All the whining that’s fit to print, or The War on Brunch

When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

A.A. Milne

IMG_2222Credit for the concept of brunch is usually given to 19th century England.  Adopted by people with hangovers around the world, it is now under attack by the NY Times guest columnist David Shaftel, who recently wrote Brunch Is for Jerks.  This follows a comment made by a rock musician who moved from NYC to upstate, having said that there were too many white people in NYC focusing on brunch, which, as just about every urbanite knows, can now be a two-day affair after having spread to Saturdays.  In some parts of the world, such as Dubai, I understand it’s possible to get a Friday brunch.  Then there are the restauranteurs who offer brunch through the supper hour. thus making it …. not brunch.  All this chatter follows a book by Canadian writer Shawn Micallef, titled The Trouble with Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure.  Micallef has taken his tirade to The Guardian as well.  But why?

IMG_2224Who cares whether people spend their money and time for over-priced lattes or outrageous recyclings of the week’s meals?  Who cares if there is absolutely nothing new that can be done to Hollandaise sauce?  Who cares whether the world’s worst bubblies are blended with stale orange juice?  Who cares whether brunchers are hung-over (every morning) or are folks gathering after church?  Yes, there are people – even hipsters – who attend church and seek a meal shared with friends afterwards.

The Times columnist makes the point that he came to dislike brunch after the birth of his child:  the demarcation point between his care-free younger days when he reveled and his current time as a now-committed parent.  His attitude is nothing more than cloaked NIMBYism, if he can’t do brunch, then at least he can deny others their pleasures during his now-changed less sybaritic life.  I can picture the columnist crossing Fifth Avenue with his arms and hands outstretched, attempting to stop traffic while the little lady or little man follows, wheeling junior in the pram.

What does matter

Also in the NY Times Nicholas Kristof continues his op-ed pieces titled When Whites Just Don’t Get It.  In the third installment he writes

The reaction to those [first two] columns — sometimes bewildered, resentful or unprintable — suggests to me that many whites in America don’t understand the depths of racial inequity lingering in this country.

The current column points out

  • Surveys overwhelmingly find that similar percentages of blacks and whites use illegal drugs (the Justice Department says blacks are arrested at three times the rate of whites for such drug offenses
  • Blacks made up 16 percent of observed drug dealers in Seattle for the five most dangerous drugs (64 percent of arrests for dealing those drugs were of blacks)
  • Blacks and whites violate traffic laws at similar rates, but blacks are far more likely to be stopped and arrested (a New Jersey study found racial minorities are 15 percent of the drivers on the NJ Turnpike, but blacks accounted for 42 percent of stops)

Kristof believes

THE greatest problem is not with flat-out white racists, but rather with the far larger number of Americans who believe intellectually in racial equality but are quietly oblivious to injustice around them. … We are not racists, but we accept a system that acts in racist ways.

You can read the entire column here.

Before Manhattan took to brunch

Before CGI.  Before no one wanted to read credits.  Before sound gave way to synthesizers.


2 thoughts on “All the whining that’s fit to print, or The War on Brunch

  1. Good post! Just wondering if the pic at the bottom of it is supposed to be a link…? i remember clicking on links before but this one doesn’t let me so just wanted to check. Ciao Bela

    • The pic at the bottom should open youtube and the opening of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s with the song Moon River – maybe it’s blocked in Nicaragua?

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