March 28, 2016

EP. 115 — America’s Secret Caste System

We tend to think of the class system as money thing. Rich people are high-class, poor people are of a lower class, and those things can change with the purchase of a lottery ticket or one bad financial investment. But that common understanding of class in America is not really how things work.

Think of how many lottery winners are bankrupt within years because they overspend on frivolous things that would seem impressive to their own class. That explains Donald Trump’s rise to political power. He’s basically the lower class idea of wealth: he owns golf courses and casinos, has his name on everything, and is obsessed with gold. To your Vanderbilts or Rockefellers, he’s a clown, but to lower class people, his lifestyle is something to strive for.

On this week’s episode Jack O’Brien and Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) take a deep dive into how we perceive class in America, what most people get wrong about it, and the surprising ways class is confused with race.


Siderea on Economic and Social Class in America:

Slate Star Codex’s Entry Summarizing Siderea’s Piece:

Slate Star Codex: I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup:

The Atlantic’s Review of ‘Class: A Guide Through The American Status System’:

Buy tickets to our next live episode taping on April 9th at 7pm at the UCB Sunset Theatre in Los Angeles:

Recent Episodes

January 26, 2020

Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.


January 19, 2020

How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!


January 12, 2020

Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.