Recently an online friend from New Zealand and I were discussing tastes in art and how they differed amongst the various socio-economic classes. This evolved into a discussion of Elvis Presley and his penchant (real or made-up) for velvet painting. Personally, I have my doubts he ever owned a velvet painting in his life, much less a portrait of himself. But that's beside the point. I used the term "lower-class blue-collar workers" in describing the type of people having a liking for this type of artwork. Apparently she had never heard the term before, or if so, was baiting me to see just how much of a white-collar snob I really am. Whatever the case, I'm taking the bait and skating on thin ice.

I'll probably get stomped on for saying this because we're talking about stereotypes here, but in this country we call them "rednecks". (The term comes from having shaved too closely I think.) Blue-collar workers are typically male, factory and low-paid service workers (actually some of them aren't exactly low-paid anymore). Their tastes in music run toward country-western, bluegrass, and blues, their tastes in food run toward anything containing more than 50% saturated fat and Twinkies. Their hobbies favor hunting, fishing, and fast cars. The term "couch potato" comes to mind. They typically are married with three kids, hang out in bars, drink Budwieser, munch potato chips, and wouldn't be caught dead with a Perrier. They dote on football, and to a lesser extent, baseball, though it's been decades since they've played either one. They no longer beat their wives and only occasionally their kids. Their waist measurements haven't changed since they were teenagers, they've just crept lower...and lower...and... They've only recently learned NOT to hoist up their jeans when someone mentions "crack". They own two cars, one, a station wagon for the wife, and a 1978 Pontiac "for work". They own one suit, black, for weddings and funerals, one white shirt and perhaps two dozen ties (depending on how many Fathers Days they've seen).

And contrary to what you may have read, their taste in art is NOT limited to black velvet Elvises. They also like poker-playing dogs, anything with a deer in it, football logos, and paintings of 57' Chevys (with or without velvet). They're not culturally illiterate. They're familiar with "that Da Vinci guy" and that painting of the farmer and his wife with the pitchfork. Their favorite colors are red, white, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. And their favorite artist is that fella who painted the Saturday Evening Post...uhhh...(gasp) Norman Rockwell. Now, before anyone jumps on my case, this is NOT a put-down. If it sounds like it, then you MIGHT be a yuppie.