It struck me that the the best way to identify these creatures is to show you some. The easiest people in this day and age to point out are clearly celebrities. So consider, if you will, Glenn Close, Sam Waterston, and Jodie Foster.
Glenn Close was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, and went to Rosemary Hall and William and Mary. Pretty much we could be done right there. High WASPs are rabid about a good education. But no. It goes on. Her father was a doctor who operated a clinic in the Belgian Congo while her grandfather was once married to the heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. So we have the conjunction of a generation or two of great wealth and then the guilt about wealth that leads the next generation to go do good, and the generation after that to throw caution to the winds and become an artist. This photo actually pierces my heart with ironic recognition, i.e “Dear god, that thing which must not be spoken is actually in a PHOTO”. She has her pink bow on, for breast cancer prevention, but she’s sitting on a Mercedes.
Now what about Sam? Sam Waterston reeks of High WASP. The quote from Wikipedia is just too rich for me to adulterate it.
Waterston, one of four siblings, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Alice Tucker (née Atkinson), was an American Mayflower descendant and worked as a landscape painter, and his father, George Chychele Waterston, was an immigrant from Leith, Scotland and a semanticist and language teacher. Waterston attended both the Brooks School, a boarding school in North Andover, Massachusetts, and the Groton School. He entered Yale University on a scholarship in 1958 and graduated with a BA in 1962.
Iyeeeee! The Mayflower, landscape painting, Scottish immigrants AND a semanticist in one family tree? Yale is superfluous in his case. In the photo below he looks as silly as he does for one simple reason. He is very very embarrassed to be bowling and even more embarassed to be wearing a bowling shirt. High WASPs like to wear only what they have chosen to be their particular uniform.
Finally we have Jodie Foster. Her father was apparently both a war hero AND a wealthy man. Both characteristics are well thought of in High WASP circles. We won’t mention that her parents are divorced. These things happen. It’s widely known that Jodie attended Yale. But the key identifying point is that everyone knows she is gay and yet somehow she manages to determinedly neither talk about it nor leave revealing photos anywhere. After all, it’s none of your business.
So think about it. Have you ever seen any of these people on the cover of US Weekly for consorting with a child prostitute? For beating their spouse? For wearing dresses that expose their nether regions? Does that mean they have not done these things? No. It just means that they believe in discretion above all else. And probably, that they say please and thank you repeatedly to reporters who then look just a little bit the other way. Oh, and Glenn’s bunny-killing episode? An aberration. All High WASPs are allowed a little eccentricity. But I imagine at least one aunt was none-too-pleased about that behaviour.
(All bio references from Wikipedia, all photos via Starpulse. Which mortifies me, BTW, to even say the word Starpulse.)