For years I have thought that Fussell hoist himself on his own petard. He condemned all others for their status-seeking, while reserving for himself a category free from status-seeking. Yet clearly it is better to be X than any class. Better means higher status.
His summary of what is good about the X category is this:
They occupy the one social place in the U.S.A. where the ethic of buying and selling is not all-powerful. Impelled by insolence, intelligence, irony, and spirit, X people have escaped out the back doors of those theaters of class which enclose others.
This year, though, I read this very familiar passage in a new way. X offers an escape from the ethic of buying and selling. X is an escape from class. It is not, and is not meant to be, an escape from status. Fussell is not being a hypocrite in exchanging the status system of curiosity and freedom for the status system of material goods and the control of the means of production.
X offers a different standard of status, not an escape from status.