New York Times columnist David Brooks was the subject of much mockery on Twitter after his column "How We Are Ruining America" contained one of the more condescending paragraphs ever put to print. Brooks, writing about the cultural gap between the better-educated populations of the United States, described an ill-fated trip to a sandwich shop with a lesser-educated friend.
Sensing that the friend was unfamiliar with some of the more exotic ingredients on the menu due to her lack of a college degree, he then took the friend to a Mexican place.
"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. (NYT)
Twitter, being Twitter, was quick to point out that the vast majority of Italian immigrants (aka the people who introduced the United States to "ingredients like soppressata, capicollo, and a striata baguette") were not exactly the most educated of people, and also that David Brooks sounds like the worst lunch date of all time.
Seriously, who writes about people like that? While Brooks raised interesting points about the current culture of privilege begetting privilege in the United States, all of that is going to be ignored due to his assumption that his uneducated bumpkin of a friend couldn't handle various forms of cured pork products.
On a personal note, despite the fact that I have a college degree and I'm of Italian descent, I have no idea what a "Padrino" sandwich is (although it's the word for "godfather," so there's that), so let's not assume there's some kind of class warfare at work here. Further, having not been a fan of Mexican food in my younger years, I legitimately had my first-ever burrito at the age of 19 and had no idea what exactly an enchilada was until about three years ago--so even though Brooks and I both have university degrees, I'm not quite sure where he could take me to lunch without feeling as though he's committed some sort of insane insensitivity. Arby's, maybe?