Magazine article Insight on the News

Bourgeois Bohemians

Magazine article Insight on the News

Bourgeois Bohemians

Article excerpt

If Jack Kerouac were still around, would he drive a Range Rover? Would John Lennon phone in stock trades en route to a yoga session? Much has been made of the two competing value systems that have fought for predominance in American society for the last 20 years -- one bohemian, the other bourgeois. Since the mid-1990s, however, the dueling cultures have subsided. What is left is more an amalgamation than a division, according to David Brooks, author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (Simon & Schuster, $25, 256 pp).

Brooks, senior editor at the Weekly Standard, holds that a new cultural elite has emerged that melds the bohemian mores of the 1960s with the bourgeois mentality of the 1980s. The bohemians are the artists and intellectuals who flourished in the sixties as the counterculture, best known for disregarding conventional standards of behavior. The bourgeois came to prominence during the Reagan years of the 1980s, defined by their practicality, pro-establishment conventionality and capitalist philosophy. …

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