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Larry

Thanks, my sentiments exactly, articulated more eloquently than I'm capable of....

Chris M.

"Breathtakingly superficial" is pretty much what Brooks does for a living. He's a cross between George Will and Jeff Foxworthy ("You know you're bourgeois if ..."). He's not much of a reporter either:

http://www.phillymag.com/articles/booboos_in_paradise/

Or honest:

http://www.matthewyglesias.com/archives/2007/01/plus_ca_change/

Matthew

You can't help but get a kick out of an article that asks if we can't "finally stop reading" about a phenomenon, and then goes on to discuss the afformentioned phenomenon at length.

chris Larry

"He's a cross between George Will and Jeff Foxworthy"

Wow thats a great line, def stealing that one. Brooks is maddening. He will do one of these lifestyle columns like every two months when he knows he has no policy to defend, remember the Tatto one?

A

not to mention you could just as easily write a column about the chaufferred in a car-seat, karate class conformity of suburban child rearing. except, i suppose to brooks, suburban child-rearing is normal. putting a football jersey on your kid is ok. an indie rock t-shirt, not so much.

david brooks simply dislikes cities and, apparently, as steven points out, the young, college-educated professional parents who are choosing to live in them too.

maybe these parents ruin his thesis about the superiority of the exurbs.

Dan Ancona

Ahhh thank God someone took care of this. I have another anti-urbanist, Joel Kotkin, to fire back on - he was wrong wrong wrong in the SF Chron on Sunday. I finally signed up for TimeSelect and it was painful that my nickels were going towards paying his salary.

B

Is David Brooks being serious or is he pulling a "Colbert"? He can't seriously be pushing this conservative rant. You got it exactly right, we have a sense of humor, unlike Brooks obviously. Is he saying we have to dress our kids in all pastels? Is he concerned that if we don't dress our daughters in pink, he won't know she's a girl? Or worse, she won't! If we don't conform, we're conformist? So instead dressing our kids with humorous sayings on onesies (that blog one is hysterical! Where can I get that?), we have to have Mickey Mouse on their fronts because Mickey Mouse promotes the "right" way of thinking (i.e. reinforce gender and racial stereotypes and whatever you do just don't think for yourself!!). Lighten up and let us have a little fun. If we have fun, so do our kids. Trickle down theory (Brooks should like that ;) Isn't that what's most important?

Mom101

Excellent assessment. I vented about it somewhat less eloquently, but I agree entirely that the focus on toddler tees and ipod playlists is too superficial to even warrant the responses we've all given it.

I just don't see him spending enough time at the Tea Lounge to really develop a personal distaste for Park Slope parents. Which makes me wonder where all the anger is really coming from.

StonedGrrrl

Is Brooks being this short-sided on purpose? When haven't mothers wanted to dress their daughters as mini-me's? What dad hasn't forced his musical tastes down his children's throats? Parents have to provide some personality against which their children can assert their identities. "Hipster" parents, like most parents, are only guilty of trying to raise their kids the way they wish their own parents had raised them.

Thanks for taking Brooks apart!

CrankMama

Steven... you're cute AND smart. How DO you do it? Kidding kidding (sort of).. linking over to this post at StrollerDerby/Babble tomorrow.

So feel the love!!

Phil

Brooks should be happy. These "hipster kids" will probably rebel against their parents' lifestyle and all turn out to be conservative Republicans living in the suburbs. A bunch of Alex Keatons raising their own children like it's 1952.

Or maybe Brooks should be concerned with the rural parents, like here in Idaho, who drape their kids in overalls, teach them to shoot wolves at age 2, and worship the potato as God's gift to the food pyramid.

Too many stereotypes... Enough already!

Giovanni

The thing that you're not taking into account when you say that "obviously they're making a joke" is that you're not really making an argument against what Brooks wrote. Who is this joke directed at? Clearly to other adults, not to children. And what is the joke, exactly? It's not much of one, really. It just boils down to showing the world how hip you are.

Furthermore, you dismiss his paragraph about "grups" by pointing out that New York Magazine contradicted itself - which has nothing to do with Brooks' point.

And finally, you start talking about environmentalism, as if that was what Brooks criticized, or as if it were an issue inherently connected to babies wearing punk rock t-shirts. You ask, "Maybe David Brooks thinks that environmentalism is just a bunch of t-shirt slogans too?" Then go on to defend the movement, which was never attacked.

I heartily recommend that you read "Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture" by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter for a more lucid critique of hipster culture than I can fit in a comment box.

SW, Dublin

I'm no liberal-white-middle-class-hispters-who-get-kids-when-they're-over-29-hugger, but, I almost hate a cheap attempt to slag them off like neocon Brooks' even more. Excellent article.

Jurgis

The defensive nature of the most of the comments here betray some serious thin skin. Which does more to vaildate this guy's thesis than debunk it as "breathtakingly superficial."

Skeen

I want to dislike anything that David Brooks writes as much as the next person, but the preciousness and defensiveness of this response kinda does feed into exactly what he's talking about.
And it comes as news to me and my extended family that today's hipster parents are the first to choose to raise their kids in NYC (for all of the reasons that you describe -- except that my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents wouldn't have struck such a self-congratulatory tone).

Skeen

I want to dislike anything that David Brooks writes as much as the next person, but the preciousness and defensiveness of this response kinda does feed into exactly what he's talking about.
And it comes as news to me and my extended family that today's hipster parents are the first to choose to raise their kids in NYC (for all of the reasons that you describe -- except that my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents wouldn't have struck such a self-congratulatory tone).

Barbara

Steven, what do you make of his remark about black clad moms in Park Slope thinkin' they're all hot sh*t and all? I mean, off the mark, or what?

donkel

I think the over-reaction to Brooks' essay validates his point. The column's hyperbole makes it clear it's a curmudgeonly rant.

On the other hand, Brooks is famous for turning minority trends into sociological generalities.

Clara

I don't have Times Select, so I can't read the article in its entirety to make my comment as well-informed as possible, but I do want to respond to at least one thing you've said:

"You have to be seriously tone-deaf as a sociologist if you think that these parents believe they're fighting the man by putting their kids in "Anarchy in the Pre-K" t-shirts. Obviously, obviously they're making a joke."

I think Brooks (though perhaps I'm giving him too much credit) gets that it's a joke. The issue isn't that they think they're fighting the man *by* putting their kids in "Anarchy in the Pre-K" t-shirts so much as that they endeavor to foster individuality *generally*, yet dress their children in a way that effectively makes the children billboards for the parents' politics/music taste/lifestyle/sense of humor/etc. What makes this a serious issue is the fact that these children are then *associated* with their parents' tastes--not just in fashion, but in the concepts behind the clothing in which they are dressed. If children are dressed by their liberal, hipster parents as though they, too, are liberal hipsters, there's a possibility that it will diminish their (the children's) capacity for individual expression.

I keep thinking of Richard Dawkins, who rails against people who assume that children share the same religion as their parents. By raising and presenting our children as though they share our views on issues both critical and mundane in the creation of personal identity (which is, I believe, different from them our values), we are effectively denying them the freedom to create that identity on their own terms.

David

Poor, poor, Master Brooks. If only everyone would just plug their kids into good, safe, homogeneous family fare like Disney, the world would be so much easier for him to understand.

Not that putting some Flaming Lips into the baby mix makes you somehow inimitable...but please! Don't do it for the sake of.....well for the sake of what, exactly Master Brooks?

What unspeakable calamity does Master Brooks think will unfold if I introduce my little guy to some Sufjan Stevens, or buy him something to wear that isn't sold in Herald Square?

This is never made clear, exactly. I'm not sure why a black-on-black maternity tunic is so threatening to him - maybe this is just too titillating a sight for his Victorian eyes?

This seems no different from his vapid book "Bobos in Paradise" in which Master Brooks articulates his longing for a world where elite nobles of good lineage ruled the NY Times wedding page and the middling classes filled their coffee mugs with Sanka instead of latte.

There really is no point. It's just Master Brooks, tilting at windmills in Park Slope, and pretending it's a righteous crusade.

englishstudent

Yeah, I agree with you. I dont have Times Select so I cant read the article, but it seems like from the first paragraph that Brooks seems to be creating a strawman argument:
Can we finally stop reading about the musical Antoinettes who would get the vapors if their tykes were caught listening to Disney tunes, and who instead force-feed Brian Eno, Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens into their little babies’ iPods?
Really? There are parents who hate their kids listening to Disney tunes? Is he being sarcastic here or is he serious? Either way, I dont agree with his overall argument either.

lamar

speaking of jane jacobs–y arguments for city roots, i wonder what you'd think about this n+1 article on robert moses: http://www.nplusonemag.com/moses.html

the writer wants to complicate moses' reputation as a foe of the working class by arguing that many of his neighborhood-slashing eyesores were actually meant to protect the city's manufacturing sector (and thus the urban working class). and he points out that now, ironically, it may be just those eyesores that help maintain the city's affordability for non-elites, because they keep a lid on gentrification.

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