Even when he confines his column to what one imagines would be his own comfort zone — grandiose yet unsupported sociological generalizations — Brooks manages to screw it up, conflating Neal Pollack-style Williamsburg hipster parents with their upscale Urban-Baby-Dot-Com/Maclaren-stroller-buying Park Slope counterparts.* There’s certainly some overlap, but these are actually two very distinct types. I don’t expect most people reading this post to have given the matter much thought, but if you’re somebody who prides himself on being able to spot a societal trend at thirty paces, trust me, it’s a distinction you should really be aware of.
And there’s this:
There is nothing more reassuringly traditionalist than the counterculture. For 30 years, the music, the fashions, the poses and the urban weeklies have all been the same. Everything in this society changes except nonconformity.
I can’t speak to the poses, having never been particularly cool myself, but if you believe that music, fashions, and most importantly (to me) altweeklies are exactly the same today as they were in 1977 — well, your name must be David Brooks, and you get paid a great deal of money to opine on topics about which you are aparently unencumbered by personal experience or knowledge.
*Adding the obvious: the majority of people Brooks is trying to summarize fit into neither easy category … I use the Brooklyn neighborhoods here as handy shorthand, nothing more — I lived in the Slope for more than five years myself, some of them as a parent …