But, if Lamont becomes the U.S. Senate’s newest rock star–and America’s most popular preppy–pardon me if I pour myself a gimlet and set sail for Wellfleet. ~Michael Crowley
As someone who grew up in what I suppose must be the sunbelt (it is very sunny in New Mexico, though you don’t run across many Goldwater fans) and who attended what I suppose one must call a prep school (to be appropriately pompous, we could call it a preparatory academy) for seven years, it might seem that I should be of two minds about the Preppy Revival (less dangerous than the Shia Revival, more comical than Evangelical Revivals, but undoubtedly with better drinks than both). Except that, my enjoyment of Prep-Unit notwithstanding, I personally could never stand the people at my school who embraced the preppy ethos or fit the profile. They were the people who lived in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque and whose parents still voted for the Democrats; they were the ones who were by turns personally obnoxious and also preciously PC, in keeping with the school’s commitment to “diversity.”
My exposure to the Southern version of preppy at Hampden-Sydney did not improve my impression. They were the slackers from private schools in Richmond and Midlothian who came to H-SC for the networking angle, the guys who wore the classic combination of khakis and the buttoned shirt untucked in the back seemingly at all times, but especially on game days and at parties, who drove SUVs and referred to different people variously as “your boy” or “my boys.” These were people, like those at the Academy, who took skiing trips and some of whom actually went to Aspen for vacations. [Full disclosure: I was at Vail once–and not to ski–when I was about eight, didn’t like the place and have never been back.] These were people who listened to Phish and thought it was good music.
Maybe it’s because of who my ancestors were–small-town New Jersey businessmen and ministers, Midwestern farmers and my Scots-Irish railroad worker grandfather–but I cannot now separate the whole preppy lifestyle and mentality from the depradations of the Eastern Establishment and the various and sundry perfidies of Yankee misrule, both Republican and Democratic, that deformed the Republic into what it has become. These folks had their chance at running the country, and they didn’t do especially well as far as I’m concerned. Dobeleve is perhaps a mutant strain of the breed, combining the confidence of a Southerner with the shallowness of an Easterner, but he still belongs to that world and represents what it is capable of doing. Finally, the New England preppy is the one I have a particularly hard time understanding. I mean, I don’t even know what half of their lingo means (I suppose I could look it up, but what the hell is a topsider?). That’s okay. I’m not that interested in finding out.
Lamont is good on the war, but I wouldn’t want to go to his country club.