There’s lots to find problematic about David Brooks’ latest column, not the least of which is the assignment of innate brightness/sophistication/good taste to people with college degrees. But beyond that, it’s the dang weirdness of the whole thing that struck me, this passage in particular:
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 few questions:
- Is he implying that Mexican is an inherently unsophisticated cuisine, because the exact opposite is true.
- Is there any particular reason his friend could have asked about the meats/breads on the menu? I’d be way out of my depth in a New York deli, too, so I’d probably ask someone for help with the menu.
- Is there any particular reason he couldn’t have said something like “Here’s what I recommend” to put her at ease? (This is, of course, assuming she really did get triggered by a meat list.)
I mean…it’s just so…weird.
And then there’s this:
The educated class has built an ever more intricate net to cradle us in and ease everyone else out. It’s not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it’s the cultural codes.
(It’s the prices.)