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Thread: David Brooks and the Fable of the Sandwich Shop

  1. #1
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    David Brooks and the Fable of the Sandwich Shop

    David Brooks, the New York Times idea of a conservative, recently published this piece on ways class distinctions and privilege are preserved:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/o...g-america.html

    He makes a pretty good case about how the upper middle class maintains certain advantages, but includes a ham-fisted little story about bringing a friend "with only a high school degree" to a pretentious Italian deli, causing embarrassment over ignorance about terms like "soppressata".

    As he should probably have expected, the usual suspects went nuts fixating on that, I think missing much of the point of how certain opportunities can be "hoarded". It's a shame, because I think we function better as a society when we maximize equality of opportunity (not equality of outcome - which is generally a poisonous goal to aim at).

    I'm inclined to think, however, that actually having money is much more important than one's cured meats vocabulary as a benchmark of social advantage.

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    Money is the key.

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    cured meets will kill you anyway.

    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.
    actually it probably *is* the prices ... yes in the grand scheme of things the amount of the budget spend on food regardless may be small at least in a middle class budget and one doesn't have to buy the most expensive things anywhere, but going to the grocery store and feeling poor sucks is maybe the whole of it.

    It's zoning that keeps kids out of better neighborhoods with better school districts? Wow that seems really non-obvious and a point that needs to be made, because what seems more obvious is it's *pricing* that keeps them out, housing costs are much more there ... you pay a hefty premium on a house in a good school district. Of course one can often rent where they can't afford to buy (if one wants to raise kids in an 2 bedroom apartment - see that's the thing ...), and zoning might influence the number of rentals (but I doubt it's as much of a deal as he thinks).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ApatheticNoMore View Post
    cured meets will kill you anyway.
    Eat all the arugula you want. You're still going to die.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nswef View Post
    Money is the key.
    Money is a key. Discrimination via race, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc is another - you can create privilege by denying "privileges" to specific groups. Nationalism appears to be another.

    BTW, what makes using Italian food items in an Italian deli pretentious? I don't understand her portrayed consternation. I would not have seen this as something to avoid, I would have seen this as opportunity, especially with someone right there to ask about whatever I didn't know.

    I'm also juxtaposing this against wondering if a particular billionaire holding one of the highest offices in the world took the opportunity to sample the height of French cuisine yesterday - or had his usual overcooked steak and ketchup?

    Shared experience, or lack of it, does make a huge difference, though - I read Hillbilly Elegy not too long ago, it did a really good job showing how difficult it can be moving between classes.

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