The Public Interest

Bobos in purgatory

Diana Schaub

Fall 2000

THE bourgeois boors whom H.L. Mencken dubbed the “booboisie” have experienced a curious inversion. A twist of bohemianism has turned the boobs into “Bobos.” This latest neologism belongs to David Brooks, who sketches the features of the bourgeois-bohemians in Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There. † Although not stolid and doltish like the old elite—being ironic and sophisticated instead—Bobos are just as self-satisfied. And, as their silly name indicates, they are just as risible.

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