Author Charles Murray on Bubbles, Marriage and ‘Coming Apart’

BY Paul Solman and elizabeth shell  March 20, 2012 at 10:56 AM EDT

Last week, we previewed our interview with libertarian author and think-tanker Charles Murray by publishing his quiz: How Thick Is Your Bubble? Featured in “Coming Apart,” his new book about class divide in white America, the quiz is his way of letting us figure out how in or out of touch we are with American mass culture.

Making Sense

Take the quiz here, and see Murray’s responses to some of your questions here. The higher your score, the less cloistered you are, by Murray’s reckoning. The lower your score, the more grounded you are in modern-day America.

For example: Have you bought domestic mass-market beer — Budweiser, Coors, Miller or Busch — in the past year? According to Murray and a stockpile of research he presents, the upper-crust quaffs foreign and artisanal only. As Murray puts it, “The disdain of the new upper-class for domestic mass-market beer is nearly as intense as its disdain for people who smoke cigarettes.”

There are bigger questions, of course: Is white America coming apart at the seams? How sharp is the cultural divide? Why does it matter? What might we do about it?

Tuesday, in a departure from traditional practice, we debut the full broadcast-ready version of our story with Murray (and a skeptic) here at Making Sen$e before it airs on the NewsHour.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions