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Bobos in paradise by david brooks essay

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He also writes on various facets of culture and politics for publications such as The New Yorker, and has worked as a correspondent and editor of The Wall Street Journal. This is his first book. The book draws together and expands on several shorter essays that Brooks wrote for the Weekly Standard. They attempted to define and to a lesser extent, explain how this new wealth was changing the people that earned it and the society that catered to them.

Unfortunately, that central thesis is not as clear as it could be.

"Bobos In Paradise" By David Brooks

That culture war has ended, at least within the educated class. In the resolution between the culture and the counterculture, it is impossible to tell who co-opted whom, because in reality the bohemians and the bourgeois co-opted each other. They emerge from this process as bourgeois bohemians, or bobos.

It is an amusing assertion.

Bobos in Paradise Summary

One is struck by the irony of a rich, privileged class adopting the external trappings of the counterculture. The bourgeoisie were known as excruciatingly conformist, proper, materialist, and self-focused. At least that is how the Marxists viewed them, and many bourgeois themselves would probably not have challenged that description very vigorously. The bohemians, on the other hand, were supposed to be nonconformist intellectuals whose thoughts veered to the philosophical and transcendent.

That dot-com millionaires wear worn chinos to stockholder meetings and quote Friedrich Nietzsche in interoffice memos seems surreal. Bobos in Paradise operates on two levels. For the casual reader, and primarily in its earlier chapters, the book offers a breezy and irony-tinged gentle lampoon of the cell-phone-and-sports-utility-vehicle SUV set.

Brooks unselfconsciously counts himself among the bobos, and reckons that many of his readers probably fit in that category as well. One of the primary themes is how bobos spend extraordinary amounts of money to exhibit their supposedly bohemian values.

He notes the irony of vacationing bobos who fancy themselves true participants in an exotic, authentic culture, but who in fact are viewed by the locals as tourists with lots of money. Chapter by chapter he examines how bobos spend their money, pursue their careers, educate themselves, seek out pleasure, and grasp for spiritual meaning.

Centrally, Brooks argues that bobos, unlike previous elite classes, are reconcilers who have managed to unite the productivity and material success of the establishment with the idealism and vigor of the counterculture. They have seemingly created for themselves comfortable, privileged lifestyles surrounded by myriad material belongings while simultaneously holding enlightened values.

They make enormous amounts of money, but they seemingly do not exploit others. In theory, however, it is a defining aspect of the bobo class. The entire section is 1,945 words. Unlock This Study Guide Now Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this 8-page Bobos in Paradise study guide and get instant access to the following: Summary You'll also get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and 300,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.