It was close to 1 a.m. when I left the wedding on Saturday night, and since I was still wide awake and had all of my senses, I decided I’d save the money I had set aside for cab fare and walked to the subway, which was two blocks from the venue. I’d normally feel self-conscious about wearing a tuxedo on the subway because strangers can’t help but stare, but it was late and I found a seat in the back of the car.
When I got to my stop and walked out of the subway and in the direction of my apartment, a man wearing a college sweatshirt who looked to be in his late thirties approached me and tapped me on the shoulder while I waited at a crosswalk.
“Excuse me—I need some help and you look like someone who can help me.”
“Okay…” I said. I was highly aware that it was late, there were very few people around, and that I was wearing a tuxedo.
+ Dollar Tree is buying Family Dollar even though Family Dollar is totally the better name. Two of the nation’s leading super-budget chains can, by their powers combined, do more to take on Wal-Mart.
The deal will give Dollar Tree more than 13,000 stores across the United States and Canada, vaulting the company ahead of Dollar General to become North America’s biggest discount retailer, with more than $18 billion in annual sales. …
Dollar Tree sells a mix of consumables in suburban stores across most U.S. states, as well as discretionary items such as gifts, party goods and greeting cards. Everything has a price tag of $1 or less. Most Family Dollar stores are in low-income neighborhoods. Its presence is biggest in Texas and the eastern United States, where it mainly sells lower-margin food and household products. “This acquisition will extend our reach to lower-income customers,” Dollar Tree Chief Executive Bob Sasser said.
The markets are happy. Wal-Mart shrugs. Dollar General declines to comment. I wax nostalgic: my first date involved a dollar store and a pink bubble necklace that I kept on my bedroom dresser for years.
+ Zillow is buying Trulia. Gasp. What does this mean for our real estate porn habit?
+ Another way we are unequal in this paltry excuse for a civilization? The number of hours of sleep we get a night, on average, varies based on how much money we have. The effects are real, lasting, and frightening:
McCalman’s life reveals a particularly sorry side of America’s sleep-deprived culture. Though we often praise white-collar “superwomen” who “never sleep” and juggle legendary careers with busy families, it’s actually people who have the least money who get the least sleep.
Though Americans across the economic spectrum are sleeping less these days, people in the lowest income quintile, and people who never finished high school, are far more likely to get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night. About half of people in households making less than $30,000 sleep six or fewer hours per night, while only a third of those making $75,000 or more do. …
A later study on 147 adult humans found that the sleep deprived among them had actively shrinking brains. This suggests that no amount of “catch up” sleep can ever reverse the effects of sleep loss on the body.
+ The ‘Fold got some love on the newish Slate parenting podcast “Mom and Dad Are Fighting!”
Despite effort, or the appearance of it, there has been no change in terms of getting high-achievers from low-income families to elite schools.
In 2006, at the 82 schools rated “most competitive” by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges, 14 percent of American undergraduates came from the poorer half of the nation’s families, according to researchers at the University of Michigan and Georgetown University who analyzed data from federal surveys. That was unchanged from 1982. And at a narrower, more elite group of 28 private colleges and universities, including all eight Ivy League members, researchers at Vassar and Williams Colleges found that from 2001 to 2009, a period of major increases in financial aid at those schools, enrollment of students from the bottom 40 percent of family incomes increased from just 10 percent to 11 percent.
What does make a difference? Investments of money, which most schools either can’t or won’t prioritize, and investments of time, like sending admissions officers to schools that are off the beaten track. Also, perhaps most importantly, helping students understand that the sticker price at high-end colleges is not what most middle- and working-class families pay:
When a man gets married, one says, “Congratulations!” When a woman gets married, one says, “Best wishes!” And when a Kennedy gets married, one says, “Don’t get into a small plane with him, no matter HOW good a pilot he says he is. Learn how to swim !!! don’t cross any bridges.” That, at least, is how randos on Facebook react. Sarcasm! The digital equivalent of throwing rice.
As perhaps you saw this weekend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has married Cheryl Hines. It is not the first time at the rodeo for either member of the couple. RFK Jr. has been married twice before and has six children; Cheryl has been married once and has a daughter. Even outlets like TMZ have been uncharacteristically restrained in regards to the couple, wishing the newlyweds happiness without unpacking and flinging around all the baggage the bride and groom brought with them to Hyannisport.
Well-known rich families in America seem to bring out the strong opinions in many of us, and no dynasty more so than the fabulously wealthy, famously unlucky Kennedy clan. (A Roosevelt recently married without any fuss.) The family seems to be a magnet for the problems of affluenza: drugs, alcohol, women, accidents, accidents involving women, drugs, and alcohol, and inadvisable moves into the political arena. Is how you feel about the Kennedys indicative of how you feel about wealth in general? Or are they too unusual to serve as a crucible?
Here are some of the other details about this wedding that are making Internet commenters bonkers:
There is massive new Pew Research Center poll (185 glorious pdf pages) that dissects the attitudes of Americans on all sorts of things. There is much to mull over, starting with the study’s division of the American populace into eight ideological groups: Solid Liberals (all left all the time; like me, more or less), Steadfast Conservatives (fiscally and socially conservative), Business Conservatives (corporatist, but not so down on gays and immigrants), Young Outsiders (socially liberal Republicans), Hard-Pressed Skeptics (left-leaning, working class, disillusioned), Next-Generation Liberals (like the Solid Liberals, but unconvinced of the need for social programs or anti-discrimination legislation), Faith and Family Left (like the Solid Liberals, but homophobic), and (boringly) Bystanders, who are what they sound like: disengaged and uninformed.
These groups break down mostly as you’d expect (although the right is more polarized than the left). The study is full of charts that show the spread of each group’s opinions across some typical left-right divide, and they all pretty much look like this one:
Having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience. “Jamal” would have to work in an industry for eight years longer than “Greg” for them to have equal chances of being hired, even if Jamal came from a privileged background and Greg from an underprivileged one.
– the Atlantic, again. They’re killing it this week.
When I met my college roommate she said, “Oh!” I said, “Yes?” She said, “No, it’s fine, I just — Ester from Washington, DC? I assumed you were black.” Others have assumed I’m Korean. Largely though I have benefited from having an “easy” name: easy to pronounce, easy to understand, easy enough to spell if you can remember to toss the unnecessary “H.” Easy to read as Jewish/white.
Have you had to battle your own name for legitimacy? Have you changed your name to give yourself a smoother time of it? Does knowing that Greg opens doors makes you more likely to opt for Greg for your own kid, or do you say “FU White Supremacy” and do what you want, knowing progress has to come eventually and will only come if we fight for it?