Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Last Horizon

The Last Horizon: Feminine Sexuality & The Class System by Floyd M. Orr
(iUniverse / 0-595-24472-6 / 978-0-595-24472-0 / August 2002 / 271 pages / $17.95 / Kindle $4.80)

Reviewed by Dianne K. Salerni for PODBRAM

In The Last Horizon: Feminine Sexuality & The Class System, non-fiction author Floyd M. Orr presents a new perspective on today’s middle class American society. Mr. Orr is not afraid to speak the blunt truth that we all know (but continue to deny): a person’s sexual attractiveness is the single most important factor for social success in America.

Mr. Orr’s theory is based not on empirical testing or psychobabble, but on his observations of American social structure over a lifetime. He has dubbed this structure The Class System-not to be confused with an economic class system based on income. Floyd Orr’s Class System is a pattern of behaviors that determine "a pecking order" in American social interaction. Family background, economic position, and education play their roles, but the most important factor is how physically attractive a person is.

The author proposes that The Class System is the product of a nation that, since the end of World War II, has not had to fear death on a grand scale from war or epidemics. With physical survival practically assured, Americans have been able to develop the most consumer-driven society in history. The important question asked by a typical American family is not "Will we survive this year?" but "What will we buy this year?"

The Last Horizon is written for women and is meant to be a guide for finding a mate who is more interested in his woman than his car or his favorite sports team. However, some female readers may be turned off by the author’s blunt language and obvious dislike for the shallow values of "the herd mentality" within The Class System. Almost by his own definition, the very women who could most benefit from his advice on choosing men are the ones who will be ideologically unprepared to accept it. Because of this-or perhaps because I already have a wonderful husband-I wish Mr. Orr had focused less on the applications for dating and more on his very interesting observations of society and the corporate world which perpetuates the system for its own benefit. Personally, I found these to be the most interesting parts of the book.

Once you read The Last Horizon, you can never un-read it. I have caught myself applying his Class System designations to people I know and the characters on my favorite TV shows. I have suddenly noticed how Disney Channel sitcoms tend to perpetuate the values of this system, and I’ve started asking my children to turn that channel off. In retrospect, I think The Lost Horizon explains my entire adolescence! But beware-before choosing to read this book-can you handle what you will learn?

See Also: The Horizon page at e-tabitha
Dianne's High Spirits review of Horizon
Dianne's B&N Review

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