Downton and Downward
By TIMOTHY EGAN
Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan on American politics and life, as seen from the West.

Like everyone else with a perverse curiosity about a castle-bound community fussing over whether to use a bouillon or a melon spoon, I’ve been consumed by the turns in “Downton Abbey,” the latest export from England to keep American public television afloat.

In a season of haute-soap plot twists, the story of the working-class Irishman, Tom Branson, whose marriage to Lady Sybil gives him a life leap in upward mobility, is worth examining for what it says about class, then and now. Branson is still “the chauffeur” to a family living on moldered wealth, and his brother the car mechanic is “a drunken gorilla” for asking if there’s any beer in the House of Lord Grantham.

But if someone with grease on his hands and an accent from a workaday neighborhood can rise to an estate management position in the rigid British class system, what, by comparison, are we to make of the American experience nearly a century removed?

Read more.



Post comment

Forbidden Bookshelf

Forbidden Bookshelf




“While We Were Sleeping”

While We Were Sleeping is an urgent call to save Greenwich Village from New York University's uncontrolled expansion.

Click here to donate to NYUFASP and receive a copy of "While We Were Sleeping: NYU and the Destruction of New York" (minimum donation to receive a book is $10 plus $8 shipping).

Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD



About News From Underground

News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.

If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:

Help News From Underground!





Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."

Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to: markcrispinmiller@gmail.com

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Popular Posts

Blogroll

Need a bigger font size?




Sponsored Links



  • Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.