What is the cause of poverty and increasing class disparity in America? Is it stagnated wage growth? A financial system that caters to the wealthy? A dearth of quality, affordable education? No, according to David Brooks resident conservative columnist at the New York Times, gourmet foods are to blame. Brooks’s July 11 column, which comes with the eye roll-inducing headline “How We Are Ruining America,” contains this golden nugget:
The above paragraph is Brooks’s attempt to make the argument that highfalutin culture, particularly the exotic cuisines enjoyed by snobs across America, acts as a barrier between this country’s underprivileged citizens and opportunities to improve their lives. Brooks views the class struggle as a My Fair Lady situation: If only these poor rubes knew how to interact with high-society types and read the menus at fancy restaurants, good jobs, high salaries, and affordable housing would be theirs for the taking. Alas, they are unfamiliar with Italian cured meats and would rather dine at Taco Bell, so the king-makers and job-creators will continue to spit at them.
Obviously, Brooks has it backwards here. There are many factors that contribute to a perpetual cycle of struggle, and simply blaming overeducated, over-cultured elitists distracts from actual issues. Brooks, an influencer with his byline in the Times, radio appearances on NPR, and television spots on the Sunday morning shows, is only enforcing that distraction.
At least Brooks’s wrong-headed opinions mean good times for jokesters on the internet.
great stuff in the latest David Brooks column pic.twitter.com/6PFYAaKaCT— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) July 11, 2017
David Brooks: I'll find some ground beef. We'll eat it with a fork— Pixelated Boat (@pixelatedboat) July 11, 2017
Friend: *growls like a cornered wolf*
David: I mean eat it with our hands
Just had a good Mexican lunch with my old friend David Brooks. Now to take a big sip of coffee and log into twitter— Juggalocialism (@UweBollocks) July 11, 2017
David Brooks: wanna get a burger?— Astead W. Herndon (@AsteadWH) July 11, 2017
Me, a simpleton Midwesterner, weighing the costs of being used as anecdote for societal degradation pic.twitter.com/us4ZVbQU5p
Mr. Brooks, enjoying good food is not to blame for this nation’s ills. Individuals from across the socioeconomic spectrum take pleasure in dining on trendy dishes from in-vogue chefs and restaurants, and wealth and education do not guarantee a refined palate. Maintaining a society that offers opportunity to all is a bit more difficult than eliminating the divide between fast food and a nice sandwich.
• How We Are Ruining America [NYT]