Bobos in Paradise
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|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|May 3, 2000|
The word bobo, Brooks' most famously coined term albeit one not often used outside of the context of his works, is an abbreviated form of the words bourgeois and bohemian, suggesting a fusion of two distinct social classes (the counter-cultural, hedonistic and artistic bohemian, and the white collar, capitalist bourgeois). The term is used by Brooks to describe the 1990s successors of the yuppies. Often of the corporate upper class, they claim highly tolerant views of others, purchase expensive and exotic items, and believe American society to be meritocratic.
The thesis is that during the late 1970s a new upper class arose that represented a fusion between the bourgeois world of capitalist enterprise and the hippie values of the bohemian counterculture. He refers to these individuals as bobos, a portmanteau word for "bohemian bourgeois".
Description and behaviour
Bobos are noted for their aversion to conspicuous consumption while emphasizing the "necessities" of life. Brooks argues that they feel guilty in the way typical of the so-called "greed era" of the 1980s so they prefer to spend extravagantly on kitchens, showers, and other common facilities of everyday life. They "feel" for the labor and working class and often purchase American-made goods rather than less expensive imports. The term "bobo chic" was applied to a style of fashion, similar to "boho chic", that became popular in uptown New York in 2004-5.
Bobos often relate to money as a means rather than an end; they do not disdain money but use it to achieve their ends rather than considering wealth as a desirable end in itself.
The New York Times, where Mr. Brooks works, has written about the changing tastes of bobos: "Made in the U.S.A." used to be a label flaunted primarily by consumers in the Rust Belt and rural regions. Increasingly, it is a status symbol for cosmopolitan bobos, and it is being exploited by the marketers who cater to them."
- Champagne socialist
- Hipster (contemporary subculture)
- Liberal elite
- Limousine liberal
- The Social Animal, another book by David Brooks
- Status–income disequilibrium
- Stuff White People Like
- "Love It? Check the Label". New York Times. September 6, 2007.