Whenever a new study suggests that the wimmenfolk are gettin’ a mite too uppity, you can always count on David Brooks to react with (a) alarm and (b) some Deep Thoughts about Things Society Needs to Do if it Hopes to Earn David Brooks’ Approval. So when this piece ran a couple of days ago, highlighting the alarming (to men) news that an increasing number of women are less dependent (on men), you knew it wouldn’t be long before Mr. McBobo would be weighing in with some helpful advice for the ladies. (And golly, why wouldn’t the little dears want to listen to a man who thinks they should stay at home raising babies until the age of forty, at which point they’ll be all set to enter the workplace for the first time?)
Actually this morning’s column is mostly boilerplate Brooks, full of generalizations about people, and classes of people, of whom David Brooks appears to have no personal, first-hand knowledge. I probably wouldn’t have bothered to even mention it, except for one thing that stood out to me — the obvious contempt with which he views his own core readership:
If all the world were south of 96th Street, what a happy place it would be! If all the world were south of 96th Street, then we could greet with unalloyed joy the news that after decades of social change, more American women are living without husbands than with them.
We could revel in the stories of women â€” from Riverside Drive all the way to TriBeCa! â€” liberated from constraining marriages and no longer smothered by self-absorbed spouses. We could celebrate with those â€” the ad executives as well as the law partners! â€” who now have the time and freedom to go back to school and travel abroad, and who are choosing not to get remarried.
But alas, there are people in this country who do not live within five miles of MoMA, and for them, the fact that many more people are getting divorced or never marrying at all is not such good news.
I think Brooks actually lives in DC, but the point remains the same — those big city folk with their fancy ways are just a bunch of out-of-touch elitists! David Brooks obviously doesn’t have any use for their tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving lifestyles!
So I have a modest proposal.
Since he’s clearly such a red-stater at heart, he should really consider leaving those obnoxious city folk behind and setting out for a new life on the prairie, not unlike Eddie Albert’s character in Green Acres. There are plenty of places that could use the infusion of new blood — my own birthplace of Kansas, for instance, is losing population at an alarming rate, and would undoubtedly welcome the Brooks family with open arms.
Kansas is a poster child for migration out of the rural areas. Fifty-four of the stateâ€™s 105 counties have less population now than in 1900. Fifty counties lost population between 1990 and 2000, 12 by more than 10 percent.
When William Allen White wrote his famous â€œWhatâ€™s the matter with Kansas?â€ screed in 1896, he complained about eight years of slow population growth.
â€œLittle does he know that it is going to go on for the next 110 years,â€ said Jim Hays, a research specialist for the Kansas Association of School Boards. â€œHow quickly the world changed. The Kansas of the late 19th century â€” the growth, the vigor â€” it quickly changed. We had eight members of Congress back then, now we have four, and weâ€™re probably going to go down to three in the next census,â€ he said.
But if Kansas isn’t to his liking, there are plenty of other states out there that could use a smart feller like Mr. Brooks. Heck, I remember reading an article about a town in South Dakota that was actually paying city folk like him to move there. Is there any question that he has more in common with the good, decent, salt-of-the-earth Americans he’d undoubtedly find there than with the decadent urban metrosexuals among whom he so miserably dwells at present? I think not.
I just want the man to be happy, you know?
(…adding: per your command, Kingpin! I hear and I obey!)