Professor Plum announced the resident faculty were challenging the staff in this year’s Clue tournament. We think he found the mail. (More)

Ms. Scarlet explained that the tournament would be scored, and the winning team would choose the next week’s breakfast menu while the losing team would prepare it. Chef was not thrilled by the idea of the faculty working in the kitchen, but Professor Plum said that would be no problem as the resident faculty were sure to win. The Professor of Astrology Janitor bristled at that, and the Squirrel began rapping away on his Blewberry. “Prepare to buy the macadamias!” he texted.

Professor Plum and Ms. Scarlet left to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”). The staff decided to begin our training immediately, and found some logic puzzle books. The Squirrel asked why Mr. Blue would sit with Ms. Green, who is not older than him, if she works for Mr. Red, who was younger than Ms. White. After much debate with no good answer except “because those are the clues,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef left for the kitchen to make a Two Bowl Breakfast, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

You should read my new book Coming Apart: The State of White America. Over the past 50 years, our common civic culture has unraveled. We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America’s core cultural institutions. I illustrate this with two archetypal neighborhoods, upper-middle-class Belmont and working-class Fishtown. Residents of my Belmont, about 20% of the white population aged 30-49, must have at least a bachelor’s degree and work as a manager, physician, attorney, engineer, architect, scientist, college professor or content producer in the media. Residents of my Fishtown, about 30% of whites aged 30-49, must have no academic degree higher than a high-school diploma and, if they work, hold a blue-collar job, a low-skill service job such as cashier, or a low-skill white-collar job such as mail clerk or receptionist. I exclude blacks and Latinos to show that this cultural inequality is not grounded in race or ethnicity.

In Belmont, 83% of the people are married, only 6% of babies are born out of wedlock, only 3% of men are out of the work force, only of men 12% work part-time, and only 40% of families attend no church or attend only once a year. In Fishtown, only 48% of the people are married, 44% of babies are born out of wedlock, 12% of men are out of the work force, 20% work only part-time, and 59% attend no church or attend only once a year.

Liberal policies started this split, but government can’t fix it. Changes in marginal tax rates on the wealthy won’t make a difference. Increasing scholarships for working-class children won’t make a difference. Instead, the people of Belmont must drop their condescending “nonjudgmentalism.” Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. Don’t you agree?

Charles near D.C.

Dear Charles,

We agree that your research is part myth and part tautology. You ignore previous gross disparities during the Gilded Age and the Great Depression, and instead choose as your baseline a white society that had been homogenized by World War II. You also define Belmont and Fishtown by education and professional status, then suggest the residents of Belmont should criticize the residents of Fishtown for lacking education and professional status. You offer no evidence that married Fishtown men who attend church are more likely to be employed full-time. That married Fishtown women are less likely to have children out of wedlock is, again, a tautology. Finally, you ignore that our modern economy offers fewer living wage jobs for those who lack a college degree, while your 2008 book Real Education proposes that public schools commit even more resources to educating what you call “the elite,” whom you claim will inevitably “run the country.” If you believe Belmont elites driving into Fishtown to “voice their disapproval” will cleanse the Fishtown masses of their uneducated, unmarried, unchurched sins against what you deem civic norms, we suggest you try that … after you check your health insurance.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I think I can help the staff. Mr. Blue and Ms. Green are sitting together to figure out why they’re in a logic puzzle. I don’t know if I fit in Belmont or Fishtown, but I do know it’s breakfast time. So what is Chef’s Two Bowl Breakfast?

Belfish in Blogistan

Dear Belfish,

We hadn’t considered that rationale for Mr. Blue and Ms. Green, but it does make sense. As for Chef’s Two Bowl Breakfast, it’s a nutritious contrast of hot and cold. In the hot bowl, Chef crumbles bacon into cooked grits, then tops it with shredded cheddar cheese. In the cold bowl, Chef places a fruit salad of cubed watermelon and honeydew, with seedless grapes and seasonal berries. Bon appétit!



Charles near D.C.; Real Education.


Happy Sunday!