Italian Meats Aren't Ruining American Education

A fallacious New York Times column by David Brooks is the latest in a long line of conservative smokescreens that mask society's actual problems.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

first thing i saw today was the words “striata baguette” and i’ve honestly been leaning back in my chair waiting for this article to happen. thank god for austin

someone else already pointed this out on twitter but it’s fucking astounding to see some NYT dipshit assert that foods my family grew up with in the mountains of Italy for decades are now emblematic of the ruling class. does he know where new jersey is? or who lives there?


David Brooks is a phenomenal piece of shit calling “hard bread/stretch bread” a striata baguette and I have nothing educated to add to this but he sounds like every shit customer I’ve ever fed. What a phenomenal pile of shit to not simply allow the people that work at the restaurant the opportunity to talk to his fictional friend about the food so that they could know what’s available and know what sort of thing they’d like to order. He’s a haughty fuckwad who flails about, "HMM, LET’S GO GET SOME ARTISNAL HAND BAKED CROQUE A LA DANS BAGEUTTE CHIFFON SAFFRON AQUARIUS. NEVER HEARD OF IT, FINE I GUESS WE’LL EAT FOOD MADE BY MEXICANS."
adjusts monocle
He’s the kind of mother fucker that guffaws. You ever seen someone guffaw?


Dude probably never watched Ratatouille cause he thinks it’s liberal propaganda.


david brooks is the type of guy to order pasta at The Keg and then complain about it the whole time

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David Brooks the kinda dude that lies about being able to tell the difference between 35 and 50 dollar Cabernet


The only time my face freezes up is when I see David Brooks’ name


Never heard of David Brooks before, but my god does he sound like an ass.

So I didn’t read Brook’s article, only yours @austin_walker and the first thought that came to mind after finishing it was “why respond to this piece in particular?”

Surely social opinion clickbait pieces like this are dime a dozen? What about this one piqued your interest? Is it because it was from a prominent outlet like the Times? Genuinely curious; keep up the good work!

Whatever happen to learning about other cultures? What ruining America is a lack of respect to cultures, viewing them as being less than yourself, and out right limiting people access to cultures.

Brook’s thinks too single minded and at the end his solution is very hollow like the whole avocado toast talk and Dunky’s talk on gaming critics.

David Brooks is the kind of guy who kisses his fingers when those Olive Garden breadsticks arrive at the table


I read Austin’s write-up and then went ahead and read Brooks’ piece. It’s a very odd essay, structurally speaking. He does in fact spend the first half of the piece outlining structural issues, albeit in an obnoxiously smug way. Then this paragraph hits:

“I was braced by Reeves’s book, but after speaking with him a few times about it, I’ve come to think the structural barriers he emphasizes are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent.”

Yo what? Why even talk about structural issues if you were just planning to dismiss them. This isn’t even a convincing dismissal! The whole essay is at odds with itself. It feels like Brooks was anticipating responses to his essay raising concerns about structural issues so built hand-waving those concerns away into the fabric of the essay, but it’s still hand-waving!

Also, Austin didn’t talk about this, but there are a lot of stray lines in the essay conflating topics like maternity leave and intersectionally with cultural elitism. This paragraph really ground my gears:

“To feel at home in opportunity-rich areas, you’ve got to understand the right barre techniques, sport the right baby carrier, have the right podcast, food truck, tea, wine and Pilates tastes, not to mention possess the right attitudes about David Foster Wallace, child-rearing, gender norms and intersectionality.”

Brooks clearly can’t help himself from implying that it’s a left-wing elite that’s ruining America and causing social inequality, but doesn’t have the guts to say it outright. Yeah ok, sure buddy, that’s productive. What a puke.


This is the most bullshit culture > structure argument I’ve read in a long time, and I’m a trained anthropologist. What a fucking joke.

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how do we know David Brooks is actually writing these articles and not david_brooks.exe running a convincing, if not particularly sophisticated writing algorithm?

because if I was a robot trying to sound human, this is probably how i would sound


Austin’s last paragraph explains why Brooks’ piece is so damaging, but I’ll reiterate. His ‘How We Are Ruining America’ article isn’t so much social opinion as a detailed illustration of the rotting core of American ideology: that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps by looking and talking the part rather than having tangible access to the capital and resources that will ready you for the part.



If you follow Shit Creek all the way up, you’ll eventually hit the Shit Brooks.

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No, I understood the article. I was just wondering why this particular piece caught Austin’s eye through all the noise. It could just be that he reads the NYT, I suppose.

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I haven’t really thought this all the way through, so it may end up being unhelpful/outright wrong.

I feel like there’s something in the fact that allowances are made for some people who don’t have the passwords to let them through the “cultural gatekeepers” (e.g. the “right sort” of immigrants who don’t have the same cultural heritage) that aren’t made for others that have been let down by the structural failures, i.e. the less well off and the marginalised. Does that make any sense?

It’s a particularly bad article getting a lot of attention on twitter. Not unlike salame picante, it’s spicy.

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