WASP, WHERE IS THY STING? by Florence King


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The American WASP may have no Fifth Avenue parade, and no native dances, but now he can flaunt his foibles along with all those other lovable ethnics, thanks to this bright, very funny socio-sendup. Not that there is any such thing as a ""standard model Wasp."" ""Schism is our specialty."" King then revs up a series of showcase numbers, beginning with a run-through of religions--from the Episcopalians (""the Chivas Regal of Protestantism"") whose clergy toss down Scotch and flirt with hostesses, through the ""Baptodistyerians,"" whose minister laces his sermons with lines like ""Jesus pitched a shut-out against sin,"" to the Holier Than Thou Reformed Church of Wasp Crossroads, Mississippi. Then come the households of High and Low Waspdom: the High cooks dreadful messes while looped on Bloody Marys; the Low covers toilet paper with Marie Antoinette dolls and whomps up gargantuan, leaden meals (Sunday is ""plop-plop fizz-fizz day""). King delves into such matters as the Wasp Prince, the Prom Queen, the Big Man on Campus, and the Great Girl, thresholds of tolerance for in-laws and embarrassing situations, distrust of sex (although the male has extraordinary staying power, sex threatens cherished self-sufficiency), etc., upon etc. A highlight is the author's hilarious reconstruction of one Sunday morning in the career of Lizzie Borden (""a case of pure Waspology""). If the Wasp once lost its sting, Ms. King has put it back.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1977
Publisher: Stein & Day