Monday, April 05, 2004

Brooks: I Like Death 


David Brooks's attempt to pass off exurban living as a daring Utopian experiment is specious nonsense ("Our Sprawling, Supersize Utopia," April 4). I was born and raised in exurbia. Never did I see a biker community, or an Indian video shop, or a Korean temple. I wish I had. My high school of 3,000 had one Jewish kid and one black kid.

What mainly happens in the exurbs is you drive to empty construction sites and drink beer. Is this Utopian? Is this the successor to the restive spirit of Jonathan Edwards and Ralph Waldo Emerson? Please.

It seems that Mr. Brooks read too many bad novels about suburbia and then somehow got it in his head that those books were the products of liberalism. So now exurbanites are his kind of guys. They're the real multi-ethnic American searchers, not those you-know-whos sipping lattes in Chelsea. Not long ago, red-state military men were Mr. Brooks's kind of guys. He said in the Atlantic Monthly that they could identify soybeans growing in a field. Could a liberal do that? And could the political views of some charlatan who didn't know from soybeans really be taken seriously? Now the bar has been raised, and true Americans must be exurban golf buffs, too.

What's sad about Mr. Brooks's amateur sociology is not simply that it is so obviously false, but that hidden within it is the basest form of demagoguery. In conclusion, I can only thank you, Editor. By printing this excerpt from his forthcoming book, which I now know not to buy, you have saved me and thousands of others from any further exposure to this clumsy brand of hate speech.


Giuseppe Abote


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