174 of 194 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining and Occasionally Insightful,
By A Customer
This review is from: Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (Hardcover)
Reading through the previous reviews recorded here on this book, I wasn't surprised that some readers loved it, others hated it, and some noted its superficiality while being amused.
Brooks' concept of Bobos (Bourgeois Bohemians) is fascinating and at times his observations sparkle, but he is utterly unconvincing when he argues that Bohemian values "rule" in America today. Clearly, Brooks is aware of the view that Bohemian values have been coopted by the corporate establishment and used as a marketing vehicle; but he makes little effort to explain why he rejects this view for one that exhalts the supposed power of people who are too easily stereotyped for eating granola and wearing Birkenstocks.
There is much in this book that struck me as wrongheaded--especially when Brooks obsesses on surface-level concerns rather than their deeper meanings, such as the repeated shots he takes at those Bobos who may prefer to buy a hand-woven blanket made in Guatemala rather than a synthetic one manufactured in America. As if this is a matter of great importance.
Despite its shortcomings, Brooks' insights make the book well worth a reading--his observations, for example, on Latte Towns, the new morality of Bobos (with its central focus on medical rather than religious injunctions), and the culture of Seattle can be both wickedly funny and insightful.
Brooks is the sort of conservative a liberal like me can enjoy. In reviewing the attacks of more strident right-wing commentators, Brooks provides a sensible corrective to the overwrought ravings of the Clinton haters and those conservatives, such as Robert Bork, who descend to self-parody when they reflect on the nightmare of "the Sixties."
Brooks's won't be the last word on the subject of those aging, affluent Boomers who exert such power in America today. But this book will be influential and widely read across the ideological spectrum. It's a lot smarter, funnier and more perceptive than much of what has already been written on this generation.
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Initial post: Jul 24, 2009 5:36:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2009 5:41:22 PM PDT
Thomas C. Quinn says:
Moreover, the idea, as recently suggested in a piece on NPR which alluded to this work, that the New York Times wedding announcements embody or reflect this trend in some profound way is fairly dubious as those announcements are still heavily weighted with the traditional "old money" fare from the Hamptons, New Rochelle, Greenwich and the like.
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