Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kennedy & Nixon 2

On page 20 of Kennedy & Nixon, Chris Matthews states regarding Richard Nixon: “Lacking a distinctive charm, he made a virtue of his regularness, offering himself as champion of the squares.”

Rick Perlstein makes a similar point in his book, Nixonland: that Nixon, who could not join the elite Franklins, became the champion of the regular Joes who were not Franklins.

If one does not fit into the popular club, one may decide to make friends with the so-called regular Joes.  Of course, this statement is rather simplistic, for it’s not necessarily the case that a person tries to join the popular club, fails, then decides to become friends with the regular Joes.  A person may never have officially tried to join the popular club but simply finds herself outside of it, and thus gravitates towards regular Joes (or, in this case, Janes).  Maybe the person does not see the regular Joes as Plan B but actually likes certain regular Joes: they have a connection, a real friendship.

One of my issues is that, when I am around regular Joes, I wonder if I am their Plan B, and if they would prefer to be around someone cooler than me.  I know, it’s been years since I’ve been in high school.  On some level, the situation has changed since then.  But, on some level, it has not, for cliques still exist.
Another point that I want to make is that I don’t see regular Joes as ordinary or boring.  I may not find every regular Joe’s life interesting, but I do admire anyone who is able to socialize and to do small talk, and that includes a number of regular Joes.  Many regular Joes are able to make themselves appear interesting to enough people that they are able to make friends, or to get married.  I respect them for that.  I envy them for that.

Another point: There are some elite Franklin types who are down-to-earth, accepting people.  They may be rich or educated, but they don’t put on airs.  They don’t give off the impression that you have to impress them for them to accept you.  They’re nice to you, if you’re nice to them.

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