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248 of 282 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Faux beaus, December 10, 2001
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This review is from: Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (Paperback)
This is a glib, semi-satirical look at the latest incarnation of yuppy baby boomers. Unfortunately, David Brooks is too fond of his subject for the satire to have much bite. The most disturbing thing about this book is that Brooks is insightful enough to see through the silliness, pretensions and superficiality of these people and idealizes them anyway. Bobos is actually quite a cynical book. For example, after thoroughly exposing the vacuous nature of modern "intellectuals" --dilettantes who care more about grants and social status than ideas, Brooks inexplicably maintains they are an improvement over intellectuals of previous decades. Bobos in Paradise is largely an exercise in denial. Brooks wants us (and himself no doubt) to believe that Bobos are cute, brilliant and idealistic and their flaws trivial. Furthermore, he argues that they are the new ruling class. This is more self-delusion on his part. The fact is, bobos are too content in their little cocoons of consumption to attempt to conquer the world. They are merely a faction of the upper middle class (not upper class as Brooks states) who are not well represented in the upper echelons of government or finance. When it comes down to it, bobos are merely the latest version of the self-absorbed bourgeois. The very way Brooks exaggerates their influence is a perfect example of their narcissism.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 3, 2013 11:46:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 3, 2013 11:49:29 AM PDT
ZombieDeity says:
I read this review and--to my detriment--ignored its warnings. I bought the book with a credit on Audible and after listening to the first 30 minutes, I knew I'd be returning it. Everything you mentioned is immediately apparent. Once you've heard Brooks' definition of a bobo, the rest is superfluous self-praise. I agree, bobos aren't upper-class. They like to imagine they are by spending large sums on overpriced items that make them feel like enlightened, responsible citizens of the world.
Edit: I think Brook's narcissism is magnified in the audio version of the book since he reads it himself. He sounds incredibly self-righteous.
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