ICYMI, the latest reminder that conservative commentator David Brooks is a useless moron comes in the form of #SandwichGate. In his most recent column, the man who is like a human divining rod for horrible takes gave us—surprise!—another truly horrible take, this time involving cured meat. In a recent column about the more abstract elements of America's class divide, he bestowed this humdinger of a paragraph upon us:
"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."
First of all, they sell Chianti-cured soppressata for $4.99 at Trader Joe's you dumb, classist/vaguely racist fuck. Second of all, can you just go ahead and recede into your future existence as that weird guy who hangs out at the coffee shop all day and tries to strike up conversation with much younger women despite them being busy on their laptops? We could really use a bold, informed voice on the New York Times editorial page (clone Lindy, maybe?), not endless episodes of "Grandpa Brooks' Garbage Takes."
Anyway, his latest demonstration of jaw-dropping idiocy spawned quite the Twitter response, with plenty of people jumping in to remind his dumb ass that Italian deli meats are by no means class signifiers, that he was being incredibly patronizing, and that his implication that Mexican food is a lower class thing is exactly how ethnic cuisine gets ghettoized. While I wholeheartedly agree with all of those criticisms, I would also like to focus in on the fact that in the paragraph directly above his now infamous meat meanderings, he basically denies structural barriers to class mobility.
"I was braced by Reeves’s book, but after speaking with him a few times about it, I’ve come to think the structural barriers he emphasizes are less important than the informal social barriers that segregate the lower 80 percent." (Emphasis mine.)
Those social barriers being, of course, their less than intimate knowledge of Italian cured meat and lack of appreciation for podcasts and barre classes. Fuck you, dude. Taking a less-educated friend out to a fancy sandwich place for lunch is not insensitive (even if you are David Brooks and being around you is surely a huge chore). Using your massive platform to casually downplay the nigh intractable systems of racial and economic oppression that keep poor people poor, on the other hand, sure as fuck is. Please make space for someone who gets it.
(P.S. there's a second #SandwichGate that has to do with a B.B.C. reporter "hacking" his lunch by...learning to make his own sandwiches. It is also a great source of schadenfreude.)