I'm not sure these things are "shallow" I believe they are "Fe."These points about belonging, etiquette, keeping up with the Joneses, and being refined - they bother me - that this is a goal we have in our society. Why do we have to be lemmings? Why do we have to be so shallow? We're inundated with advertising and messaging in media which has shaped us as a society. I wonder if this will change in the upcoming years. We have DVRs and skip commercials. We ignore advertising on the Internet. How will media and corporations help to shape the values of society moving forward? I think this does tie to class. Class structures have been around for a very long time - far before the advent of modern media. The manipulation of society to earn as much as possible and spend money you don't have seems like a more recent thing. It is interesting then that class now is becoming more closely aligned with how one spends their money.
Social etiquette exists as a way to manage relationships amongst groups of people who share a culture in common. When socializing is your primary goal (and it often is, or was especially in the past when the upper classes never set a finger to work) these things would carry utmost importance. Not to mention that the art of living with good taste can be enjoyable.
I used to love going to le circle francais dinner parties in college because we practiced proper etiquette. I am attracted to that sort of "culture." I can kind of see why people would pay attention to those things on a daily basis if they had the luxuries of time and money to do so.
Not that I'm defending classism, because I'm certainly not. I'm more defending the idea of "class" as being seperate from socio-economic class.
Oh, and I think that the reason that class is associated with how one spends one's money has to do with the fact that we live in a capitalist country and we have more choices than people did in the past. In a way it's good because it makes our class system more flexible and it's a country where you can rise above the class you were born in. The things Edgar was talking about tends to apply more to other countries.