New York Times columnist David Brooks was ripped on Twitter Tuesday morning for a new opinion piece about how off-putting “upper-middle-class culture” can be.
Commenters zeroed in on this passage in particular in his column, titled “How We Are Ruining America.”
“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.”
That “insensitive” encounter sparked a quick online backlash, with one commenter calling the right-leaning columnist a “condescending ass” and others shuddering at the prospect of sharing a meal with Brooks in the first place.
“I have a PhD and no clue what that stuff is,” tweeted writer Sarah Kendzior. “This person probably seemed anxious to flee because she was stuck having lunch w/David Brooks.”
Brooks’ larger point — that the upper-middle-class use “cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class” — was largely drowned out by readers focused on his reported encounter with a less educated friend.
And the Twitter backlash came faster than you can say, “Hold the pomodoro.”
Inevitably, the column spawned parodies.