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July 11, 2017

David Brooks Says Something Stupid, Sparking Debate On Precise Reason Why It Is Stupid

From his prissy little office at the New York Times:

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named "Padrino" and "Pomodoro" and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican....

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, "You are not welcome here."

In her thorough book "The Sum of Small Things," Elizabeth Currid-Halkett argues that the educated class establishes class barriers not through material consumption and wealth display but by establishing practices that can be accessed only by those who possess rarefied information.

To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you've got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.

Shibboleths is what he's talking about, and yeah, it's a problem.

I don't really believe that someone was freaked out by high-end sandwiches, though. Pretty sure someone could manage to say "I'd like ham and cheese on some bread of some kind," even if a little shocked by -- get this -- cappicola.

Are people really freaked out by cappicola? I have a large amount of trouble believing that. It's a fairly common spiced ham -- it's a main ingredient in an Italian sub, which is not, as far as a I know, a high-end rich-people-eat-this type of sandwich.

Personally, I think this Social Calamity occurred almost entirely within the confines of David Brooks' head -- I think we're hearing about his Social Status Shock, not his non-college-educated "friend's."

By the way, where did David Brooks come by this non-college-educated "friend"? Last time I heard from him, he was asking the government to set up Adult Day Camps where people of different social classes could meet and mingle.

Or, as I said at the time -- David Brooks needs a federal funded program that will introduce him to his doorman.

(Don't comment on old threads-- you'll get banned! And also, We Who Know Better will Mock you for your ignorant, backwoods ways!)

Still and all, I guess he has something of a point in claiming that the upper middle white college-educated class is ruining this country (in the main -- present company excepted, evidemment!!)

People are little tired of the ruling caste's shibboleths and smelly little orthodoxies (a redolent phrase I picked up from Instapundit, who quoted it from Spiked!, who may have quoted it from George Orwell).

Rod Dreher takes David Brooks seriously, maybe more seriously than he deserves.


Update [OregonMuse]

This seemed appropriate:

digg this
posted by Ace at 08:05 PM

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