, and the Outback evolved into more luxurious trim levels, I think there is an argument that they are as preppy as the beloved Volvo wagons of yore. Volvo today is prep by rep, but they break down too often. Waiting to get towed is definitely not preppy.

    The Ford F150 is a very practical vehicle for towing things, but (my opinion) true preppies tow things with Toyota Land Cruisers and Land Rovers.

    ReplyDelete
  24. “Safety, prosperity and culture thrives in the bubble.” Fortunate are those for whom safety translates into a congestion free locale - that still maintains cultural standards. The Litchfield Hills, Vermont’s “Golden Triangle,” here and there on the Maine coast, and much of The Berkshires (aka “nuts and berry land”) still manage to fit the bill. Many elsewhere, alas, are forced to clock watch when errands are at hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are on the money. Yes, we moved almost a decade ago to a low population area. It is safe. It is quiet. There are far fewer “retail options.” But who cares? When we want to go someplace we don’t rush out the door to “beat the traffic.” Nor do we wait around an hour “til traffic lets up.” We simply get in the car and we go. Admittedly a low retail option life style is not for everyone. Thank goodness.

      Delete
  25. Who the heck worries about the "message" their car sends? If you're in THAT space, chances are you're a corporate striver or trying to be something you're not. Use what works! I drove a Saab 900 Turbo for 14 years, and the much-beloved beast was higher maintenance than a hunter on the "A" circuit! It died gloriously on a dark and stormy morning on the Merritt Parkway, hit the boost and the turbo and head gasket went together; looked a lot like the Challenger disaster to the traffic behind . . .

    As I must and do haul horses, these days the working platform is a Toyota Tundra--4WD, this thing'll tow stumps out of the ground and climb TREES, and have in 8 years had no maintenance bills much bigger than a twice-yearly oil change. My around-town errand car is a kicky little Corolla with a stickshift, 16 years old. Cachet? Gravitas? Conformity to a stereotype? Pfft!

    Mark Twain said we wouldn't worry about what others think of us, if only they
    realized how seldom they do! I concur. Anyone who worries your wheels send the wrong "statement" is sorely in need of a life. That's OK, Big Bertha and I will probably pull them out of the ditch anyway . . .

    ReplyDelete
  26. You've hit the nail on the head.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This post has made me think more deeply about an interesting cross-over that I've encountered since reading this blog. There are clearly readers and posters whose families have, perhaps, discarded some of their puritanical influences with regard to displaying status and wealth and those who continue to hold on to those roots, however they may be honed down. My ancestral family, which migrated north to New Hampshire and New York in the late 18th c., is originally from New England, having come to the new world from England in the late 17th c., moving around MA, ME and RI, and going on to serve in the Revolutionary War in different capacities and regiments. We have SAR members and DAR applications in the interminably long process formal acceptance, possess much of the same old American sensibilities of thrift, conservatism (in its original meaning) and moderation and could be referred to as "bitter clingers", since we do have guns and some formal religion in our midst. I was raised with old world manners in the rapidly changing environment in the 1970s and taught that one never discusses money or is showy with same. Ever. Money was just not talked about, maybe to a fault since it was a shock to discover how underinsured the summer cottage was when it became my turn to manage the finances. Our children are the sixth generation to be on the property. I remember, distinctly, the disdain that my family reserved for people who bought and drove new, flashy cars; "showing off", was a common remark and there was much rolling of eyes when my grandmother decided that By God, she would have a new car every six or seven years. However, there were no prep school, Country Day or Ivy league colleges, since none exist where I'm from, but there are trust funds, summer homes and sailboats, tennis and horseback riding lessons, Volvos in the driveway (old, of course) of the large, drafty house where the heat is never turned on before November 1, vacationing at the same beach in Maine every year for 48 years, Barbours in the closet, and dogs. So many dogs. I guess my point is that I don't believe that the idea of WASP can be so narrowly defined, nor do I think that preppy can be restricted, geographically. While WASP actually means white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, and has taken on more than it probably needs to in terms of social standing and pedigree, (the idea that you can't be a WASP without going to a prep school or living in NE is rubbish), preppy is more of a way of being, and explaining it to someone is like trying to explain why you are the way you are. Whether you drive a Subaru or a Volvo isn't going to help people to understand who you really are, what your history is and how that shapes you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice post. None of my recent ancestors (meaning since 1800) ever had any status or money. They were all farmers, so some owned land. Things were different on my wife's side of the family. One of her grandfathers went to an Ivy League school. The other, I'm not sure about--after 40 years I still don't have it straight. But one of her great-great-grandfathers was the last private owner of Mt. Vernon in Virginia. And another married George Mason's granddaughter. But the only thing that has meant to us is some very interesting family reunions. Unfortunately, another George Mason descendent, Paris Hilton, evidently does not do family reunions. Anyway, none of this has made much difference in our everyday lives. I'm not sure what does, now that I think about it.

      Delete
  28. Oh, and I drive a Toyota 4Runner since I need a very strong four-wheel drive to get up my driveway and needed it to ferry kids to the slopes. Thank goodness I can just hand over the keys now...

    ReplyDelete
  29. The preppy people I've known (who actually went to a prep school) did not generally drive especially noteworthy cars. However, one person (Sidwell Friends graduate) did own a Rover sedan, which is how I came to be acquainted with him. He later owned a Ford. But a car enthusiast as I used the term in a previous post here, is someone who owns a car as a hobby. It could be almost any make and model, from a Studebaker to a Subaru. It need not be in running condition, much less in everyday use. In fact, if it's in decent condition engine and body wise, it probably won't even leave the barn on a rainy day. Chances are, if it's a runner, the wife may not be allowed to even drive the car, and if she does, she'll complain about the malfunctioning heater and lack of air conditioning. That is, once she's mastered the gear and clutch personality. There of course will be other cars in the family which are never parked in the garage (or the barn) but are economical, never have problems or fail to start. In other words, have absolutely no personality. But none of his car interests have anything to do with his schooling or so-called lifestyle. Or for that matter, transportation.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm New Englander with old-time Yankee sensibilities. I was brought up to treat others well, regardless of their race, color, creed, ability, orientation, socio-economic status, etc... We value quality and don't appreciate public displays of emotion, affection or wealth, despite having emotions with our dearest friends, showing affection in private and having some really nice things at home. Education is a priority, and we prioritize philanthropy over luxury spending. As decades rolled past, we've driven Buicks, then Volvos, and now various hybrids and Outbacks. While my dearly departed grandmother would have threatened to write me out of the will if I ever spoke "NOKD," I'm pretty sure she would have been all aboard in its use for someone who were to suggest that a reliable, well-built, capable, practical, (relatively) efficient, non-flash car, like a Subaru, would not be suitable transport for us. Frankly, she may have levitated if she then found out it was coming from a Suburban driver...

    ReplyDelete
  31. It is my observation that most of the things we must buy, we buy for their intrinsic qualities, and we have spent decades refining our thoughts, preferences, and needs. We buy natural fiber, loose fitting clothing because of its comfort, durability, value, immunity to the whims and changes of fashion, and earth friendliness. We buy our athletic wear and sports gear because we enjoy sport, the workout, and often the camaraderie. We buy our home furnishings for much the same reasons we buy certain clothing, such as comfort, durability, value, more of that immunity to the vagaries of fashion, and because by not matching things we are not constrained when it comes time to add, replace, or reupholster a piece. For some inexplicable reason many of us abandon these stabilizing principles when we buy cars. Because cars are so constantly and rapidly changing, it is not easy to spend decades refining and cementing our needs and choices. We buy cars that have capabilities we would not dream of using, We order (or accept, because of sales practices) add-ons we may not understand, want, or use. As I look back on cars I have had, in many ways the best was a Honda Civic with crank windows, cloth upholstery, and a very basic radio. Sadly, I was urged to buy something more socially acceptable and foolishly capitulated and bought a hybrid that did not get mileage as good as that little Civic. I have since returned to low cost, reliable transportation that meets my needs. It took too long to return because I usually hang onto cars a good while. My current ride is a 2008. The next change I foresee is when battery technology and the availability of charging take a quantum leap. As I conclude this rumination, I proclaim that my family arrived on the Mayflower, I attended both all boys elite prep schools and college, I am a cradle Episcopalian, and I am both very liberal and very conservative, both in their original and not inconsistent meanings. Nobody cares, and but for my anonymity, these are person facts i keep to myself other than inviting people to my church if they say they are searching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always, please, go with the cloth upholstery. It’s cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Thank you.

      Delete
  32. A somewhat related question: Over decades of continuous Volvo ownership, every so often one would encounter a 15 year old Volvo for sale with maybe a couple thousand miles on it that had never been registered (never had a license plate). These were estate cars, driven between the house, the barn, and the orchard, and never left the property. So my question is, what is the most popular car to use as an estate car now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably a John Deere Gator. Or maybe a golf cart.

      Delete
    2. We had an ‘61 Chevy pickup for more than 40 years that lived a sheltered life like those Volvos. We now have a 15 year old Toyota that has 9000 miles on the odometer. It’s registered, though.

      After my undergrad years, I worked at a museum that was set on a large, rural campus. Our “mail truck” on property was a Volvo wagon with a manual transmission. I can’t tell you how many interns learned to drive manual on that car.

      Delete
  33. We don't currently have a car, living in Manhattan. While living in the Boston suburbs for three years until this summer, we had an Audi e-tron, all-electric and luxurious but unflashy. We had company cars while living in Europe for six years: a Lexus RX in Switzerland, where we had little choice of model, and a Mercedes E-class diesel-hybrid wagon before that in London. Back in Westchester previously, we had an Acura RDX most recently and a Honda CR-V that became the nanny/au pair car; I also inherited from my father a 2001 Volvo C70 convertible with grievous transmission woes, which we donated to charity before we moved overseas.

    In cars, as with other things, I try to be discerning but not judgmental. Our Subaru-disdaining original poster seems to have failed at that last part. I also have to scoff at the idea that "no one on TV looks like us anymore," unless the poster is perhaps Asian or Native American. Being resentful of greater diversity and representation in entertainment, and elsewhere in American life, strikes me as poor form.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, John E.

      Delete
    2. I tried to post a comment in a similar vein but my wording was not as artful as yours and the comment was rejected.

      Delete
    3. When I was in college 50-some years ago, there were people complaining about hairstyles, clothing, you name it. Yet I never noticed anyone trying to dress like they dressed 50 years earlier. It seems that we cling to a style that was popular when we were, oh, about 22.

      I've probably mentioned that I'm from a small town in West Virginia. I had native-born Italians as neighbors, and I had met others. And in the cemetery where my parents and grandparents are buried, there is a headstone of someone who died before I was born. The inscription is in Arabic.

      Delete
    4. I assumed he meant that no one on tv dresses like us anymore. Funnily enough, I read recently that Murder, She Wrote re-runs are becoming popular with young people, and Angela Lansbury is a “grand millennial” fashion inspiration.

      Delete
    5. Jessica Fletcher is still my fashion icon!! (And I love my Subaru.)

      Delete
    6. Classics have no expiration date

      Delete
    7. John E. - I find the blatant propaganda in advertisements as to what constitutes a ““normal” American family a flagrant departure from reality and in that regard, poor form. It is very unfortunate that greater diversity has not correlated with an improved standard of living, but predictably so. We should all espouse to help those assimilate in our great American tradition - and throw in some polos, cords, loafers for good measure.

      Delete
  34. Contrary to popular belief, our old Land Rovers, and MG, plus our old CJ,just keep going!

    ReplyDelete
  35. "Four kids and most parents (moms) of our ilk drive Suburbans, Land Cruisers, X5s or GLs - that’s the view at Country Day car line."
    "And BTW Subaru is NOT prep nor (on the other extreme) is anything a rapper or professional sports player would drive."

    Are not Suburbans the number one choice for rappers and professional sports players (alongside G Wagons X5s)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100% of the Surburbans driven in downtown Boston are car service vehicles. Maybe the folks in the Country Day car line have a side hustle?

      Delete
  36. Cars. Is this the number one comment-generating subject on SWNE? I think so, officially. Fascinating! Perhaps it's because there's something lacking in cars today. Gone are the boxy, understated, quirky cars like Saabs and Volvos of old. Even Subaru now is too swoopy. Bring back rugged. Get rid of chrome and piano black; we don't want you. And they don't even make the Land Cruiser anymore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed on the styling! They do make the Land Cruiser; it is just not offered in the US anymore because Toyota does not want to have their overall efficiency score penalized on account of the MPGs of the LC.

      Delete
    2. New Land Rover Defender.

      Randy Ventgen

      Delete
  37. Hah - styling these days is awful! Seems like the grilles and headlights of every new white car today resemble the Stormtroopers soldiers from STAR WARS, so much so that whenever I see them, the John Williams movie theme march goes through my head.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ineos Grenadier might save the auto industry from itself. (If it proves reliable)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Automobiles are the number one indicator of ostentatious vulgarity. How interesting that people who adhere to principles of understated elegance in matters of dress go out of their way to flaunt wealth when it comes to cars.

    Carlton Chiswick

    ReplyDelete
  40. Original author here - a few responses and comments to clarify.

    We have four children under 13 so the Suburban wins above all others. F-150 is an extra car -again, for our horses (and the old 17’ Montauk) as well as utility
    Trips to the nursery and to bus around the dogs (a Greg Pyrenees, Bassett hound and a Cavalier). Maybe rappers and sports players get hauled in black tinted suburbans, but the Moms of Country Day drive Gold, White, Blue and Red ones. And GLs aren’t G-Wagons.

    I like BMW’s and buy them for me, not for anyone else. They take the hairpin turns better than Volvos. We live in NC primarily but still summer in Cape Ann and the Mountains of Western NC. - buying an old E-Wagon to keep at our house up north now.

    My comment about Subarus is the general demographic I see behind the wheel both up north and south - very crunchy (and left-leaning sort). Political and virtue-signaling bumper stickers galore (yuck).

    There are a lot of pretenders out there too - best advice for those who wish to subscribe to the culture is to work hard and find personal success. The culture stems from many years (and generations) of this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *Great Pyrenees

      Delete
    2. Rather than buying a BMW, one takes hairpin turns slowly.

      Delete
    3. A general comment about handling to be taken at face value. If you haven’t driven a BMW, you should try it. It makes for an enjoyable experience; however, some people were made for the slow lane.

      Delete
    4. Aha! The OP does come from the South. How satisfying.

      Delete
    5. It sounds like Subaru cars are not on your radar and you possibly only notice them when they are covered in stickers. I can assure you most are sticker less or might have a college sticker or 2. I know many Subaru owners in my circle, some lean left, some lean right. Just an amazing automaker that checks all the boxes.

      Delete
    6. Not from the South - lives there now about nine months of the year. Cape Ann native who moved principally to Fairfield County, CT mid-childhood

      Delete
  41. Not sure why this devolved into a discussion of preppy cars. Muffy's prompt was whether "Prep and old money WASP are interchangeable." That would have been a far more interesting topic.

    ReplyDelete
  42. To elaborate on that very topic: For me, yes. It’s where the culture was born (A great tradition of Assimilative Nativism, Judeo-Christian values - the Protestant work ethic (is even the history still allowed to be taught in Public Schools?)) and the generational building of wealth. The associated generations that followed often espoused it even when they failed to live up to it’s high expectations - put simply: hard work and familial success complemented by a distinguished subtlety and noblesse oblige. Rooted in conventional Protestant Christian family traditions, the resulting “preppy” heir is reflected in fashion, material possessions, sensibilities and lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very well said. Practical yes, but WASPs do indulge in the occasional luxury that’s not been inherited. We just don’t talk about it.

      Delete
  43. Prep and old money are synonymous, yes, although these days most "old money" types are from a family that once had old money, but no longer does. What endures, however, is the culture, which manifests itself in taste, style, and values, including education and hard work, which often leads to higher incomes if not actual old money.

    ReplyDelete