Notes on David Brooks’ Gourmet Sandwich Class Struggle

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The Earl of Sandwich

If you haven’t read this insane, absurd, pretentious, highly embarrassing paragraph “sandwiched” inside David Brooks’ New York Times critique on American class stratification, enjoy:

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Okay. My thoughts…

  1. First off…why does this paragraph read like some third rate Tom Clancy-style airport novel? Who knew ordering a sandwich could be charged with such frisson, fraught with such peril? I’m surprised they didn’t “flee through the chaotic streets, hearts pounding, eyes crazed with fear, to the safety of the Taco Bell.” I’m surprised fruit carts weren’t overturned and panes of glass weren’t shattered.
  2. Writing techniques aside, it seems to me that in order to avoid this type of mealtime panic, steps must be taken. When we meet up with our friends now, it will require a much more academic line of questioning. No more asking “Do you like sushi?” or “Are you a Vegan?” Forget about gluten issues. The main issue is: “Did you go to an Ivy League or a Seven Sisters school?” We cannot risk someone freaking out like a dog in a thunderstorm upon catching a glimpse of a menu riddled with foreign words. No need to endure that uncomfortable moment when a friend can’t pronounce their appetizer. Indeed, today’s polite mindfulness requires that we size our friends up thusly: “No, I will not meet you at the cute Vietnamese restaurant in my neighborhood. You, with your middling education, would be so much more comfortable screaming your order into a clown’s mouth at the drive-thru.”
  3. Of course, if we have to be “sensitive” to our friends who did not pursue a college education, what about people like me? What kind of a culinary landmine am I, a person who spent the first half of my higher education at a private University in London, and the second half at a lowly state school in New Orleans? Imagine the conundrum David Brooks would have. The hours of agony, pondering if I could be trusted not to “freeze up” when “confronted” with Italian deli meats.

Well, be careful out there, diners. Mind your manners, elbows off the table and above all: don’t subject unassuming friends to the horror of a gourmet sandwich if they have not been sufficiently educated first.

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