WASPs: An Endangered Species

Photograph courtesy of Tim Evison of Denmark through Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Last night I had to wave some bourbon under the Prissy Bitch’s nose after she fainted on her fainting couch (see, they aren’t pointless). What caused our favorite alcoholic housewife such distress? The revelation that today’s Colin McEnroe Show was about the decline of WASPs. You see, no one told her she was part of a declining subculture. (She can be forgiven for not noticing, as Fairfield County is, by my count, home to 2/3 of the country’s remaining WASPs.)


I was not nearly as devastated by the news that WASPs were in such dire straits that there needed to be an entire NPR show about it, as I have been carefully chronicling the demise of my favorite white people. Here’s a little excerpt from the New York Times op-ed that started all of this:

“But satisfaction with our national progress should not make us forget its authors: the very Protestant elite that founded and long dominated our nation’s institutions of higher education and government, including the Supreme Court. Unlike almost every other dominant ethnic, racial or religious group in world history, white Protestants have ceded their socioeconomic power by hewing voluntarily to the values of merit and inclusion, values now shared broadly by Americans of different backgrounds. The decline of the Protestant elite is actually its greatest triumph.”

This is a nice way of looking at it. True WASPS — those still clinging to classic, threadbare elegance, egalitarianism, and generally understated old-moneyness — are simply outnumbered by money-grubbing, spray-tanning, ignorant loudmouths. Oh, and let’s not forget the Catholics who procreated like rabbits before they just started ignoring the Pope–and the people of color who are, let’s face, the future of this country.

Now, despite my white anglo-saxon protestantism and the kind of WASPy physical appearance rivaled only by Gwyneth Paltrow and the Prissy Bitch herself, I am not a WASP as we’re defining it here. Let’s go back to the NYT for clarification:

“So, when discussing the white elite that exercised such disproportionate power in American history, we are talking about a subgroup, mostly of English or Scots-Irish origin, whose ancestors came to this land in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their forebears fought the American Revolution and wrote the Constitution, embedding in it a distinctive set of beliefs of Protestant origin, including inalienable rights and the separation of church and state.”

By that definition, my family showed up here way too late to be WASPs. And frankly, we’re too trashy and have too many Jews and Mexicans in the family tree. So, let’s talk about the most prominent of our remaining WASPs: The Bushes. Despite their love of Texas, Connecticut and Maine have to claim some responsibility for those guys. Now let’s think about the fact that W. despite his decidedly WASPy origins, seems to think he’s cowboy — an evangelical cowboy no less. (What’s tackier than evangelizing, I ask you?) I mean, a good WASP with a drinking problem would have either just gone on drinking or checked into rehab… not turned to religious fanaticism.

What does it say when our most prominent WASPs think they’re gunslingers in the wild west?

But it’s not just the Bushes. I can guarantee you that somewhere in Rowayton is a girl from a WASPy family who is getting spray tanned,  and wearing short-shorts… and I blame television and large chain stores for this. I have no real problem with the demise of the WASP when it comes to the supreme court, congress, or CEO positions (though, it’s clear that WASPy conservatism and common sense would do all of those institutions some good). My real problem is with the general homogenization of America.

If everyone is buying their clothes at the same national chain stores, watching the same actresses on the same shows (or worse, the same reality stars), and all anyone cares about is making a shitload of money and buying the crap that’s marketed to them… then sooner or later everyone will be an army of clones. And not only will there be no WASPs, but the hideous Boston accent will be gone, ranchers in Montana will be wearing the same jeans as Wall Street bankers, and we’ll all be too busy reading Chelsea Handler books to check in with John Updike.

Variety is the spice of life, right? Well then, let’s all agree not to let the ethnic and cultural diversity that makes America great die off… and let’s start by saving the WASP.