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18

FRIDAY

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Anyone who says ours is a classless society is probably a lifelong member of the middle class. But get yourself born into Springsteen-and-Honeymooners territory and you have very few choices: Watch PBS and try to fake it, revel in the romanticism of near-poverty, or ignore the whole thing. The best choice, in my Hamburger Helper–raised opinion, is to go bohemian. Buy your clothes at Sally Ann’s, eat ethnic, value conversation over premium cable. But don’t think you won’t still be judged, that people won’t study you as Hannibal studied Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs: “You’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling?” Alain de Botton explains it all when he discusses his book Status Anxiety at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)