Beverly v. Gloucester: Class War on the North Shore

The Boston Herald once again returns to the story of the Beverly Farms Parade of Horribles and its ridicule of the so-called pregnancy pact in neighboring Gloucester. The underlying issue, one of teens too recklessly having children is one, of course, of deep concern. But, to me, the Beverly parade — you can watch it below — suggests another, one which we hear little to nothing about these days, class division.

One of the unique aspects of Eastern Massachusetts, unlike much of the country which is defined by brand new, nondescript, “subdivisions,” is that the region still has cities and towns with unique identities. Also unlike other regions, such as the Southwest (Anglo v. Latino,) South (white v. African-American,) where divisions are primarily ethnic and racial, you’re still dealing with towns, which have similar racial and ethnic profiles. Our area, therefore, provides a good litmus test on class. And it’s ugly.

I can think of several other places in the region where a few miles means a major difference in income. Start where I grew up, Hull. Hull is bordered by Hingham, a former target of derision of the Globe’s Metro Editor, Brian McGrory. Nearby is Cohasset, an even wealthier town. Class was an essential part of the sports rivalry between Hull and Cohasset. Self-described “rich kids” from Cohasset even vandalized a portion of Hull’s sea wall adjacent to the high school after a football victory. There’s also the Winchester-Woburn divide.

At a time when fishing, the economic engine of Gloucester is imperiled, as Mark Kurlansky writes in his new book, towns like Beverly Farms are relatively secure as refuges for the rich. Even with the current downturn, I’ve watched some communities, such as Needham and Newton, go from affluent communities with good school systems, to homes for the super-rich.

Just something to think about as we sit back and watch this spectacle.

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6 Responses to “Beverly v. Gloucester: Class War on the North Shore”

  1. Lori Magno Says:

    Speechless. Utterly speechless.

  2. Ben Says:

    Remember folks: It’s definitely not a group of people poking fun at a national news story. It’s those rich people engaging in class warfare.

    One would wonder if there would be as much hoopla over this if the parade/float was in Lawrence.

  3. Marc Says:

    If your every waking moment is torn by the anxiety of class envy, then you will see class oppression in everything.

    Somehow I doubt the actual wealthy bluebloods of Beverly were the ones with the hand painted “She smelled like Tuna – Should’ve pulled out Soonah” on the hand-made slut-mocking float.

  4. Christopher VanHaight Says:

    Clearly, steel drum bands like the one in the parade are a ubiquitous tool that the ruling class uses to oppress the masses. Or not. Sure, they were making fun of Gloucester, but I think it was also at least partly aimed at the media circus that arose. Hey, if derisively poking fun at the situation leads some teenager somewhere to reconsider their plans for getting pregnant, a service has been done. Nothing can change attitudes like peer-group shaming.

  5. Cheesehead in Recovery Says:

    Needham, super rich? Sure, down on South Street perhaps,….but I never thougth of myself as super rich…. just hard working. On the other hand, we wantned to live in Newton, and we couln’t afford it!

  6. Spanning the Web | Boston Daily Says:

    […] at the Beverly Farms parade is just another example of the class warfare between local towns. [Seth Gitell via Universal […]

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