David Brooks makes some good points in this article. But the most revealing passage by far is this moment of inadvertent comedy:
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.
😃😄😆 A remarkable cross-section of modern American society right there. I laughed, I cried, I canceled my Netflix subscription.
Seriously, this is the sentence immediately preceding the above:
I was braced by Reeves’s book, but after speaking with him a few times about it, I’ve come to think the structural barriers he emphasizes are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent.
An excellent point. But if “informal social barriers” are the problem, why is Brooks so eager to perpetuate them by whisking his friend out of a sandwich shop that is a bit more upscale than she’s used to?
Read that paragraph again:
Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches…
That sounds really awkward. A social disaster. She was reading a menu, concentrating and… her face froze up. It didn’t even move! She must have been overwhelmed by the situation. Or maybe she was just thinking for a second.
Fortunately, Brooks acted fast:
I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.
Gosh, I’m glad Brooks was sensitive enough to save the day by taking his friend to an eatery more appropriate for a person of her station. We all know the lesser-educated can’t handle sandwiches with foreign names.
Of course, if Brooks had managed to shrug off his initial five seconds of slight social discomfort, he might have considered teaching his friend what the hell “soppressata” means. (Does he know?) But what would be the point of that? Be quiet and eat your prolefeed.
today's David Brooks column is worth reading pic.twitter.com/6UbURCmVAc
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) July 11, 2017