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.”
I'm starting to think there are reasons why no one wants to go out to dinner with David Brooks. https://t.co/fyGksU0rfr
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) July 11, 2017
I have a PhD and no clue what that stuff is. This person probably seemed anxious to flee because she was stuck having lunch w/David Brooks. https://t.co/1eyNJeiXck
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) July 11, 2017
It is hard to distinguish yourself as a condescending ass these days, cuz we're overrun, but David Brooks has always been an overachiever.
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) July 11, 2017
I invited David Brooks to Taco Bell and while trying to pronounce "baja blast" his whole body went limp like cooked spaghetti
— August Thompson (@a_r_thomps) July 11, 2017
my whole timeline right now, thanks to David Brooks pic.twitter.com/bRViqHrwyC
— Seth D. Michaels (@sethdmichaels) July 11, 2017
This David Brooks thing reminds me when he listed Stella as an ironic trucker-cap beer bc it was "the beer of the Belgian working class."
— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) July 11, 2017
When David Brooks walks you into a deli pic.twitter.com/sMlqWdjzOx
— Sam (@simmonsclass) July 11, 2017
Inevitably, the column spawned parodies.
great stuff in the latest David Brooks column pic.twitter.com/6PFYAaKaCT
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) July 11, 2017
today's David Brooks column is worth reading pic.twitter.com/6UbURCmVAc
— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) July 11, 2017
Recently I took a colleague who never got past kindergarten to Twitter. "Who's Pepe? What is ((()))?" she said. We went to Facebook instead.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) July 11, 2017