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I scored between 9 and 12 and although I am a member of America's new upper class (who knew?) I have had a lot of exposure to the rest of America. What's voluntarily being with smokers got to do with it?


I too apparently lack a bubble.

I think this quiz demonstrates that Mr. Murray has some weird issues.


I got 10. I have no idea what that means. As to which question was most risible, they all were. Suffice it to say, I guess real 'murkans are out thar a-shootin', a-fishin, and watchin' the NASCAR. Others need not apply.


I scored five but I am from India :p Evangelical Christian friends? I go to church but not sure my friends from church would call themselves evangelical at least what this fellow would consider evangelical.

Rebecca Clayton

So this is like Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck" only not funny, right? I scored "you don't even have a bubble," and I feel aggrieved. Why do cheap American beer, pickup truck ownership, hunting and fishing trump my PhD in a hard science? And what is the converse of a "thick bubble" anyway? (Speaking of a hard science, as I recall, The Bell Curve didn't have much to brag about in the data analysis department.)


Mr. Murray has some strange ideas. I took the quiz for me, and then I took it applying what I know about my parents, who are white, Southern, conservative, evangelical, and scored about the same as I did. They don't hunt or fish (and never did), they don't follow NASCAR (but do follow other sports, as do I), and like many evangelicals, they don't drink at all, so there's no PBR in their refrigerator.

If Mr. Murray were actually a member of the mainstream he's purporting to defend, he might come closer than this caricature.

He did write one good book, though, with his wife Catherine Bly Cox: Apollo, The Race to the Moon.

Dr X

I got an 6 of 10 on Charles Murray's quiz.

Now let me quiz Charles Murray on the gigantic bubble of bloated, pretentious, elitist, conservative fat that might insulate him from real life.

Has he, in the last month, spent an uninterrupted hour talking with a factory worker?
Has he, in the last month, spoken with five undocumented workers?
Does he carry an extra pair of gloves with him at all times, to give gloves to a homeless person?
Has he given cash to a street person in the last 5 days?
Does he have a car newer than 10 years old?
Does he have 5 friends without college degrees?
Does he have any friends who drive taxi cabs or school busses?
Has he ever run the table in 8-ball?
Does he have health insurance?
Does he give more than 40 percent of his professional work away to people who live below the poverty line?
Did he ever give the last penny in his pocket to a homeless person while he had less than $5.00 in his bank account?
Did he ever have a girlfriend with tattoos that made him smile?
When it snows, does he shovel the area in the alley behind his garage and does he shovel the area behind his neighbors' garages when the snow is 16 inches deep?
Does he have an alley where he lives?
Does he carry school debt?
Did his grandmother work in a sweatshop?
Did his mother not publicly speak her first language out of shame because of the judgments of typical Protestant, Christianist Americans?
Did he grow up with grandparents who didn't speak English?
Did he ever seriously date a woman with a G.E.D. and no further education?
Did he ever love and marry a woman in a blue collar occupation?
Was his first wife murdered by someone who killed her with an illegal handgun?
Has he ever wished that Charles Murray would drop dead and burn in hell for being a hateful, pretentious, arrogant piece of shit?

End of my quiz.


I scored 2, which I find oddly reassuring. On the other hand, that probably means I am Mitt Romney! Foiled again, for Pete's sake!


According to the test I got 13 right, if you consider a marching in support of hotel worker rights a "parade," or that I knew who NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson was because fast cars are cool no matter what your politics are. Treat this test like James T. Kirk did the Kobayashi Maru, and you'll do fine.

mac macgillicuddy

I'm not sure I understand the premise. Is it that the small, though vocal, special- interest institutions that claim to "be" regular Americans (as if there is any such thing) in order to sell some stuff to these "consumers" really ARE either a) what 350 million different people think, or b) what any country should aspire to think? By the way, according to the quiz, my motto should be "let them eat cake."


I also scored a twelve, which the helpful card informed me was between 13 and 16. WTF? This is without a doubt the dumbest quiz I've ever participated in, and I have a twelve year old daughter who regularly gives me quizes from tween magazines.


Scored a 10 which seems to mean that I have been exposed to real Americans. I did grow up in the Midwest, so maybe that explains my familiarity.

The smoking question seemed odd to me. I know many people who used to smoke, including most of my family. Just about all of them have quit because of health problems. So, does this mean that real Americans don't care about lung cancer, etc.?

This quiz confirms my belief that CharlesMurray is an idiot.

Ken Houghton

I didn't bother taking the test, since your card (which indicates that 12 is "between 13 and 16") tells me that Real Americans--or at least the authors of the quiz--are innumerate.


I understand the idea behind this, but it's really pointless. I don't have C-student friends, but I smoke. I played in a marching band, thus marched in a parade, but I couldn't name a NASCAR driver at gunpoint. Fundamentalist Xians are in the family, but I'm a totally lapsed Catholic. I don't drink beer, let alone cheap beer. My father made as much or more money than a doctor/lawyer/engineer or other job listed in that one question, so that's meaningless as well.

And what's with watching an Oprah episode "all the way through?"

I scored a 9 and I'm surprised I did that well.


Ok, after further research, it appears that Lance's version of the quiz is the Readers Digest Condensed version, because the long version is even more convoluted and fails to prove the point. It seems that the generalization this quiz attempts to demonstrate is that Elites (or "Others") can't relate to mainstream America; as if Pabst-drinking, NASCAR-savvy, steel-toed-boot-wearin', Jesus-lovin' people actually represent the USA. We can't empathize with average Joes. Although, the average Joes think empathy is a weakness.

Anyhoo, it's a false premise that I have to work in a factory or watch TRON to understand working class people. Funny, I thought by being an 11th generation American citizen (my ancestors were here in 1633), I was supposed to evolve from farmer/laborer to college-educated upper middle class, and that was supposed to be the American Dream.

Thus, those whose parents and grandparents achieved the American Dream so their children could have it, are now in a BUBBLE because we didn't stay on the farm or in the factory.

Ok. Right.


>>On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 5 and 8.

In other words, you can see through your bubble, but you need to get out more.<<

And there you have it.

Two questions stood out for me. One was the question regarding stocking your fridge with domestic beer. Yes, I have. Sam Adams. But somehow I don't think that was the brand Mr. Murray (I refuse to honor him with a Dr. or Professor title) was thinking of.

And attending a Kiwanis or Rotary Club Meeting? Really? Do these organizations even exist anymore? It just confirms that Murray really is stuck in the '50s.

Chris the cop

It says the test was 'inspired' by the upcoming Murray book. Does that mean he didn't create it, that someone else did after reading the book?

I got a 14 which the test implies is pretty good, but I tell ya, I feel more and more isolated from mainstream culture every year.

I kinda like Dr X's quiz a little better, and I wanna hear sometime how the inked-up babe made him/her smile.

I remember seeing Murray being interviewed about his Libertarian beliefs and I seem to recall that he got most of the main points right - talk about being out of the mainstream. And isn't he at Harvard? 'nuff said.

Lance Mannion

Lingin? About Kiwanis and Rotary...

Chris, are you admitting with your score that you actually saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon?

I'm pretty sure the version of the test I posted was created by the marketing department at Murray's publisher's. Which answers mac's question, what's the point? To sell Murray's book.

I'm not sure about the longer version loretta found. If it's included in the book, then Murray probably had a more direct hand in the writing of that one.

stingraylady, I actually scored a 13. You may have too. There's a coding error in the creation of the embed.

Chris the cop

I did not and as long as watching a full Oprah is needed to be perfect, it'll never happen. And can someone who scored higher than me on this test explain what the FUCK is the attraction with NASCAR? I drove fast enough far enough back in the day so I just don't see the attraction even with the occasional crash to gawk at, middle class geek or not.

Janelle Dvorak

Loretta, my folks were here a year before yours, and their iteration of the American Dream was to help their children do better than they had, whatever that might be. I don't think college-educated upper middle class was how they phrased it.

Tom Levenson

I love the definition of "mainstream" America here. I feel stupider just for knowing that Charles Murray exists.

I scored 11. I could have tied Lance's 12 but, after wrestling with the question for a bit, I decided that wearing full academic regalia three times a year at commencement when I was a department chair did not count as "having a job where I had to wear a uniform." But I was so close!


"you scored between 9 and 12.

In other words, even if you're part of the new upper class, you've had a lot of exposure to the rest of America."

Well then. Those two years in the Navy and six months bagging coffee at the distributor have paid off!


13 of 20, because I am an unAmerican elitist who will never watch Oprah on a bus in uniform drinking domestic beer. I did take the quiz while watching "Days of Thunder" for extra credit.


13. And I am farther to the left than any non-Maoist I know. What does that mean? Of course, I haven't actually known a Maoist since about 1977...but there are still a few Trots of my acquaintance and they still wear little round glasses.

Charles Murray is a carbuncle that won't subside on the face of humanity.

food doctor

was that question about stocking domestic beer a trick question because i took it to mean a "dedicated" refrigerator for domestic beer.if i need a dedicated one i better get out and buy the coolest most up to date techno model to match all the rest of my appliances in the same color and style!... and then fill it with imported beer of coarse.

minstrel hussain boy

16. growing up on a rez will do that for you.

it made me think of a reservation question:

did you walk to school with your shoes hanging off of your neck so they wouldn't wear out so fast?


I got 10! Yay, me! Or, Boo, me! I have zero idea what the point is or what is desirable here. I've been in parades, I hang out with smokers and Republicans, and while I find NASCAR insanely tedious, I love me some football. I didn't see Transformers, but I rarely see big movies the year they come out anymore, because I rarely go to the theater (too expensive nowadays). My father is a college professor, but he's always been a beers-at-the-bar kind of guy, and...oh, frak it. This is stupid.

Carrie Cann

I took the test and scored a 2.


On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 0 and 4.

In other words, your bubble is so thick you may not even know you're in one."

Guess I am a snob. Or, in my snobbish mind, astutely politically aware that this piece of trash test is so skewered to mean absolutely nothing when compared to MY reality (and probably others, as noted by the comments above).

PA Reader

While my fancy new Certificate of Achievement (out for framing for ultimate display in my Cultural Elite Trophy Case) says I got 4 out of 20, my report says the following:

On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 5 and 8.

In other words, you can see through your bubble, but you need to get out more.

How proud my mother will be when I report the good news.

Doug K

Just love that certificate.. I'll frame it proudly.
The coding error that produces innumerate results seems a perfect analogue of Murray's scholarship, clearly plainly explicitly and unavowably wrong.

Scored a 14, and I'm a damned immigrant, not even a Real American; also a loony left-winger, otherwise known as a "moderate social democrat" in any other country. That is, a huntin', fishin', F-150-drivin' democrat. I've seen a Wyoming pickup with gunracks and a bumper sticker, "Tea Parties are for little girls with imaginary friends". WY, last refuge of the sane Republican..

Cognitive dissonance boomed like a gong at the question, "Have you ever attended a Kiwanis or Rotary Club meeting, or a gathering at a union local?"
One of these things is not like the others..

The whole exercise looks like the Pluggers comic strip - profoundly cynical profiteering.


I scored a two. I hope the Tzarina and I can escape before the angry mobs catch us.

Steven Hart

What a hoot. Everything Charles Murray knows about America he got by watching "Talladega Nights." He probably still doesn't know it was a comedy.


I got a 6, which means Charles Murray is an asshole.

Jennifer Ouellette

"Everything Charles Murray knows about America he got by watching Talladega Nights."
That made my day. :)

I scored a 9. It's obvious the test was designed to push the buttons of people just like us -- you know, not the real Americans. The ones buying microbrewed beer, avoiding chain restaurants (in favor of small independent family owned eateries, in many cases, or at least privately owned), watching daytime talk shows, and so forth. Wine-swilling, brie cheese guzzling, PBS-loving, over-educated, white collar folks who listen to NPR every morning over our imported French brewed coffee (served on fine granite countertops). That sort of person. At least according to Charles Murray, who can't think beyond neat little stereotypes.

What, no questions about whether we watch the Super Bowl every year, or cheered for our fave baseball team during the World series? Is NASCAR more "mainstream America" than NASCAR? We might not fill our fridge with Budweiser, but how about Coca-Cola? And why pick TRANSFORMERS as the typical real American film? It wasn't the only mega-hit movie of its year, just the one whose box office was in inverse proportion to its quality. X-Men: First Class, Captain America (come on! Captain America!), Star Wars, Indiana Jones -- these are all movies that Murray's "real Americans" love just as much, and they appeal broadly across many demographics. IN the case of the latter two films they're part of American's cultural fabric, like The Princess Bride (one of the most quoted films of all time). And so on.

This need to define one small sliver of the population as the "real America" is pathetic -- nostalgia for a bygone era that wasn't remotely as idyllic or homogenous as those who rhapsodize over it, as my blue-collar-raised father will be the first to tell you. It's just the part Murray and his publishers are cynically using to exploit current political tensions to sell books, as Lance pointed out.

Account Deleted

I have a 16 score. I am a college grad, ex teacher, ex army officer & a left winger. I am a socialist atheist. My family is a right wing Republican cult.

Never saw transformers & never will. Nascar is bullshit.

I will not buy his book...Occupy everything.

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