Dionne Searcey and Robert Gebeloff do a nice job crunching some numbers on what sorts of people are part of the middle class, and how they’re doing (the short version: not great). This caveat of theirs, however, is an important one.
Updike's religious explorations are what make his writing so interesting, and Adam Begley explores them well. But he devotes too much space to trying to link fictional settings and characters with Updike's real life.
The article does point out that tax increases coming out of the fiscal-cliff deal will affect all workers—because of the end of the payroll tax holiday—not just those whose taxes on wage income and investments are going up. But the graphic sticks with the six-figure folks, all drawn to look rather put upon.
I posted recently about how the rhetorical category “the middle class” seems to keep growing (even as the actual middle class is shrinking). Then I read Jon Ronson’s article in this month’s GQ. Ronson profiles six people—actually, five individuals and one family—who represent different spots on the U.S. income scale, giving a glimpse of “how to live on $____ a week.”
It’s a solid premise, and Ronson approaches his subjects with empathy and a dose of righteous indignation. But I was startled by his methodology.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).