I’ve blogged about how Mary Berry’s uses her middle class cultural capital to maintain the class-order through demonising working class taste , but in her latest series of outings – Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets, she takes this to another level…
I could only stomach one episode, which I watched to confirm my suspicions about the general format and broader function of this series – it basically consists of The Berry visiting Lords in their large estates, and having a jolly nice time cooking for them and dining with them….. making it seem as if ‘they’re just like us’.
From a Marxist Perspective the narrow and uncritical agenda of this show perpetuates the class structure through suggesting that we should identity with the elite.
The truth is, according to a broadly Marxist analysis, that these Lords and Ladies are are not like us- they mix in their own privileged circles and ‘fine dining’ is precisely one of the mechanisms they use to distinguish themselves from us ‘plebs’.
The deeper truth is that this ascribed status, which people are born into through sheer luck, is an affront to meritocracy – and needs to be challenged, or at the very least questioned, rather than ‘doffed’, like The Berry does.
Then again, and again from a Marxist point of view, what would you expect from The Berry? Doffing to the elite class above you is a widely used tactic by the upper middle classes (you see it in the Daily Mail a lot, when they defer to the royals), suggesting that the majority of the rest of us, like Gregg Wallace, in The Berry’s case, should doff their working class caps to her.
At least according to Marxism… these views in no way represent my own on the matter!