Dear David Brooks,

If you're trying for sarcasm, maybe you'd best not, because I don't think you've got the hang of it. I mean, you start off okay:

I’m afraid there are rich people all around the country who are about to suffer similar social self-immolation because they don’t understand that the rules of privileged society have undergone a radical transformation.
That's a decent enough shot at the clueless rich. I mean, by your standards, anyway. I mean, based on what I expect from you given your past writing--not bad.

But what is this?
In the first place, many people in Ward Three suffer from Sublimated Liquidity Rage. As lawyers, TV producers and senior civil servants, they make decent salaries, but 60 percent of their disposable income goes to private school tuition and study abroad trips. They have little left over to spend on themselves, which generates deep and unacknowledged self-pity.

Second, they suffer from what has been called Status-Income Disequilibrium. At work they are flattered and feared. But they still have to go home and clean out the gutters because they can’t afford full-time household help.

Third, they suffer the status rivalries endemic to the upper-middle class. As law school grads, they resent B-school grads. As Washingtonians, they resent New Yorkers. As policy wonks, they resent people with good bone structure.

In short, people in Ward Three disdain three things: cleavage, hunting and dumb people who are richer than they are. Rich people have to learn to adapt to the new power structure if they hope to survive.
Are you really trying to take the upper middle-class to task because they have the temerity to look at their rich neighbors and point out the excess? I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here and look for the sarcasm directed at their own wastefulness, but all I'm getting out of it is "rich people, look out, because the almost-rich, who don't understand just how important you are, are on the warpath against you." I mean, if you're trying to drive a wedge between the haves and the have-mores, I'm all for it, since the haves are useful allies in any class war, and the poor and working classes have taken it in the junk or junk-equivalent for quite some time now. Soak the rich and all that.

But I suspect, Mr. Applebee's Salad bar, that you don't really want to do that. I think you're hoping that your sneering condescension at the group you probably most identify with is your way of telling your fellow upper-middle-classers to know their role, which is to act as a buffer between the dirty unwashed and the super-rich, in the hopes that those same wealthy people will cast a few extra crumbs down your way. And hey, it's worked for you so far. And in the meantime, you provide us bloggers with plenty of material. Good work.


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