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Everybody Hates David Brooks' Sandwich Story
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Everybody hates this anecdote from the new David Brooks column:

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.

American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.”

But this seems pretty reasonable to me.

Menus, in particular, have gotten much more intricate over the course of my lifetime. Dave Barry talks somewhere about how when he was a kid the typical fine dining menu consisted of:

Fish $4
Meat $3
Spagetti $2

Perhaps the disbelief about Brooks’ column is that Italian words are pretty easy for Americans to more or less pronounce, while the formerly dominant French cuisine words were more difficult.

In general, a lot of commercial design is specifically about making a target demographic feel welcome and making others feel uncomfortable. For example, when I first walked in a Chipotle a decade ago, it was instantly obvious that a lot of thought had gone into making middle-aged MBAs like myself feel right at home: the typeface of the menu behind the counter was familiar from upscale magazines, the unfinished industrial space looked like the state of the art remade warehouse that the marketing research firm where I worked had moved into in 1984 (it was so avant garde at the time that for the first few years visitors kept asking “So, uh, when is it going to be finished?”), and they were playing my favorite New Order song from 1981. The food … eh … but that’s not the point, the point was to make people like me feel comfortable, which involves making people not like me feel uncomfortable.

Personally, I’m generally comfortable at the high end of the social scale, especially if alcohol is available. I’m trying to think of a time when I wasn’t … OK, when former NSA director William Odom and former prime minister Margaret Thatcher got into a heated ten minute argument over German reunification about three feet from my dinner table. I felt like David Brooks’ lunch guest: uh-oh, I don’t understand this, I hope there’s not going to be a quiz, I am way out of my league.

I do get nervous in expensive situations. A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours and wound up in a rooftop bar where I ordered three drinks. While waiting for them, frazzled by exhaustion, I became scared by how big the bill would be? $225? I became terrified that I had stumbled into a bar for celebrities. Granted, the aged guy and the fat guy at the next table didn’t look like celebrities, but then … I became convinced that they were Tim Allen and Kevin James.

Fortunately, the waitress arrived with the bill: $30! Tim Allen and Kevin James immediately dissolved into people who barely looked like them.

Anyway, restaurants are intended to appeal to some people and intimidate others.

 
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  1. Damn, you made me read a NYT article, what next – a Guardian link?

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    • Replies: @Bosch
    Not that the MSM is enraged with Brooks for the right reasons but what kind of proletarian bumpkin is connected enough to be lunching with a NYT columnist but not to spend 30 seconds googling what a striata is on her phone.
    , @Neoconned
    Isn't this guy thee perv who just married a girl young enough to be his daughter...?
    , @Rosamond Vincy
    They are throwing shade at this clown on Daily Mail. Skip the article and go straight to the comments.
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  2. I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.

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    • Replies: @Dr. X

    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.
     
    I went to Chipotle once and turned around and walked out without buying anything. There was a really long line, which I couldn't figure, because the place was disgusting -- crumbs and wrappers all over the floor, and people eating on stainless tables as if they were in a chemistry lab.

    Never been back.
    , @Desiderius
    WE had a good one about ten years ago staffed with illegals.

    They all disappeared about five years ago. Never been nearly the same since, tho in the right neighborhood you'll still see long lines.
    , @Lurker
    Mmmm, plastic.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    The Brooks anecdote struck me as odd because the Italian sub/pizza shop in my hometown had a line out the door every day of construction workers and tradesmen ordering sandwiches with capicola and other meats on them.

    My local Italian deli/bakery now is a little fancier (it's owned by an Italian knight), but it's got a similar clientele, and if you are curious what capicola or anything else is, they'll happily slice you a sample. Just don't ask them for a Reuben.

  3. Other than restaurants in the ghetto, any restaurant is welcoming to SWPL types. I do like that some Asian joints have menus for natives v white people menus. But going to Mexican restaurant where few speak English is not very intimidating, unless you are a prole white.

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    I went to a soul food restaurant in Silver Springs a few times, and an honest-to-goodness African restaurant serving tasteless lump of something. I was the only non-black in either, but they were fine.
  4. The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense. We don’t just feel uncomfortable for the usual culture clash reasons – there’s also the actor forgetting his lines type of discomfort.

    Truly a national tragedy.

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    • Replies: @guest
    Yeah, Brooks' talks like he lives in a freakin' Henry James novel, or something. He's in the muck of Current Year civilization with the rest of us. Pretentious sandwich ingredients do not a a true elite make.

    Eventually, I imagine it'll come down to, "I read one more book than you per year, prole!"
    , @Grumpy
    "The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense."

    Exactly.

    It takes so much wealth today to escape the general crumminess of our cities and towns that we peasants delude ourselves into thinking that where we lunch (or go to college) is much more significant than it really is. It's all we have.
    , @Nico

    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense.
     
    I would go a step further and suggest it's deliberately and even nervously oblivious. People who whore their status symbols are generally either VERY New Money (as in, more likely lotto winners than people who built up capital through either hard work and clever or discreet heists) or the descendants of aristocrats now regressing towards the mean. (The French call these, respectively, nouveaux riches and fins de race.) In the same vein, there is an increasing anxiety in the intelligentsia of its ongoing/looming collapse, and this column happens to be a particularly odious example.

    Truly a national tragedy.
     
    If by "national tragedy" you refer to David Brooks, I absolutely agree. If you refer to the declining prestige of his ilk I have to disagree: that is probably the single best piece of news since I have been alive.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Ross Douthat tweeted today (in response to the Brooks kerfuffle, I think) that there is no upper class culture today. Someone mentioned Tom Wolfe's Back To Blood in response. The Art Basel stuff probably qualifies as legitimately upper class culture, but it's not broadly influential.
    , @Zoodles
    The white eloi, having no actual identity anymore.

    They define themselves solely in terms of status, and to signal your status you have to consume the right things..the right products, the right causes, the right neighborhoods. Without their status they have nothing.

    That's why they hate the white working class so much. They fear a kind of contamination from the white working class that would threaten their status, and thus their identity.
    , @Neil Templeton
    The upper class are pussies. How is this sustainable? In what human universe do pussies have legitimate authority?
  5. I have worked on the weekends as driver for Jimmy Johns while my primary job was looking after my aging parents. Most folks in the Midwest don’t know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.

    David Brooks’ douchebaggery just launched a million memes.

    Jimmy Johns plays New Order too, just not the obscure 8 and a half minute ones.

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    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Most folks in the Midwest don’t know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.
     
    Because Brooks spends so much time cultivating his image for consumption by the right sort as a connoisseur of the exotic (rather than actually learning a foreign language, which is hard), he would probably miss that it is near certain that Jimmy John's "Vito" and whatever sandwich place Brooks frequents "Padrino" are both likely references to the very same fictional movie character.
    , @conatus
    https://youtu.be/4EHFRYVxhd8
    The Sopranos popularized gabagool for capicollo
    , @Buffalo Joe
    anonymous, a few weeks ago we learned that Chinese food with funny-cute names was racist, but I'm ok with the Vito sub or a Godfather pizza. Just don't call me a dago or wop or guinea.
    , @Mr. Anon

    Most folks in the Midwest don’t know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.
     
    I once went to a New York style italian deli where the names of all the sandwiches were taken from gangster movies: The Don, The Goodfella, the Luca Brasi, etc.
  6. Salami sandwiches are so intimidating.
    I thought Brooks was kosher.

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    • Replies: @Joe Schmoe

    "Salami sandwiches are so intimidating.
    I thought Brooks was kosher."

     

    LOL


    Call me low class, and unintimidated, but what the heck is so intimidating about just asking what some of the stuff is? I mean, I am the customer. I am paying them. It is their job to earn my money. So, if anything I am going to embarrass them when I ask what all their fancy stuff is just to find out that it is roast beef or bacon or salami or baloney.
  7. The anecdote about Kevin James and Tim Allen is funny. It seems like their brand of comedy is tailored to those alienated by mainstream Hollywood culture. Kevin Can Wait is a throwback to the innocent kind of family sitcom that has become less common over the last few decades. Him and his wife are stereotypical members of their respective sexes, with the husband wanting to just eat and play sports and the wife nagging him about it. They go to church, have kids, and give the vibe of normal people.

    Their art seems to be a reflection of their politics, as both Allen and James have taken conservative positions in Hollywood.

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  8. Interesting discussion. Not so sure whether this is intentional and/or always the case. In chains it pretty much always is. In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Man! If there were offal on my menu, I'd be scared off too. On the menu, on the cutlery, on the placemat--you name it and I'm outta there!
    , @John Derbyshire
    Huge change from my 1950s prole English childhood then. It was offal all the way down, except for Sunday dinner (=lunch). Liver & onions ... deviled kidneys ... tripe ... sweetbreads (pancreas, I think) ... stuffed sheep's heart ... One of my aunts used to serve us brains on toast.

    England's been totally destroyed.
    , @Lurker
    Mmmm, offal.
    , @Joe Schmoe

    In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.
     
    Hell yeah, offal is a waste product of poultry processing!


    Scope of Poultry Waste Utilization

    Poultry Offal

    Organic solid by products and waste Organic solid by-products and wastes produced
    in broiler farming and slaughtering are blood, feet, head, bone, trimmings and organs.
    Offal consists of 5.3% of total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 32% proteins, 54% lipids
    and 0.6 to 0.9 % methane production potential
    (Salminen and Rintala, 2002)

    http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-javs/papers/vol6-issue5/E0652935.pdf
     
    , @CK
    https://www.amazon.com/Odd-Bits-Cook-Rest-Animal/dp/158008334X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1499948317&sr=8-3&keywords=offal+cookbook
    The most excellent cookbook on this topic.
  9. A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours

    I knew you are superhuman, Steve, but this is pushing the limits of my credulity.

    …or maybe it’s because I can’t drive more than two hours these days without needing to sleep and/or urinate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    "... to sleep and/or urinate".

    Hopefully not in that order and never while at the wheel.
    , @Anonymous


    A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours
     
    I knew you are superhuman, Steve, but this is pushing the limits of my credulity.

    …or maybe it’s because I can’t drive more than two hours these days without needing to sleep and/or urinate.
     
    Seriously?? I could do that drive from LA to NYC in 75% of the time it took Sailer. I've driven from Des Moines, IA to D.C. in under 17 hours in a crappy Ford Capri. In summer, without A/C.
    , @fred c dobbs
    Denver to Northern New Jersey in 44 hours. Late August, 1991. 1985 SR5 Toyota p/u, no a/c ( I got lucky, I admit. No rain, and temps the whole way maxed out in low 80s......=)
  10. That story is fine, but the rest of the column is sh-t. It’s just “structural racism” transposed onto American class structure, complete with complaints about pre-school, zoning, and language.

    BTW, personally, I love food and a wide variety of it, but I’ve been in gourmet sandwich shops like that and never had a good sandwich from one.

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    • Replies: @Neil Templeton
    Perhaps Mr. Brooks could have helped you select one.
  11. To compare great things with small . . . . I think it’s common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating. I first read about that in a fabulous book called Orange Roofs, Golden Arches (1986).

    BTW, did you (or Dave Barry) intentionally misspell “spaghetti”?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    BTW, did you (or Dave Barry) intentionally misspell “spaghetti”?

    I think the misspelling was part of Barry's joke, but I don't remember it too precisely. I did study how he had constructed the gag, but it's been a long time and I can't find it online.

    , @Lurker

    seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating.
     
    The other diners can sometimes have that effect too.
    , @anon

    I think it’s common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating.
     
    Might have been true in the past. But the new trend, at least outside of metropolises, is McDonald's as the new coffee shop/diner meeting place. Bunch of articles out there in this mold.
    , @anonguy

    To compare great things with small . . . . I think it’s common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating.
     
    I've always heard this, seems like a great design principle, but has some elements of urban myth.

    Like, does anyone have an account from a furniture ergonomist or whatever that designed these slightly uncomfortable benches? How did they determine slightly uncomfortable?

    Were the dog scientists hard at work on this issue?

    My guess is, at best, this story is some conflation of common sense spec'ing (no pads, doesn't need to be that comfortable/high maintenance for short term ff joint) being made into a big, manipulative, devious design.

    Conspiracy theory thinking.

  12. Indeed. Just as shows like Colbert and Maddow exist only to tell you who you are supposed to hate and mock, corporate America increasingly divides the world into respectable (progressives), unacceptable (deplorable whites) and put up with because they serve a weaponized purpose (blacks and browns).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    Yes, their shows are really just teleconferences to keep everyone on the same page. John Oliver and Samantha Bee's shows are just policy updates sprinkled throughout with increasingly bizarre sexual references and random accusations of crimes and betrayals. They're not funny, they're increasingly dark and troubled. Every video clip I see of Samantha Bee's show has her twisting and turning uncomfortably on her high heels or cocking her head in odd directions. It's like watching a staff meeting combined with an exorcism.
  13. There’s a lot to be said about this article but I’m busy working on a new integer modulation approach to Fourier analysis on simply connected manifolds.

    “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette.

    I only know one of these things, capicollo. Of course, i have to look at the item list to recognize the pizza I usually order at Olio.

    He should have offered to order for her.

    Granted, the aged guy and the fat guy at the next table didn’t look like celebrities, but then … I became convinced that they were Tim Allen and Kevin James.

    I spent an unreasonable amount of time a month or so ago, third row at the Hollywood Bowl Dead & Company concert, wondering whether the dude to my left was a young Johnny Depp.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I used to see a guy at the driving range who looked like a young Jack Nicholson. He looked so much like him but was about 30 years younger that it was disconcerting. Of course, it's hardly unlikely that Jack Nicholson has some stray offspring.
    , @Josh
    In the opposite direction, my mother in law would occasionally ask me if I want gaba-GOOL on my sandwich. I would offer an intimidated "no, thanks". About a year ago, making my own cold it finally dawned on me, "I could have been having capicola!"
  14. What bothers me about David Brooks’ anecdote is how it demonstrates just how cheap and shallow “elite” status is now. It wasn’t about a friend being unable to keep up with a high flying conversation, or join him in a chat with someone in Italian, it was about being his kind of foodie. It’s really just one more indicator that there’s “no ‘there’ there” when it comes to the elite.

    I recently had a look at two videos on YouTube featuring the current Russian ambassador to the US taking part in discussions at Stanford’s Europe Center and the Aspen Institute. The people on stage with him or asking questions from the audience were nearly universally intellectual duds, high functioning hysterics or place-holders. I see the same thing again and again when Twitter or YouTube allows me such glimpses into the Forbidden City of elite thinkery. No wonder they’re stuck showing off how many different varieties of salami they know.

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    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Forbes

    The people on stage with him or asking questions from the audience were nearly universally intellectual duds, high functioning hysterics or place-holders.
     
    I occasionally attend luncheons and receptions in NYC with such speakers, and the Q&A is often drearily familiar. Having been instructed to ask a question, audience members launch into a diatribe of their counter-theory or proposition, or ask questions at some remove from the subject matter at hand. Status as "elite" appears to be a stand-in for credentialism and those with sufficient income or flexible responsibilities to attend such functions.

    The foodie obsession is concurrent with wine, craft beer, single-malt, coffee, gourmet cooking, et al. obsessions--a materialist consumerism, now called "passions," that fill the intellectual emptiness of most people's lives.
    , @yaqub the mad scientist
    Amen.

    My country town grandfather was just a small-practice doctor, but he spoke four languages, discussed Ovid at the dinner table, had great stories to tell of saving Japanese POW lives under a MASH tent in the jungle, and was an amateur scupltor in the style of Gioccometi. I think I'll go for that kind of elite, if there's any of that left.

    I don't belong in this world.

  15. @Hodag
    Other than restaurants in the ghetto, any restaurant is welcoming to SWPL types. I do like that some Asian joints have menus for natives v white people menus. But going to Mexican restaurant where few speak English is not very intimidating, unless you are a prole white.

    I went to a soul food restaurant in Silver Springs a few times, and an honest-to-goodness African restaurant serving tasteless lump of something. I was the only non-black in either, but they were fine.

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  16. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that’s tied to your anxiety levels. It’s not something that class determines. It’s the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you’re more open to trying new things, then you’ll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don’t. People with higher anxiety levels don’t want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they’re also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It’s higher testosterone that’ll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Its true. Look at these people! How many of them have been willing to try anything new, you think? Do you think that they even have attempted sexual experimentation with someone of the same partner? How would they even understand gender fluidity without exposure to people who have suffered?

    Its these little dens of hate by small balled men with high anxiety failing to deal with a world that doesn't need their fear-dominated brains and lack of ability to deal with the rising status of women and cultural, racial and sexual minorities that are the problem.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Interesting.

    Of course, a lot of testosterone also often tends to be associated with not wanting to go outside one's social comfort/dominance zone.

    Musicians, for example, don't tend to be super masculine. My father-in-law was, but he was a tuba player and the violinists in his orchestra elected him their union leader because he didn't get intimidated into giving in.

    These New Order songs, for instance, sound like they were made by, I'm guessing, straight but not hugely masculine guys.
    , @Jack Hanson
    Yes, the David Brooks, Ross Douthats and Matt Ygelsias of the world have a certain resemblance to Leonidas in both physique and outlook.

    Sarcasm aside: Are you smoking rock?

    Ira Glass and some other NPR hosts had their t levels checked and I believe Ira's was lower than the female co-host.
    , @Anonymous
    No idea what huitlacoche is, so I'll just (hoping it rhymes) mentally file its connoisseurs in with effete quiche-eaters.

    I assume the higher T also have less status anxiety, the confidence to know what they like and not care what you think about it, and won't feel peer-pressured -- rejecting the entire frame of status markers, in fact.

    , @whorefinder
    I do enjoy a good troll job. Keep it up, son.
    , @Anonym
    High T is associated with disagreeableness as per the OCEAN personality model. IME tough, ornery dudes like their food the way they like it (the more meat the better, generally) and everyone else can go f*** themselves.
    , @John Achterhof
    I think your first paragraph is spot on. This notion is even suggested in the content of Brooks' piece, where he writes not only of the anxiety felt over a restaurant with hard-to-decipher menu items but also of upper-middle class kids going off to Europe for travel. If you've got a really provincial comfort zone and little interest in the world outside of it then you're perhaps not well disposed to social/income upward mobility. That's just not gonna be your thing.
  17. I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree (barring some tech M/Billionaire MIT dropout). I think the more likely explanations are: 1) cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her “Rosita, mi Amiga;” 2) model year 2017 mistress upgrade; or 3) someone within three or four degrees of separation by acquaintance that he’d met somewhere once and asked to lunch for the predetermined purpose of observing one of Goodall’s she-apes up close.

    Also, perhaps a B.A. in Italian Salumi is available in the University these days such as it is, but “pomodoro” and “capicola” aren’t the typical subjects of academic discourse. They’re the sort of thing you’ll find out about if you live near working class Italian Americans (wherein capicola is pronounced “GABBA-GOO”) or, alternatively, pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything. IIRC, the hated Olive Garden chain (known for feeding the denizens of Big Box Stores) serves a “pomodoro” sauce, which I think places “pomodoro” squarely within the ken of the unwashed masses.

    Carlin used to do a bit about the Brooks of the world fetishizing roasted panda loin with fresh squeezed Arugula juice and duck lip coulis as a status marker a few decades ago. But one assumes that Brooks is entirely unaware that lots of people consider him a try-hard prig that is easy to both dismiss and laugh at simultaneously as a caricature of something. A vague imitation of Buckley’s fussiness imposed upon a bland regurgitation of the day’s ruling class shibboleths wrapped up in a visage resembling an aggregation of thousands of Megan’s Law mugshots.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    On that trip to New York I drove 13 hours straight from LA to Grand Junction, Colorado and stopped in an Olive Garden. The food was delicious.
    , @Kylie
    "cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her 'Rosita, mi Amiga;'"

    Omg. Truly laugh out loud funny!
    , @Art Deco
    He supposedly once wrote a column which referred to 'the salad bar at Applebee's', published at a time when Applebee's franchises did not have salad bars. This might be that type of fiction. My guess would be an employee, not a friend in the conventional sense.
    , @EriK

    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree
     
    My first thought was his friend must have just graduated from high school.
    , @NMObserver
    Wow! That is an epic take down of Mr. Brooks. "pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything"...that is an awesome sentence. I love it. I'll never go to a fussy sandwich shop again without thinking of that sentence and wanting to laugh.
    , @yyrvjh
    Steve, why no gold picture frame for this one?
  18. @g2k
    Interesting discussion. Not so sure whether this is intentional and/or always the case. In chains it pretty much always is. In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.

    Man! If there were offal on my menu, I’d be scared off too. On the menu, on the cutlery, on the placemat–you name it and I’m outta there!

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Except for haggis, which tastes fantastic despite being made of sheep lungs and other strange parts.

    This old Somerset Maugham story, about a young writer who buys lunch for a lady correspondent, seems to prefigure the ladies who do a lot of online "first dates" as a way to try menus and restaurants for free.

    https://mythologystories.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-luncheon-somerset-maugham/


    "Then came the question of drink.

    “I never drink anything for luncheon,” she said.

    “Neither do I,” I answered promptly.

    “Except white wine,” she proceeded as though I had not spoken. “These French white wines are so light. They’re wonderful for the digestion.”

    “What would you like?” I asked, hospitable still, but not exactly effusive. She gave me a bright and amicable flash of her white teeth.

    “My doctor won’t let me drink anything but cham­pagne.”

    I fancy I turned a trifle pale. I ordered half a bottle. I mentioned casually that my doctor had absolutely forbid­den me to drink champagne.

    “What are you going to drink, then?”

    “Water.”

    She ate the caviare and she ate the salmon. She talked gaily of art and literature and music. But I wondered what the bill would come to."
     

    , @Brutusale
    Offal on the menu is more of a class marker than varieties of Italian cold cuts.

    I have this discussion all the time with upper-middle friends with foodie pretensions. They all seem to think that a $65 piece of beef and $10 baked potato (ooh, it has chives!) and vegetable is the zenith of fine dining. I ask them what a steak house's job is and they seem confused. I maintain that it's to take a sublime cut of beef and not fuck it up. Any half-witted grad of a community college culinary program can do that. A real chef takes a kidney, an intestine, a liver or a pig trotter and makes something magically delicious with it.

    But I live among the Irish, so they're happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness.

    It helps to grow up ethnic. I didn't have too any friends like me who, on franks-and-beans night, was eating blood sausage.
  19. @Matthew Kelly

    A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours
     
    I knew you are superhuman, Steve, but this is pushing the limits of my credulity.

    ...or maybe it's because I can't drive more than two hours these days without needing to sleep and/or urinate.

    “… to sleep and/or urinate”.

    Hopefully not in that order and never while at the wheel.

    Read More
  20. @Clark Westwood
    To compare great things with small . . . . I think it's common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating. I first read about that in a fabulous book called Orange Roofs, Golden Arches (1986).

    BTW, did you (or Dave Barry) intentionally misspell "spaghetti"?

    BTW, did you (or Dave Barry) intentionally misspell “spaghetti”?

    I think the misspelling was part of Barry’s joke, but I don’t remember it too precisely. I did study how he had constructed the gag, but it’s been a long time and I can’t find it online.

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  21. It is hard mentioning Chipotle without bringing up perhaps one of the greatest political missteps of all time. In 2012 Mitt Romney and Rob Portman appeared at a Denver Chipotle the day before the first presidential debate as an obvious dog whistle to Conservatism Inc that in spite of whatever he might say in regards to immigration during the debate. Romney was not going to do a dam thing to stop Open Borders because he was willing to pose with the illegals working at a Chipotle serving over priced Mexican food to snotty suburbanites who would not let themselves be seen eating with proles at a mom and pop taqueria.

    The end result was Romney looking like he just caught a whiff of spoiled shellfish while being photobombed by the Chipotle’s black assistant manager.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=romney+chipotle+photobomb&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    Romney completely blew whatever momentum he might have gained on Obama due to his superior performance in the first debate because the Cultural Marxist Media spent the next week killing him over this Chipotle fiasco.

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  22. @anonymous-antimarxist
    I have worked on the weekends as driver for Jimmy Johns while my primary job was looking after my aging parents. Most folks in the Midwest don't know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.

    David Brooks' douchebaggery just launched a million memes.

    Jimmy Johns plays New Order too, just not the obscure 8 and a half minute ones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQt5JdZTD9k

    Most folks in the Midwest don’t know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.

    Because Brooks spends so much time cultivating his image for consumption by the right sort as a connoisseur of the exotic (rather than actually learning a foreign language, which is hard), he would probably miss that it is near certain that Jimmy John’s “Vito” and whatever sandwich place Brooks frequents “Padrino” are both likely references to the very same fictional movie character.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anonymous-antimarxist
    Yes the Vito is basically Jimmy Johns' take on a Padrino sandwich. Vito means life giver, Padrino, grandfather/patron.

    The restaurants simply refer to capocollo as cap.

    Meanwhile "Brooks" still means prick.
  23. There was a story in the Daily Mail recently in which the British cabinet minister Justine Greening says she lost out on a job with an investment bank because she ordered from the Italian menu in English.

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  24. This post is spot-on. So much of the class structure of life simply boils down to which table you sit at in the school cafeteria. It is a biochemical truth that you are what you eat; it is a sociological truth that you are who you eat with.

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  25. @JeremiahJohnbalaya
    There's a lot to be said about this article but I'm busy working on a new integer modulation approach to Fourier analysis on simply connected manifolds.

    “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette.

    I only know one of these things, capicollo. Of course, i have to look at the item list to recognize the pizza I usually order at Olio.

    He should have offered to order for her.

    Granted, the aged guy and the fat guy at the next table didn’t look like celebrities, but then … I became convinced that they were Tim Allen and Kevin James.

    I spent an unreasonable amount of time a month or so ago, third row at the Hollywood Bowl Dead & Company concert, wondering whether the dude to my left was a young Johnny Depp.

    I used to see a guy at the driving range who looked like a young Jack Nicholson. He looked so much like him but was about 30 years younger that it was disconcerting. Of course, it’s hardly unlikely that Jack Nicholson has some stray offspring.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cagey Beast
    Funny, here's a similar case of celebrity spotting hot off the Twitter presses:

    https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet/status/884810012706562048


    So fresh the pixels are still wet.
    , @Father O'Hara
    I assume you were your usual gentlemanly self. You don't want to upset a Nicholson when he's got a golf club in hand.
  26. @Peterike
    Indeed. Just as shows like Colbert and Maddow exist only to tell you who you are supposed to hate and mock, corporate America increasingly divides the world into respectable (progressives), unacceptable (deplorable whites) and put up with because they serve a weaponized purpose (blacks and browns).

    Yes, their shows are really just teleconferences to keep everyone on the same page. John Oliver and Samantha Bee’s shows are just policy updates sprinkled throughout with increasingly bizarre sexual references and random accusations of crimes and betrayals. They’re not funny, they’re increasingly dark and troubled. Every video clip I see of Samantha Bee’s show has her twisting and turning uncomfortably on her high heels or cocking her head in odd directions. It’s like watching a staff meeting combined with an exorcism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's the funniest thing I've ever heard in association with Samantha Bee.
    , @fish
    Samantha Bee looks like, and frankly behaves a little bit like the after 11:30 pm single female patrons I used to suffer through when I tended bar.

    These were the days before smart phones so there was really no place to hide!

    /shudder

    , @Forbes
    One of the benefits of reading Sailer are comments such as this. There's very little TV that I watch, and wouldn't recognize Samantha Bee if I bumped into her, but your description of Oliver's and Bee's programs are exactly as I imagined. Glad to have my impressions confirmed.
    , @Catholic Philly Prole
    Serious question here. Samantha Bee is Canadian. John Oliver I assume from his accent is British. Trevor Noah is a real African as opposed to a fake African from Norf Philly. Why do these foreigners opinions' have any validity in reference to and/or amongst the populace of my homeland and my birthright?
    , @Mr. Anon

    Every video clip I see of Samantha Bee’s show has her twisting and turning uncomfortably on her high heels or cocking her head in odd directions. It’s like watching a staff meeting combined with an exorcism.
     
    A failed exorcism, as it happens.
  27. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree (barring some tech M/Billionaire MIT dropout). I think the more likely explanations are: 1) cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her "Rosita, mi Amiga;" 2) model year 2017 mistress upgrade; or 3) someone within three or four degrees of separation by acquaintance that he'd met somewhere once and asked to lunch for the predetermined purpose of observing one of Goodall's she-apes up close.

    Also, perhaps a B.A. in Italian Salumi is available in the University these days such as it is, but "pomodoro" and "capicola" aren't the typical subjects of academic discourse. They're the sort of thing you'll find out about if you live near working class Italian Americans (wherein capicola is pronounced "GABBA-GOO") or, alternatively, pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything. IIRC, the hated Olive Garden chain (known for feeding the denizens of Big Box Stores) serves a "pomodoro" sauce, which I think places "pomodoro" squarely within the ken of the unwashed masses.

    Carlin used to do a bit about the Brooks of the world fetishizing roasted panda loin with fresh squeezed Arugula juice and duck lip coulis as a status marker a few decades ago. But one assumes that Brooks is entirely unaware that lots of people consider him a try-hard prig that is easy to both dismiss and laugh at simultaneously as a caricature of something. A vague imitation of Buckley's fussiness imposed upon a bland regurgitation of the day's ruling class shibboleths wrapped up in a visage resembling an aggregation of thousands of Megan's Law mugshots.

    On that trip to New York I drove 13 hours straight from LA to Grand Junction, Colorado and stopped in an Olive Garden. The food was delicious.

    Read More
    • Replies: @StillCARealist
    Just visited friends in Grand Junction who had recently moved there from CA. They said the first item on their social acceptance calendar was to get new license plates.

    I gotta say the open space and lack of traffic was pretty darn appealing. Too bad that state is dominated by Denver liberals (at least, that's what my friends said). But their 20-something kids are into good-paying jobs that don't require college and are saving for homes of their own.
    , @SonOfStrom
    Carraba's is infinitely superior to Olive Garden for generic Italian food.
  28. The first spot was Italian themed food spot. The second spot was “Mexican”. Those words weren’t upper class code words, they are Italian words. Pomodoro is just tomato. capicollo and soppressata are just names for particular cured meats. That spot sounds like a boutique sandwich spot, but there are tons of more fast casual Italian delis and sandwich spots aimed at everyone. Consider the food chain “Jersey Mikes”. The “Jersey Shore” favorite has “provolone, ham, and cappacuolo”. This doesn’t intimidate anyone. Just like Mexican American tacos, burritos, and tre leches cake don’t intimidate Americans, they cater to Americans.

    There are some pricey high end Mexican restaurants that use Spanish language and Mexican theming as well.

    Through my wife, I know some low class, uneducated people, they happen to be black if it matters, that were raving to my wife about Macaroni Grill. We laughed at that, because Macaroni Grill is not good food to us, but they do use Italian theme and language there.

    I don’t buy Sailer’s argument here. So, a truck stop food place, might cater to truckers, and not cater to white collar types. Similarly 7-11 food grosses most white collar types out, but I don’t think they are actively trying to intimidate others, they are just serving a particular market.

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    • Replies: @Vermont Apple
    Italian food has had a huge (and continuing) influence on western food culture, whereas French seems to have fallen by the wayside. Italian food tastes better too. Spaghetti was once an exotic food in Anglo cultures (enough for am April Fools joke on the BBC about it growing on trees). There's about 400 million different kinds of pasta, each with their own name and geographic and cultural origin so there's still a large Italian vocabulary on hand with which to distinguish oneself from the hoi polloi. BTW here's Gilbert's use of hoi polloi:

    PEERS: Our lordly style
    You shall not quench
    With base canaille!

    FAIRIES: (That word is French.)

    PEERS: Distinction ebbs
    Before a herd
    Of vulgar plebs!

    FAIRIES: (A Latin word.)

    PEERS: 'Twould fill with joy,
    And madness stark
    The hoi polloi!

    FAIRIES: (A Greek remark.)
  29. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anon
    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that's tied to your anxiety levels. It's not something that class determines. It's the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you're more open to trying new things, then you'll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don't. People with higher anxiety levels don't want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they're also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It's higher testosterone that'll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    Its true. Look at these people! How many of them have been willing to try anything new, you think? Do you think that they even have attempted sexual experimentation with someone of the same partner? How would they even understand gender fluidity without exposure to people who have suffered?

    Its these little dens of hate by small balled men with high anxiety failing to deal with a world that doesn’t need their fear-dominated brains and lack of ability to deal with the rising status of women and cultural, racial and sexual minorities that are the problem.

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  30. I would have assumed her discomfort was over the price. When you see those “authentic” ethnic menu items it usually means you’ll be paying at least twice as much for the food.

    As for fine dining, I’m not in the least intimidated by UMC pretensions, because I know I eat better than they do. The secret to good food is good cooking, which can create all the complex flavors and aromas you’ll need from the simplest of ingredients. If you want to make the trendiest stuff, a few bucks’ worth of exotic meats and cheeses is all you need.

    Your typical UMC family is too busy to cook good food, and probably doesn’t have the skills anyway.

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  31. @Steve Sailer
    I used to see a guy at the driving range who looked like a young Jack Nicholson. He looked so much like him but was about 30 years younger that it was disconcerting. Of course, it's hardly unlikely that Jack Nicholson has some stray offspring.

    Funny, here’s a similar case of celebrity spotting hot off the Twitter presses:

    So fresh the pixels are still wet.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's not Alex Jones sitting next to him on the train, it's Bill Hicks.
  32. @Anon
    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that's tied to your anxiety levels. It's not something that class determines. It's the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you're more open to trying new things, then you'll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don't. People with higher anxiety levels don't want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they're also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It's higher testosterone that'll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    Interesting.

    Of course, a lot of testosterone also often tends to be associated with not wanting to go outside one’s social comfort/dominance zone.

    Musicians, for example, don’t tend to be super masculine. My father-in-law was, but he was a tuba player and the violinists in his orchestra elected him their union leader because he didn’t get intimidated into giving in.

    These New Order songs, for instance, sound like they were made by, I’m guessing, straight but not hugely masculine guys.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Agreed. A lot of anxiety in men stems from losing their dominant standing when trying new things.

    I am in the healthcare field. I hate being put in a submissive child-like role, and yet this sort of submissive openness is absolutely essential if you are to learn anything in medicine. Especially in fields which are procedure-based, like surgery. Smarts are of little benefit there, because you can't read up and figure out stuff on your own. The hot chick who got started two years before you will boss you around, and you have no choice but to suck up and kiss ass if you want her to show you how to do things the right way.

    I think being a trainee in medicine is much easier for women, for the simple reason that they don't have that instinctive recoil from submitting and being told what to do.
    , @Lurker

    These New Order songs, for instance, sound like they were made by, I’m guessing, straight but not hugely masculine guys.
     
    Ironically the most overtly macho member, Peter Hook, has three children while the least - Bernard - has four. In the middle, Stephen Morris with two.

    (Even Ian Curtis managed one)
  33. This question inevitably arises: is the odious Brooks more of a douchebag, a chodes, or a limpwrist? Why not all three?

    Read More
  34. Not that it’s an indictable offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this “incident” is completely fabricated. His companion was so baffled by a menu that they changed restaurants? I call B.S.

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    • Replies: @carol
    My standard reaction to these questionable anecdotes anymore is "wow, hahaha did that actually happen?"
    , @Stealth
    It probably happened, just not the way he recounted it. It might just be that she prefers food that's a little more ordinary. A lot of folks flat out don't like trying new food - my mother, for instance. They prefer to stick to the dishes they grew up eating.

    I would imagine that David took his acquaintance to the deli. Seeing that she was a little irritated by the prospect of eating a meal she wouldn't enjoy, he told her he'd rather eat at the nearest Mexican restaurant, which she probably thought was a splendid turn of events. Then he starts thinking what a great idea it would be write a column about some poor woman who was intimidated by a deli with too many Italian words in the menu.

  35. @Cagey Beast
    Yes, their shows are really just teleconferences to keep everyone on the same page. John Oliver and Samantha Bee's shows are just policy updates sprinkled throughout with increasingly bizarre sexual references and random accusations of crimes and betrayals. They're not funny, they're increasingly dark and troubled. Every video clip I see of Samantha Bee's show has her twisting and turning uncomfortably on her high heels or cocking her head in odd directions. It's like watching a staff meeting combined with an exorcism.

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in association with Samantha Bee.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I remember one funny segment she did for the Daily Show years ago. It was about some town in Indiana with a sewage problem. She interviewed a homeowner complaining about it, and then interviewed the mayor, but spent most of the interview asking him about the Cher concert he had just gone to, and the mayor recounted it in detail, oblivious to how his enthusiasm for a gay icon sounded.
    , @benjaminl
    http://www.dailywire.com/news/15927/samantha-bees-husband-fights-keep-poor-black-kids-john-nolte

    Fighting to keep her kids in a segregated school was pretty funny in a bitter kind of way.
  36. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Matthew Kelly

    A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours
     
    I knew you are superhuman, Steve, but this is pushing the limits of my credulity.

    ...or maybe it's because I can't drive more than two hours these days without needing to sleep and/or urinate.

    A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours

    I knew you are superhuman, Steve, but this is pushing the limits of my credulity.

    …or maybe it’s because I can’t drive more than two hours these days without needing to sleep and/or urinate.

    Seriously?? I could do that drive from LA to NYC in 75% of the time it took Sailer. I’ve driven from Des Moines, IA to D.C. in under 17 hours in a crappy Ford Capri. In summer, without A/C.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Matthew Kelly
    I used to be a road warrior in my youth. I think I've been too pampered in my adult years--totally lost the ability to deal with driving for any extended period of time. Now if I can't fly or Uber it, I generally stay home.
  37. @Cagey Beast
    Funny, here's a similar case of celebrity spotting hot off the Twitter presses:

    https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet/status/884810012706562048


    So fresh the pixels are still wet.

    It’s not Alex Jones sitting next to him on the train, it’s Bill Hicks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    I always knew you were down with the esoteric knowledge.

    But do you get swoll with your Infowars supplements?
  38. Brooks’ dinner companion should have relaxed and just ordered something. Three reasons:

    1. Whatever you order will probably taste well enough.
    2. Most restaurants give patrons a brief description of each menu item.
    3. It’s just one meal.

    No need for anxiety.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    At a white table cloth restaurant, ordering the second cheapest entree is a reasonable strategy.
  39. @Chrisnonymous
    Man! If there were offal on my menu, I'd be scared off too. On the menu, on the cutlery, on the placemat--you name it and I'm outta there!

    Except for haggis, which tastes fantastic despite being made of sheep lungs and other strange parts.

    This old Somerset Maugham story, about a young writer who buys lunch for a lady correspondent, seems to prefigure the ladies who do a lot of online “first dates” as a way to try menus and restaurants for free.

    https://mythologystories.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-luncheon-somerset-maugham/

    “Then came the question of drink.

    “I never drink anything for luncheon,” she said.

    “Neither do I,” I answered promptly.

    “Except white wine,” she proceeded as though I had not spoken. “These French white wines are so light. They’re wonderful for the digestion.”

    “What would you like?” I asked, hospitable still, but not exactly effusive. She gave me a bright and amicable flash of her white teeth.

    “My doctor won’t let me drink anything but cham­pagne.”

    I fancy I turned a trifle pale. I ordered half a bottle. I mentioned casually that my doctor had absolutely forbid­den me to drink champagne.

    “What are you going to drink, then?”

    “Water.”

    She ate the caviare and she ate the salmon. She talked gaily of art and literature and music. But I wondered what the bill would come to.”

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    I love haggis. I was making a bad joke in the vein of "when your momma sits around the house, she really sits around the house."

    "Excuse me, waiter. There's offal on my menu. Can I have a new one?"

    Sorry!
  40. @g2k
    Interesting discussion. Not so sure whether this is intentional and/or always the case. In chains it pretty much always is. In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.

    Huge change from my 1950s prole English childhood then. It was offal all the way down, except for Sunday dinner (=lunch). Liver & onions … deviled kidneys … tripe … sweetbreads (pancreas, I think) … stuffed sheep’s heart … One of my aunts used to serve us brains on toast.

    England’s been totally destroyed.

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    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    Wasn't it Horace Rumpole who said (paraphrasing) "In a thousand years when Whitehall has crumbled and Parliament a memory, England will be remembered for three things: The Oxford Book of English Verse, the presumption of innocence, and the steak and kidney pudding?"
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I saw Neil Gaiman speak in New York a few years ago, and he mentioned seeing a drawing of a chef tossing a pizza when he was growing up in England, and having no idea what it was.
    , @dearieme
    Tripe is one of the few dinner dishes I can think of where the staple French version (à la mode de Caen) is far inferior to the staple English version (Lancashire).

    But the bloke is right: nowadays spoilt working class brats shy away from steak and kidney pie, liver and bacon, and other offaly good tuck. In fact, SWCBs often prove to be picky eaters, never having been schooled in the doctrine of 'eat what's put before you'. Have most of them adapted to curries reasonably well? Sober, I mean. Dunno.

    It's reminiscent of listening to Americans trying to explain away an aversion to fish, or a similar reluctance to eat offal.
    , @Expletive Deleted
    Americans eat beef tongue though? Sliced very, very thin. I used to love the stuff in sarnies as a kid, because fancy Italian ham or salt beef things were as unknown and unimaginable as say, the bell-pepper or the courgette. Or soft loo-paper.
  41. Credit where it’s due.

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

    We — all of us, in every corner of the country — have access to food choices we could not dream of in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Walk into any supermarket anywhere, compare the offerings to those we might remember from previous decades, and that is obvious. (No doubt it has much to do with our current obesity problem).

    It’s in part because I can see so clearly that we are in a Golden Age in this one area that I am not apt to dismiss as nostalgia my perception that in virtually all other areas we have entered a dark age.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.
     
    Nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the arrogant banality of their tweets.

    But yeah, food's been great.
    , @415 reasons
    I would also rather be afflicted with cancer or heart disease nowadays rather than in the 50s. Absolutely agree w the main point, though.
    , @peterike

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

     

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don't know what real food tastes like.
    , @guest
    Yes, we must always remember that overall decline, or decline in most of the things that make life worth living, doesn't mean decline in every particular. We can be advancing there as we decline here. For instance, there's a dizzying array of ways to get high these days. Not just corn licker and spinning in circles, but designer drugs. Which is killing us but, eh, gotta go some way.

    Then again, are we truly living in a golden age of good food? Because the vast majority of people can't cook for crap. I'd trade good homecooked meals for the best in fine dining, most of the time. They don't make it like mamma used to make it.

    Then again, Brooksian elites have turned gourmand (or "foodie," as they put it) at home, and they can buy pretty much any ingredients they want. With the right discipline, they can eat better than any humans ever. But I can't help but feel they're faking it, in a way. It would be more meaningful to perpetuate local domestic cuisines, which are dying out.

    On those pretentious tv cooking shows, they're always going to this place or that, learning about the regional way of cooking, presenting it almost like a museum piece that needs preserving. And they place a premium on stories about their grandparents teaching them how to cook. Somehow it's always grandparents, not parents.

    But if it's not Soul Food or, I don't know, Hawaiian cuisine, it whatever, I'm verging on racism in suggesting there's anything worth preserving.

    There is that whole "eat local" thing, but that's about ingredients and environmentalism, not culture.

    , @Dust
    I agree with your points but I'm not so sure about the Golden Age of Food. I do notice an extreme fussiness about health and diet, (that does not necessarily promote better health), an increase, for whatever reasons, among those who choose not to eat meat, a greater variety of restaurants, and hundreds of food shows featuring artist/celebrity chefs. But I do not notice many cooking and preparing food for themselves. Aside from food entertainment, we in a Dark Age. Growing up, my Italian family ate foods no other families prepared. The neighborhood fish truck sold fish and seafood from periwinkles to octopus. We grew up on garden vegetables, caught and prepared most of our fish, (in the fifties, I do not remember many families eating much fish, and it was really cheap in the supermarkets), and what you didn't make and needed you could find in the ethnic city food markets. (I grew up outside of Boston.) I noticed a similar style of cooking and eating of, what was then called, exotic food, with my Armenian and Greek friends. So no, today, I do not see a Golden Age of Food, only more information and excess blab about the topic. We really don't discover, understand, and cook food We just want more restaurants.
  42. OK, when former NSA director William Odom and former prime minister Margaret Thatcher got into a heated ten minute argument over German reunification about three feet from my dinner table.

    OK, so who was for and who was against?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Odom was for German reunification nine years before, Thatcher against.
  43. @James Richard
    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.

    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.

    I went to Chipotle once and turned around and walked out without buying anything. There was a really long line, which I couldn’t figure, because the place was disgusting — crumbs and wrappers all over the floor, and people eating on stainless tables as if they were in a chemistry lab.

    Never been back.

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    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Dr. X:

    Your personal observations were correct.

    Throughout the country Chipotle restaurants have been found guilty of many health code violations!
    , @Dave Pinsen
    There's a new restaurant row in a slightly less new shopping development near me ("Teterboro Landing" -- it's right across from Teterboro airport, so there's a constant whine of idling jet engines like in that last scene in Heat at LAX). The Chipotle there is dead. Meanwhile, there's a line every night at the new Halal Guys.
    , @Tex
    I've seen those. Not all Chipotles are like that (NACALT?), quite a few are standard fast-food dining ambience, chairs & tables. But the design of the steel-table places is so goddam awful I had to wonder if it were some experiment in seeing how many SWPLs would eat in place that was a cross between a cattle-feeding trough and a third-rate fast-food joint.
  44. When somebody graduates from high school today, do they get a “degree”? I ask this question seriously. I’m not sure I have ever heard the expression “high school degree” before, and I lived in the USA for 15 years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @guest
    No one says "high school degree." You get a high school diploma upon graduation, which is in a way synonymous with a degree. But no one talks like that.

    Degrees don't start until college. Then you have an academic rank conferred upon you. They don't consider completing a high school course of study to confer upon you any rank, though of course it is necessary to finish high school or the equivalence of high school to get into the higher education club. But for that matter you have to graduate third grade in order to get to college, too, but no one thinks of the degree of third-gradedness.

    They're getting close, I feel, to Bachelor's degrees conferring no rank, either. Notice how they always refer to it as an "undergraduate degree." There's that "under," of course, but more importantly it's oxymoronic. You have to graduate to get the degree, so why continue to refer to them as undergraduates?
    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    I've seen 'high school degree' more and more frequently in the past few years. I wonder if its use emanates from the noxious and depressingly productive bowels of the education establishment, where hyperbole in describing educational 'achievements' is de rigueur.
  45. @Chrisnonymous
    Man! If there were offal on my menu, I'd be scared off too. On the menu, on the cutlery, on the placemat--you name it and I'm outta there!

    Offal on the menu is more of a class marker than varieties of Italian cold cuts.

    I have this discussion all the time with upper-middle friends with foodie pretensions. They all seem to think that a $65 piece of beef and $10 baked potato (ooh, it has chives!) and vegetable is the zenith of fine dining. I ask them what a steak house’s job is and they seem confused. I maintain that it’s to take a sublime cut of beef and not fuck it up. Any half-witted grad of a community college culinary program can do that. A real chef takes a kidney, an intestine, a liver or a pig trotter and makes something magically delicious with it.

    But I live among the Irish, so they’re happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness.

    It helps to grow up ethnic. I didn’t have too any friends like me who, on franks-and-beans night, was eating blood sausage.

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    • Replies: @Bosch
    "But I live among the Irish, so they’re happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness."

    Fool. Vegetables are best when they're boiled into gray slurry.
    , @James Richard
    A $65 steak or slice of roast beef *IS* the zenith of fine dining. There is a place up the street from me that serves just that but they throw in a potato for free. :-)
    , @Nico

    a $65 piece of beef
     
    To be fair, that IS the going price for Waugyu ribeye, though I would point out that that price tag will get you about 300 grams of European or North American-raised Wagyu but only 100 grams of Japanese Wagyu for the simple reason that this last has the right to call itself "Kobe."
    , @Chief Seattle
    Agree with that. Nothing more disappointing in life than an expensive steakhouse meal with people who should know better pretending to be impressed. Every time I spend the meal wishing I was at home eating my own steak and drinking my own wine. Good meat isn't *that* expensive and it's not much harder to cook than hotdogs.

    Blood sausage, waffles, and maple syrup. Now that's a French Canadian delicacy.
  46. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    What is a “high school degree”? First time I’ve seen that term. Does he mean a HS diploma?

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  47. @Peripatetic commenter

    OK, when former NSA director William Odom and former prime minister Margaret Thatcher got into a heated ten minute argument over German reunification about three feet from my dinner table.
     
    OK, so who was for and who was against?

    Odom was for German reunification nine years before, Thatcher against.

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    • Replies: @Not Raul
    Where you there at the behest of UPI?
    , @Peripatetic commenter
    Well, what Thatcher feared has come to pass, I would say.

    Germany has eclipsed the UK in many ways ...
  48. @jim jones
    Damn, you made me read a NYT article, what next - a Guardian link?

    Not that the MSM is enraged with Brooks for the right reasons but what kind of proletarian bumpkin is connected enough to be lunching with a NYT columnist but not to spend 30 seconds googling what a striata is on her phone.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    If you google striata baguette, all the links lead back to Brooks's column- otherwise it doesn't exist. There is some regional upstate NY thing called "stretch bread" that was originally called striata but stretch bread doesn't sound exotic enough so Brooks rechristened it.

    Pomodoro just means tomato (golden apple) and Padrino is like Godfather but has no recognized culinary meaning.

    In other words, even if you are some upper class yuppie scum foodie, you still couldn't interpret this menu without asking the waiter, which is what most people do rather than switching restaurants.

    Italian food (and restaurants) is usually very welcoming and accessible so Brook's choice makes no sense. Even once exotic foods such as raw fish are familiar to Americans of all social classes. To intimidate someone with only a high school "degree" you'd have to pick something really exotic nowadays - Senegalese or Korean or something really obscure.

    I call BS on Brooks's story - it just didn't happen.

  49. @Stealth
    Brooks' dinner companion should have relaxed and just ordered something. Three reasons:

    1. Whatever you order will probably taste well enough.
    2. Most restaurants give patrons a brief description of each menu item.
    3. It's just one meal.

    No need for anxiety.

    At a white table cloth restaurant, ordering the second cheapest entree is a reasonable strategy.

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    How prudent of you Steve! You are showing your sound Midwestern middle middle class sensibilities yet again.
    , @ben tillman

    At a white table cloth restaurant, ordering the second cheapest entree is a reasonable strategy.
     
    My kid has a classmate whose dad is a big-time chef. He mentioned his alleged "working-class" background and said he liked to include lower-priced dishes on the menu to help people make a visit to his restaurants feasible. He may not be typical of chefs, but it was nice to learn that he would give the lower-priced items the same kind of attention he gives the highest-dollar steaks.

    At another steakhouse recently, I passed on the $50/$60 steaks and ordered the liver and onions for $23 to save some cash for an extra cocktail or two. It wasn't head-and-shoulders above what I get at Luby's, but it was very good, and the onions were supplemented with shredded jalapenos. I felt good about my choice.
    , @Horseball
    I don't know about that, Steve. The second cheapest bottle of wine is always the suckers bet. People are afraid to just order the cheapest one.
  50. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    “…only a high school degree.” Love it.

    “Educated” class? I recall reading a number of years ago that a polling organization posed the following question to members of the freshman class at Harvard: Why is it that the days are longer and the temperatures higher in the summer than in the winter? 50% couldn’t answer the question. Which raises the question: What exactly does it mean to be “educated” and how, for example, does that relate to (such as) the use of (quoting from the Brooks piece) “the right baby carrier?” Is merely the act of flashing a badge?

    Think I’ll “do Thai” tonight.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I think the video is called Private Universe.

    The Harvard students and some blue collar public high school students had the same wrong explanation, but the high school students were much less confident about it than the Harvard students.

    , @Desiderius
    They (probably we, to be honest) mistake dilettantism for sophistication.
    , @jim jones
    I like to ask Muslims " What is the distance to the Sun?"
  51. @James Richard
    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.

    WE had a good one about ten years ago staffed with illegals.

    They all disappeared about five years ago. Never been nearly the same since, tho in the right neighborhood you’ll still see long lines.

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  52. Hard to believe David Brooks has a friend with only a high school diploma.

    Also this scenario is unbelievable if it it happened in the Tristate area or any urban city in the Northeast. Due to our large Italian-American population Italian food is not necessarily a upper class thing. Italian sandwiches are downright working class.

    The best Italian sandwiches are found in Jersey and Long Island as that’s where most of the original NYC Italian families now live. And you don’t have to be Italian to know what these sandwiches are. I don’t know the various Italian deli meats but know enough to assume they’ll be flavorful and may have a spicy kick.

    It’d be hilarious if David Brook’s friend is a Latina maid who wants Mexican food because she hasn’t been USA long enough to know Italian sandwiches.

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    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hard to believe David Brooks has a friend with only a high school diploma.
     
    Girlfriend experience.
    , @gcochran
    Hard to believe David Brooks has a friend.
    , @Dumbo

    It’d be hilarious if David Brook’s friend is a Latina maid who wants Mexican food because she hasn’t been USA long enough to know Italian sandwiches.
     
    Bingo. I think this is the most likely explanation.
  53. @Cagey Beast
    Yes, their shows are really just teleconferences to keep everyone on the same page. John Oliver and Samantha Bee's shows are just policy updates sprinkled throughout with increasingly bizarre sexual references and random accusations of crimes and betrayals. They're not funny, they're increasingly dark and troubled. Every video clip I see of Samantha Bee's show has her twisting and turning uncomfortably on her high heels or cocking her head in odd directions. It's like watching a staff meeting combined with an exorcism.

    Samantha Bee looks like, and frankly behaves a little bit like the after 11:30 pm single female patrons I used to suffer through when I tended bar.

    These were the days before smart phones so there was really no place to hide!

    /shudder

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    • Replies: @anonymous
    For the most par the only shows I watch are the nature channels. I'd rather watch a pride of lions disembowel a zebra or an orca inhale a seal then watch those two and the likes of Butch Maddow. Had to Wiki Samantha to make sure she wasn't any kin to Molly Bee (who used to be on the old Pinky Lee and Tennessee Ernie Ford shows back in the 50s. Yeah, ok, so I'm showing my age. TV was better back then.
  54. @CK
    Salami sandwiches are so intimidating.
    I thought Brooks was kosher.

    “Salami sandwiches are so intimidating.
    I thought Brooks was kosher.”

    LOL

    Call me low class, and unintimidated, but what the heck is so intimidating about just asking what some of the stuff is? I mean, I am the customer. I am paying them. It is their job to earn my money. So, if anything I am going to embarrass them when I ask what all their fancy stuff is just to find out that it is roast beef or bacon or salami or baloney.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Nothing. Most places that will even give you a free sample
  55. @Brutusale
    Offal on the menu is more of a class marker than varieties of Italian cold cuts.

    I have this discussion all the time with upper-middle friends with foodie pretensions. They all seem to think that a $65 piece of beef and $10 baked potato (ooh, it has chives!) and vegetable is the zenith of fine dining. I ask them what a steak house's job is and they seem confused. I maintain that it's to take a sublime cut of beef and not fuck it up. Any half-witted grad of a community college culinary program can do that. A real chef takes a kidney, an intestine, a liver or a pig trotter and makes something magically delicious with it.

    But I live among the Irish, so they're happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness.

    It helps to grow up ethnic. I didn't have too any friends like me who, on franks-and-beans night, was eating blood sausage.

    “But I live among the Irish, so they’re happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness.”

    Fool. Vegetables are best when they’re boiled into gray slurry.

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  56. @Anonymous
    "...only a high school degree." Love it.

    "Educated" class? I recall reading a number of years ago that a polling organization posed the following question to members of the freshman class at Harvard: Why is it that the days are longer and the temperatures higher in the summer than in the winter? 50% couldn't answer the question. Which raises the question: What exactly does it mean to be "educated" and how, for example, does that relate to (such as) the use of (quoting from the Brooks piece) "the right baby carrier?" Is merely the act of flashing a badge?

    Think I'll "do Thai" tonight.

    I think the video is called Private Universe.

    The Harvard students and some blue collar public high school students had the same wrong explanation, but the high school students were much less confident about it than the Harvard students.

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    • LOL: James Richard
    • Replies: @S.P.H.
    The similar survey I remember was about "visual extramission," the idea that the physical world is apparent to you because your eyes emit beams that when reflected back into them reveal the outlines of external physical objects. The surveyed Ivy Leaguers believed that that's how our eyes work. The "high school/some college" losers didn't. What was tested there, I think, was obedience to people holding clipboards.

    As a massive snob with divers acquaintances (I'm a musician), my experience is that the only thing our elite knows that our losers don't is lower-middlebrow trash like David Foster Wallace essays and what kinds of garbage upscale food trucks are selling under exotic foreign names. Both ends are completely ignorant of "high" culture, but the loser end is receptive to it. Loaning, e.g., a Beckett novel to my dropout friends has always resulted in gratitude for showing them something strange and interesting. Mentioning his name to life's winners generates "aliterate" disdain.

    Brooks is, of course, lying. Self-flattering lower-middlebrow fiction is his métier.

    , @bjdubbs
    MIT students can't light bulb with battery and wire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ve23i5K334
  57. @Anonymous


    A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours
     
    I knew you are superhuman, Steve, but this is pushing the limits of my credulity.

    …or maybe it’s because I can’t drive more than two hours these days without needing to sleep and/or urinate.
     
    Seriously?? I could do that drive from LA to NYC in 75% of the time it took Sailer. I've driven from Des Moines, IA to D.C. in under 17 hours in a crappy Ford Capri. In summer, without A/C.

    I used to be a road warrior in my youth. I think I’ve been too pampered in my adult years–totally lost the ability to deal with driving for any extended period of time. Now if I can’t fly or Uber it, I generally stay home.

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  58. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Most folks in the Midwest don’t know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.
     
    Because Brooks spends so much time cultivating his image for consumption by the right sort as a connoisseur of the exotic (rather than actually learning a foreign language, which is hard), he would probably miss that it is near certain that Jimmy John's "Vito" and whatever sandwich place Brooks frequents "Padrino" are both likely references to the very same fictional movie character.

    Yes the Vito is basically Jimmy Johns’ take on a Padrino sandwich. Vito means life giver, Padrino, grandfather/patron.

    The restaurants simply refer to capocollo as cap.

    Meanwhile “Brooks” still means prick.

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    • Replies: @slumber_j

    Vito means life giver, Padrino, grandfather/patron.
     
    Well, Vito is more specifically the (mostly southern-Italian and especially Sicilian) version of Vitus--as in St. Vitus, as in St. Vitus' Dance. You get a lot of people named both Vito and Vita down there, mostly because St. Vitus was from Sicily.

    Padrino principally means "godfather"--and secondarily by way of metaphor, "patron."
  59. @candid_observer
    Credit where it's due.

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

    We --- all of us, in every corner of the country -- have access to food choices we could not dream of in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Walk into any supermarket anywhere, compare the offerings to those we might remember from previous decades, and that is obvious. (No doubt it has much to do with our current obesity problem).

    It's in part because I can see so clearly that we are in a Golden Age in this one area that I am not apt to dismiss as nostalgia my perception that in virtually all other areas we have entered a dark age.

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.

    Nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the arrogant banality of their tweets.

    But yeah, food’s been great.

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  60. He should’ve just ordered her something everybody likes, then yakked about the menu while they ate.

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    That would have required a degree of gentlemanly behavior of which Brooks is sadly incapable.
  61. @candid_observer
    Credit where it's due.

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

    We --- all of us, in every corner of the country -- have access to food choices we could not dream of in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Walk into any supermarket anywhere, compare the offerings to those we might remember from previous decades, and that is obvious. (No doubt it has much to do with our current obesity problem).

    It's in part because I can see so clearly that we are in a Golden Age in this one area that I am not apt to dismiss as nostalgia my perception that in virtually all other areas we have entered a dark age.

    I would also rather be afflicted with cancer or heart disease nowadays rather than in the 50s. Absolutely agree w the main point, though.

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  62. @g2k
    Interesting discussion. Not so sure whether this is intentional and/or always the case. In chains it pretty much always is. In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.

    Mmmm, offal.

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  63. @Anonymous
    "...only a high school degree." Love it.

    "Educated" class? I recall reading a number of years ago that a polling organization posed the following question to members of the freshman class at Harvard: Why is it that the days are longer and the temperatures higher in the summer than in the winter? 50% couldn't answer the question. Which raises the question: What exactly does it mean to be "educated" and how, for example, does that relate to (such as) the use of (quoting from the Brooks piece) "the right baby carrier?" Is merely the act of flashing a badge?

    Think I'll "do Thai" tonight.

    They (probably we, to be honest) mistake dilettantism for sophistication.

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  64. @Clark Westwood
    To compare great things with small . . . . I think it's common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating. I first read about that in a fabulous book called Orange Roofs, Golden Arches (1986).

    BTW, did you (or Dave Barry) intentionally misspell "spaghetti"?

    seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating.

    The other diners can sometimes have that effect too.

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  65. I remember many years ago, slime ball Peter Mandelson was running for a safe seat somewhere in the North of England, so he was out and about campaigning, meeting Northern Proles ect, doing his very best to look Human, so he goes into a fish and chip shop, I suppose he asked for his usual LOL, anyway the lady behind the counter was about to give him some mushy peas with his order, and Mandy says “oh no, no guacamole for me”

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    • Replies: @Cortes
    Superb! Thanks for the reminder.

    As one of the treats for my wife's 40tth (long time ago) I took her and a foodie couple friends of hers to a nouvelle cuisine place they'd expressed interest in. Nice enough, easy on the eye, good to eat and heavy on the pocket. Afterwards I had to be dragged away from buying myself a fish supper at a chippy nearby. One of the exceptions to the Yorkshire maxim that "less is more."

    Maybe Brooks will start a campaign to rename "Entees" as "Main Courses"; or is that too radical?

  66. I suspect the main reason people took notice of that Brooks anecdote is that is obviously false. He made it up. It never happened. It’s written by a guy imagining what it would like to be a sophisticated guy out with a prole in the sophisticated world he imagines he inhabits.

    As I mentioned on Gab, guys like Brooks do more for the alt-right than a dozen Richard Spencers.

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    • Agree: 27 year old
    • Replies: @Barnard
    I couldn't agree more that Brooks made up this friend. Here is another more than likely imaginary friend from his July 4th column:

    For example, I have a friend who is an avid Trump admirer. He supports himself as a part-time bartender and a part-time home contractor, and by doing various odd jobs on the side. A good chunk of his income is off the books. He has built up a decent savings account, but he has done it on his own, hustling, scrapping his way, without any long-term security. His income can vary sharply from week to week. He doesn’t have much trust in the institutions around him. He has worked on government construction projects but sees himself, rightly, as a small-business man.
     
    What kind of self respecting part time bartender/home contractor would hang out with David Brooks? Elites must think anecdotes are the most effective way to influence people now. They do seem to have a tendency to think you can disprove wider societal trends as long as you can find one person for whom the trend does not apply to use as a counter example. Why comment on the 99 MS-13 members who have moved to town X from Central America when you can write a puff piece about the honor student who overcame so much adversity.
  67. @Intelligent Dasein
    This post is spot-on. So much of the class structure of life simply boils down to which table you sit at in the school cafeteria. It is a biochemical truth that you are what you eat; it is a sociological truth that you are who you eat with.

    Excellent!

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  68. “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 lived in continental Europe for four years and the only word I’m familiar with is “baguette.”

    If I were in that restaurant I would not have hesitated to ask what anything meant.

    Brooks’ anecdote simply means the “woman” was intimidated.

    I put “woman” in caps because I suspect this anecdote reeks of “fiction”.

    Do people actually leave restaurants–where they are not paying the bill–because the menu is inscrutable?

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  69. I’ve been in multiple place where I had no idea what was on the menu. I asked, they offered samples, we spoke, I ordered, I ate, I left, and I don’t think anyone involved gave it a second thought. Then again, I don’t think anyone involved had a deadline to put out a column that both virtue signals and attempts to degrade while pushing a narrative.

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Yeah, but I've been in shops where the "chefs" turn up their noses at questions. I personally am not intimidated, but I do find it annoying and don't go back to such places.
  70. Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they’re also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It’s higher testosterone that’ll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    Funny, I was actually raised to be open to experience (food in particular), and to have contempt for being closed to experience. And it stuck. On the other hand, the older I get, the less impressed I am with the changes on offer.

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  71. @Dr. X

    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.
     
    I went to Chipotle once and turned around and walked out without buying anything. There was a really long line, which I couldn't figure, because the place was disgusting -- crumbs and wrappers all over the floor, and people eating on stainless tables as if they were in a chemistry lab.

    Never been back.

    Dr. X:

    Your personal observations were correct.

    Throughout the country Chipotle restaurants have been found guilty of many health code violations!

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  72. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree (barring some tech M/Billionaire MIT dropout). I think the more likely explanations are: 1) cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her "Rosita, mi Amiga;" 2) model year 2017 mistress upgrade; or 3) someone within three or four degrees of separation by acquaintance that he'd met somewhere once and asked to lunch for the predetermined purpose of observing one of Goodall's she-apes up close.

    Also, perhaps a B.A. in Italian Salumi is available in the University these days such as it is, but "pomodoro" and "capicola" aren't the typical subjects of academic discourse. They're the sort of thing you'll find out about if you live near working class Italian Americans (wherein capicola is pronounced "GABBA-GOO") or, alternatively, pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything. IIRC, the hated Olive Garden chain (known for feeding the denizens of Big Box Stores) serves a "pomodoro" sauce, which I think places "pomodoro" squarely within the ken of the unwashed masses.

    Carlin used to do a bit about the Brooks of the world fetishizing roasted panda loin with fresh squeezed Arugula juice and duck lip coulis as a status marker a few decades ago. But one assumes that Brooks is entirely unaware that lots of people consider him a try-hard prig that is easy to both dismiss and laugh at simultaneously as a caricature of something. A vague imitation of Buckley's fussiness imposed upon a bland regurgitation of the day's ruling class shibboleths wrapped up in a visage resembling an aggregation of thousands of Megan's Law mugshots.

    “cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her ‘Rosita, mi Amiga;’”

    Omg. Truly laugh out loud funny!

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  73. @g2k
    Interesting discussion. Not so sure whether this is intentional and/or always the case. In chains it pretty much always is. In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.

    In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.

    Hell yeah, offal is a waste product of poultry processing!

    Scope of Poultry Waste Utilization

    Poultry Offal

    Organic solid by products and waste Organic solid by-products and wastes produced
    in broiler farming and slaughtering are blood, feet, head, bone, trimmings and organs.
    Offal consists of 5.3% of total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 32% proteins, 54% lipids
    and 0.6 to 0.9 % methane production potential
    (Salminen and Rintala, 2002)

    http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-javs/papers/vol6-issue5/E0652935.pdf

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    You really haven't fully experienced waste products until you have eaten scrapple!
    , @Chrisnonymous
    The Japanese use some of the chicken offal in specialized bbq restaurants called "yakitori". You get a skewer of, say, 3 hearts for about $1.25. It's honestly fantastic.
  74. It’s pretty hard to walk into a Manhattan (gourmet) deli and be out of one’s depth due to the variety of salami on offer–no doubt varieties of ham, cheese, and beef were available.

    Ever since Brooks wrote Bobos in Paradise, he ruminates as a social class anthropologist, discovering microscopic distinctions, imperceptible to sentient beings, that he subscribes to as defining America as it exists. Brooks appears as the specialist who knows more and more about less and less, until he knows everything about nothing.

    Besides, why was he lunching with an 18-year old girl…

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    • Replies: @Father O'Hara
    We discussed Brooks' morals in a previous post. Remember how he dumped his wife and ran off with the old gal who was helping him with his book ,the one about morality?
  75. @Brutusale
    Offal on the menu is more of a class marker than varieties of Italian cold cuts.

    I have this discussion all the time with upper-middle friends with foodie pretensions. They all seem to think that a $65 piece of beef and $10 baked potato (ooh, it has chives!) and vegetable is the zenith of fine dining. I ask them what a steak house's job is and they seem confused. I maintain that it's to take a sublime cut of beef and not fuck it up. Any half-witted grad of a community college culinary program can do that. A real chef takes a kidney, an intestine, a liver or a pig trotter and makes something magically delicious with it.

    But I live among the Irish, so they're happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness.

    It helps to grow up ethnic. I didn't have too any friends like me who, on franks-and-beans night, was eating blood sausage.

    A $65 steak or slice of roast beef *IS* the zenith of fine dining. There is a place up the street from me that serves just that but they throw in a potato for free. :-)

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  76. “Educated” class? I recall reading a number of years ago that a polling organization posed the following question to members of the freshman class at Harvard: Why is it that the days are longer and the temperatures higher in the summer than in the winter?

    You know I remembered that it’s because of the tilt of the Earth’s axis, but I couldn’t remember why that explained it until I googled a graphic? In my head as I tried to model it in 3d, the tilt was staying relative to the Sun, when in reality it remains absolute.

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  77. @Steve Sailer
    At a white table cloth restaurant, ordering the second cheapest entree is a reasonable strategy.

    How prudent of you Steve! You are showing your sound Midwestern middle middle class sensibilities yet again.

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  78. The only New Order that mattered in 1981 was Movement. The rest can be picked up from trendy movies and car commercials.

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  79. @James Richard
    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.

    The Brooks anecdote struck me as odd because the Italian sub/pizza shop in my hometown had a line out the door every day of construction workers and tradesmen ordering sandwiches with capicola and other meats on them.

    My local Italian deli/bakery now is a little fancier (it’s owned by an Italian knight), but it’s got a similar clientele, and if you are curious what capicola or anything else is, they’ll happily slice you a sample. Just don’t ask them for a Reuben.

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  80. @Cagey Beast
    Yes, their shows are really just teleconferences to keep everyone on the same page. John Oliver and Samantha Bee's shows are just policy updates sprinkled throughout with increasingly bizarre sexual references and random accusations of crimes and betrayals. They're not funny, they're increasingly dark and troubled. Every video clip I see of Samantha Bee's show has her twisting and turning uncomfortably on her high heels or cocking her head in odd directions. It's like watching a staff meeting combined with an exorcism.

    One of the benefits of reading Sailer are comments such as this. There’s very little TV that I watch, and wouldn’t recognize Samantha Bee if I bumped into her, but your description of Oliver’s and Bee’s programs are exactly as I imagined. Glad to have my impressions confirmed.

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  81. Brooks wrote and intended the Italian versus “Mexican” anecdote as a poke in the eye to nativists and European identitarians.

    “See you latent Nazis goyim, your fellow goyim prefer Mexicam to your supposed Italian heritage and brethren. And all of you are dumb goyim.”

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    If you squint hard enough, even a luncheon choice can be made into an anti-Semitic parable. Next, how David Brook's choice of socks proves that he hates the goyim.
    , @the Supreme Gentleman
    Your comment reminds me of a recent Godfrey Elfwick tweet:

    Fellow progressives: Sometimes it's difficult to find racism or sexism in every single thing but if you push through, you'll find something.
     
  82. @Steve Sailer
    I think the video is called Private Universe.

    The Harvard students and some blue collar public high school students had the same wrong explanation, but the high school students were much less confident about it than the Harvard students.

    The similar survey I remember was about “visual extramission,” the idea that the physical world is apparent to you because your eyes emit beams that when reflected back into them reveal the outlines of external physical objects. The surveyed Ivy Leaguers believed that that’s how our eyes work. The “high school/some college” losers didn’t. What was tested there, I think, was obedience to people holding clipboards.

    As a massive snob with divers acquaintances (I’m a musician), my experience is that the only thing our elite knows that our losers don’t is lower-middlebrow trash like David Foster Wallace essays and what kinds of garbage upscale food trucks are selling under exotic foreign names. Both ends are completely ignorant of “high” culture, but the loser end is receptive to it. Loaning, e.g., a Beckett novel to my dropout friends has always resulted in gratitude for showing them something strange and interesting. Mentioning his name to life’s winners generates “aliterate” disdain.

    Brooks is, of course, lying. Self-flattering lower-middlebrow fiction is his métier.

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  83. I mentioned this on Twitter (to Education Realist, I think), but Brooks reminds me of the WASP mother in The Caine Mutiny who thought liking opera was a sign of sophistication, unless you were Italian. The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.

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    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.
     
    There was a time in my childhood memory when South Philadelphia Dagos used to hang these meats, salumi and cheeses in their basements. Not exactly the sort of exclusive cultural experience Brooks is exalting.

    Also, isn't it just as likely that the high school educated prole balked at the $15.00-for-a-half-size-sandwich prices?
    , @Jack D
    Padrino is a word not found on upscale Italian menus and striata is some kind of regional Syracuse (NY not Sicily) thing so it really sounds like he went to an Italian deli in upstate NY. Maybe Brooks himself was the clueless one?
    , @Stealth
    LOL. I have no idea what any of that stuff is. I discovered caccitore when I visited Montreal a few years ago. I'm also familiar with a few types of Salami sold by companies like Volpi.

    I wouldn't be intimidated by that sandwich shop, though. Mostly I would be curious about the new food I was about to taste.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtsi_OYqxt0
  84. Visualize Brooks dropped into the restaurant in the My Cousin Vinnie movie. He could open the menu to see Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner as his three options. Then he could interact with his waitress. Hilarity ensues, wedgie optional.

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  85. Not just a working class thing. I think it’s the difference between upper middle class and just plain ol’ middle class, too. I grew up in what I perceived to be the middle class, and have a four year college degree, yet I’m always asking my Phd wife what the Italian words on the menu mean. I don’t perceive it as a comedown, as I see it all as a fairly silly marketing ploy…

    I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

    …like chimichangas used to be. (“Fried Burrito” would be just as accurate.) I’m guessing the “friend” was more intimidated by ordering a sandwich in front of David Brooks than the words on the menu.

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  86. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    ‘The Races of Man’ is no longer fashionable.

    So, we have the Sandwiches of Man.

    You say Baloney, I say Bologna.

    PS. Were people upset that Brooks pointed out the alt-exclusionary modes of the upper classes and wanna-be’s? Or were they upset that ‘Mexican’ signifies ‘mediocre something for everyone’.

    With rich getting richer and even white working class sinking into underclass, we are all Mexicans.

    Regression to the Bean.

    IQ tests are still used but not much talked about.

    But CQ or Cultural Quotient gives the game away of whether you belong or don’t.

    I never went to a fancy sandwich shop.
    I never even went to a Subway.

    My idea of sandwich is stuff I put between two slices of bread.

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    • LOL: ATX Hipster
    • Replies: @James Richard
    I went to a Jimmy Johns just yesterday. I ordered a #13 with extra cheese and no cucumber. The roll was a trifle stale but it was near closing time. I would advise going earlier in the day for fresher bread. At least the place was spic and span clean.
    , @SonOfStrom
    The real question is, is a hotdog a sandwich?
  87. Oh no, not again. Just recently Brooks made up a male blue collar friend (“I have a friend who is an avid Trump admirer. He supports himself as a part-time bartender and a part-time home contractor, and by doing various odd jobs on the side.”) Now he claims to have a friend who has a (sic) “high school degree”. I don’t believe any of it. Among the likes of Brooks having a Trump supporter or a high school graduate among friends is almost as bad as being friends with a child molester.

    Here is a French word for Brooks: Canard. And I don’t mean Terrine de Canard.

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    • Agree: Daniel H
    • Replies: @Matra
    Oh no, not again. Just recently Brooks made up a male blue collar friend... Now he claims to have a friend who has a (sic) “high school degree”. I don’t believe any of it.

    Reminds of Bill Kristol's claim about an anti-Trump guy in a pizzeria saying he was counting on Kristol to "get us a better choice" than Trump: Penn Station Pizza Man Places the Fate of America in Bill Kristol's hands
    , @PiltdownMan

    Here is a French word for Brooks: Canard.
     
    Here is a British word for Brooks. Prat.
  88. @Cagey Beast
    What bothers me about David Brooks' anecdote is how it demonstrates just how cheap and shallow "elite" status is now. It wasn't about a friend being unable to keep up with a high flying conversation, or join him in a chat with someone in Italian, it was about being his kind of foodie. It's really just one more indicator that there's "no 'there' there" when it comes to the elite.

    I recently had a look at two videos on YouTube featuring the current Russian ambassador to the US taking part in discussions at Stanford's Europe Center and the Aspen Institute. The people on stage with him or asking questions from the audience were nearly universally intellectual duds, high functioning hysterics or place-holders. I see the same thing again and again when Twitter or YouTube allows me such glimpses into the Forbidden City of elite thinkery. No wonder they're stuck showing off how many different varieties of salami they know.

    The people on stage with him or asking questions from the audience were nearly universally intellectual duds, high functioning hysterics or place-holders.

    I occasionally attend luncheons and receptions in NYC with such speakers, and the Q&A is often drearily familiar. Having been instructed to ask a question, audience members launch into a diatribe of their counter-theory or proposition, or ask questions at some remove from the subject matter at hand. Status as “elite” appears to be a stand-in for credentialism and those with sufficient income or flexible responsibilities to attend such functions.

    The foodie obsession is concurrent with wine, craft beer, single-malt, coffee, gourmet cooking, et al. obsessions–a materialist consumerism, now called “passions,” that fill the intellectual emptiness of most people’s lives.

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    • Replies: @James Richard

    The foodie obsession is concurrent with wine, craft beer, single-malt, coffee, gourmet cooking, et al. obsessions–a materialist consumerism, now called “passions,” that fill the intellectual emptiness of most people’s lives.

     

    Now wait just a single darn minute there. I drink good coffee every day and more often than not have a glass of dry red, or an IPA, or a shot of decent Bourbon too and I can't cook for shit.
  89. Who are today’s McDonald’s intended to appeal to? Some of their interiors are becoming slightly SWPL (free wi-fi set up; fireplaces in the corner; couches to sit on; etc). Which demographic and/or market audience? Forget the ads. If McDonald’s were about trying to appeal to just urban hip hop, their interiors would be more out of MTV Cribs and “How I’m livin’” with Bling all around.

    Lest it be so quickly forgotten, McDonald’s originally was selling mid. century Americana, a la the Southern California style.

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  90. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    This reminds me the scene in Wall Street where Martin Sheen says spaghetti is for dinner, and Charlie Sheen says it’s called ‘pasta’.

    In the 80s, ‘pasta’ got yuppy.

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2016/03/07/an-old-column-on-pasta/

    Looks like the elites are becoming Neapolitano, the masses are becoming ‘Mexican’.

    Ironically, Italian food has a vulgar beginning in the US. It was the garlicky food of poor immigrants.

    But Italian cooking became very chic.

    But then, Italian could be ‘Mexicanized’.

    That’s what happened to Sushi. There was a time when all Americans, high and low, scoffed at the idea of eating raw fish and sea weed. It’s been Mexicanized… in the way that Tarantino mexicanized art house film + cinephile cult. Pulp Fiction became an arthouse hit for those who don’t go to arthouse fil-ums.

    But then, it became a chic urban upper middle class bohemian thing.

    Now, sushi has been vulgarized. You can find avocado sushi even in small town America. Sushi is just seaweed taco to a lot of people.

    So, maybe these fancy Italian sandwiches will be sold to masses as Soprano Sandwiches.

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    • Replies: @Bugg
    If elitist Brooks got out a bit more, working class people eating Italian-American/Sicilian/Neopolitan sandwiches would not be unusual. Heck, they even eat such things in the non-yuppified outer boros an elitists like him never visit.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Wall Street is a great movie, though in typical Stone fashion, it's not subtle at all. Charlie Sheen's Bud Fox has a culinary arc to mirror his dramatic arc. He goes from dad's spaghetti, to steak tartare and sushi, then back to pizza after he realizes Gekko played him.
  91. @Steve Sailer
    That's the funniest thing I've ever heard in association with Samantha Bee.

    I remember one funny segment she did for the Daily Show years ago. It was about some town in Indiana with a sewage problem. She interviewed a homeowner complaining about it, and then interviewed the mayor, but spent most of the interview asking him about the Cher concert he had just gone to, and the mayor recounted it in detail, oblivious to how his enthusiasm for a gay icon sounded.

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  92. @Svigor
    He should've just ordered her something everybody likes, then yakked about the menu while they ate.

    That would have required a degree of gentlemanly behavior of which Brooks is sadly incapable.

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  93. @John Derbyshire
    Huge change from my 1950s prole English childhood then. It was offal all the way down, except for Sunday dinner (=lunch). Liver & onions ... deviled kidneys ... tripe ... sweetbreads (pancreas, I think) ... stuffed sheep's heart ... One of my aunts used to serve us brains on toast.

    England's been totally destroyed.

    Wasn’t it Horace Rumpole who said (paraphrasing) “In a thousand years when Whitehall has crumbled and Parliament a memory, England will be remembered for three things: The Oxford Book of English Verse, the presumption of innocence, and the steak and kidney pudding?”

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Rumpole, d'ye say? P'raps Mr. Rumbold would like to have a go.

    Nuts to the lot of you eating at Chipotle and finding it chichi, too; it's McDonald's idea of Californian burritos, for crying our loud. (Me, I prefer authentic Italian food – like Donato's pizza!)
    , @ThreeCranes
    I recall it as "the English breakfast" instead of the pudding. And their breakfasts definitely "get the day's work done".
  94. Steve, you and Jeremiah get all the luck. Last time I saw a dead ringer for a celeb, he looked like Stephen King.

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  95. @John Derbyshire
    Huge change from my 1950s prole English childhood then. It was offal all the way down, except for Sunday dinner (=lunch). Liver & onions ... deviled kidneys ... tripe ... sweetbreads (pancreas, I think) ... stuffed sheep's heart ... One of my aunts used to serve us brains on toast.

    England's been totally destroyed.

    I saw Neil Gaiman speak in New York a few years ago, and he mentioned seeing a drawing of a chef tossing a pizza when he was growing up in England, and having no idea what it was.

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    • Replies: @Njguy73
    In 2014, Jimmy Page was interviewed by GQ. He said of listening to Chuck Berry in the '50s, "[Berry] was singing about hamburgers sizzling night and day. We didn't have hamburgers in England. We didn't even know what they were. You know? It was a picture being painted."
  96. @Steve Sailer
    I think the video is called Private Universe.

    The Harvard students and some blue collar public high school students had the same wrong explanation, but the high school students were much less confident about it than the Harvard students.

    MIT students can’t light bulb with battery and wire.

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    • Replies: @Krastos the Gluemaker
    Is it just you or there some nefarious "collusion" going on to keep posting this video in various comment threads at Unz? This is a known story from years ago about Harvard students, not MIT students. Not that it really matters, but it's bizarre to see false spam like this, repeatedly and recently.

    As for the other commenters on this thread I'm only chiming in because I find this too hilarious as well. You're all correct that the implied story here sounds really false but I can absolutely believe that a Latina maid or someone similar is the "friend" Brooks refers to.

    For my money's worth I would say that pretending to read "public intellectual" books (eg Piketty) but not actually reading them and not having knowledge of the related topics is the number one class signifier of the chattering class. It is really amazing how fast the numbers and popularity seem to drop off going from someone like Gladwell or Coates to passable works produced for laypeople but not on the favorite public intellectual topics, like by Brian Greene.
    , @Chief Seattle
    In all fairness to the MIT grads they've probably spent every waking minute since the end of classes drinking and hanging out with friends. This is trivially easy, but if you ask people standing around in an awkward gown while they're thinking about girlfriends, grandparents, and getting out of there - not a chance. The real test would be trying it in a library during reading period when people were looking for any excuse to be doing something other than studying. I predict that 9/10 would quickly solve it in that scenario.
    , @Ben Kurtz
    Most of that video was shot at Harvard, not MIT.

    Plus, we don't know how many students were approached, gave non-humorous responses, lit the lightbulb... and then got left on the cutting room floor. I would have guessed that most of my Harvard classmates, even those in the humanities or social sciences, could have completed the task... but not all.
  97. @Dr. X

    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.
     
    I went to Chipotle once and turned around and walked out without buying anything. There was a really long line, which I couldn't figure, because the place was disgusting -- crumbs and wrappers all over the floor, and people eating on stainless tables as if they were in a chemistry lab.

    Never been back.

    There’s a new restaurant row in a slightly less new shopping development near me (“Teterboro Landing” — it’s right across from Teterboro airport, so there’s a constant whine of idling jet engines like in that last scene in Heat at LAX). The Chipotle there is dead. Meanwhile, there’s a line every night at the new Halal Guys.

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  98. @Joe Schmoe

    In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.
     
    Hell yeah, offal is a waste product of poultry processing!


    Scope of Poultry Waste Utilization

    Poultry Offal

    Organic solid by products and waste Organic solid by-products and wastes produced
    in broiler farming and slaughtering are blood, feet, head, bone, trimmings and organs.
    Offal consists of 5.3% of total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 32% proteins, 54% lipids
    and 0.6 to 0.9 % methane production potential
    (Salminen and Rintala, 2002)

    http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-javs/papers/vol6-issue5/E0652935.pdf
     

    You really haven’t fully experienced waste products until you have eaten scrapple!

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    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    THIS MAN KNOWS THAT OF WHICH HE SPEAKS.

    That being said, outside of the Mid-Atlantic area, I've seen it in the southwest marketed as "coarse pork country pate" at New American style dining. 'Scrapple' must be rubbing the foodies faces in what they're eating a little too much I guess.

    , @SonOfStrom
    All the most delicious foods come in stackable brick form.
    , @Brutusale
    Having spent 20 years doing business with New England's largest producer of hot dogs and sausages, you're experiencing waste and by-products on a regular basis if you're not careful.

    The first two ingredients in a lot of pepperoni brands are beef hearts and pork stomachs.

    Anything labelled "mechanically-separated" contains a lot of stuff many people wouldn't eat, like pizzles and uteri.

    Finally, the USDA is not your friend when it comes to regulating the meat industry.
  99. My standard reply to “foodies” is that the idea that the quality of my life depends on the variety of things I put in my mouth is something I outgrew before learning to walk.

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  100. @Joe Schmoe

    "Salami sandwiches are so intimidating.
    I thought Brooks was kosher."

     

    LOL


    Call me low class, and unintimidated, but what the heck is so intimidating about just asking what some of the stuff is? I mean, I am the customer. I am paying them. It is their job to earn my money. So, if anything I am going to embarrass them when I ask what all their fancy stuff is just to find out that it is roast beef or bacon or salami or baloney.

    Nothing. Most places that will even give you a free sample

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  101. @Dave Pinsen
    I mentioned this on Twitter (to Education Realist, I think), but Brooks reminds me of the WASP mother in The Caine Mutiny who thought liking opera was a sign of sophistication, unless you were Italian. The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.

    The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.

    There was a time in my childhood memory when South Philadelphia Dagos used to hang these meats, salumi and cheeses in their basements. Not exactly the sort of exclusive cultural experience Brooks is exalting.

    Also, isn’t it just as likely that the high school educated prole balked at the $15.00-for-a-half-size-sandwich prices?

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    You think David Brooks went Dutch?
    , @Reg Cæsar

    …when South Philadelphia Dagos used to hang these meats, salumi and cheeses in their basements.
     
    I sure hope you misspelled salami, and not saluki!

    There's a place around here called Akita Sushi. Not very appetizing, is it? Some things aren't meant to be eaten at all, let alone raw.

  102. @John Derbyshire
    Huge change from my 1950s prole English childhood then. It was offal all the way down, except for Sunday dinner (=lunch). Liver & onions ... deviled kidneys ... tripe ... sweetbreads (pancreas, I think) ... stuffed sheep's heart ... One of my aunts used to serve us brains on toast.

    England's been totally destroyed.

    Tripe is one of the few dinner dishes I can think of where the staple French version (à la mode de Caen) is far inferior to the staple English version (Lancashire).

    But the bloke is right: nowadays spoilt working class brats shy away from steak and kidney pie, liver and bacon, and other offaly good tuck. In fact, SWCBs often prove to be picky eaters, never having been schooled in the doctrine of ‘eat what’s put before you’. Have most of them adapted to curries reasonably well? Sober, I mean. Dunno.

    It’s reminiscent of listening to Americans trying to explain away an aversion to fish, or a similar reluctance to eat offal.

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  103. What kind of person refers to their friend has having “only a high school degree”?

    That’s how one refers to a group of strangers when writing a wonky column about policy. But man, what a douchey way to refer to somebody you personally know.

    Does he introduce her that way to his other (more credentialed) friends?

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    • Replies: @Tex
    I think that is the core of the offputting nature of Brooks' anecdote. It's the offhand condescension that he uses as a springboard to blather about his preferred policy choices.
  104. I just responded to this at Rod Dreher’s site (where he shares an anecdote of his own-unintentionally humiliating a plebe with middle class food). Its bunk.

    I often don’t know what is meant by menus. I don’t know the cheeses or meats at Italian restaurants. I often don’t know what they are talking about when they describe the specials. I don’t know what regional dishes are outside of the region I live (I’m not sure what grits are). I have trouble keeping track of the different pasta shapes at Olive Garden.

    The answer to this dilemma is to….ask the waitress, hear her explanation, and then order food.

    The language on menus is not a class marker. It is a marketting gesture to add sophistication or artistry to ‘spaghetti noodles’ or ‘ham sandwich.’ The same thing occurs when you buy paint colors at Sherwin Williams (or select a color for your car)-invented words for various shades of green, blue, gray, etc. You experience it when you try to pick a deodorizer for the bathroom (summer breeze or pine essence?), when you select a particular laundry soap, when you pick a particular toothpaste .

    What the anecdotes do illustrate is that some people-even some adults-are insecure in social settings (more properly, we all are insecure in certain social settings-but some are more insecure than others). Misunderstanding can, in insecure people, be a cause of stress-again, most of us felt that way when we didn’t know what we were doing at age 18 (the feeling that everybody is staring at you when you don’t know the process for buying food at a serve-yourself cafeteria). And it may very well be that lower classes are more likely to be insecure adults than middle/upper middle classes.

    But lots of people are insecure-as mentioned, the very young. Often, the very old (because they are confused). When one is in a foreign country. When one is in a new, stressful environment (first day of basic training, for instance). And, apparently, many lower class folks when in a restaurant with Italian words on the menu.

    But these are not evidence of social phenomena or have class warfare implications -David Brooks can rest easy concentrating on the crease of other men’s pants, and not worry about alienating the lower classes (well, actually he can’t). They are simply evidence that sometimes people feel uncomfortable when they don’t know what they are doing. The Italian clerk speaking Italian at the gelatto shop in Rome isn’t doing so in order to make you uncomfortable-he is doing so because he speaks Italian, and you are uncomfortable because you don’t-not because you make less money than he does.

    In this case, a cigar is just a cigar, and sopressata is just sopressata.

    Incidently, I’m solidly upper middle class, and I don’t recognize a single anecdotal word-sopresseta, Padrino, Pomodoro, capicollo or striata baguette (I guess technically I know what a baguette is). If I go to the same deli, I would probably do something shocking-like learn what they mean-so that the second or third time I went, I’d know. No class warfare implications, or American social stratification issues need be involved.

    joeyjoejoe

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  105. @Anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tecBuhuYc60


    'The Races of Man' is no longer fashionable.

    So, we have the Sandwiches of Man.

    You say Baloney, I say Bologna.

    PS. Were people upset that Brooks pointed out the alt-exclusionary modes of the upper classes and wanna-be's? Or were they upset that 'Mexican' signifies 'mediocre something for everyone'.

    With rich getting richer and even white working class sinking into underclass, we are all Mexicans.

    Regression to the Bean.

    IQ tests are still used but not much talked about.

    But CQ or Cultural Quotient gives the game away of whether you belong or don't.

    I never went to a fancy sandwich shop.
    I never even went to a Subway.

    My idea of sandwich is stuff I put between two slices of bread.

    I went to a Jimmy Johns just yesterday. I ordered a #13 with extra cheese and no cucumber. The roll was a trifle stale but it was near closing time. I would advise going earlier in the day for fresher bread. At least the place was spic and span clean.

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    • Replies: @Wency
    To be sure, you don't go to Jimmy Johns for a good sandwich. You go there for a fast sandwich. That's their calling card. You go up to the counter, order your sandwich, and it's usually ready by the time you're finished paying.

    All the other mass-market sandwich places make a much better sandwich than JJ's, except maybe Subway, which seems to mostly compete on price and ubiquity.

    But none are as fast.
  106. I know when my working class friend visits from Belfast, he won’t buy a sandwich from Pret a Manger. He insists on Greggs the Baker.

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  107. @JeremiahJohnbalaya
    There's a lot to be said about this article but I'm busy working on a new integer modulation approach to Fourier analysis on simply connected manifolds.

    “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette.

    I only know one of these things, capicollo. Of course, i have to look at the item list to recognize the pizza I usually order at Olio.

    He should have offered to order for her.

    Granted, the aged guy and the fat guy at the next table didn’t look like celebrities, but then … I became convinced that they were Tim Allen and Kevin James.

    I spent an unreasonable amount of time a month or so ago, third row at the Hollywood Bowl Dead & Company concert, wondering whether the dude to my left was a young Johnny Depp.

    In the opposite direction, my mother in law would occasionally ask me if I want gaba-GOOL on my sandwich. I would offer an intimidated “no, thanks”. About a year ago, making my own cold it finally dawned on me, “I could have been having capicola!”

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    • Replies: @Wency
    If you only figured this out a year ago, you clearly didn't watch the Sopranos.

    Also, here's a relevant funny clip from The Office:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EHFRYVxhd8
  108. @Anonymous
    "...only a high school degree." Love it.

    "Educated" class? I recall reading a number of years ago that a polling organization posed the following question to members of the freshman class at Harvard: Why is it that the days are longer and the temperatures higher in the summer than in the winter? 50% couldn't answer the question. Which raises the question: What exactly does it mean to be "educated" and how, for example, does that relate to (such as) the use of (quoting from the Brooks piece) "the right baby carrier?" Is merely the act of flashing a badge?

    Think I'll "do Thai" tonight.

    I like to ask Muslims ” What is the distance to the Sun?”

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  109. @Undocumented Shopper
    Oh no, not again. Just recently Brooks made up a male blue collar friend ("I have a friend who is an avid Trump admirer. He supports himself as a part-time bartender and a part-time home contractor, and by doing various odd jobs on the side.") Now he claims to have a friend who has a (sic) "high school degree". I don't believe any of it. Among the likes of Brooks having a Trump supporter or a high school graduate among friends is almost as bad as being friends with a child molester.

    Here is a French word for Brooks: Canard. And I don't mean Terrine de Canard.

    Oh no, not again. Just recently Brooks made up a male blue collar friend… Now he claims to have a friend who has a (sic) “high school degree”. I don’t believe any of it.

    Reminds of Bill Kristol’s claim about an anti-Trump guy in a pizzeria saying he was counting on Kristol to “get us a better choice” than Trump: Penn Station Pizza Man Places the Fate of America in Bill Kristol’s hands

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  110. Everybody Hates David Brooks

    Fixed that headline for you.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Pretty sure he's not worth it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoIHOD5kn2o
  111. Totally off topic, but how serious is this latest “revelation” over Trump’s Russian ties. The British and NZ media is baying for blood, but they do that anyway.

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    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    Well Trump had a bang up time at the G-20, and CNN was stepping on rakes all last week.

    So like clockwork, there's another breathless "revelation" about something something Russia. You can set your watch to it at this point.
    , @Jack D
    Not serious at all. If the situation had been reversed, not only would Chelsea have taken the meeting but she would have channeled whatever she learned directly to the front page of the NY Times and they would have gleefully printed it AND given her a medal for her patriotism in revealing Trump's perfidy.
  112. @Forbes

    The people on stage with him or asking questions from the audience were nearly universally intellectual duds, high functioning hysterics or place-holders.
     
    I occasionally attend luncheons and receptions in NYC with such speakers, and the Q&A is often drearily familiar. Having been instructed to ask a question, audience members launch into a diatribe of their counter-theory or proposition, or ask questions at some remove from the subject matter at hand. Status as "elite" appears to be a stand-in for credentialism and those with sufficient income or flexible responsibilities to attend such functions.

    The foodie obsession is concurrent with wine, craft beer, single-malt, coffee, gourmet cooking, et al. obsessions--a materialist consumerism, now called "passions," that fill the intellectual emptiness of most people's lives.

    The foodie obsession is concurrent with wine, craft beer, single-malt, coffee, gourmet cooking, et al. obsessions–a materialist consumerism, now called “passions,” that fill the intellectual emptiness of most people’s lives.

    Now wait just a single darn minute there. I drink good coffee every day and more often than not have a glass of dry red, or an IPA, or a shot of decent Bourbon too and I can’t cook for shit.

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  113. Does his new wife know he’s already taking some other woman out to lunch? I curse anyone who GAF about this sorry human.

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    • Replies: @ChrisZ
    I think you've solved the mystery of this hard-to-believe column, Doc.

    Brooks' second wife must have caught him having lunch with a young girl, so he had to cook up an alibi about doing innocent "research" for work. This column was the result. Brooks had to really follow through on publishing it because the second wife has first-hand experience of his cheating ways.
  114. @Dr. X

    I went to Chipotle once and ordered a quesadilla. It tasted like plastic.
     
    I went to Chipotle once and turned around and walked out without buying anything. There was a really long line, which I couldn't figure, because the place was disgusting -- crumbs and wrappers all over the floor, and people eating on stainless tables as if they were in a chemistry lab.

    Never been back.

    I’ve seen those. Not all Chipotles are like that (NACALT?), quite a few are standard fast-food dining ambience, chairs & tables. But the design of the steel-table places is so goddam awful I had to wonder if it were some experiment in seeing how many SWPLs would eat in place that was a cross between a cattle-feeding trough and a third-rate fast-food joint.

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  115. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @fish
    Samantha Bee looks like, and frankly behaves a little bit like the after 11:30 pm single female patrons I used to suffer through when I tended bar.

    These were the days before smart phones so there was really no place to hide!

    /shudder

    For the most par the only shows I watch are the nature channels. I’d rather watch a pride of lions disembowel a zebra or an orca inhale a seal then watch those two and the likes of Butch Maddow. Had to Wiki Samantha to make sure she wasn’t any kin to Molly Bee (who used to be on the old Pinky Lee and Tennessee Ernie Ford shows back in the 50s. Yeah, ok, so I’m showing my age. TV was better back then.

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  116. @Desiderius
    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense. We don't just feel uncomfortable for the usual culture clash reasons - there's also the actor forgetting his lines type of discomfort.

    Truly a national tragedy.

    Yeah, Brooks’ talks like he lives in a freakin’ Henry James novel, or something. He’s in the muck of Current Year civilization with the rest of us. Pretentious sandwich ingredients do not a a true elite make.

    Eventually, I imagine it’ll come down to, “I read one more book than you per year, prole!”

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  117. @Steve Sailer
    On that trip to New York I drove 13 hours straight from LA to Grand Junction, Colorado and stopped in an Olive Garden. The food was delicious.

    Just visited friends in Grand Junction who had recently moved there from CA. They said the first item on their social acceptance calendar was to get new license plates.

    I gotta say the open space and lack of traffic was pretty darn appealing. Too bad that state is dominated by Denver liberals (at least, that’s what my friends said). But their 20-something kids are into good-paying jobs that don’t require college and are saving for homes of their own.

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    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    The stereotype in Colorado, Austin, and probably a number of other places with good weather and housing that is affordable relative to CA, is that Californians move to there to get away from what California has become, and then promptly start working to turn their new home into California.
    , @Catholic Philly Prole
    My reply to ATX Hipster (in reply to you) was relevant to you as well, maybe even moreso
  118. @candid_observer
    Credit where it's due.

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

    We --- all of us, in every corner of the country -- have access to food choices we could not dream of in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Walk into any supermarket anywhere, compare the offerings to those we might remember from previous decades, and that is obvious. (No doubt it has much to do with our current obesity problem).

    It's in part because I can see so clearly that we are in a Golden Age in this one area that I am not apt to dismiss as nostalgia my perception that in virtually all other areas we have entered a dark age.

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don’t know what real food tastes like.

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    • Replies: @candid_observer
    I'll grant you the problem with produce, much of which has lost its taste while being bred for efficient growth and harvest. Tomatoes are particularly tragic--though, for a steep price, you can revisit the tomato of yore in so-called heirloom tomatoes.

    I don't know about beef, but I do remember very distinctly a big problem with foul in the 50s and 60s -- they were very often quite gamey, to a point that they were unpleasant to eat. The average chicken and turkey of today are vastly more appealing in taste.

    , @Buck Turgidson
    But at least we get the pleasure and value of shipping vast quantities of subsidized corn and soybeans to China and other Asian nations so they can feed livestock, so it's been so worth it.
    , @utu
    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don’t know what real food tastes like.
    Who and how did the destroying? How come that Europeans have managed to resists that process?
    , @Almost Missouri
    Yes, and this is true both in flavor and nutrition.
    , @Grace Jones
    Tuna is utterly flavorless nowadays. I attribute this to better refrigeration.
  119. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree (barring some tech M/Billionaire MIT dropout). I think the more likely explanations are: 1) cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her "Rosita, mi Amiga;" 2) model year 2017 mistress upgrade; or 3) someone within three or four degrees of separation by acquaintance that he'd met somewhere once and asked to lunch for the predetermined purpose of observing one of Goodall's she-apes up close.

    Also, perhaps a B.A. in Italian Salumi is available in the University these days such as it is, but "pomodoro" and "capicola" aren't the typical subjects of academic discourse. They're the sort of thing you'll find out about if you live near working class Italian Americans (wherein capicola is pronounced "GABBA-GOO") or, alternatively, pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything. IIRC, the hated Olive Garden chain (known for feeding the denizens of Big Box Stores) serves a "pomodoro" sauce, which I think places "pomodoro" squarely within the ken of the unwashed masses.

    Carlin used to do a bit about the Brooks of the world fetishizing roasted panda loin with fresh squeezed Arugula juice and duck lip coulis as a status marker a few decades ago. But one assumes that Brooks is entirely unaware that lots of people consider him a try-hard prig that is easy to both dismiss and laugh at simultaneously as a caricature of something. A vague imitation of Buckley's fussiness imposed upon a bland regurgitation of the day's ruling class shibboleths wrapped up in a visage resembling an aggregation of thousands of Megan's Law mugshots.

    He supposedly once wrote a column which referred to ‘the salad bar at Applebee’s’, published at a time when Applebee’s franchises did not have salad bars. This might be that type of fiction. My guess would be an employee, not a friend in the conventional sense.

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  120. @John Derbyshire
    Huge change from my 1950s prole English childhood then. It was offal all the way down, except for Sunday dinner (=lunch). Liver & onions ... deviled kidneys ... tripe ... sweetbreads (pancreas, I think) ... stuffed sheep's heart ... One of my aunts used to serve us brains on toast.

    England's been totally destroyed.

    Americans eat beef tongue though? Sliced very, very thin. I used to love the stuff in sarnies as a kid, because fancy Italian ham or salt beef things were as unknown and unimaginable as say, the bell-pepper or the courgette. Or soft loo-paper.

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    • Replies: @fish

    Americans eat beef tongue though?
     
    Yes they do, no question mark!

    Might I suggest the tongue stew at any of the Basque places from Carson Valley throughout most of Northern Nevada (Louies Basque Corner on 4th St in Reno)!

    , @Jack D
    It exists as a food item but its not very common. Probably liver is more common but not very popular either. Other organ meats are rarely if ever seen on menus outside of a few hardcore ethnic places.
  121. @candid_observer
    Credit where it's due.

    Our elite has, of course, debased our literature, our fine arts, and our music, both popular and classical, and generally corrupted our canon, all in favor of multicultural inanity and vacuity.

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

    We --- all of us, in every corner of the country -- have access to food choices we could not dream of in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Walk into any supermarket anywhere, compare the offerings to those we might remember from previous decades, and that is obvious. (No doubt it has much to do with our current obesity problem).

    It's in part because I can see so clearly that we are in a Golden Age in this one area that I am not apt to dismiss as nostalgia my perception that in virtually all other areas we have entered a dark age.

    Yes, we must always remember that overall decline, or decline in most of the things that make life worth living, doesn’t mean decline in every particular. We can be advancing there as we decline here. For instance, there’s a dizzying array of ways to get high these days. Not just corn licker and spinning in circles, but designer drugs. Which is killing us but, eh, gotta go some way.

    Then again, are we truly living in a golden age of good food? Because the vast majority of people can’t cook for crap. I’d trade good homecooked meals for the best in fine dining, most of the time. They don’t make it like mamma used to make it.

    Then again, Brooksian elites have turned gourmand (or “foodie,” as they put it) at home, and they can buy pretty much any ingredients they want. With the right discipline, they can eat better than any humans ever. But I can’t help but feel they’re faking it, in a way. It would be more meaningful to perpetuate local domestic cuisines, which are dying out.

    On those pretentious tv cooking shows, they’re always going to this place or that, learning about the regional way of cooking, presenting it almost like a museum piece that needs preserving. And they place a premium on stories about their grandparents teaching them how to cook. Somehow it’s always grandparents, not parents.

    But if it’s not Soul Food or, I don’t know, Hawaiian cuisine, it whatever, I’m verging on racism in suggesting there’s anything worth preserving.

    There is that whole “eat local” thing, but that’s about ingredients and environmentalism, not culture.

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    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    When I lived in the Pacific Northwest I would put out a few crab pots which I tended from a rowboat. Fresh Dungeness crab in omelets and for dinner whenever I wanted.

    An old fisherman taught me the best way to cook a fresh salmon. Crank up the oven to 500 degrees and let it get good and hot. Put your salmon on a platter (garlic and butter optional) and let er rip. No fancy sauces, orange slices floating in milk etc. Just the taste of pure, fresh-caught salmon simply prepared. The key is that the high heat sears the outside of the flesh and seals the juices in. Doesn't take long though.

    If you walked the docks you could find a long-liner who had a flash freezer on board and buy salmon fresh from the sea. Long liners are the high end of fisheries because the fish don't get squeezed by the ton in nets. They're individually hand-plucked off the hook and, if he flash freezes the fish, it retains the rainbow-like luster to its scales.

    Also, friends and I would split a yearling steer bought from organic farmers, pay to have it butchered and wrapped and stored it in our home freezers.

    My wife and I squeezed hundreds of gallons of our apples, froze it in gallon bags and drank cider all year. We ate our own fresh hazelnuts, raspberries, artichokes and kiwis. We leased most of our land to an organic farmer who supplied restaurants that specialized in locally sourced produce. As part of his payment we received a box of veggies every week.

    For bonfire parties we would buy a sack of fresh oysters from the local oyster farm. Cooked over an open fire, what could be better?

    Learn some basic cooking like how to make a roux, get fresh local ingredients and you can eat better at home than you will eat in any restaurant in America and I don't exclude the best restaurants in NYC or Chicago et al.

    Food doesn't need exotic sauces, triangular plates or three-pronged forks to be quality. Nothing beats freshness.

    Oh, and one last thing. The local farmer isn't eating the cows he sells into the market as meat. He eats the ones he's raising organically over there, the one's contentedly munching under the trees. They don't receive hormone shots. He knows what's what.

    Truth to tell, I feel sorry for guys like Brooks who know so little that they think they know what real food tastes like.

  122. First thing after a marathon drive you ordered three drinks (for yourself?) I never took you for a drinker, Steve, much less a serious drinker.

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    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @David
    If three drinks makes a serious drinker two minutes twice makes a Casanova.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Only one drink was for me.
  123. @The Z Blog
    I suspect the main reason people took notice of that Brooks anecdote is that is obviously false. He made it up. It never happened. It's written by a guy imagining what it would like to be a sophisticated guy out with a prole in the sophisticated world he imagines he inhabits.

    As I mentioned on Gab, guys like Brooks do more for the alt-right than a dozen Richard Spencers.

    I couldn’t agree more that Brooks made up this friend. Here is another more than likely imaginary friend from his July 4th column:

    For example, I have a friend who is an avid Trump admirer. He supports himself as a part-time bartender and a part-time home contractor, and by doing various odd jobs on the side. A good chunk of his income is off the books. He has built up a decent savings account, but he has done it on his own, hustling, scrapping his way, without any long-term security. His income can vary sharply from week to week. He doesn’t have much trust in the institutions around him. He has worked on government construction projects but sees himself, rightly, as a small-business man.

    What kind of self respecting part time bartender/home contractor would hang out with David Brooks? Elites must think anecdotes are the most effective way to influence people now. They do seem to have a tendency to think you can disprove wider societal trends as long as you can find one person for whom the trend does not apply to use as a counter example. Why comment on the 99 MS-13 members who have moved to town X from Central America when you can write a puff piece about the honor student who overcame so much adversity.

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  124. @CJ
    When somebody graduates from high school today, do they get a "degree"? I ask this question seriously. I'm not sure I have ever heard the expression "high school degree" before, and I lived in the USA for 15 years.

    No one says “high school degree.” You get a high school diploma upon graduation, which is in a way synonymous with a degree. But no one talks like that.

    Degrees don’t start until college. Then you have an academic rank conferred upon you. They don’t consider completing a high school course of study to confer upon you any rank, though of course it is necessary to finish high school or the equivalence of high school to get into the higher education club. But for that matter you have to graduate third grade in order to get to college, too, but no one thinks of the degree of third-gradedness.

    They’re getting close, I feel, to Bachelor’s degrees conferring no rank, either. Notice how they always refer to it as an “undergraduate degree.” There’s that “under,” of course, but more importantly it’s oxymoronic. You have to graduate to get the degree, so why continue to refer to them as undergraduates?

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  125. The most useful heuristic for media consumption these days is: If people are upset this was said, then it is probably true. (Think HBD hatestats)

    Not to be confused with another useful heuristic: If people are upset about this topic (but not the mere fact that it is being discussed), then it is probably false/not actually a big deal. (Think Trump-Russia, or almost anything related to Trump for that matter).

    In both of the above cases, “people” could probably more accurately be replaced with “pundits” and/or “Twitter users”.

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  126. @Anon
    This reminds me the scene in Wall Street where Martin Sheen says spaghetti is for dinner, and Charlie Sheen says it's called 'pasta'.

    In the 80s, 'pasta' got yuppy.

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2016/03/07/an-old-column-on-pasta/

    Looks like the elites are becoming Neapolitano, the masses are becoming 'Mexican'.

    Ironically, Italian food has a vulgar beginning in the US. It was the garlicky food of poor immigrants.

    But Italian cooking became very chic.

    But then, Italian could be 'Mexicanized'.

    That's what happened to Sushi. There was a time when all Americans, high and low, scoffed at the idea of eating raw fish and sea weed. It's been Mexicanized... in the way that Tarantino mexicanized art house film + cinephile cult. Pulp Fiction became an arthouse hit for those who don't go to arthouse fil-ums.

    But then, it became a chic urban upper middle class bohemian thing.

    Now, sushi has been vulgarized. You can find avocado sushi even in small town America. Sushi is just seaweed taco to a lot of people.

    So, maybe these fancy Italian sandwiches will be sold to masses as Soprano Sandwiches.

    If elitist Brooks got out a bit more, working class people eating Italian-American/Sicilian/Neopolitan sandwiches would not be unusual. Heck, they even eat such things in the non-yuppified outer boros an elitists like him never visit.

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    Brooks lived in Wayne, PA during high school where hoagies and cheesesteaks were abundantly available.
  127. @27 year old
    What kind of person refers to their friend has having "only a high school degree"?

    That's how one refers to a group of strangers when writing a wonky column about policy. But man, what a douchey way to refer to somebody you personally know.

    Does he introduce her that way to his other (more credentialed) friends?

    I think that is the core of the offputting nature of Brooks’ anecdote. It’s the offhand condescension that he uses as a springboard to blather about his preferred policy choices.

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  128. 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.

    Typical Brookes hyperbole.

    If his “high school educated friend” felt uncomfortable at the high-end sandwich shop, it was likely the prices, not the unfamiliar Italian terminology.

    I’m about as “elite” as they come, considering my tastes and my education, and I still don’t understand most of the words on such menus. Nor do I care; I order anyway.

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    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous

    Nor do I care; I order anyway.
     
    I think this falls within proving Brooks' point.
  129. @StillCARealist
    Just visited friends in Grand Junction who had recently moved there from CA. They said the first item on their social acceptance calendar was to get new license plates.

    I gotta say the open space and lack of traffic was pretty darn appealing. Too bad that state is dominated by Denver liberals (at least, that's what my friends said). But their 20-something kids are into good-paying jobs that don't require college and are saving for homes of their own.

    The stereotype in Colorado, Austin, and probably a number of other places with good weather and housing that is affordable relative to CA, is that Californians move to there to get away from what California has become, and then promptly start working to turn their new home into California.

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    Parts of Montana are going through similar anti-California throes. Around the areas north of Yellowstone, for example, new McMansions abound, sitting vacant for weeks or months at a time. Jackson Hole in Wyoming has similar issues.
    , @Catholic Philly Prole
    I can relate. In Pa especially up the mountains and in the Lehigh Valley, there is the same stereotype about Jersey/NY people since forever. It is a little bit true from personal experience "like you mean that anyone who's not a felon can just like carry a gun here? It wasn't like that in Parsippany (or wherever). Isn't that dangerous because guns kill people and stuff." Oh yea, if you don't like freedom and personal responsibility then go back to the Socialist Republic of Nueva Jersey, where freedom dies and 10K property tax bills are the norm to pay for free daycare for the children of ghetto criminals. Yes we also have violent blacks in Philly, but at least we can defend ourselves against them. S & W .38 concealed carry, all day every day! FTR I know Pa sucks almost as bad as Jersey but not quite as bad.
  130. @Desiderius
    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense. We don't just feel uncomfortable for the usual culture clash reasons - there's also the actor forgetting his lines type of discomfort.

    Truly a national tragedy.

    “The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense.”

    Exactly.

    It takes so much wealth today to escape the general crumminess of our cities and towns that we peasants delude ourselves into thinking that where we lunch (or go to college) is much more significant than it really is. It’s all we have.

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  131. @Anon
    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that's tied to your anxiety levels. It's not something that class determines. It's the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you're more open to trying new things, then you'll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don't. People with higher anxiety levels don't want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they're also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It's higher testosterone that'll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    Yes, the David Brooks, Ross Douthats and Matt Ygelsias of the world have a certain resemblance to Leonidas in both physique and outlook.

    Sarcasm aside: Are you smoking rock?

    Ira Glass and some other NPR hosts had their t levels checked and I believe Ira’s was lower than the female co-host.

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    • Agree: Harry Baldwin, Anonym
    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    Ira Glass sounds like he reached puberty a year ago.
    , @dr kill
    If it was Cokie Roberts or Linda Wirtheimer or Andrea Mitchell I'm not surprised. Damn, NPR sucks.
    , @Rod1963
    I think anon was being sarcastic.

    Most of the Lefty/globalist males look like they could use a regimen of anabolic steroids and a stint in a labor gang in some cement plant or steel mill to toughen them up.
  132. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree (barring some tech M/Billionaire MIT dropout). I think the more likely explanations are: 1) cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her "Rosita, mi Amiga;" 2) model year 2017 mistress upgrade; or 3) someone within three or four degrees of separation by acquaintance that he'd met somewhere once and asked to lunch for the predetermined purpose of observing one of Goodall's she-apes up close.

    Also, perhaps a B.A. in Italian Salumi is available in the University these days such as it is, but "pomodoro" and "capicola" aren't the typical subjects of academic discourse. They're the sort of thing you'll find out about if you live near working class Italian Americans (wherein capicola is pronounced "GABBA-GOO") or, alternatively, pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything. IIRC, the hated Olive Garden chain (known for feeding the denizens of Big Box Stores) serves a "pomodoro" sauce, which I think places "pomodoro" squarely within the ken of the unwashed masses.

    Carlin used to do a bit about the Brooks of the world fetishizing roasted panda loin with fresh squeezed Arugula juice and duck lip coulis as a status marker a few decades ago. But one assumes that Brooks is entirely unaware that lots of people consider him a try-hard prig that is easy to both dismiss and laugh at simultaneously as a caricature of something. A vague imitation of Buckley's fussiness imposed upon a bland regurgitation of the day's ruling class shibboleths wrapped up in a visage resembling an aggregation of thousands of Megan's Law mugshots.

    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree

    My first thought was his friend must have just graduated from high school.

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  133. @Steve Sailer
    Odom was for German reunification nine years before, Thatcher against.

    Where you there at the behest of UPI?

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    They wouldn't pay for a flight? I wonder how the cost of driving cross country compared to flying.
  134. Doesn’t every one just hate david brooks

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    • Replies: @AnotherDad

    Doesn’t every one just hate david brooks
     
    Apparently not Ann Synder--yet. But give her time ...
  135. A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours

    Out of modesty, there is no mention that while stopped at traffic lights he blogged out eight articles and approved 400 comments.

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  136. Steve, this post made me deeply uncomfortable.

    I didn’t know what any of those Italian words meant–but ok, that was from David Brooks. But then i had no idea who this “New Order” band was. And then i clicked on your link … and didn’t recognize the song either. It was triggering.

    I took a took a deep breath and–in search of a safe space–stepped out on my deck. But my comfortable blue tarps were no where in view–my wife’s made my put up these fancy beige sun shades “sails” instead. The rest of the day is going to be tough.

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    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    I used up my LOL, but your post deserves one too. Thanks.

    I know how you feel -- some days, I just can't even -- I mean, it's all just too too much.
  137. @Jack Hanson
    Yes, the David Brooks, Ross Douthats and Matt Ygelsias of the world have a certain resemblance to Leonidas in both physique and outlook.

    Sarcasm aside: Are you smoking rock?

    Ira Glass and some other NPR hosts had their t levels checked and I believe Ira's was lower than the female co-host.

    Ira Glass sounds like he reached puberty a year ago.

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  138. @Patrick in SC
    Not that it's an indictable offense, but I wouldn't be surprised if this "incident" is completely fabricated. His companion was so baffled by a menu that they changed restaurants? I call B.S.

    My standard reaction to these questionable anecdotes anymore is “wow, hahaha did that actually happen?”

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  139. Tim Allen and Kevin James immediately dissolved into people who barely looked like them.

    Tim Dick and Kevin Knipfing?

    capicollo

    I will assume he means capocollo, which for some reason is pronounced gabagool in northern New Jersey. cf. Artie Lange and Tony Soprano

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  140. @Desiderius
    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense. We don't just feel uncomfortable for the usual culture clash reasons - there's also the actor forgetting his lines type of discomfort.

    Truly a national tragedy.

    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense.

    I would go a step further and suggest it’s deliberately and even nervously oblivious. People who whore their status symbols are generally either VERY New Money (as in, more likely lotto winners than people who built up capital through either hard work and clever or discreet heists) or the descendants of aristocrats now regressing towards the mean. (The French call these, respectively, nouveaux riches and fins de race.) In the same vein, there is an increasing anxiety in the intelligentsia of its ongoing/looming collapse, and this column happens to be a particularly odious example.

    Truly a national tragedy.

    If by “national tragedy” you refer to David Brooks, I absolutely agree. If you refer to the declining prestige of his ilk I have to disagree: that is probably the single best piece of news since I have been alive.

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    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The tragedy is the mismatch between merit and status and the general ignorance thereof.
  141. @peterike

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

     

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don't know what real food tastes like.

    I’ll grant you the problem with produce, much of which has lost its taste while being bred for efficient growth and harvest. Tomatoes are particularly tragic–though, for a steep price, you can revisit the tomato of yore in so-called heirloom tomatoes.

    I don’t know about beef, but I do remember very distinctly a big problem with foul in the 50s and 60s — they were very often quite gamey, to a point that they were unpleasant to eat. The average chicken and turkey of today are vastly more appealing in taste.

    Read More
    • Replies: @peterike

    I don’t know about beef, but I do remember very distinctly a big problem with foul in the 50s and 60s — they were very often quite gamey, to a point that they were unpleasant to eat. The average chicken and turkey of today are vastly more appealing in taste.

     

    As for beef, in fact USDA standards for Prime, Choice, Select, etc. have been lowered time and again, actually starting as far back as the 1930s (standards meaning things like the quality of the marbelling and so on). There was a significant change in 1976, which supposedly was partly responsible for a long decline in beef popularity (remember really gristly steak in the 80s? I do.). This was to accommodate beef farmers, of course, who could produce a poorer quality product yet still get the same grading. Now, only about 4% of beef is rated prime (which is actually a rise from about 2% in the 1990s). Most supermarkets do not carry any prime beef.

    On the chickens, I suppose it's a matter of taste, but certainly Americans don't generally like gamey flavors. I find the modern Purdue chicken tasteless. I generally go for Bell & Evans in the supermarket when I'm too lazy to take the drive to the local chicken farm.
    , @Charles Kiddell
    Thats why they spelled it "foul".
  142. @Steve Sailer
    Odom was for German reunification nine years before, Thatcher against.

    Well, what Thatcher feared has come to pass, I would say.

    Germany has eclipsed the UK in many ways …

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  143. @Expletive Deleted
    Americans eat beef tongue though? Sliced very, very thin. I used to love the stuff in sarnies as a kid, because fancy Italian ham or salt beef things were as unknown and unimaginable as say, the bell-pepper or the courgette. Or soft loo-paper.

    Americans eat beef tongue though?

    Yes they do, no question mark!

    Might I suggest the tongue stew at any of the Basque places from Carson Valley throughout most of Northern Nevada (Louies Basque Corner on 4th St in Reno)!

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  144. The best writeback to the Brooks column:

    Recently I took a friend with doctoral degree to lunch. Insensitively I led him into a McDonalds. Suddenly I saw his face freeze up as he was confronted with menu items like “Hamburger” and “Fries” and ingredients like ketchup, mustard and a sesame seed bun. I quickly asked him if he wanted to go somewhere else and he anxiously nodded yes and we ate gluten free vegan Thai.

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    • Replies: @O'Really
    https://twitter.com/SimonMaloy/status/884754433036476417
    , @Desiderius
    I think Mickey D's has gluten-free vegan Thai on the menu this week!
  145. @(((They))) Live
    I remember many years ago, slime ball Peter Mandelson was running for a safe seat somewhere in the North of England, so he was out and about campaigning, meeting Northern Proles ect, doing his very best to look Human, so he goes into a fish and chip shop, I suppose he asked for his usual LOL, anyway the lady behind the counter was about to give him some mushy peas with his order, and Mandy says "oh no, no guacamole for me"

    Superb! Thanks for the reminder.

    As one of the treats for my wife’s 40tth (long time ago) I took her and a foodie couple friends of hers to a nouvelle cuisine place they’d expressed interest in. Nice enough, easy on the eye, good to eat and heavy on the pocket. Afterwards I had to be dragged away from buying myself a fish supper at a chippy nearby. One of the exceptions to the Yorkshire maxim that “less is more.”

    Maybe Brooks will start a campaign to rename “Entees” as “Main Courses”; or is that too radical?

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  146. @anonymous-antimarxist
    Yes the Vito is basically Jimmy Johns' take on a Padrino sandwich. Vito means life giver, Padrino, grandfather/patron.

    The restaurants simply refer to capocollo as cap.

    Meanwhile "Brooks" still means prick.

    Vito means life giver, Padrino, grandfather/patron.

    Well, Vito is more specifically the (mostly southern-Italian and especially Sicilian) version of Vitus–as in St. Vitus, as in St. Vitus’ Dance. You get a lot of people named both Vito and Vita down there, mostly because St. Vitus was from Sicily.

    Padrino principally means “godfather”–and secondarily by way of metaphor, “patron.”

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  147. @Brutusale
    Offal on the menu is more of a class marker than varieties of Italian cold cuts.

    I have this discussion all the time with upper-middle friends with foodie pretensions. They all seem to think that a $65 piece of beef and $10 baked potato (ooh, it has chives!) and vegetable is the zenith of fine dining. I ask them what a steak house's job is and they seem confused. I maintain that it's to take a sublime cut of beef and not fuck it up. Any half-witted grad of a community college culinary program can do that. A real chef takes a kidney, an intestine, a liver or a pig trotter and makes something magically delicious with it.

    But I live among the Irish, so they're happy with their lack of culinary adventurousness.

    It helps to grow up ethnic. I didn't have too any friends like me who, on franks-and-beans night, was eating blood sausage.

    a $65 piece of beef

    To be fair, that IS the going price for Waugyu ribeye, though I would point out that that price tag will get you about 300 grams of European or North American-raised Wagyu but only 100 grams of Japanese Wagyu for the simple reason that this last has the right to call itself “Kobe.”

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  148. @James Richard
    You really haven't fully experienced waste products until you have eaten scrapple!

    THIS MAN KNOWS THAT OF WHICH HE SPEAKS.

    That being said, outside of the Mid-Atlantic area, I’ve seen it in the southwest marketed as “coarse pork country pate” at New American style dining. ‘Scrapple’ must be rubbing the foodies faces in what they’re eating a little too much I guess.

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    • Replies: @James Richard
    And its not real scrapple unless it includes a few boar bristles.
  149. @dr kill
    Does his new wife know he's already taking some other woman out to lunch? I curse anyone who GAF about this sorry human.

    I think you’ve solved the mystery of this hard-to-believe column, Doc.

    Brooks’ second wife must have caught him having lunch with a young girl, so he had to cook up an alibi about doing innocent “research” for work. This column was the result. Brooks had to really follow through on publishing it because the second wife has first-hand experience of his cheating ways.

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  150. @22pp22
    Totally off topic, but how serious is this latest "revelation" over Trump's Russian ties. The British and NZ media is baying for blood, but they do that anyway.

    Well Trump had a bang up time at the G-20, and CNN was stepping on rakes all last week.

    So like clockwork, there’s another breathless “revelation” about something something Russia. You can set your watch to it at this point.

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  151. I think it’s interesting how Hank Shaw and Steve Rincella are pushing using every part of what you hunt when you cook. Their books feature a lot of venison heart, deer tongue, and fried liver recipes along with venison meatballs.

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  152. “Our prices don’t discriminate, our snobbishness does that for us.”

    I find nothing quite as annoying as the modern chain sandwhich shop—the Panera-types. The layouts are absolutely awful, creating confusion on how to form lines and how to order. The prices are too high, too, for the size of the sandwhiches they serve.

    I am actually quite surprised such layouts survived and were not exploited by low-class black folk to cut lines, eat the free bread, steal the water and soup just out for anyone to take, etc. I guess, like Whole Foods (whom they often open business next to), they do market research on where to plant their flag so only rule-following non-blacks are around.

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  153. @Cortes
    Superb! Thanks for the reminder.

    As one of the treats for my wife's 40tth (long time ago) I took her and a foodie couple friends of hers to a nouvelle cuisine place they'd expressed interest in. Nice enough, easy on the eye, good to eat and heavy on the pocket. Afterwards I had to be dragged away from buying myself a fish supper at a chippy nearby. One of the exceptions to the Yorkshire maxim that "less is more."

    Maybe Brooks will start a campaign to rename "Entees" as "Main Courses"; or is that too radical?

    Entrees, obviously.

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  154. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anon
    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that's tied to your anxiety levels. It's not something that class determines. It's the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you're more open to trying new things, then you'll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don't. People with higher anxiety levels don't want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they're also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It's higher testosterone that'll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    No idea what huitlacoche is, so I’ll just (hoping it rhymes) mentally file its connoisseurs in with effete quiche-eaters.

    I assume the higher T also have less status anxiety, the confidence to know what they like and not care what you think about it, and won’t feel peer-pressured — rejecting the entire frame of status markers, in fact.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    P.S. For what it's worth, in the Big Five, anxiety goes in the neuroticism column, not the openness to experience column.
  155. kind of a frivolous response to a decently substantial brooks column. the argument brooks is employing goes back to bordieu and concept of “symbolic violence” (closely related to symbolic or “cultural capital” — by which the bourgeois (ahem, *upper-middle class) use powerful, often unconscious aesthetic cues to maintain and regulate the social order and their dominant position within. the simplistic appropriation of this concept is also where privilege” dogma originates

    despite what anyone thinks about king anodyne, there’s a lot of truth here — particularly in a society that now, apparently by intention, is composed exclusively of status markers. (btw, bordieu also came up with the sociological concept of “field’)

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  156. Stadium food is getting pretty fancy. Next week, the story of David Brooks and his Mexican housekeeper at the Nats game:

    ‘Suddenly her face froze up as she heard the stadium hawker:

    “Larks’ tongues. Wrens’ livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars’ earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get ‘em while they’re hot. They’re lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar. Tuscany fried bats…”

    She spoke up, hesitant but hopeful:

    “Do they have any…saltamontes?”

    “Why yes, Maria. Yes, they do.”

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19102331/seattle-mariners-serve-toasted-grasshoppers-safeco-field

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    • Replies: @whorefinder
    Going to baseball games is the new going to Disney World.
    , @Lot
    I had a brain and eyeball taco before. I thought it was a joke when told what it was.

    Does not say much for traditional Mexican food that a meat and a brain taco tasted the same.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabeza

  157. @Cagey Beast
    What bothers me about David Brooks' anecdote is how it demonstrates just how cheap and shallow "elite" status is now. It wasn't about a friend being unable to keep up with a high flying conversation, or join him in a chat with someone in Italian, it was about being his kind of foodie. It's really just one more indicator that there's "no 'there' there" when it comes to the elite.

    I recently had a look at two videos on YouTube featuring the current Russian ambassador to the US taking part in discussions at Stanford's Europe Center and the Aspen Institute. The people on stage with him or asking questions from the audience were nearly universally intellectual duds, high functioning hysterics or place-holders. I see the same thing again and again when Twitter or YouTube allows me such glimpses into the Forbidden City of elite thinkery. No wonder they're stuck showing off how many different varieties of salami they know.

    Amen.

    My country town grandfather was just a small-practice doctor, but he spoke four languages, discussed Ovid at the dinner table, had great stories to tell of saving Japanese POW lives under a MASH tent in the jungle, and was an amateur scupltor in the style of Gioccometi. I think I’ll go for that kind of elite, if there’s any of that left.

    I don’t belong in this world.

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  158. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Anonymous
    No idea what huitlacoche is, so I'll just (hoping it rhymes) mentally file its connoisseurs in with effete quiche-eaters.

    I assume the higher T also have less status anxiety, the confidence to know what they like and not care what you think about it, and won't feel peer-pressured -- rejecting the entire frame of status markers, in fact.

    P.S. For what it’s worth, in the Big Five, anxiety goes in the neuroticism column, not the openness to experience column.

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  159. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Steve Sailer
    Interesting.

    Of course, a lot of testosterone also often tends to be associated with not wanting to go outside one's social comfort/dominance zone.

    Musicians, for example, don't tend to be super masculine. My father-in-law was, but he was a tuba player and the violinists in his orchestra elected him their union leader because he didn't get intimidated into giving in.

    These New Order songs, for instance, sound like they were made by, I'm guessing, straight but not hugely masculine guys.

    Agreed. A lot of anxiety in men stems from losing their dominant standing when trying new things.

    I am in the healthcare field. I hate being put in a submissive child-like role, and yet this sort of submissive openness is absolutely essential if you are to learn anything in medicine. Especially in fields which are procedure-based, like surgery. Smarts are of little benefit there, because you can’t read up and figure out stuff on your own. The hot chick who got started two years before you will boss you around, and you have no choice but to suck up and kiss ass if you want her to show you how to do things the right way.

    I think being a trainee in medicine is much easier for women, for the simple reason that they don’t have that instinctive recoil from submitting and being told what to do.

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  160. @candid_observer
    I'll grant you the problem with produce, much of which has lost its taste while being bred for efficient growth and harvest. Tomatoes are particularly tragic--though, for a steep price, you can revisit the tomato of yore in so-called heirloom tomatoes.

    I don't know about beef, but I do remember very distinctly a big problem with foul in the 50s and 60s -- they were very often quite gamey, to a point that they were unpleasant to eat. The average chicken and turkey of today are vastly more appealing in taste.

    I don’t know about beef, but I do remember very distinctly a big problem with foul in the 50s and 60s — they were very often quite gamey, to a point that they were unpleasant to eat. The average chicken and turkey of today are vastly more appealing in taste.

    As for beef, in fact USDA standards for Prime, Choice, Select, etc. have been lowered time and again, actually starting as far back as the 1930s (standards meaning things like the quality of the marbelling and so on). There was a significant change in 1976, which supposedly was partly responsible for a long decline in beef popularity (remember really gristly steak in the 80s? I do.). This was to accommodate beef farmers, of course, who could produce a poorer quality product yet still get the same grading. Now, only about 4% of beef is rated prime (which is actually a rise from about 2% in the 1990s). Most supermarkets do not carry any prime beef.

    On the chickens, I suppose it’s a matter of taste, but certainly Americans don’t generally like gamey flavors. I find the modern Purdue chicken tasteless. I generally go for Bell & Evans in the supermarket when I’m too lazy to take the drive to the local chicken farm.

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  161. @peterike

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

     

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don't know what real food tastes like.

    But at least we get the pleasure and value of shipping vast quantities of subsidized corn and soybeans to China and other Asian nations so they can feed livestock, so it’s been so worth it.

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  162. @International Jew
    First thing after a marathon drive you ordered three drinks (for yourself?) I never took you for a drinker, Steve, much less a serious drinker.

    If three drinks makes a serious drinker two minutes twice makes a Casanova.

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  163. @YetAnotherAnon
    Except for haggis, which tastes fantastic despite being made of sheep lungs and other strange parts.

    This old Somerset Maugham story, about a young writer who buys lunch for a lady correspondent, seems to prefigure the ladies who do a lot of online "first dates" as a way to try menus and restaurants for free.

    https://mythologystories.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/the-luncheon-somerset-maugham/


    "Then came the question of drink.

    “I never drink anything for luncheon,” she said.

    “Neither do I,” I answered promptly.

    “Except white wine,” she proceeded as though I had not spoken. “These French white wines are so light. They’re wonderful for the digestion.”

    “What would you like?” I asked, hospitable still, but not exactly effusive. She gave me a bright and amicable flash of her white teeth.

    “My doctor won’t let me drink anything but cham­pagne.”

    I fancy I turned a trifle pale. I ordered half a bottle. I mentioned casually that my doctor had absolutely forbid­den me to drink champagne.

    “What are you going to drink, then?”

    “Water.”

    She ate the caviare and she ate the salmon. She talked gaily of art and literature and music. But I wondered what the bill would come to."
     

    I love haggis. I was making a bad joke in the vein of “when your momma sits around the house, she really sits around the house.”

    “Excuse me, waiter. There’s offal on my menu. Can I have a new one?”

    Sorry!

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  164. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Serving esoteric night-shade plants with a dash of pepper and virgin olive oil is one thing, but a master chef must be an expert chemist, mechanic, and designer, all at once.

    Real master chefs make things happen with simple food, as well as exotic fare. It’s not what he does, but how he does it:

    http://digg.com/video/most-difficult-omelet

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  165. @bjdubbs
    MIT students can't light bulb with battery and wire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ve23i5K334

    Is it just you or there some nefarious “collusion” going on to keep posting this video in various comment threads at Unz? This is a known story from years ago about Harvard students, not MIT students. Not that it really matters, but it’s bizarre to see false spam like this, repeatedly and recently.

    As for the other commenters on this thread I’m only chiming in because I find this too hilarious as well. You’re all correct that the implied story here sounds really false but I can absolutely believe that a Latina maid or someone similar is the “friend” Brooks refers to.

    For my money’s worth I would say that pretending to read “public intellectual” books (eg Piketty) but not actually reading them and not having knowledge of the related topics is the number one class signifier of the chattering class. It is really amazing how fast the numbers and popularity seem to drop off going from someone like Gladwell or Coates to passable works produced for laypeople but not on the favorite public intellectual topics, like by Brian Greene.

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  166. Isn’t that special? He has a friend with a high school diploma and looks down on him because he doesn’t speak Italian. But his Guatemalan Maid that can’t speak English well, he wants to stay and have future voters. Its easy to hate people like this. Give it a try. Are you trying? He hates you.

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    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    Proper middle-class people (English version) would be dismayed to lunch with anyone who didn't at least read, if not speak, Latin, rather than that parvenu plebspeak Italian. Like all Guatemalan maidservants, being Latinx'ers can, obviously.
    Brookers is somewhat out of his depth, I fear.
  167. @TWalsh2
    I've been in multiple place where I had no idea what was on the menu. I asked, they offered samples, we spoke, I ordered, I ate, I left, and I don't think anyone involved gave it a second thought. Then again, I don't think anyone involved had a deadline to put out a column that both virtue signals and attempts to degrade while pushing a narrative.

    Yeah, but I’ve been in shops where the “chefs” turn up their noses at questions. I personally am not intimidated, but I do find it annoying and don’t go back to such places.

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  168. “…she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.”

    How insensitive! I only hope the menu wasn’t in Spanglish.

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  169. I wonder if David Brooks stole that anecdote from an episode of Frasier…

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  170. @Joe Schmoe

    In the uk offal on the menu is very effective at scaring off the plebs.
     
    Hell yeah, offal is a waste product of poultry processing!


    Scope of Poultry Waste Utilization

    Poultry Offal

    Organic solid by products and waste Organic solid by-products and wastes produced
    in broiler farming and slaughtering are blood, feet, head, bone, trimmings and organs.
    Offal consists of 5.3% of total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 32% proteins, 54% lipids
    and 0.6 to 0.9 % methane production potential
    (Salminen and Rintala, 2002)

    http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-javs/papers/vol6-issue5/E0652935.pdf
     

    The Japanese use some of the chicken offal in specialized bbq restaurants called “yakitori”. You get a skewer of, say, 3 hearts for about $1.25. It’s honestly fantastic.

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  171. @International Jew

    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.
     
    Typical Brookes hyperbole.

    If his "high school educated friend" felt uncomfortable at the high-end sandwich shop, it was likely the prices, not the unfamiliar Italian terminology.

    I'm about as "elite" as they come, considering my tastes and my education, and I still don't understand most of the words on such menus. Nor do I care; I order anyway.

    Nor do I care; I order anyway.

    I think this falls within proving Brooks’ point.

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  172. @Anon
    This reminds me the scene in Wall Street where Martin Sheen says spaghetti is for dinner, and Charlie Sheen says it's called 'pasta'.

    In the 80s, 'pasta' got yuppy.

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2016/03/07/an-old-column-on-pasta/

    Looks like the elites are becoming Neapolitano, the masses are becoming 'Mexican'.

    Ironically, Italian food has a vulgar beginning in the US. It was the garlicky food of poor immigrants.

    But Italian cooking became very chic.

    But then, Italian could be 'Mexicanized'.

    That's what happened to Sushi. There was a time when all Americans, high and low, scoffed at the idea of eating raw fish and sea weed. It's been Mexicanized... in the way that Tarantino mexicanized art house film + cinephile cult. Pulp Fiction became an arthouse hit for those who don't go to arthouse fil-ums.

    But then, it became a chic urban upper middle class bohemian thing.

    Now, sushi has been vulgarized. You can find avocado sushi even in small town America. Sushi is just seaweed taco to a lot of people.

    So, maybe these fancy Italian sandwiches will be sold to masses as Soprano Sandwiches.

    Wall Street is a great movie, though in typical Stone fashion, it’s not subtle at all. Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox has a culinary arc to mirror his dramatic arc. He goes from dad’s spaghetti, to steak tartare and sushi, then back to pizza after he realizes Gekko played him.

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  173. @Dave Pinsen
    I saw Neil Gaiman speak in New York a few years ago, and he mentioned seeing a drawing of a chef tossing a pizza when he was growing up in England, and having no idea what it was.

    In 2014, Jimmy Page was interviewed by GQ. He said of listening to Chuck Berry in the ’50s, “[Berry] was singing about hamburgers sizzling night and day. We didn’t have hamburgers in England. We didn’t even know what they were. You know? It was a picture being painted.”

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  174. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.
     
    There was a time in my childhood memory when South Philadelphia Dagos used to hang these meats, salumi and cheeses in their basements. Not exactly the sort of exclusive cultural experience Brooks is exalting.

    Also, isn't it just as likely that the high school educated prole balked at the $15.00-for-a-half-size-sandwich prices?

    You think David Brooks went Dutch?

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    • Replies: @tyrone
    I think he made the whole thing up ,FAKE ,FAKE or kayfab if you like. Do you really thing he socializes with people like that?
    , @Not Raul
    I'd be shocked if Brooks didn't go (((Dutch))).
  175. @peterike

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

     

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don't know what real food tastes like.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don’t know what real food tastes like.
    Who and how did the destroying? How come that Europeans have managed to resists that process?

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  176. @Dave Pinsen
    You think David Brooks went Dutch?

    I think he made the whole thing up ,FAKE ,FAKE or kayfab if you like. Do you really thing he socializes with people like that?

    Read More
  177. @Desiderius
    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense. We don't just feel uncomfortable for the usual culture clash reasons - there's also the actor forgetting his lines type of discomfort.

    Truly a national tragedy.

    Ross Douthat tweeted today (in response to the Brooks kerfuffle, I think) that there is no upper class culture today. Someone mentioned Tom Wolfe’s Back To Blood in response. The Art Basel stuff probably qualifies as legitimately upper class culture, but it’s not broadly influential.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Cincinnati Opera's been doing some bang up work. Probably not high class, but high enough for this mountaineer. Met my wife the music prof singing together in a reasonably accomplished choir.

    Local culture around here is thriving. Local's just beating the shit out of global right now.
    , @Desiderius

    Ross Douthat tweeted today (in response to the Brooks kerfuffle, I think) that there is no upper class culture today.
     
    Yet the sublime still does shine through the suffocating fog now and again:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA

    That tear in her eye is recognizing for the first time what she's missed out on her whole life. Tasting the mess of pottage, if you will.

    Compare James Brown:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb-B3lsgEfA

    For him it's an old friend - he was raised (literally raised) on it in church.

    So to answer your question - yes, opera can be high culture and thus upper class.
    , @Catholic Philly Prole
    There is certainly an upper-class culture today, it is called Stone Harbor, NJ. Avalon next door is for the new money who aspire to be Stone Harbor in future generations. Sea Isle City is for Delco Proles who made good and North Wildwood serves a similar function for Northeast Philly/Roxborough proles who made good. Ocean City serves a similar function for Suburban Philly proles who made good and don't like public drinking. Wildwood proper used to be for white Philly proles but no more. Margate is for Mainline Jews as is the part of Ventnor bordering it. Cape May is for gays and Center City yuppies, and Brigantine is for??? Who the hell goes to Brigantine?
  178. @Not Raul
    Where you there at the behest of UPI?

    They wouldn’t pay for a flight? I wonder how the cost of driving cross country compared to flying.

    Read More
    • Replies: @27 year old
    I drove not quite all the way across the country and at the mileage rate it cost my employer more than if I had flown.
    , @Not Raul
    That's not what I meant.

    I was wondering how and why Steve got close enough to Thatcher and Odom to hear them argue over an issue that was triggering to them both.

    I'm jealous. I have a very high opinion of Odom. Brilliant man. Thatcher is a little over-rated.
  179. @Desiderius
    The article is also completely (almost aggressively) oblivious to the extent to which the exclusive elite he identifies is no longer legitimately elite in any meaningful sense. We don't just feel uncomfortable for the usual culture clash reasons - there's also the actor forgetting his lines type of discomfort.

    Truly a national tragedy.

    The white eloi, having no actual identity anymore.

    They define themselves solely in terms of status, and to signal your status you have to consume the right things..the right products, the right causes, the right neighborhoods. Without their status they have nothing.

    That’s why they hate the white working class so much. They fear a kind of contamination from the white working class that would threaten their status, and thus their identity.

    Read More
  180. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    I find it rather conspicuous and incredible that Brooks maintains a friendship with someone who holds only a high school degree (barring some tech M/Billionaire MIT dropout). I think the more likely explanations are: 1) cleaning woman who has to grit her teeth when he expresses over familiarity in calling her "Rosita, mi Amiga;" 2) model year 2017 mistress upgrade; or 3) someone within three or four degrees of separation by acquaintance that he'd met somewhere once and asked to lunch for the predetermined purpose of observing one of Goodall's she-apes up close.

    Also, perhaps a B.A. in Italian Salumi is available in the University these days such as it is, but "pomodoro" and "capicola" aren't the typical subjects of academic discourse. They're the sort of thing you'll find out about if you live near working class Italian Americans (wherein capicola is pronounced "GABBA-GOO") or, alternatively, pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything. IIRC, the hated Olive Garden chain (known for feeding the denizens of Big Box Stores) serves a "pomodoro" sauce, which I think places "pomodoro" squarely within the ken of the unwashed masses.

    Carlin used to do a bit about the Brooks of the world fetishizing roasted panda loin with fresh squeezed Arugula juice and duck lip coulis as a status marker a few decades ago. But one assumes that Brooks is entirely unaware that lots of people consider him a try-hard prig that is easy to both dismiss and laugh at simultaneously as a caricature of something. A vague imitation of Buckley's fussiness imposed upon a bland regurgitation of the day's ruling class shibboleths wrapped up in a visage resembling an aggregation of thousands of Megan's Law mugshots.

    Wow! That is an epic take down of Mr. Brooks. “pretentious fair trade artisan sandwich crafters who ruin everything”…that is an awesome sentence. I love it. I’ll never go to a fussy sandwich shop again without thinking of that sentence and wanting to laugh.

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  181. @ATX Hipster
    The stereotype in Colorado, Austin, and probably a number of other places with good weather and housing that is affordable relative to CA, is that Californians move to there to get away from what California has become, and then promptly start working to turn their new home into California.

    Parts of Montana are going through similar anti-California throes. Around the areas north of Yellowstone, for example, new McMansions abound, sitting vacant for weeks or months at a time. Jackson Hole in Wyoming has similar issues.

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  182. @Bugg
    If elitist Brooks got out a bit more, working class people eating Italian-American/Sicilian/Neopolitan sandwiches would not be unusual. Heck, they even eat such things in the non-yuppified outer boros an elitists like him never visit.

    Brooks lived in Wayne, PA during high school where hoagies and cheesesteaks were abundantly available.

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  183. @Bosch
    Not that the MSM is enraged with Brooks for the right reasons but what kind of proletarian bumpkin is connected enough to be lunching with a NYT columnist but not to spend 30 seconds googling what a striata is on her phone.

    If you google striata baguette, all the links lead back to Brooks’s column- otherwise it doesn’t exist. There is some regional upstate NY thing called “stretch bread” that was originally called striata but stretch bread doesn’t sound exotic enough so Brooks rechristened it.

    Pomodoro just means tomato (golden apple) and Padrino is like Godfather but has no recognized culinary meaning.

    In other words, even if you are some upper class yuppie scum foodie, you still couldn’t interpret this menu without asking the waiter, which is what most people do rather than switching restaurants.

    Italian food (and restaurants) is usually very welcoming and accessible so Brook’s choice makes no sense. Even once exotic foods such as raw fish are familiar to Americans of all social classes. To intimidate someone with only a high school “degree” you’d have to pick something really exotic nowadays – Senegalese or Korean or something really obscure.

    I call BS on Brooks’s story – it just didn’t happen.

    Read More
    • Replies: @El Dato

    I call BS on Brooks’s story – it just didn’t happen.
     
    This.
  184. @anonymous-antimarxist
    I have worked on the weekends as driver for Jimmy Johns while my primary job was looking after my aging parents. Most folks in the Midwest don't know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.

    David Brooks' douchebaggery just launched a million memes.

    Jimmy Johns plays New Order too, just not the obscure 8 and a half minute ones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQt5JdZTD9k

    The Sopranos popularized gabagool for capicollo

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    • Replies: @FozzieT
    That clip reminds me of this one...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TRgEeDR98X8
  185. @peterike

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

     

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don't know what real food tastes like.

    Yes, and this is true both in flavor and nutrition.

    Read More
  186. @Dave Pinsen
    Ross Douthat tweeted today (in response to the Brooks kerfuffle, I think) that there is no upper class culture today. Someone mentioned Tom Wolfe's Back To Blood in response. The Art Basel stuff probably qualifies as legitimately upper class culture, but it's not broadly influential.

    Cincinnati Opera’s been doing some bang up work. Probably not high class, but high enough for this mountaineer. Met my wife the music prof singing together in a reasonably accomplished choir.

    Local culture around here is thriving. Local’s just beating the shit out of global right now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Opera is interesting to consider. It's high culture, but is it upper class culture? It certainly was once. But now you and Steve are attending operas. And it's not really broadly influential, is it? What's the opera equivalent of Hamilton?
  187. @Jimi
    Hard to believe David Brooks has a friend with only a high school diploma.

    Also this scenario is unbelievable if it it happened in the Tristate area or any urban city in the Northeast. Due to our large Italian-American population Italian food is not necessarily a upper class thing. Italian sandwiches are downright working class.

    The best Italian sandwiches are found in Jersey and Long Island as that's where most of the original NYC Italian families now live. And you don't have to be Italian to know what these sandwiches are. I don't know the various Italian deli meats but know enough to assume they'll be flavorful and may have a spicy kick.

    It'd be hilarious if David Brook's friend is a Latina maid who wants Mexican food because she hasn't been USA long enough to know Italian sandwiches.

    Hard to believe David Brooks has a friend with only a high school diploma.

    Girlfriend experience.

    Read More
    • Replies: @whorefinder

    Girlfriend experience.
     
    Threadwinner.

    More seriously there are four options for this story:

    1. Brooks made it up.
    2. Brooks was taking around a summer intern from flyover country who will be a freshman at Yale this fall.
    3. Brooks was taking around a black kid given a "head start" by being semi-adopted by Brooks.
    4. Brooks was taking around an immigrant, likely his maid or cook.

    1 is most likely. Fake News has enormous pressure to come up with juicy anecdotes to illustrate their points; they often resort to stretching the truth/making it up. A good anecdote to illustrate a point, even if fake, goes a long way, as the Haven Monahan/Duke rape myths showed, or, heck , as James Frey showed.

    Fake anecdotes are often combined with plagiarism when a deadline looms. "Hmm, I need a story that illustrates that all black people are the victim of white oppression, but I can't find one. And here's a story by a minor internet writer claiming he was attacked by three black thugs shouting "Kill Whitey" on it. Maybe if I just change the races around...yeah....."
    , @Seth Largo
    Thirty seconds of hearty lol.
  188. “. . . ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette”

    I only know about capicollo, otherwise known as “gabagool”, from watching the Sopranos.

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  189. @Anon
    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that's tied to your anxiety levels. It's not something that class determines. It's the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you're more open to trying new things, then you'll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don't. People with higher anxiety levels don't want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they're also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It's higher testosterone that'll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    I do enjoy a good troll job. Keep it up, son.

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  190. @22pp22
    Totally off topic, but how serious is this latest "revelation" over Trump's Russian ties. The British and NZ media is baying for blood, but they do that anyway.

    Not serious at all. If the situation had been reversed, not only would Chelsea have taken the meeting but she would have channeled whatever she learned directly to the front page of the NY Times and they would have gleefully printed it AND given her a medal for her patriotism in revealing Trump’s perfidy.

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  191. @jim jones
    Damn, you made me read a NYT article, what next - a Guardian link?

    Isn’t this guy thee perv who just married a girl young enough to be his daughter…?

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  192. @Jack Hanson
    Yes, the David Brooks, Ross Douthats and Matt Ygelsias of the world have a certain resemblance to Leonidas in both physique and outlook.

    Sarcasm aside: Are you smoking rock?

    Ira Glass and some other NPR hosts had their t levels checked and I believe Ira's was lower than the female co-host.

    If it was Cokie Roberts or Linda Wirtheimer or Andrea Mitchell I’m not surprised. Damn, NPR sucks.

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  193. @Jenner Ickham Errican

    Hard to believe David Brooks has a friend with only a high school diploma.
     
    Girlfriend experience.

    Girlfriend experience.

    Threadwinner.

    More seriously there are four options for this story:

    1. Brooks made it up.
    2. Brooks was taking around a summer intern from flyover country who will be a freshman at Yale this fall.
    3. Brooks was taking around a black kid given a “head start” by being semi-adopted by Brooks.
    4. Brooks was taking around an immigrant, likely his maid or cook.

    1 is most likely. Fake News has enormous pressure to come up with juicy anecdotes to illustrate their points; they often resort to stretching the truth/making it up. A good anecdote to illustrate a point, even if fake, goes a long way, as the Haven Monahan/Duke rape myths showed, or, heck , as James Frey showed.

    Fake anecdotes are often combined with plagiarism when a deadline looms. “Hmm, I need a story that illustrates that all black people are the victim of white oppression, but I can’t find one. And here’s a story by a minor internet writer claiming he was attacked by three black thugs shouting “Kill Whitey” on it. Maybe if I just change the races around…yeah…..”

    Read More
  194. @Expletive Deleted
    Americans eat beef tongue though? Sliced very, very thin. I used to love the stuff in sarnies as a kid, because fancy Italian ham or salt beef things were as unknown and unimaginable as say, the bell-pepper or the courgette. Or soft loo-paper.

    It exists as a food item but its not very common. Probably liver is more common but not very popular either. Other organ meats are rarely if ever seen on menus outside of a few hardcore ethnic places.

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    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    Both tongue and liver are staples of kosher Jewish delis. Sweetbreads are somewhat less popular but also pretty common.
  195. @Ghost of Bull Moose
    Stadium food is getting pretty fancy. Next week, the story of David Brooks and his Mexican housekeeper at the Nats game:

    'Suddenly her face froze up as she heard the stadium hawker:

    "Larks' tongues. Wrens' livers. Chaffinch brains. Jaguars' earlobes. Wolf nipple chips. Get 'em while they're hot. They're lovely. Dromedary pretzels, only half a denar. Tuscany fried bats..."

    She spoke up, hesitant but hopeful:

    "Do they have any...saltamontes?"

    "Why yes, Maria. Yes, they do."

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19102331/seattle-mariners-serve-toasted-grasshoppers-safeco-field

    Going to baseball games is the new going to Disney World.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    whorefinder, last year as a wonderful birthday treat, three of my daughters took me to a Yankees-Indians game in Cleveland. We had dinner before the game so that was cool. I asked for one of the ticket stubs so I could frame it with a photo of all of us in our Yankee shirts, they surrendered one reluctantly. When did sitting one section over from the dugout and 20 rows up become a $150 ticket? Disney is an all day thing.
  196. The only thing we can really know from this anecdote is that Brooks is a douchebag.

    Did he even ask his companion why she preferred Mexican to Italian sandwiches? Or was this just a condescending interpretation solely on his part? From the context, it appears the latter.

    And now imagine you are Brooks’ lunch companion. In a national newspaper column, he essentially calls you an ignoramus who is such a dolt that merely ordering an Italian sandwich in a restaurant is a task beyond your abilities to confidently handle.

    Not only that, but he attributes your “anxiety” (again, as he interprets it) in the face of a menu of Italian sandwiches to the fact that you didn’t graduate from college. Huh?

    Is this why college tuition has skyrocketed? College curriculum is now covering the secrets of Italian sandwiches?

    Perhaps with an eye toward their future job opportunities in this globalist age of cheap foreign labor and off-shoring industry, colleges should also teach their students to master other intimidating Italian terms like “Espresso Macchiato” and “Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte.”

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  197. @Dave Pinsen
    They wouldn't pay for a flight? I wonder how the cost of driving cross country compared to flying.

    I drove not quite all the way across the country and at the mileage rate it cost my employer more than if I had flown.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I believe it. And then add in hotels and meals. Maybe Steve has a secret he's keeping from us, like he's been banned from airports.
  198. @Dave Pinsen
    I mentioned this on Twitter (to Education Realist, I think), but Brooks reminds me of the WASP mother in The Caine Mutiny who thought liking opera was a sign of sophistication, unless you were Italian. The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.

    Padrino is a word not found on upscale Italian menus and striata is some kind of regional Syracuse (NY not Sicily) thing so it really sounds like he went to an Italian deli in upstate NY. Maybe Brooks himself was the clueless one?

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I've been on a low carb diet this summer, so I haven't been there in a while, but my local Italian bakery/deli has a thing on the wall with every conceivable type of bread in their cuisine pictured and labeled. I'll see if it's listed there when I go back.
  199. @Opinionator
    Brooks wrote and intended the Italian versus "Mexican" anecdote as a poke in the eye to nativists and European identitarians.

    "See you latent Nazis goyim, your fellow goyim prefer Mexicam to your supposed Italian heritage and brethren. And all of you are dumb goyim."

    If you squint hard enough, even a luncheon choice can be made into an anti-Semitic parable. Next, how David Brook’s choice of socks proves that he hates the goyim.

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    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Yes, and it is absolutely inconceivable that any Jewish person anywhere could misinterpret an innocent comment made and/or an innocent action taken by a goy as incontrovertible evidence of that goy's rabid anti-Semitism. No rational person could legitimately claim that there has ever been an instance in which an innocent gentile has been unduly accused of Jew-hatred.

    In other news, it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that James Cameron is a Nazi, and that Aliens (1986) is an anti-Semitic propaganda film based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
    http://jewisheyesonthearts.com/2012/05/jews-and-other-aliens-or-the-merchant-of-lv-426/
    , @Opinionator
    Would Brooks have written up the anecdote if his friend had suggested Olive Garden instead? Applebees? Burgers?
  200. OT about being caught in a sandwich situation:

    ‘Defend Europe’: Far-right activists launch mission to rescue, send back illegals from Libya

    The initiative has already provoked concerns among some NGOs engaged in sea rescue operations, and they have said that the arrival of the vessel charted by the Identitarians could disrupt their operations. The French authorities also criticized the move as a “provocation” and a “hindrance” to relief efforts, French media report, adding that the issue was already referred to a court.

    How far right do you need to be to be officially called a High-Sea Rescue Nazi Mission (presumably flying the Good Will Hitler flag)?

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  201. @Anon
    Some people are more open to trying new things and sampling new tastes, and others are not. This is an innate capacity that's tied to your anxiety levels. It's not something that class determines. It's the other way around, namely, your tastes and anxieties shape what class you end up in. If you're more open to trying new things, then you'll be more open to accepting new opportunities, taking new jobs, meeting new people, moving around the country to find a better place to live, etc. People who do the latter are more likely to end up in a higher social class than people who don't. People with higher anxiety levels don't want to change jobs, move, deal with strangers, try new foods, hobbies, etc. They tend to stay stuck in their social niche and experience intense fear at the thought of moving out of it and leaving everyone and everything they know behind.

    Less anxiety=higher testosterone. The people who run society have higher testosterone, and they're also more open to experimenting and trying new things because of it. It's higher testosterone that'll make you sample huitlacoche when everyone else around you goes for a hamburger.

    High T is associated with disagreeableness as per the OCEAN personality model. IME tough, ornery dudes like their food the way they like it (the more meat the better, generally) and everyone else can go f*** themselves.

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  202. @Jack D
    Not serious at all. If the situation had been reversed, not only would Chelsea have taken the meeting but she would have channeled whatever she learned directly to the front page of the NY Times and they would have gleefully printed it AND given her a medal for her patriotism in revealing Trump's perfidy.

    Spot on.

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  203. @Jack D
    If you google striata baguette, all the links lead back to Brooks's column- otherwise it doesn't exist. There is some regional upstate NY thing called "stretch bread" that was originally called striata but stretch bread doesn't sound exotic enough so Brooks rechristened it.

    Pomodoro just means tomato (golden apple) and Padrino is like Godfather but has no recognized culinary meaning.

    In other words, even if you are some upper class yuppie scum foodie, you still couldn't interpret this menu without asking the waiter, which is what most people do rather than switching restaurants.

    Italian food (and restaurants) is usually very welcoming and accessible so Brook's choice makes no sense. Even once exotic foods such as raw fish are familiar to Americans of all social classes. To intimidate someone with only a high school "degree" you'd have to pick something really exotic nowadays - Senegalese or Korean or something really obscure.

    I call BS on Brooks's story - it just didn't happen.

    I call BS on Brooks’s story – it just didn’t happen.

    This.

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  204. @Dave Pinsen
    I mentioned this on Twitter (to Education Realist, I think), but Brooks reminds me of the WASP mother in The Caine Mutiny who thought liking opera was a sign of sophistication, unless you were Italian. The meats he mentions are every day stuff in an Italian deli.

    LOL. I have no idea what any of that stuff is. I discovered caccitore when I visited Montreal a few years ago. I’m also familiar with a few types of Salami sold by companies like Volpi.

    I wouldn’t be intimidated by that sandwich shop, though. Mostly I would be curious about the new food I was about to taste.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtsi_OYqxt0

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  205. @Desiderius
    Cincinnati Opera's been doing some bang up work. Probably not high class, but high enough for this mountaineer. Met my wife the music prof singing together in a reasonably accomplished choir.

    Local culture around here is thriving. Local's just beating the shit out of global right now.

    Opera is interesting to consider. It’s high culture, but is it upper class culture? It certainly was once. But now you and Steve are attending operas. And it’s not really broadly influential, is it? What’s the opera equivalent of Hamilton?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Desiderius

    It’s high culture, but is it upper class culture? It certainly was once.
     
    Sort of.

    It's frowned on in Addison, for instance. When I was growing up, if someone said high culture it's what we thought of but what did we know?

    And it’s not really broadly influential, is it?
     
    As Steve has argued, neither is Hamilton. It's just what the Harry Potter readers who pass for our current elite (sic) happen to be into. We lack a true upper class because we lack a true hierarchy, at least one widely recognized.

    I'd put Steve in the unrecognized one, but I suspect he's more recognized (i.e. widely read) than you'd think.
    , @John Derbyshire
    Opera riots used to be a thing https://pasttenseblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/today-in-londons-theatrical-history-riot-at-covent-garden-theatre-against-ticket-price-rises-1763/
  206. @27 year old
    I drove not quite all the way across the country and at the mileage rate it cost my employer more than if I had flown.

    I believe it. And then add in hotels and meals. Maybe Steve has a secret he’s keeping from us, like he’s been banned from airports.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot
    If you are moving cross country you might drive your own car.
  207. @Jack D
    Padrino is a word not found on upscale Italian menus and striata is some kind of regional Syracuse (NY not Sicily) thing so it really sounds like he went to an Italian deli in upstate NY. Maybe Brooks himself was the clueless one?

    I’ve been on a low carb diet this summer, so I haven’t been there in a while, but my local Italian bakery/deli has a thing on the wall with every conceivable type of bread in their cuisine pictured and labeled. I’ll see if it’s listed there when I go back.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Look for "stirato" which is actually an Italian thing (basically a ciabatta stretched out to the shape of a baguette) whereas striata/stretch bread is a regional (upstate NY) name for the same thing. Ciabatta itself was invented in 1982 and is not some ancient folk recipe. Bread dough is mostly flour and water so there is only so much you can do. Ciabatta/stirato dough has a high proportion of water to flour which results in big holes. Big deal.
  208. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Clark Westwood
    To compare great things with small . . . . I think it's common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating. I first read about that in a fabulous book called Orange Roofs, Golden Arches (1986).

    BTW, did you (or Dave Barry) intentionally misspell "spaghetti"?

    I think it’s common knowledge now that seating in most fast-food places is designed to be ever-so-slightly uncomfortable (physically), so that customers are more likely to move along spontaneously once their attention is no longer focused on eating.

    Might have been true in the past. But the new trend, at least outside of metropolises, is McDonald’s as the new coffee shop/diner meeting place. Bunch of articles out there in this mold.

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  209. @Dave Pinsen
    They wouldn't pay for a flight? I wonder how the cost of driving cross country compared to flying.

    That’s not what I meant.

    I was wondering how and why Steve got close enough to Thatcher and Odom to hear them argue over an issue that was triggering to them both.

    I’m jealous. I have a very high opinion of Odom. Brilliant man. Thatcher is a little over-rated.

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  210. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    Wasn't it Horace Rumpole who said (paraphrasing) "In a thousand years when Whitehall has crumbled and Parliament a memory, England will be remembered for three things: The Oxford Book of English Verse, the presumption of innocence, and the steak and kidney pudding?"

    Rumpole, d’ye say? P’raps Mr. Rumbold would like to have a go.

    Nuts to the lot of you eating at Chipotle and finding it chichi, too; it’s McDonald’s idea of Californian burritos, for crying our loud. (Me, I prefer authentic Italian food – like Donato’s pizza!)

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  211. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    What usually comes to mind when I’m around these people is, “My God, what an idiotic waste of money.” I guess that’s the point really, conspicuous consumption. I just can’t do it, regardless of how much I make.

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  212. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Who is the retard? The owner of that gourmet shop or Brooks? Because naming a sandwich “pomodoro” makes absolutely no sense. Sandwich with a name “tomato” is just as absurd as a steak called “potato”.

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  213. It’s a shame how capicollo and other Italian pig meats are keeping Jews from feeling comfortable in an upper middle class milieu.

    That must be why so many Fed chiefs have been Italian.

    I bet Brooks is glad he’s a gentile. He’s a gentile, right?

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  214. @Dave Pinsen
    Opera is interesting to consider. It's high culture, but is it upper class culture? It certainly was once. But now you and Steve are attending operas. And it's not really broadly influential, is it? What's the opera equivalent of Hamilton?

    It’s high culture, but is it upper class culture? It certainly was once.

    Sort of.

    It’s frowned on in Addison, for instance. When I was growing up, if someone said high culture it’s what we thought of but what did we know?

    And it’s not really broadly influential, is it?

    As Steve has argued, neither is Hamilton. It’s just what the Harry Potter readers who pass for our current elite (sic) happen to be into. We lack a true upper class because we lack a true hierarchy, at least one widely recognized.

    I’d put Steve in the unrecognized one, but I suspect he’s more recognized (i.e. widely read) than you’d think.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I'd disagree with Steve about Hamilton's influence. I'd say its influence extends beyond those who've seen it. Sort of how Voltaire's mockery of Leibniz's theodicy seeped out into the broader culture from Candide, Lin-Manuel Miranda's themes of immigrants being awesome and blacks and Latinos being the true heirs of the Founders have spread.
  215. @Jack Hanson
    Yes, the David Brooks, Ross Douthats and Matt Ygelsias of the world have a certain resemblance to Leonidas in both physique and outlook.

    Sarcasm aside: Are you smoking rock?

    Ira Glass and some other NPR hosts had their t levels checked and I believe Ira's was lower than the female co-host.

    I think anon was being sarcastic.

    Most of the Lefty/globalist males look like they could use a regimen of anabolic steroids and a stint in a labor gang in some cement plant or steel mill to toughen them up.

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  216. @Patrick in SC
    Not that it's an indictable offense, but I wouldn't be surprised if this "incident" is completely fabricated. His companion was so baffled by a menu that they changed restaurants? I call B.S.

    It probably happened, just not the way he recounted it. It might just be that she prefers food that’s a little more ordinary. A lot of folks flat out don’t like trying new food – my mother, for instance. They prefer to stick to the dishes they grew up eating.

    I would imagine that David took his acquaintance to the deli. Seeing that she was a little irritated by the prospect of eating a meal she wouldn’t enjoy, he told her he’d rather eat at the nearest Mexican restaurant, which she probably thought was a splendid turn of events. Then he starts thinking what a great idea it would be write a column about some poor woman who was intimidated by a deli with too many Italian words in the menu.

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  217. Next time Brooks takes a “friend” out for a sandwich he should rent his “friend” from a more expensive escort service. And haven’t we learn from people like Mr. Brooks that ordering Italian when you are not a paisan is cultural appropriation.

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  218. @anonymous-antimarxist
    I have worked on the weekends as driver for Jimmy Johns while my primary job was looking after my aging parents. Most folks in the Midwest don't know what capicollo ham is so Jimmy Johns ups the comfort level for average folks by calling their Italian subs the Vito and Italian Night Club.

    David Brooks' douchebaggery just launched a million memes.

    Jimmy Johns plays New Order too, just not the obscure 8 and a half minute ones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQt5JdZTD9k

    anonymous, a few weeks ago we learned that Chinese food with funny-cute names was racist, but I’m ok with the Vito sub or a Godfather pizza. Just don’t call me a dago or wop or guinea.

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    • Replies: @StillCARealist
    Guinea? As in a pig or a hen?

    I saw sage grouse in Wyoming and they were really cute. Marmots too. Can I call you a marmot?
    , @Brutusale
    Steve shows a slight PC fetish here; he allowed "Dago" further upthread while I believe the only comment I've ever had culled was one that included "mystery meat" to describe the progeny of a white land whale.

    I guess this whole thread is about meat that was a mystery to Brooks' "friend".

    We'll see if this one gets through!
  219. @candid_observer
    I'll grant you the problem with produce, much of which has lost its taste while being bred for efficient growth and harvest. Tomatoes are particularly tragic--though, for a steep price, you can revisit the tomato of yore in so-called heirloom tomatoes.

    I don't know about beef, but I do remember very distinctly a big problem with foul in the 50s and 60s -- they were very often quite gamey, to a point that they were unpleasant to eat. The average chicken and turkey of today are vastly more appealing in taste.

    Thats why they spelled it “foul”.

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  220. David Brooks needs to hang around with more Italian-Americans. He might learn that capicollo, or “gabagool,” per Tony Soprano, is about as hoity-toity as fried catfish. Now, Jamon Iberico de Bellota might be a different matter.

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  221. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Lotsa American eat Italian, but the trick is in the name.

    ‘Italian’ is what the hoi polloi eat.

    For the better-kind-of-people, there are all these special names for dishes.

    It’s like coffee. I used to know of black coffee, coffee with cream and such stuff. But Starbucks and other coffee shops offered all these products with special names. More ‘authentic’ and refined… But Americans don’t like snobby(which comes across as square, stuffy, and lame), so the fancy stuff has to be presented as hip and ‘cool’ and ‘creative’. Homos are useful in this. Associate your place with homos, and it is ‘creative’ and ‘progressive’ to boot or butt.
    Because elites and their wanna-be-toadies don’t want to come across as snotty, they prefer not to use terms like luxury or even gourmet. They prefer ‘artisanal’. Oh, that sounds so honest and appreciative. It aint gourmet or fancy chocolate I’m buying. It’s artisanal. Also, ‘artisanal’ stuff can be passed off as ‘progressive’ since it produces jobs for ‘creative’ artistic-types(who now make honey and candy instead of modern art) and it can appreciated for being ‘local’. That way, you can show off that you eat $20 fancy chocolate all the while virtue-signaling that your consumer choices are supporting creative local artisans.

    Even Mexican is somewhat ‘fancified’ with ‘Chipotle’. Now, chipotle is not fancy eatery by any means, but the name and decor are more ‘creative’ that what was previously associated with Mexican stuff. To this day, I’ve never been in one, and I still don’t know how it’s pronounced. Is it chipo-tel or chi-pot-le?

    When I was young, Mexican food was Pepe’s tacos are very good tacos or Taco Bell, aka Taco Hell.
    In a way, I’m sure chipotle offers food that may be more genuine, but the whole concept reeks of authenticism, which isn’t same as real authentic stuff. It’s a marketing ploy.

    In a way, it’s a good thing that ‘gourmet’, ‘deluxe’, and other such items have become popularized. It’s good to know there’s more to Italian cooking than Chef Boyardee spaghetti with meat balls or more to Chinese cooking than chop suey. And I certainly prefer real tacos(that I make myself) to those hard tacos with ground beef and cheddar cheese that they used to serve in elementary school. (School gyros was even worse.)

    But there is an element of kitsch about the whole thing.

    If a restaurant is genuinely fancy and exclusive, okay. Let rich people with refined tastes go there. The whole point of such place is to keep the riff raff out.
    Fine.

    And there are nice family restaurants that serve honest authentic dishes. Not pricey and not exclusive but you gotta seek them out. It’s like there’s the special local Italian or pizza place that serves something better than Domino’s or the conventional Italian Beef sandwich. And there are family Mexican restaurants with special recipes,and they are honest and good too.

    What bothers me is how some businesses try to have it both ways. It’s like the food version of ‘midcult’ as explained by Dwight Macdonald.

    Maybe the food is good there, but the concept is bogus. On the one hand, it is a franchise no different from Burger King and Taco Hell.
    BUT, it tries to pass itself as a kind of authentic joint. It’s like that bogus Olive Garden, a franchise that pretends to be down-to-earth Italian cooking.

    Personally, my objection to fancifying foodstuff is moral. No matter how you see it, meat is dead animal. That’s what I call steak. ‘Dead animal’. That’s honest and moral and truthful. An animal has been slaughtered and butchered. Sure, we gotta eat cuz we are predators, but food is procured in horrible ways. Take goose liver. It’s animal torture. But people pay good price for it cuz it’s called foh grah. If it were called by its true name — disgusting bloated liver of goose tortured in horrible manner — , people would be more appreciative of the animal(and what it went through) while eating it. They would know animals suffered horribly for it.

    So, all these fancy names for foods mask the truth. These food items should be called ‘dead intelligent pig killed horribly then procured with salt and pepper’ or ‘dead poor cow bashed in head like victims in No Country for Old Men’.

    I don’t care for 50 genders, and I don’t much care for fancy names for what are Dead Animals.

    It’s like torture is torture, not ‘enhanced interrogation technique’.

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    • Replies: @donut
    Life is short .
    , @Brutusale
    Foie gras is French for "fat liver", which is exactly what it is. They developed it, so they get to name it.

    And yes, I want more of it, so the French can torture as many geese as necessary. Of course, if said geese felt tortured they wouldn't be running over to the farmer as soon as they see him approaching with the feed and the funnel!

    , @Hunsdon
    Meat is murder! Tasty, tasty murder. I'm going to go have some murder.
  222. @Buffalo Joe
    anonymous, a few weeks ago we learned that Chinese food with funny-cute names was racist, but I'm ok with the Vito sub or a Godfather pizza. Just don't call me a dago or wop or guinea.

    Guinea? As in a pig or a hen?

    I saw sage grouse in Wyoming and they were really cute. Marmots too. Can I call you a marmot?

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    StillCA, you , my friend, can call me anything you think you can back up.
  223. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Let Them Eat Pomodoro.

    Let Them Eat Padrino.

    The hoi polloi are ‘coming apart’ but the elites are sbriciolarsi.

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  224. The Sopranos – Paulie tries to order just coffee —- We I Italians invented all this

    “Always with the…: Paulie is infuriated that others have co-opted Italian cuisine. (This becomes ironic when Paulie gets to sample true Italian cuisine in Season Two.) Most galling for him is the vogue for coffee house culture. Italians invented espresso and now everyone else is getting rich off it, he says. Pussy loses patience with his friend: ‘Oh, again with the rape of the culture?’ In retaliation, Paulie steals a coffee pot from a trendy coffee house.” — from internet

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUKJWsnAAXs

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  225. A few years ago, I was telling a friend about a new casual cheap-but-good Italian restaurant – a sit-down joint in a strip mall – I’d tried when a stranger interrupted me and smugly informed me that I was mispronouncing the name.

    (Not that it matters, but I pegged the stranger as Tribe. He had a strong New York accent.)

    The next time I ate at the restaurant, I asked the owner how to pronounce the name. It turned out that I’d been correct.

    Incidentally, that first owner sold the place a couple of years after it opened. The new owner ran it into the ground.

    The last time I ate there (with a lady friend) under his ownership was one of the worst meals I’d ever had in a sit-down restaurant.

    It took nearly an hour for the main course to arrive. (The place was busy and the busboy did bring us some extra garlic rolls, but still.)

    The waiter literally threw the plates onto the table and ran back to the kitchen before I could point out that he’d brought us the wrong food. It turned out that he’d changed our order.

    The new owner had instituted a Monday-through-Thursday dinner special – soup/salad, entree, one or two sides, dessert – with veal as one of the options. On that night, they’d run out of everything except veal, and the chef and the waiter decided – without telling any of the customers – to switch all of the dinner-special orders to veal. Since most of the people eating in the restaurant were taking advantage of the special, nearly everyone ended up with veal.

    Incidentally, the veal was *awful*. Neither she nor I could stand more than one bite of it.

    (I’m not a complainer. In fact, I’m pathologically accommodating. If the veal had been even marginally edible, I would have eaten it, paid the dinner-special price for the meal, left a minuscule tip, and vowed never to come back. But it was not marginally edible; it was gag-worthy.)

    It took us another 15 minutes to get the waiter’s attention. When he told us that our only option was veal and that he could not make any substitutions whatsoever, I told him that we were leaving.

    “Fine,” he said, “but you’re still going to have to pay the full price for both meals.”

    An argument ensued. (For the record, he did all of the yelling.) At one point, he screamed that he had my address and that he was going to call the police unless we paid in full.

    Eventually, he decided that he would allow us to leave peacefully if I agreed to pay for the two side salads, two orders of garlic rolls, and two beverages. That seemed fair enough, so I grudgingly paid the exact amount that he demanded. In fact, I went so far as to demand the three pennies of change that I was owed. He shot me a nasty look as he opened up the cash register to retrieve them.

    (I left no tip – nada. And I *always* leave a decent tip.)

    Days later, I noticed that the place had closed.

    When I told a coworker who had raved about the place (under its first owner) what had happened, she said, “Yeah, it really went downhill after [the first owner] sold it.”

    In the aftermath of that train wreck, a married couple bought the place. They fired the (incompetent) staff, changed the name, revamped the menu, and attracted a decent following. After a year or so, they sold out to a widow whose two sons ran the place … back into the ground. The business closed after several months of their reckless mismanagement.

    That was almost two years ago. As far as I know, that spot is still vacant.

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    • Replies: @Rob McX
    When you see a place run through a succession of bad owners/managers, you start to wonder if it's some kind of laundering racket that's going on. Your experience with the switched orders suggests something that goes beyond mere incompetence.
  226. @CJ
    When somebody graduates from high school today, do they get a "degree"? I ask this question seriously. I'm not sure I have ever heard the expression "high school degree" before, and I lived in the USA for 15 years.

    I’ve seen ‘high school degree’ more and more frequently in the past few years. I wonder if its use emanates from the noxious and depressingly productive bowels of the education establishment, where hyperbole in describing educational ‘achievements’ is de rigueur.

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    • Replies: @peterike

    I’ve seen ‘high school degree’ more and more frequently in the past few years. I wonder if its use emanates from the noxious and depressingly productive bowels of the education establishment, where hyperbole in describing educational ‘achievements’ is de rigueur.

     

    Let's just jump to the logical endpoint of this thinking and call it the High School PhD.
    , @Jonathan Mason

    I’ve seen ‘high school degree’ more and more frequently in the past few years.
     
    Even kindergartens have graduation ceremonies these days. It is just a way of making an extra buck from parents.
    , @Pericles
    "I got my degree in Boston, you know." (North Boston High)
  227. @Steve Sailer
    It's not Alex Jones sitting next to him on the train, it's Bill Hicks.

    I always knew you were down with the esoteric knowledge.

    But do you get swoll with your Infowars supplements?

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  228. @The Last Real Calvinist
    I've seen 'high school degree' more and more frequently in the past few years. I wonder if its use emanates from the noxious and depressingly productive bowels of the education establishment, where hyperbole in describing educational 'achievements' is de rigueur.

    I’ve seen ‘high school degree’ more and more frequently in the past few years. I wonder if its use emanates from the noxious and depressingly productive bowels of the education establishment, where hyperbole in describing educational ‘achievements’ is de rigueur.

    Let’s just jump to the logical endpoint of this thinking and call it the High School PhD.

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  229. @AnotherDad
    Steve, this post made me deeply uncomfortable.

    I didn't know what any of those Italian words meant--but ok, that was from David Brooks. But then i had no idea who this "New Order" band was. And then i clicked on your link ... and didn't recognize the song either. It was triggering.

    I took a took a deep breath and--in search of a safe space--stepped out on my deck. But my comfortable blue tarps were no where in view--my wife's made my put up these fancy beige sun shades "sails" instead. The rest of the day is going to be tough.

    I used up my LOL, but your post deserves one too. Thanks.

    I know how you feel — some days, I just can’t even — I mean, it’s all just too too much.

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  230. Honestly, the dumb, probably largely fictional/staged, sandwich story that seems to have offended everyone online was the least offensive part of Brooks’ column to me when I finally read it. I was really much more irked by the central contention that the sociological gap between Americans by class is widening because the rich invest more into their tabula rasas:

    How they’ve managed to do the first task — giving their own children a leg up — is pretty obvious. It’s the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.

    This is, as most iSteve readers are no doubt aware, ridiculous. The rich and poor, at the very least hypothetically though obviously in reality, differ not only in the “behavior codes” they admonish their kids to follow, but in the genes they pass on their kids. (Because genes have a lot to do with why some people are rich and some people are poor in the first place.) Parents on all rungs of the income ladder want their kids to do well on their math homework and SAT verbal; but not every kid has the exact same expressed or innate ability to perform the necessary tasks, anymore than every kid has the exact same expressed or innate ability to be good at American football.

    If Brooks wants to implicitly talk about the conclusions in Charles Murray’s book “Coming Apart” but not those in “the Bell Curve” in his column, okay, fair enough. But he doesn’t have to reiterate anti-empirical blank slate dogma about how important differences between individuals or groups can only be the result of their being raised in different environments.

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  231. @Dave Pinsen
    I've been on a low carb diet this summer, so I haven't been there in a while, but my local Italian bakery/deli has a thing on the wall with every conceivable type of bread in their cuisine pictured and labeled. I'll see if it's listed there when I go back.

    Look for “stirato” which is actually an Italian thing (basically a ciabatta stretched out to the shape of a baguette) whereas striata/stretch bread is a regional (upstate NY) name for the same thing. Ciabatta itself was invented in 1982 and is not some ancient folk recipe. Bread dough is mostly flour and water so there is only so much you can do. Ciabatta/stirato dough has a high proportion of water to flour which results in big holes. Big deal.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I'll take a picture and tweet it so you can see all of them.
  232. @Opinionator
    Brooks wrote and intended the Italian versus "Mexican" anecdote as a poke in the eye to nativists and European identitarians.

    "See you latent Nazis goyim, your fellow goyim prefer Mexicam to your supposed Italian heritage and brethren. And all of you are dumb goyim."

    Your comment reminds me of a recent Godfrey Elfwick tweet:

    Fellow progressives: Sometimes it’s difficult to find racism or sexism in every single thing but if you push through, you’ll find something.

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    • Replies: @Opinionator
    Does Brooks write up the anecdote if they had instead gone for spaghetti and meatballs someplace?
    , @Opinionator
    Or Jimmy John's?
  233. In Spanish padrino means godfather, so I imagine it is the same in Italian, so not much gourmet talk there. It is the sandwich you cannot afford to refuse.

    I find that restaurants in the US, even the cheap ones, are most annoying in the terminology they use in their menus. For example most chickens I have seen have breasts, wings, thighs, legs etc. and I have no idea what part of a chicken is a strip, nugget, or tender.

    I once went into a Florida fast food chicken restaurant called Zaxby’s, and seeing nothing I recognized on the menu I asked for a chicken breast, but was informed that they don’t have chicken breasts. Oh! I left and went somewhere else.

    Another cheap and nasty restaurant chain called Denny’s uses obscure language in its menus to disguise how crap the food is. For some reason a dinner or platter is called a “slam”. This restaurant is totally to be avoided unless it is the only thing open late at night close to your hotel in a crime-ridden district near an airport.

    I travel a lot in Latin America and never have the same problems understanding Spanish menus even though my Spanish vocabulary is inferior to my English. Even with menus in German I can usually figure out what is on offer.

    I find that generally the best policy in US chain and franchise restaurants is to pretty much ignore the menu and ask for what you want, or talk to the waitperson about what is edible. Recently I ate at a Chili’s Restaurant with my family and ended up eating guacamole freshly made at the table side as my main entree with corn chips on the side, and it was really as good as I could have made myself at home, which I would say is a compliment to a chain restaurant.

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  234. @The Last Real Calvinist
    I've seen 'high school degree' more and more frequently in the past few years. I wonder if its use emanates from the noxious and depressingly productive bowels of the education establishment, where hyperbole in describing educational 'achievements' is de rigueur.

    I’ve seen ‘high school degree’ more and more frequently in the past few years.

    Even kindergartens have graduation ceremonies these days. It is just a way of making an extra buck from parents.

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  235. Perhaps Mr. Brooks took his friend to Taco Bell. The story doesn’t say one way or another.
    Too bad-
    That would make the story funny-

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  236. @Steve Sailer
    On that trip to New York I drove 13 hours straight from LA to Grand Junction, Colorado and stopped in an Olive Garden. The food was delicious.

    Carraba’s is infinitely superior to Olive Garden for generic Italian food.

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  237. @Steve Sailer
    I used to see a guy at the driving range who looked like a young Jack Nicholson. He looked so much like him but was about 30 years younger that it was disconcerting. Of course, it's hardly unlikely that Jack Nicholson has some stray offspring.

    I assume you were your usual gentlemanly self. You don’t want to upset a Nicholson when he’s got a golf club in hand.

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  238. @Mark Caplan

    A few years ago I drove LA to Manhattan in 93 hours
     
    Out of modesty, there is no mention that while stopped at traffic lights he blogged out eight articles and approved 400 comments.

    Was he being chased by Pod the Lesser again?

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  239. @peterike

    But they have also ushered in The Golden Age of Good Food.

     

    Well, yes. But our Wise Leaders also were the ones who destroyed food in the first place, and gave us factory farming and tasteless fruits and vegetables designed for shelf stability and zero taste. The typical steak and potato with carrots on the side that you might have gotten at a truck stop in 1940 was probably better than most of what you could get today at the most high-end steak house. Meat was vastly superior, on average, in those days, with a typical butcher steak being beyond the quality of all but the best prime beef available today in very few places. And vegetables had flavor.

    Now that they destroyed food for the working stiffs, they did restore it for the right sort of people in the right sort of towns. But most of the population eats far more factory junk than they ever did in the past, and huge swaths of the populace literally don't know what real food tastes like.

    Tuna is utterly flavorless nowadays. I attribute this to better refrigeration.

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  240. @Anon
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tecBuhuYc60


    'The Races of Man' is no longer fashionable.

    So, we have the Sandwiches of Man.

    You say Baloney, I say Bologna.

    PS. Were people upset that Brooks pointed out the alt-exclusionary modes of the upper classes and wanna-be's? Or were they upset that 'Mexican' signifies 'mediocre something for everyone'.

    With rich getting richer and even white working class sinking into underclass, we are all Mexicans.

    Regression to the Bean.

    IQ tests are still used but not much talked about.

    But CQ or Cultural Quotient gives the game away of whether you belong or don't.

    I never went to a fancy sandwich shop.
    I never even went to a Subway.

    My idea of sandwich is stuff I put between two slices of bread.

    The real question is, is a hotdog a sandwich?

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  241. @tyrone
    Doesn't every one just hate david brooks

    Doesn’t every one just hate david brooks

    Apparently not Ann Synder–yet. But give her time …

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  242. @James Richard
    You really haven't fully experienced waste products until you have eaten scrapple!

    All the most delicious foods come in stackable brick form.

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  243. @Dave Pinsen
    Opera is interesting to consider. It's high culture, but is it upper class culture? It certainly was once. But now you and Steve are attending operas. And it's not really broadly influential, is it? What's the opera equivalent of Hamilton?
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    • Replies: @the Supreme Gentleman
    An opera riot actually even played a notable part in the Belgian Revolution:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Revolution#.22Night_at_the_opera.22
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Interesting.
  244. “Personally, I’m generally comfortable at the high end of the social scale, especially if alcohol is available.” Asshole . I myself am comfortable any where I can pay the check and I have found that in the best places one would never know one doesn’t belong .

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  245. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)
    Wasn't it Horace Rumpole who said (paraphrasing) "In a thousand years when Whitehall has crumbled and Parliament a memory, England will be remembered for three things: The Oxford Book of English Verse, the presumption of innocence, and the steak and kidney pudding?"

    I recall it as “the English breakfast” instead of the pudding. And their breakfasts definitely “get the day’s work done”.

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  246. OT, but I got a mordant chuckle out of this tweet:

    Right side of history, you know.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    IDK, the kid will probably grow out of it and I'd rather white lesbians have kids than stay barren except their furbaby pit bulls. Not sure about elsewhere, but lesbian couples here often have multiple pits.
  247. Perhaps people are taking Brooks’s anecdote too literally.

    There have been times I’ve walked into a restaurant and decided to go somewhere else based on the general vibe. If I was with some WWC relatives over 40 I’d probably just suggest somewhere else too if the menu used pomodoro rather than tomato. My grandmother felt very uncomfortable when we all went to a fancy restaurant and was physically unable to order a $25+ entree so she quizzed the server about soup prices.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Grandmother was perhaps the only one present with the good sense to know paying twenty five dollars dor an entree is stupid consumerism. It's the rest of you who were the oddballs. I'll bet a similar thought occurred to Brooks' companion and many like her. I can afford to eat at Ruth's Chris. I could also buy a Rolex. I don't because I don't waste my money in stupid shit. Brooks is the unsophisticated dope in this scenario, not his sensible companion who prefers to avoid overpriced, annoying pretension.
  248. @Dave Pinsen
    I believe it. And then add in hotels and meals. Maybe Steve has a secret he's keeping from us, like he's been banned from airports.

    If you are moving cross country you might drive your own car.

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