Correspondence

Letter From England: It’s Chavtastic, Baby!

The British tabloids couldn’t get enough of it.  Photos of Prince William wearing multiple large gold chains, a baggy track suit, a baseball cap, and a menacing sneer on his face were splashed across their front pages.  To the British, it was immediately clear that the prince was dressed up as a “chav.”

Like most Americans, I had no idea what they were talking about when I first saw the photo.  Within weeks, however, I had my own personal encounter with two real-life chavs.  I was helping distribute campaign literature for a political candidate in the English town of Northampton.  A chav couple was leaving their house just as I was approaching.  Like a good volunteer, I immediately started to recommend my candidate to them.  They grabbed the opportunity to air their grievances against their county’s social services.  Apparently, the woman has had her two children taken away.  The two fathers of the two children are both convicted sex offenders.  She herself is a convicted felon, though she did not elaborate on that point.  Social services had discovered she was pregnant with her second child when she assaulted the baby’s father on the street.  Later on, she decided to be sterilized.  Now, however, she and her new partner wish to have a child.  Because both are unemployed, they are taking out a loan to have the sterilization reversed,...

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