I sat up on a narrow white cot. The room they’d put me in looked like every other part of the fortress: chrome walls, white ceiling, and a metallic floor. I had two big windows peering out over the tops of a thousand massive trees. I could see the wind rippling through them, but I couldn’t hear anything. It was stunning…and terrifying. It’s almost like they don’t want me to leave, I mused. I climbed out of bed and dressed in the clothes they’d left for me. I’d seen people in Donva wear the same white tunics and sandals, but I’d never actually worn anything like it in my life. I was accustomed to thick canvas pants and oil-stained shirts. The things in my room were too clean.
–Darkness Between the Stars (Eaters of the Light Book 1) by J Edward Neill
Keeping silent about social class, a norm that goes far beyond the affluent, can make Americans feel that class doesn’t, or shouldn’t, matter. And judging wealthy people on the basis of their individual behaviors — do they work hard enough, do they consume reasonably enough, do they give back enough — distracts us from other kinds of questions about the morality of vastly unequal distributions of wealth.
…Such moves help wealthy people manage their discomfort with inequality, which in turn makes that inequality impossible to talk honestly about — or to change.
“I was beginning to appreciate that the central feature of life on the Appalachian Trail is deprivation, that the whole point of the experience is to remove yourself so thoroughly from the conveniences of everyday life that the most ordinary things—processed cheese, a can of pop gorgeously beaded with condensation—fill you with wonder and gratitude. It is an intoxicating experience to taste Coca-Cola as if for the first time and to be conveyed to the very brink of orgasm by white bread. Makes all the discomfort worthwhile, if you ask me.“
–A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail) by Bill Bryson