We hear a lot about the great social mobility in America, with the focus usually on the comparative ease of moving upwards. What's less discussed is how easy it is to go down. I think that's the direction that we're all heading in. And I think that the downward fall is going to be very fast—not just for us as individuals—but for the entire Preppie Class.
Jane Clark: Why should we believe you over Rick? We know you're a hypocrite. We know your "Polly Perkins" story was a fabrication...
Nick Smith: A composite.
Jane Clark: Whatever. And that you're completely impossible and out of control, with some sort of drug problem and a fixation on what you consider Rick Von Sloneker's wickedness. You're a snob, a sexist, totally obnoxious and tiresome, and lately you've gotten just weird. Why should we believe anything you say?
Tom Townsend: None. I don't read novels. I prefer good literary criticism. That way you get both the novelists' ideas as well as the critics' thinking. With fiction I can never forget that none of it really happened, that it's all just made up by the author.
Charlie Black: Fourierism was tried in the late nineteenth century... and it failed. Wasn't Brook Farm Fourierist? It failed.
Tom Townsend: That's debatable.
Charlie Black: Whether Brook Farm failed?
Tom Townsend: That it ceased to exist, I'll grant you, but whether or not it failed cannot be definitively said.
Charlie Black: Well, for me, ceasing to exist is — is failure. I mean, that's pretty definitive.
Tom Townsend: Well, everyone ceases to exist. Doesn't mean everyone's a failure.
Nick Smith: The titled aristocracy are the scum of the earth.
Sally Fowler: You always say "titled" aristocrats. What about "untitled" aristocrats?
Nick Smith: Well, I could hardly despise them, could I? That would be self-hatred.