Parenti's essay mainly focuses on the explanation on how Hollywood movies encourage class variation among Americans. This kind of information is derived from different movies made in America and they only expose the virtues of the upper class only but undermine lower class virtues.
Class and Virtue Michael Parenti Summary
According to a Parenti’s essay, those who are working are considered both uncouth and undesirable as compared to others. They present a higher level of immorality in the society than others who are less fortunate (Clover, 1987). On the contrary, there is a high likelihood of ascribing virtue to such a character whose words and manifestations seem to be of middle or upper class only. Based on virtues, it is therefore simply to classify American society on the basis of upper or lower class. Even the most common early adventure story such as Treasure Island also indicates the same class notion where two categories of individuals are shown searching for the lost treasure.
The first group is led by the square and has sufficient resources while the other is led by Rascal Long John which has insufficient resources (Parenti, 2003). The first group, therefore, has the capacity to hire the ship and crew while the last group is not able to hire the ship as a result joins the crew by signing up to be one of them. Both the narratives, therefore, assume that the square has more moral claims to the treasure than the long John Silver from the beginning because it is the square that invested in the ship. Without investing significant resources rather than the provision of labor is simply a way of robbing the treasure by Long John but the square who invested in it will be discovering it.
There are some important distinctions which can also be found in the parentis essay. It is observed that Long Johns men are cutthroats while the squares are on the contrary. Based on that, one can still not believe whether the difference between a dire pirate and a good square is not only a matter of being with adequate disposable income. It is also determined that the square is not acquisitive as compared to the conspirators and therefore only uses its resources to accomplish what they planned with cutlasses. In addition, the square and its men have very nice clothing, use fluent English and also consume brandy. They are different from Long Johns who only wear slovenly, articulate in rough accents and drink rum. From this point, it is simple to select good guys from the group. For that matter, virtue can be measured visually by looking at the class appearance.
Examples of Class Differences Movies
In some occasions, class differences are juxtaposed in an individual as indicated in the Three Faces of Eve movie. It was about a woman that has different personalities. The movie reflects the woman as disturbed, repressed and very religious. She is also observed as one that uses a poor southern accent and rural language. The second traits are that she is wild and flirtatious but after the cure, she gained additional qualities such as balanced, self-possessed and lovely. The most interesting thing is that she is now fluent and can apply a Smith College accent and free from ruralism. This kind of change in class style and communication is important in showing mental health without acknowledging class bias.
It is also important to consider mental health as a very important aspect in determining the emotional drop of a woman under the influence (1974) involving the story of the troubled woman living with a hard hat man. The husband cannot contribute to an emotional deterioration of the woman because she receives victimization from the husband who is insensitive. It is therefore not absolute that every unstable woman requires a kinder, gentler and a rich husband in order to prevent mental crack up.
Good values are also shown by the action that one takes. This is indicated in the A- Team where a Vietnam-era commando unit rescued the underdog (Parenti, 2003). The movie shows how A-Team accomplishes its work on an individual basis rather than in a group by helping a group of victims. Their good characters are seen when they are fighting the bad guys and helping the needy come out of their problems. In this case, virtue is portrayed by being able to risk one's life in the rescue of others.
The low class and upper class are also different in many ways. In the movie Pretty Woman (1990), where a dreamboat millionaire could not act because the girlfriend refused to join him. He suddenly recruited a prostitute to act as his player mate in the show. The prostitute is seen as of low class because she has little information about what to do on stage. She does not know the fork to use at the feast, is incommodious, puts on tacky clothes, chews gum and could not talk well (Omi, 2003). The prostitute proves to have some potential when she starts using the correct materials, stops chewing the gum, learns to speak and also begins to know how to sit in a poised manner. She also learns to be silent, reasonable and starts putting on female ornaments. The similarity of this movie with others is that it reflects that everything can change. It is also similar to other movies because it shows the desire to help. The prostitute helps the man when the girlfriend refused although she has other challenges at first. Another important similarity that it has is that there is the use of language, dressing, and manners. In all these stories upper class and lower class are distinct because low class tends to be backward but in the long run able to change.
Although she is the prostitute, she has become a prostitute of a higher class (Hayes, 2003). The handsome corporate raider could distinctly identify her because by then she was cheap but now she has improved to higher status to be his suitable companion. She can now do the right thing and lives in her own apartment.
From all these stories, High-class people like using better things such as good housing, marriage, and vital occupation. The only thing that these stories depict is the difference between high class and low class and each of the classes is associated with a given trait. Low class is associated with low disposable income, poor use of languages such as pronunciation or accent and attire while high-class Americans are associated with high income, good clothes, and good occupation.
Clover, Carol. "Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film." Representations, no. 20, Autumn 1987, pp. 187-228. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2928507.
Hayes, Michael T., and Rhonda S. Black. "Troubling Signs: Disability, Hollywood Movies and the Construction of a Discourse of Pity." Disability Studies Quarterly, vol, 23, no. 2, Spring 2003, pp. 114-32. http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/419/585
Omi, Michael. "In Living Color: Race and American Culture." The World Is a Text. Edited by Jonathan Silverman and Dean Rader, Pearson, 2003, pp. 277-89.
Parenti, Michael. "Class and Virtue." The World Is a Text. Edited by Jonathan Silverman and Dean Rader, Pearson, 2003, pp. 343-46.
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