On page seventeen of the Inquirer section in last week’s The Weekend Australian was a good piece by Bernard Salt, the Social Editor (does that mean he likes to party?) entitled, ‘The five tribes that shape our modern nation’. The piece, as you may guess, was a spin-off from the recent Australian census and was one of those well-written, frothy, navel-gazing articles segmenting us all into various ‘tribes’ according to where we live.
Now I’m one of the tribe.
Ever since the sixties, which saw the rise of social, psychological and business taxonomy, most of us have loved to see just where we personally fit in the pantheon of ‘types.’ I know people who can straight-off tell you their Myers-Briggs classification; and that’s without you even asking.
Anyway, according to Bernie Baby, (well, what else would you call a social editor?) we are classified into five categories; which delineation is called ‘demographic plate tectonics’ (doncha just love this stuff?) though, ‘tribes’ is the noun used in the headline: it’s so much shorter. There are, so BB tells us, five tribes: The Inner City Elite, The Suburbanistas, The Seachangers, The Rural Heartlanders and… Outbackistan.
And guess what… I’m in the elite.
I am writing this solely because I have never before belonged to an elite, though it seems (according to BB) that I was unknowingly among the chosen ones when I lived near Gramercy Park in New York, which is where I had Madeleine Weybourne, the heroine of my second novel, The Bottom Line, living. I also lived just off Baker Street in London. Now we live (just) within five kilometres of the city centre…and that makes us elite.
I couldn’t wait to rush off and tell Abbe … but she was not impressed. Not surprising really; when you are as good looking as she, and as talented, then, obviously, my blue-stocking, privately educated blossom who walks on water and must be obeyed in all things, has always naturally been in an elite.
But me! Whenever I tried to join an elite organisation I was told to go away – or words to that effect. And on the few occasions I did manage to enter some august and elite institution… the moment I joined it ceased to be elite. It’s a kind of postulate to the Groucho maxim.
Now, finally and at last, I had discovered that I am a member of an elite. I checked off all the criteria.
- Living within 5 kms of the city centre – yes.
- Better educated than the other tribes – moot.
- More global… born overseas – yes
- Likely to earn higher incomes than the other tribes – are you kidding? You seen the kind of moolah they pull down in the western suburbs? A definite no.
- Less likely to have children – what? We have thousands of them (well, five actually) and now a whole heap of grandchildren costing me a fortune (see 4).
- Likelier to vote for the ALP – pass…my granny told me never to talk about politics, religion, or my auntie Maud’s special problem.
- Finally… and here’s the clincher… ‘you can tell if you live in a hipster house-hold because there’s goats cheese in the fridge.’ And we have goat’s cheese in the fridge. My little food fuehrer says it’s good for us.
I was so chuffed. Finally and at last I am a hipster and paid-up, card-carrying member of an elite. We have goat’s cheese in our fridge.
I hurried across the road to see my mate, Ahmet. In his kitchen I asked him, ‘Ahmet, do you have goat’s cheese in your fridge?’
‘Ah, yes,’ he said, ‘and goat’s milk and goat meat.’
‘Shit, Ahmet,’ I cried, ‘you are triple elite. You are the hipster of all hipsters.’
I could tell he was pleased. ‘Ah, very good,’ he said. ‘I will remember that when next
I am driving my bus.’