stolid bourgeois dependability

flyingcat2008

Senior Member
china,chino
Even Canada, long a bastion of stolid bourgeois dependability, now faces in the separatist movement in Quebec a threat to its very existence as a nation.(From culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lash)

Hi, everyone!

I am reading a book but I don't understand the meaning of the bold words. It's difficult for me! It talk about confidence crisis in Western countries....

Who depend on what?
Please help, local people.

Thanks very much.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Have you looked those words up, Flyingcat? The whole phrase means something like "a stronghold of dull middle-class dependability." Lash is referring to the nature of Canada's culture. According to Lash, Canadians have middle-class values, and they are reliable and unemotional.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    [This question and the following posts have been added to an existing thread where the same question was asked. Please read down from the top. DonnyB - moderator.]
    Hi,

    Even Canada, long a bastion of stolid bourgeois dependability, now faces in the separatist movement in Quebec a threat to its very existence as a nation.

    (This comes from The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch.)

    Though I understand the meaning of each word, I find it hard to understand the meaning when they are put together.

    1. Is "bourgeois" a noun, and does “stolid (adjective)” modify "bourgeois", like "red apple"?

    2. Does "stolid bourgeois" modify "dependability"?

    3. Does the blue part mean "a bastion full of dependability,and this dependability comes from stolid bourgeois"? I'm a little confused. Could you explain it grammatically?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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    Root of All Things

    Member
    English - American
    Bourgeois here is being used as an adjective. See the definition from Merriam-Webster:
    of, relating to, or characteristic of the social middle class
    Both stolid and bourgeois are modifying dependability. Stolid is indicating to what degree (Canada is calmly and consistently dependable) and bourgeois is indicating a quality of that dependability (One can depend on it to support "social middle class" sorts of things).

    The author here is arguing that Canada has long and reliably supported bourgeois things, like tradition, capitalism, and "western culture," although this dependability is now being threatened by "the separatist movement in Quebec."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The author here is arguing that Canada has long and reliably supported bourgeois things, like tradition, capitalism, and "western culture," although this dependability is now being threatened by "the separatist movement in Quebec."
    I don't think the dependability is being threatened - the phrase "long a bastion of stolid bourgeois dependability," is only a non-defining adjectival phrase in apposition to Canada and may be omitted:

    Even Canada [...] now faces in the separatist movement in Quebec a threat to its very existence as a nation.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    'Stolid' is more than calm and consistent to me; it's almost stubbornly calm.

    From one of the WR dictionaries:
    stol•id /ˈstɑlɪd/ adj.
    1. not easily stirred or moved mentally or emotionally: A very stolid worker, he seldom showed excitement.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Stolid is indicating to what degree (Canada is calmly and consistently dependable) and bourgeois is indicating a quality of that dependability (One can depend on it to support "social middle class" sorts of things).
    Thank you, but I'm still a little confused.

    1. Stolid dependability: calmly and consistently dependable ---> It's easy to understand "consistently dependable", but not to "calmly dependable". Does it mean "so calm that can be dependable"?

    2. Bourgeois dependability ---> Does it mean "bourgeois is dependable"?

    3. Does "a bastion of dependability" mean "a dependable bastion"?
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    Stolid doesn't really mean calm. It means 'difficult to move'. 'Unexcitable' might also work, here.
    Dependability is the principle noun. It is the state of being reliable. Bourgeois dependability is the state of being reliably middle class. Stolid bourgeois dependability is the state of being immovably reliably middle class.
    Really, all these terms mean much the same thing. Lasch is piling up a lot of near synonyms for emphatic effect. 70s english Canada, he's saying, was really really bourgeois.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Bourgeois dependability is the state of being reliably middle class. Stolid bourgeois dependability is the state of being immovably reliably middle class.
    Should the above "reliably" & "immovably" be changed to "reliable" & "immovable"?

    Is "a bastion of dependability" meaningful? If yes, does it mean "a bastion of being reliable"?
     
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