By on October 29, 2013

parkslope

Do you like commuting? I certainly don’t. It’s safe to say that nobody likes commuting. Even when you’re driving a car or riding a motorcycle that you absolutely adore, the fact remains that doing almost anything else with the car or bike in question would be more enjoyable than slogging along with a group of similarly condemned individuals down the Long Island Expressway or I-5 or I-75 or the Chicago Loop. Nobody commutes because they want to. They commute because they have identified a need or combination of needs in their lives that require it. Perhaps they’re a dual-income couple with geographically separate jobs. Perhaps they cannot afford to live near where they work. Perhaps they are temporary employees, the foot soldiers in our country’s mostly imaginary recovery, going wherever the work is found while trying desperately to cover their expenses at home.

Just in case, however, that you felt your commute to be a glorious triumph, a veritable quotidian adventure, the Times has commanded that a member of the fabled one percent disabuse you of this ridiculous notion.

In a breathtakingly ignorant and Antoinette-esque work of empathy-free idiocy, Jane Brody looks out of her castle windows and discovers Commuting’s Hidden Cost. But first, she’ll brag about her little one-percenter family.

The boys, like their father, are lean, strong and healthy. Their parents chose to live in New York, where their legs and public transit enable them to go from place to place efficiently, at low cost and with little stress (usually). They own a car but use it almost exclusively for vacations.

Whereas you use your car almost exclusively for abortions, you hill trash, you.

“Green” commuting is a priority in my family. I use a bicycle for most shopping and errands in the neighborhood, and I just bought my grandsons new bicycles for their trips to and from soccer games, accompanied by their cycling father.

How lovely, particularly when you consider that she probably lives about ten miles away from children who would be taking their lives in their hands were they to commit the reckless act of riding shiny new bicycles outside in the neighborhood.

According to the Census Bureau, more than three-fourths of all commuters drove to work in single-occupancy vehicles in 2009.

That’s because most commuters don’t live in New York, you over-insulated hothouse flower.

Millions of Americans… pay dearly for their dependence on automobiles, losing hours a day that would be better spent exercising, socializing with family and friends, preparing home-cooked meals or simply getting enough sleep. The resulting costs to both physical and mental health are hardly trivial.

Thank G-d we’ve managed to genuflect to foodie-ism during this stroll down Park Slope. It’s amazing that millions of Americans are so stupid that they demand to drive everywhere. Why can’t we all be as enlightened as Jane Brody and her family? Let’s return to the source article for more of that sweet, sweet intellectual nectar:

[Some author] recounts some important countervailing trends: more young families are electing to live in cities; fewer 17-year-olds are getting driver’s licenses; people are driving fewer miles; and bike sharing is on the rise.

BIKE SHARING? What the actual fuck. The rest of us can’t even have our own bicycle now? Is this how our New Eloi will distinguish themselves: by sole possession of a bicycle? Ms. Brody’s grandchildren will each have a bike, but you and I should count ourselves lucky to be allowed to borrow or rent one.

More homes and communities are being planned or reconfigured to shorten commutes, reduce car dependence and facilitate positive interactions with other people… Dr. Richard Jackson, the chair of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, says demographic shifts are fueling an interest in livable cities. Members of Generation Y tend to prefer mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods and short commutes, he said, and childless couples and baby boomers who no longer drive often favor urban settings.

Young people enjoy living in the city? This is news to me — said nobody ever.

Old people don’t want to mow the lawn? Amazing.

Childless couples aren’t interested in living in communities where there’s plenty of green space and good schools? OMFG.

While I don’t recommend reading the source article, for the same reason I wouldn’t recommend mailing a dollar bill to the North Korean Government, I’ve chosen to discuss it on TTAC today because it’s important to understand the mentality of people who push for outrageously oppressive anti-automobile regulation and taxation. Every idiotic, short-sighted, reality-averse program that comes from the state and federal governments, from “clunker crushing” to per-mile vehicle tracking, starts off as a vague idea in the head of somebody like Jane Brody. Somebody who hasn’t the faintest fucking idea how the majority of Americans live, somebody who lives in a $2.85 million private home, someone who is as far removed from the everyday cares and concerns of working Americans of any class as a visitor from another star system would be.

To Ms. Brody’s addled mind, all everybody needs to do in order to be happy is either:

1) Move to Brooklyn;
2) Reconfigure one’s home city to be more like Brooklyn.

Idea #1 is prima facie beneath contempt. The fact that her spoiled son could move to Brooklyn does not mean that three hundred million Americans can do so. There’s a reason most of our ancestors kept moving past Ellis Island. Idea #2 sounds slightly more reasonable when one is doddering around one’s castle, but it also falls apart under even the most cursory examination. Most municipalities in the United States right now can barely afford to keep the lights on. The large-scale re-urbanization of which our not-so-humble source author dreams would be a task that would require the entire sustained effort of the entire working population of this country, for decades.

Like it or not, America will continue to exist as a country where personal transportation is highly valued. No matter how much Ms. Brody might cheerfully envision a world where proles are packed onto a train while she strolls to her afternoon tea, such a world is decades, if not centuries, away from becoming a reality. We like our cars. We like being able to go somewhere without asking the government or the bus company or the train authority for permission. We like being able to travel with the companions of our choosing, even if that companion is an empty seat.

Times are hard right now for many people, but they are emphatically choosing not to give up their cars — not if they have any choice at all. The American fleet is older than it’s ever been, but it’s still rolling. From her castle windows high above the world’s capital city, Ms. Brody and the New York Times have seen how hungry a lot of Americans are — for gasoline, for energy, for work, for a future. Their solution is simple: eat cake. Move to a $2.85M house and let your strong, healthy children walk to soccer games. Live the lifestyle they live. And if you can’t, feel free to drop out of the American Dream posthaste.

Luckily for these modern-day aristocrats, this isn’t pre-Revolutionary France, or even pre-Revolutionary America. But that’s subject to change, you know, and when that day comes and a nation full of hopeless, unemployed, desperate people makes a final journey into the cities to take what’s left, Ms. Brody shouldn’t be surprised if she’s one of the first ones up against the wall.

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222 Comments on “The New York Times Pays A Woman With A $2.85M Home To Lecture You About Being A Commuter Prole...”


  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    (Looks at the website title, then wonders the importance of dissecting a loosely relavent New York times article)

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Jack has a decent ranting style. It’s a solid step up from a Bertel rant.

      A blog post of Brody’s sort produces two types of viewers: the type who will be angered and complain, and the type who will agree, and pat themselves on the back. Thing is, while the ad impressions from each type of people are equally valuable, only the latter group will be inclined to buy a subscription, which is where an increasingly large chunk of the NY Times’s revenue is coming from these days, and looking at the comments on her article, it’s mostly the former group reading it. So.

      • 0 avatar
        AoLetsGo

        No, you left out a third type of viewer, the one who would be in the majority I believe. These are the people (including myself) who would read this, think what a bunch of bull and skip on to the next article. We are the majority who have been taught to be polite and respectful and so we suffer in silence. This country needs more people who stand up and say “I am mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!”

        Now get up out of your chairs and go to the window and yell!

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “These are the people (including myself) who would read this, think what a bunch of bull”

          Exactly, who is this women and why does any one care what she thinks. If she lives in her own little bubble of wealth and has lost touch with reality, who cares? I hope she dies peacefully in her sleep without ever having had a clue

          Let them eat cake, while riding their shiny new bikes

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        People rarely just up and change their minds about things like this. In this kind of situation, the author will be speaking primarily to the people who already agree with her…preaching to the choir, if you will.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “A blog post of Brody’s sort produces two types of viewers: the type who will be angered and complain, and the type who will agree, and pat themselves on the back.”

        Apparently, there’s a third: Those who read it, and misinterpret what it’s saying.

        And there’s a fourth: Those who don’t read it, but critique it based upon someone else’s misinterpretation.

        The health editor of a newspaper provides some data to support the contention that commuting is unhealthy. Thus far, no one who has posted on this thread has provided any data to the contrary.

        • 0 avatar
          AoLetsGo

          I do not have any “hard data” to support a contrary theory but I have heard of one and can substantiate with my current experience.
          It goes something like this:
          A commute that is more than 10 minutes and less than 40 minutes allows a person to separate their home life from work life and vice a versus. Basically, you have a chance to decompress and leave your work problems at work and not bring them home. Of course it helps if your commute is not too stressful in itself.

        • 0 avatar
          aristurtle

          Well, sure, but how useful is that observation, given the circumstances?

          It’s like writing that everyone should get their yearly flu shot. Sure, of course. But you know, as you’re writing it, that they don’t manufacture enough flu vaccine for everyone to get the shot every year.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “It’s like writing that everyone should get their yearly flu shot. Sure, of course. But you know, as you’re writing it, that they don’t manufacture enough flu vaccine for everyone to get the shot every year.”

            If there is data to support the position that it is better for one’s health to get the flu shot, then that would be true regardless of whether it is possible for everyone to get a shot. The lack of adequate supplies is a public policy question; the benefits of the vaccine are a personal health question.

            Brody uses an approach that is typical of newspaper writing — she combines some factual information with an anecdote or two that is consistent with the factual information, so as to make the factual data easier to understand. In my opinion, I think that she erred by using a personal anecdote, as that can confuse the issue for some readers (the article is supposed to be about the subject matter, not about her), but the piece was otherwise fairly straightforward.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Agreed aristurtle. That is why she is a nauseatingly condescending elitist. People don’t need to be told that their long grinding daily commute sucks and doesn’t help them become beautiful, healthy, thin and fit. They do it because it is a tradeoff for other considerations.

            There are a lot of things to consider when deciding where to live. The commute is one of many. Sometimes a commute becomes a sacrifice people are willing to make, all things considered.

            Good jobs are hard to come by. Good neighborhoods with good schools for the kids can also be challenging to find. To combine the two, many people who are not rich are willing to do whatever it takes. It is not surprising that they would resent a self-satisfied healthy lifestyle memo on the subject from Miss Precious.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            @thelaine, I fail to gain the elitest standing here in the article. So what that she has a great life in NY that doesn’t include having to spend a good portion of the day being stuck in a shiny, metal box. It’s no more to me than Mr. Romney’s $12,000,000 La Jolla home that he recently needed MORE pristine beachfront all to himself so YOU could commute to a different public beach.

            Seriously, get over yourselves. If I lived in NY or a similar city environ, I’d live a lot more spartan than she, but in a similar lifestyle. It would make a certain amount of sense to do so for that area if I choose to live there. However, if I choose to live out in the ‘Burbs and bitch that the big-box store ain’t close enough, then that’s the life I chose.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            @Dolorean

            If you worked in a coal mine to support your family it would piss you off to have some clueless rich lady stop and lecture you about how unhealty your job was. You would consider that person a condescending clueless elitist.

            I do not resent her or Romney or Lady Gaga or anyone else for thier money or the choices they have made about how they would like to live.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        Jack has a decent ranting style. It’s only a shade below a Hunter S. Thomson rant. When the day comes that JB discovers the sweet embrace of quaaludes, bennies and poppers he’ll step up to that final plateau of really being able to pen a guided missile that damages presidents and silences the insular top hat and monocle wearing crowd from telling us dirty proles how to go about our affairs.

        Meanwhile, how do I get a sweet Jane Brody gig at the NY Times excreting words from my bunghole and being paid to do so? Obviously the credentials needed are mediocrity in one’s own language … and being able to fog a mirror, two things (among others) I excel at.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Interesting topic. How recently have you read some Thompson?

          In the ’70s I was the most ardent fan. I remember embarrassing myself in an employee lounge because F&L in Las Vegas had me uncontrollably laughing. I adopted “Cazart!” as my go-to expletive.

          But upon his death I did a marathon reread of everything I once loved and came away saddened at the cultural and pharmacological extremism that Thompson epitomized and I stupidly admired.

          The 60’s were sick and he was one of their most illustrious victims. I was once awestruck by his talent but am now just angry that it had to end with his suicide.

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      I think pointing out the follies of the mindset of the ruling elite is a perfect topic for any website or publication: you can’t let these knuckleheads continue on uncontested, or they might start to make policy out of these dumb ideas.

      Hopefully Ms. Brody (and her ilk) will see this feedback. I’d also say that I agree with just about everything Jack wrote.

    • 0 avatar
      Maintainer

      Sadly, there seems to be no effort to repeal that law requiring you to read and comment on everything on the Internet.
      It sucks. Sometimes we just have to suck it up and deal with it.

  • avatar
    imag

    For those who really *must* drive, please just pick up a McLaren P1. Then most of your driving can be done on eco mode.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Jack, you are so CUTE when you get all riled up over nothing!

    Reality is in-between. Suburban sprawl is a terrible way to live. It would be good if we could do things to make commuting easier. But I haven’t had a commute in almost eight years, other than to the airport (nowhere near daily). IT IS GREAT! I highly recommend it.

    Can we talk about cars now?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Would you buy an avg condition mid 90s Saab 900 given the chance KRhodes?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Average, no. A really nice one, you bet. Though I am in the minority of Saab fans in liking the NG900 (94-98) better than the classic 900. The difference in price between an average one and a nice one is so small you might as well get a nice one. My favorite Saab ever was my ’95 900SET. Black 3dr, 185hp engine, manual of course.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This was a burgundy colored 96 900 convertible auto, roof had been replaced in 06 but it appeared the car wasn’t stored because the roof looked worn. I think the guy had $1700 on it, although I’m sure he would have taken less. I idled it and drove it around a parking lot, but with no plate guy wouldn’t let take a test drive and I decided against it. I’ll bear in mind if I’m ever in the market for one to shoot for the starts in terms of condition.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Oh, you want to avoid the NG900 convertibles. They used a really nasty electric top mechanism that is a boat payment gold mine for mechanics, and you can’t fix it without a Tech II. If you want a convertible, you either want a classic 900 or a 9-3 of either generation – those all use hydraulics and actually work. Classic 900 convertibles are getting spendy for good ones though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thanks for the advice, I’m glad my inner cheapskate got the better of me.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          “Though I am in the minority of Saab fans in liking the NG900 (94-98) better than the classic 900.”

          Backward longitudinal engine or GTFO.

          I wasn’t sad to see Saab go because of what it had become (the real new Saab is either a Subaru or a Prius), but the real Saabs are awesome cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Athos Nobile

          “Though I am in the minority of Saab fans in liking the NG900 (94-98) better than the classic 900.”

          I’m in that boat too. And for whatever reason I like the 9-5 too.

          +1 on the black Saab. They look great, specially with the light brown leather interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      A lot of suburban sprawl is fueled by middle class whites who do not want to live around blacks and Mexicans. I live in a $200,000 house in an urban area and tend to agree more with the elite Mrs. Brody over the equally self righteous Mr. Baruth, sorry. Learn to embrace, not rant, cuz.

      • 0 avatar
        mypoint02

        Right. It couldn’t possibly be that some people prefer having more land, a larger house, better schools, free parking, lower taxes, and less noise and crime. It must be because us whiteys hate blacks and Mexicans.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Superdessucke – yup, more closet space for those KKK frocks and a big garage to store those crosses and jerry cans.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I’m with you Superdessucke, though no so much on the whitey thing bro. Mr. Baruth is a self-righteous douche sometimes, but he’s the one getting paid for it, as I and you are not. However, I agree that ‘Burb living is a pretty expensive way to live. I’d love to live the city life if my job in the Army would allow me to do so. But it doesn’t. And I love cars. A lot. Creates a weird dichotomy. May have to replace my Peace-Sign and BORN TO KILL Kevlar cover with a new mantra.

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        15-20 years ago, sure.

        Now the young, aspirational, middle-class whites are moving back into “Urban Centers.” Lofts and reclaimed industrial space are expletive-inducingly expensive and impossible to rent, but you can buy acre lots with 70’s-80’s built housing for a loan with payments less than the new cars we supposedly aren’t buying.

        I’m not saying Racism doesn’t exist – I’m saying most people under 30 don’t care if their neighbors are young Mexicans, Blacks, or whatever. We care that they are passably educated, have goals in life, and like to hang out occasionally.

  • avatar
    steamcorners

    Jack:
    Not trying to be a dick, but the link is broken…

    [url]http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/commutings-hidden-cost/?_r=0[/url]

    should get you there…

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Someone in a 7-figure home pointing out that commutes suck and urban density may have some advantages, bad.

    Someone in a 7-figure home eroding your economic rights, good.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    I used to think I was a “liberal” because I thought gay people should be allowed to be happy and I wasn’t ready to have a kid if the rubber broke.

    But I don’t even know what this is.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      This person isn’t really a liberal, just a wealthy arrogant person. She probably voted for Romney. Before the “Southern Strategy” wealthy northerners like this woman were the Republican base. I miss those days. If people like this woman were still the base of the Republican party (instead of just the financial/donor base, without a sufficient voting block) the Republican party could at least be on the right side of gay marriage and abortion.

      This is absolutely Marie Antoinette. “The masses can barely afford commuting.” “Let them live in nice areas close to downtown and good light rail systems.”

      • 0 avatar
        zenleo

        I am not sure what you are on about, but there is literally zero chance this woman voted for Mitt Romney.

        • 0 avatar
          stryker1

          Heh, I love this part. Where people from (theoretically) opposing political parties try to figure out who’s party is legitimately populist, and whose is not.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            I don’t think that the government should do anything to help poor people have better commutes, and I vehemently oppose rent control and housing subsidies. But I think it is mean to make fun of people for having bad commutes.

          • 0 avatar

            Neither party is legitimately populist anymore. the Dems (my party) are supposed to be, but they are throwing a major portion of their base–working people–under the bus trying to pass what they call “immigration reform” which would double legal immigration to the equivalent of one New York State per decade, so that big companies can have more cheap labor at a time when millions of Americans are out of work (Bernie Sanders, the single Socialist in the senate said that).

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Sure, no disdainful of the poor wealthy people in high tax brackets with multi-million dollar houses voted for Romney.

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            Cute. You probably still think Wall Street and Greenwich still lean hard Republican, too.

            Old and busted: rich Republicans hate the poor
            New hotness: everyone can go pro-abortion and hate the poor!

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Agreed. It’s doubtful she’s capable of voting for anyone not on the Dem/Lib line.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Whoever she voted for she has no idea why

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            You always do good comments but this is one of the goodest.

          • 0 avatar
            Heino

            This is an outrage. After watching Homeland, I don’t trust any Brody. I mean her husband secretly converted to Islam, and is sleeping with a CIA agent. Ms. Brody is hot, but her husband and daughter are trouble. How dare she lecture us.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I mean her husband secretly converted to Islam, and is sleeping with a CIA agent.”

            Not to mention that her husband killed the vice president. What’s even worse is that he drove an SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Kaosaur

        Just to settle a stupid argument before (okay not really before) it starts.

        http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/jane-brody.asp?cycle=08

        She donated $500 to the Obama campaign in 2008.

        There are stupid people of all sorts of political affiliations. That doesn’t mean that they reflect on the rest of us.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    I’m seeing such articles more and more lately: Coddled, aristocratic Leftists living in affluent parts of NYC or Cambridge, MA and lecturing the rest of us on the evils of car ownership. They’re Marxists, but Marxists with power.

    A Marxist wants to control your life. A Marxist hates cars, because cars give you independence, and therefore free thought. That’s how the old Communist regimes controlled the populace: they only gave cars to the people in power and everyone else had an ox cart.

    Think about it: what’s the FIRST thing a new immigrant to our shores does (besides filing for welfare and food stamps)? He buys a car. That’s what this country is all about: freedom of movement and mind.

    Hillary Clinton wrote “It takes a village….” What she really meant was: stay in your village, I know exactly what you need and when you need it. Now where’s my stretch limo??

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      They’re not Marxist, they’re bourgeois-bohemian. Hell, Jack’s rant has more of a Marx flavor to it than the NYT editorial. Not an overwhelming Marx flavor, mind; just enough to spice it up a bit.

      Or are we just doing that thing where you attach “Marxist” to “whatever it is that I don’t like”, like we do with “fascist” and “statist” and “liberal” and so forth?

      • 0 avatar
        stryker1

        ‘Or are we just doing that thing where you attach “Marxist” to “whatever it is that I don’t like”, like we do with “fascist” and “statist” and “liberal” and so forth?’

        Yeah, that’s what I got out of that too.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        http://www.politicalcompass.org/test Most of you will be a bit surprised at your results. I’d love to see the editors post their map.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Fun game. Here’s me:

          Economic Left/Right: 0.88
          Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 1.79

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Here’s mine:

            Economic Left/Right: -5.12
            Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.79

            Jack, Ronnie, and HDC are gonna hate me!!

          • 0 avatar

            I’m also an economic leftist and social libertarian, beyond Golden2Husky, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama.

            By the way, Brody’s “healthy” husband is dead. I didn’t bother to read the article, so I don’t know why Jack got the idea he is still around.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Unsurprising results are unsurprising:

            Economic Left/Right: 6.00
            Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.33

          • 0 avatar

            Agree, fun GAME. I stress game ’cause to some of those questions I straddle the fence very nicely, thank you sir!

            Economic Left/Right: -4.88
            Social Libertatian/Authoritarian: -1.69

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I can’t believe I ended up so centric since I answered as honestly as possible.

            Apparently I’m not the feminazi I thought I was.

            @Marcelo
            Agreed… my answer to many of them is really “depends”. And I don’t mean my age.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Kenmore! Agree totally. Not to mention that a test that proposes to measure political tendencies can’t help being political itself (phrasing, choice of questions etc.). But it is fun to take and compare the result with what one thinks about one’s self.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh me me!

            Economic Left/Right: -1.38
            Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.08

            I’m very close to Mandela, I guess that’s flattering.

        • 0 avatar
          imag

          Agreed. The questions alone do a much better job of getting to the heart of what one believes than the traditional axis.

          I show up as an economic leftist and a social libertarian. Sounds correct.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          No surprise when I did that a couple years ago: a little left, and very libertarian. No similarity to any mainstream North American political parties.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I was sort of surprised as I always viewed myself more centre right.
            Economic Left/Right: -1.62
            Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -2.97
            I’ve always been a bit of a rebel with a distrust of any person in authority so I’m not totally surprised there. Being free to do what ever you want as long as you aren’t hurting others or yourself has been my belief so that fits the profile.
            Perhaps the prevelent belief that those on the “right” want less government intervention has given me that impression.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I consider myself a central-right as well, so both of my numbers being negative surprised me. But as others have pointed out, the questions are vague and loaded, and a bit too open-ended to get consistent responses from everyone.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The approach used by Political Compass is bound to upset some conservatives, who have convinced themselves that right = free and everything good, while left = oppressive.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            That guy might be mad, but most people with any objectivity have to realize that putting racism and nationalism down as right wing ideals is a bit silly. In fact, the idea of a one axis rating system is silly. Two is a major improvement.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In modern political theory. a simple way to contrast left and right is that the left aspires to egalitarianism, while the right favors the notion that some people are better than others.

            Someone who is left of center who want some degree of social leveling in the form of equal opportunity, while accepting some disparities. A far leftist would aspire to strict egalitarianism as an ideal. An authoritarian far leftist would build a gulag to make absolutely sure that everyone is equal, whether or not they like it.

            A libertarian conservative would oppose egalitarianism in the belief that it hinders the individual. A far right-winger would go further and say that some people are better than others, and the weak deserve to fail (i.e. social Darwinism.) An authoritarian right winger would want to pass Jim Crow laws or build a death camp in order to speed up the process of sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

            Racism is a better fit on the authoritarian far right, although they can’t claim complete ownership of the concept. The authoritarian far left is more prone to attack by class, although that can manifest itself as a form of racism, such as Stalin’s pograms against the Jews.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            ‘Stalin’s pogroms against the Jews’

            I think you’re getting confused here. The Pogroms were committed by Cossacks during Tsarist times, The Soviet Union was probably one of the better things going for Jews in Russia (the Communist ranks had a high proportion of Jews, in fact). My dad (who isn’t Jewish) grew up in the Russian far East in Birobidzhan, a Jewish autonomous region established for them to be safe and have self governance (to a degree). There were also some degrees of political correctness during Soviet days when many people were afraid of being labeled an anti-Semite for offending a Jewish colleague.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            PCH,
            “In modern political theory. a simple way to contrast left and right is that the left aspires to egalitarianism, while the right favors the notion that some people are better than others.”

            Who are these people on the right you speak of? Outside of neo nazis and clansmen you must be talking about Wilsonian progressives. Oh wait.

            I’ll accept your characterization of the Left though I think its wallpaper. Those of us I know against egalitarianism feel quite the opposite than you claim. Do you really believe that, or are you just trying to be snarky? Trolling?

        • 0 avatar
          NN

          wow. those are the most loaded questions I’ve ever seen. Please do not give that website any credence.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            We all know it’s just a game. The questions couldn’t have been phrased less skillfully.

            It’s as if Hannity and Colmes provided them.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            They are very poor, I agree.

            “Primarily women should be homemakers.” LOL

            Yes 1945 already.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Primarily women should be homemakers.”

            Thing is, I’ve know some for whom that’s really true. They positively bloom, radiating joy and contentment.

            But I’ve known (and married) others for whom that’s a slow death. They need professional achievement and recognition as much as any man; or more so because of historical repression.

            The older I get the less doctrinaire I become. The only value I still categorically defend is Choice.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            Whoa, pro-choice and you still scored positive numbers into authoritarianism?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Whoa, pro-choice and you still scored positive numbers into authoritarianism?”

            I’m also a kneejerk racist, which may explain the seeming skew.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Economic Left/Right: -1.12
          Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.49

          I actually consider myself slightly right of center economically. I support right to work laws and oppose public sector unions and public sector pensions (supporting defined contribution programs instead). But the test pegs me slightly left of center. I do support progressive income taxes and environmental regulation.

          This is a VERY poorly configured test.

          What the people who lean toward fascism on both the right and left don’t get is that what people *should* do is different question than what government should require by force of law. A lot of the questions are phrased as what people should do, instead of what the force of law should require.

          Another issue is that the questions are presented without cost benefit analysis. E.g.:

          “A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system.”

          Yes. That is technically true. But at what cost. I put “disagree” because while the statement is true, the statement does not justify one party government. Arguments that delay rushed decisions are actually a good thing. The founding fathers set up the government so that it would be very difficult to rush new laws into place.

          Other questions are going to confuse people that do not have a background in economics.

          “The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders.”

          I strongly agree with this. But this does not mean companies are not regulated with regard to pollution, labor safety, etc., or that companies can act negligently. It just means that companies maximize profit within the constraints of following the law and not acting negligently. E.g. if a plant is losing money the company shuts it down, it correctly does not worry about laid-off workers or the town, only shareholder profit. Pouring resources into a money losing plant is bad for society because it does not maximize resources.

          Or this:

          “A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies.”

          I strongly agree with this. But this is a conservative principle. Breaking up large companies to prevent monopolies and ensure free market competition is a libertarian principle. Strongly agreeing with this should get me points toward the economic right, but I doubt the test is configured that way.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I put strongly disagree on the one party question as well. There aren’t any success stories of a one party situation, only dictatorship examples. A one party system only works when there are benevolent leaders and politicians – which isn’t really possible.

            “A genuine free market requires restrictions on the ability of predator multinationals to create monopolies.”

            I disagreed with this – the very definition of a genuine free market is one without restrictions.

            “The only social responsibility of a company should be to deliver a profit to its shareholders.”

            I also disagreed with this one. You can behave very irresponsibly and negligently as a company while delivering profits and still being within the law. Companies have social responsibility requirements to their employees, local government, the environment, residents of their location, etc.

            A big company could build some hideous building in a residential neighborhood – an eyesore causing traffic and lowering land values, all while staying within the law and delivering profits.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “This is a VERY poorly configured test.”

            Before you criticize the questions, it would behoove you to read about the methodology. A lot of your complaints are addressed in the FAQ.

            Taken as a whole, I found the questions to be well thought out. Some of the questions were obviously more absolutist than others, but that was by design — the more rigid statements were combined with the others in order to distinguish between those with extreme positions and those who were more moderate.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “the very definition of a genuine free market is one without restrictions.”

            No, the term for a market without restrictions would be described as laissez faire capitalism.

            A free enterprise system values competition, which means opposing monopoly power except in rare cases (and invariably, monopolies that are deemed to be necessary have to be regulated as a way to offset the lack of price competition.)

            The fact that you believe otherwise makes it very obvious where you belong on the right-left scale.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Lol, I agree with PCH on a free market vs Laissez Faire, etc. At least in theory.

            This will, of course, make him physically ill to hear though. :)

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You might want to figure out what a Marxist actually thinks before throwing the label around.

      This reporter is a wealthy elitist. You might even accuse her, intelligibly, of being a statist (although that requires some inference). But it’s completely backwards to label her a Marxist.

    • 0 avatar
      oldfatandrich

      Perfectly put. I live in Cambridge where I am surrounded by Marie Antoinettes. I have plenty of money to make my life easy, but—unlike the left—the last thing I want is the state telling me (or anybody) how to order one’s life. Drive whatever you want, whenever you want to wherever you want. Eat what you damn please: Big Gulps, Snickers, foie gras if you have the dollars. Smoke a cigar. Live wherever you choose at any price as long as you can afford it. If you want health insurance, go buy it; if not, take your chances but don’t ask the government to foot your bill. As to the New York Times, I am reminded of Dickens’ description of the law (i.e. the legal profession): “The law is a ass.” Not an ass. A ass. The New York Times is a ass.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      You know, it’s debatable that freedom is two tons of steel and plastic, that drains your wallet of hundreds of dollars monthly for insurance, and gas, and repairs, and likely just to afford the thing. Especially not when you’re likely trapped physically (by non-moving traffic) and metaphorically (by revenue-generating law enforcement) from actually getting anywhere really.

      And, real estate being what it is, it’s a cruel irony that those least able to comfortably afford the cost of a vehicle and all that entails frequently end up stuck in an area that requires them to have a car, because our urban planning is sort of borked.

      That said, she should really stand behind her beliefs, take that mansion, and split it up into low-income friendly apartments.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    The trend of all but the best suburbs (with the best schools and commuting options/commuter rail lines) becoming ghettos while the good parts of inner-cities revitalize is pretty old. Making fun of people for not being able to afford the city (high property values in good areas, private schools or the magnet/charter school game and hour bus rides for the kids) or the good suburbs with light rail access is kind of mean.

    Up next from Ms. Brody:

    “What, you don’t buy fresh vegetables from Whole Foods?”
    “You let your family ride in a car without side airbags?”
    “Ha ha, your house has lead paint and asbestos insulation.”
    “You idiot, don’t live next to the coal burning power plant.”
    “You idiot, don’t live next to the oil refinery.”
    “Your kid really needs braces, what, are you too poor?”

  • avatar
    stryker1

    You mean human beings are subject to anecdotal bias, and tend to assume that whatever strata of society they happen to inhabit is “the real world”? Every one thinks they live an “average” or “somewhat above average” life, and that everyone could do what they do if they simply decided to. This applies equally to Private Equity Barons who can’t understand why everyone doesn’t have a couple hunned-mil in the bank, as well as to over-privileged foodies, who will lecture you endlessly about paying top dollar for only the most righteous, organic, cruelty free, farm-to-table, home cooked, yadda yadda yadda.

    There’s ideology, and there’s reality, and never the twain shall meet.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Our views are a reflection of our own paradigm. We judge others based upon the way we were raised, our personal environment, and our immediate surroundings. That applies equally to this lady in her 2.85 million dollar box or us in our own. It can be incredibly difficult to realize that you need to walk two moons in another man’s moccasins before passing judgement.
      Mind you, Jack Baruth’s judgements are much more funny than the one’s of the lady we are criticizing.

  • avatar
    chris724

    Nice rant, Jack. Now the leftists are all chiming in, and they don’t understand what was offensive about that NYT article. Don’t we mouth-breathers WANT to be told how to live our lives?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Meh.. she writes a weekly piece regurgitating some topic from the news aggregators’ recent Health sections. Nothing unique or impacting.

    She’ll be in a hospice soon and there’ll still be cars.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    This story illustrates the widening chasm between the wealthy and the rest of us. The 1% that works for the 0.1% controls most things. I’m sure that her slim and fit family walks or bikes to their sports venues accompanied by several muscle bound steroid monkeys trained in the field of “personal protection”.
    I do agree that something needs to be done to make large cities more “friendly” but following the advice of this out of touch pneumocephalic is a recipe for disaster.
    I wonder how she would feel if all of a sudden the populace around her were to start walking with her or her family where ever they went. That is the logical outcome of the “wretched refuse” surrendering their globe killing motor vehicles.
    I wonder WTF she would write about then?
    Ethnic cleansing or apartheid aimed at the masses?
    A walled off city for her and her kind with the rest of us peering at the baracades?

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      That’s actually not the case. “Income inequality” has returned to early 1980s levels. The only widening chasm, such as it is, is among the wealthy — between the merely rich and the emerging high performers — but who cares?

      Manhattan already is, in a lot of ways, a walled-off city for the rich.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        2@darkwing – The chasm goes well beyond the number of digits preceding the decimal point on your bank statement.

        • 0 avatar
          darkwing

          I didn’t expect to be able to talk you out of a belief that is, for many, something between an article of faith and a point of pride. But I hope you’ll at least discover that it’s far less true than you’ve been told.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Is it more a case of nouveau riche versus old money? but regardless of the dollars in the bank account, there exists a disconnect between socioeconomic classes. That is my point.
            You can prove to me that the financial part of the chasm has narrowed but the attitudes haven’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Lou,
            The disconnect will be there, and between many other groups, regardless of income or wealth.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “there exists a disconnect between socioeconomic classes.”

            Well, Christ, I hope so. I’ve worked all my adult life to achieve and maintain that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m even surprised myself to say this but I have to agree with everything posted here. This is the endgame the elites are pursuing with their green propaganda: “That is the logical outcome of the “wretched refuse” surrendering their globe killing motor vehicles.” and I would add “and another illusion of freedom”.

  • avatar
    morbo

    To be fair, bike sharing is pretty awesome. It’s one of the few things i like about the Capitol Wasteland. $7 a month for all the bike I could want.

    But otherwise, yeah, she’s a twit. And cheap bike sharing doesn’t quire cover the ludicrous cost of renting in an urban area.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      morbo – what I find interesting is that the city of Vancouver BC Canada wants to go to bike sharing. Proponents want the government to repeal the manditory helmet law because studies show that more people would do it if they didn’t have to wear helmets. Yes, bike share to save the whales and penguins and so what about a few brain injuries. That does fit the “people bad, wildlife good mind set” of someone who has never been eye to eye with an animal that views you as being lower on the food chain.
      (I don’t have a problem with bike sharing or your post – just the idiocy of other people like Jane Brody).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        More bikes on the road does far more for bike safety among casual riders than helmets. Compare accident rates in Amsterdam (no helmet law, almost no one wearing helmets) and a supposedly “bike-friendly” U.S. city like Seattle with a helmet law.

        D.C. has a bikeshare program with no helmet law. I can remember only one serious head injury, and that was the fault of a biker who ran a red light and got hit by a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          Kaosaur

          The only helmets that are adequate are the kind you’ll never see anyone riding with. MX helmets.

          Anything else isn’t worth a damn unless you’re below 20mph.

          I once saw a cyclist in New York riding along-side an MTA bus and the passenger side mirror on the bus caught the rider’s helmet, picked him up off his bike and carried him by his head.

          Nasty stuff. I didn’t see the aftermath of that one but the driver went for a good few blocks at least before noticing.

          Bike helmets give me massive tension headaches. Haven’t worn one in years.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        Bikesharing ain’t got nothing to do with saving the whales. i drive a HEMI that gets 2 dinosaurs to the gallon, i got no problem consuming finite resources. The real value is it saves time and aggrevation. instead of getting in my car, fighting traffic, finding/paying for parking, and repeating in reverse, I can get where i want in honestly less time and less aggtevation. Not for all destinations or weather conditions, but about 75% of the time its the most time efficient option.

        I think people really miss the point of bikesharing. Its there to get you in and out of congested urban areas quickly, and/or a way to get exercise daily. If you want to ‘minimize’ your ‘global impact’, go buy some scrubland and plant trees.

        As for arlington, VA, we have excellent bike trails that parallel major roads without having grade crossings. costs more in taxes but makes bike commuting possible. Unless BC is willing to make a similar comittment, it becomes driver versus bike

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “driver versus bike”

          Sounds like a new Fox show.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Morbo
          I don’t live in Vancouver but they are trying but regardless of the level of body armour you wear, car versus bike never turns out well.
          I have a 6 km commute and little traffic to contend with. I’ve bicycled to work but that is only a fun proposition for 4-6 months per year.
          Biking is good for the reasons you cited but in my neck of the woods, it has been painted green by the tree huggers.

          • 0 avatar
            morbo

            It’s advertised as part of the ‘car-free diet’ around the District. They do seem to hate automobiles in general around here, unless it’s a ZipCar or Car2Go.

            I do think not wearing a helmet in slow, urban biking is the way to go. It definitely makes me extra careful about pulling onto surface roads and staying in my bike lane.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    What Jack just said times about 1000.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Fantastic article Jack. Much appreciated.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My first reaction was, Soylent Green is people!

    Great writing Jack.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Self satisfied upper east side twaddle. She automatically assumes anybody outside the bubble is wrong. I live in a tract in a suburb and guess what? My kids walk to school, and ride bikes with us to the library and the farmers’ market. Big deal, I even telecommute and take the train to work. I also don’t live in a multimillion dollar brownstone. I live in Beaverton Oregon, where a third of my neighbors speak another language.
    But getting closer to topic, this insularity is typical of the transportation policy made by those who are driven in chauffeured cars rather than those who have to drive. Fun factoid, the British national speed limit was introduced by then transport minister Barbara Castle, who had never driven a car.
    That said the idea of living in a sprawling exurb and sitting in 2 hour traffic jams every day is abhorrent, but so is the cost of living in those hot trendy cities.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Jack, much of your rant is sympathetic, but it has two problems.

    First, the part about bike sharing is incomprehensible. Bike sharing is a way to avoid having to park a bike at your destination, not a program to take away your bike.

    Second, reurbanization is already happening, and in places where you don’t have to spend $3M for a home — places from Bozeman, Montana to Burlington, Vermont. That doesn’t mean the Jackbooted Thugs ™ are going to force you to live in an apartment with a vegetarian co-op restaurant underneath. It’s about choices. Some people who like cars still want to walk to the store. They have more options for doing that than they used to. That’s a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Reurbanization is largely market-driven — people are voting with their feet. Good for them. But regionalization is very much top-down and anti-suburban, and driven in part by the thread to withhold federal highway funds. Just look at Plan Bay Area for an example of the process in action.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      For me, the bike sharing has nothing to do with saving whales etc. It’s just a fast way to get from point a to point b in a city. While everyone else is clogging the streets exercising their rights to personal transportation, the bike lanes are a faster option. The bike sharing has some advantages over your own bike. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about theft. The other advantage is that if it starts to rain, you can just jump on a train instead of taking the bike.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …..Some people who like cars still want to walk to the store. They have more options for doing that than they used to. That’s a good thing….

      I love cars and have so for many years. Fixing them, upgrades, add stereos, etc. I love fast driving and hard cornering. I’m left of center. I also just got home after a two hour twenty minute commute drive. The morning commute, usually 50 minutes, took one hour fifteen minutes. A typical work week is 20 hours wasted commuting. The out of touch wealthy woman may be many things, but she is right: Commuting is a colossal waste of time.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “That’s because most commuters don’t live in New York, you over-insulated hothouse flower.”

    God bless you, Jack Baruth.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    Despite making valid points in typically hilarious manner, I always get an extra chuckle when Jack plays the indignant populist as if we all forgot the brand name dropping of columns past.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Boom. Thank you. How many guitars he gots?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        More than a hundred.

        With that said, owning a few PRS Private Stocks doesn’t mean you’re wealthy, or even close to it. I consider myself middle-middle class. I certainly couldn’t retire tomorrow.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          License your name and image to a guitar company or a liquor brand and I suspect you’ll be able too.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Why, is he famous?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Actually I can picture it now at the liquor store…

            WOMAN: What is this, Jack Baruth vodka? 110 proof?
            MAN: Whose Jack Baruth, is he famous or something?
            WOMAN: I don’t know but he’s totally hot and badass.
            MAN (thinking): 110 is a nice proof to mix in with her girly drink, and this guy is breaking a guitar on the label.
            MAN: Ok, lets have a Baruthian experience

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “I consider myself middle-middle class.”

          You don’t have to post your tax returns, but if your lifestyle is middle class for Ohio then I should be getting welfare.

          Or I should move to Ohio.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            You can get a lot of house for $300k here. If you are willing to commute 45 minutes or so into the city, which I’m not, that will get you 3,000 square feet on five acres, a pole barn for your workshop, and plenty of peace and quiet.

            I’ll also confess that my last Private Stock PRS is still sitting on my Amex… but LOOK AT IT!

            http://jackbaruth.com/?p=748

          • 0 avatar
            slow kills

            Middle-middle class Mr. Baruth hasn’t paid for his 100th+ premium guitar after grabbing a Mercedes as a 4th+ car, and thus is less aloof and elitist than Jane Brody.
            I’m not being sarcastic.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Living in the midwest, especially within 100 miles of Detroit can net you a lot of nice property for not a lot of money, leaving plenty left over for other things.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ohio can be very affordable for home ownership! I see houses other places for $800-975K, and think around here it’d be $275-375K maximum.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Danio and Jack are right. The upper Midwest has plenty of land that can be had for relatively cheap. Its at least cheap enough where someone that is middle class can own mutliple homes.

            We also have plenty of waterfront property in these parts. Even more than a car, I find my crappy 1967 Hobie 16 to be my version of budget freedom.

        • 0 avatar
          stryker1

          Almost everyone consider themselves middle class. In this country, it’s almost like being asked “Are you a good person?”

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I google imaged her, pretty hot back in the day. I’d have fraternized.

    But her focus on carbs in her dietary pontificating would kill a T-2 diabetic (her hubby is deceased…hmmm). Let her babble about social engineering, it’s safer.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> I google imaged her, pretty hot back in the day. I’d have fraternized.

      I’ll have to check that out.

      A few years ago, I attended a talk about Rupert Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal. There in the audience, I saw Jane Brody (she was identified openly). She was a little old lady and was knitting(!) during the lecture. It’s got to be some picture for me to shake that image. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Brawndo

      Yeaaaahhhhh…I don’t know. I think maybe your google works better than mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I think all y’all’s dubiousness revolves around what “back in the day” denotes.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    See what happens when you read the New York Times. More east of the Hudson Crap.
    I made a point to not take jobs in large cities and take a lesser paying good job in a small city I could also live in. With the 5 mile round trip “commute”.
    I’ll take the less stressful life style any day.

  • avatar
    08Suzuki

    Silly Times, they could’ve just used the various Jalopnik articles for free!

  • avatar
    jz78817

    and people wonder why I despise NYC.

    hint: it’s the residents.

  • avatar
    redav

    Bike sharing = my seven bikes get to share me. I would love to bike to work, but I would hate living cram-packed like cockroaches even more.

    The hoity-toity talks about both walking and saving time, which is in fact nonsense. I live close enough to walk to stores–they are only 1 mi away. But at a normal walking pace of 3 mph, that’s 20 min each way, or in other words, over a half hour of my life wasted per trip. If I lived a mere two miles from work, a walking commute would be 3x my actual driving commute. And let’s not forget how fantastic it is to stock up on groceries (you know, so I don’t have to waste even more time going to the store more often than necessary) and then carry them as I walk home–especially when the weather is bad, which is at least 40 wks/yr.

    Don’t get me wrong–I support reducing commuting needs, but I don’t see a need to jump overboard. Driving 5 mi to work instead of 20 is a fantastic improvement. But there are nice, professional, suburban communities that don’t have any nice, professional jobs within 20 mi. That’s dumb, and cities can fix it without spending much (if any) cash to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Being able to walk to the store isn’t about walking “only” 1 mile — it’s about walking 1/10 or 1/20 of a mile.

      When I lived in downtown Washington D.C., the drugstore was across the street and the grocery store was one long block away. That’s walkability, and it means you pop into the store on the way home and buy one bag of stuff, rather than taking Trips to the Store.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Unfortunately the author’s patrician tone interferes with her perfectly valid points. As an avid cyclist it is disappointing to live only six miles from work yet have to commute by car though heavy traffic for 40 minutes each way.

    For me the lack of bike lanes and paths combined with an off-limits locker room at the office actively discourage cycling which is a cheaper, healthier, faster, not to mention “greener” way to commute.

    In Phoenix the bulk of workers who risk life and limb to commute by bicycle are:

    A. the poorest of the poor who can’t afford a car
    B. those with blue collar jobs where it is acceptable to show up to work sweaty
    C. those who have a DUI or two and no license
    d. some combination of all of the above

    These people aren’t exactly the upper crust and their rights as poor cyclists are being trampled by Range Rover driving capitalist with a cell phone in one hand and a cigar in the other. I’m kidding a little about that last part but the point is improved cycling infrastructure and awareness stands to benefit everyone, not just leisure class, gluten-free eco-weenies.

    • 0 avatar
      LBJs Love Child

      You don’t need a $1,000,000 a mile playground to commute by bicycle.

      http://iamtraffic.org/

      http://iamtraffic.org/news-views/i-have-a-dream-for-the-future-of-bicycle-transportation/

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I concur. I could ride a bike to work – 3.3 miles. It’d take longer, but there’s a sidewalk I could use for about 90% of the way, with rarely any people on it. But I’d be hot and sweaty and look like a mess. Not really suitable for being in the office all day. If I were a member of the gym at work I could just get up and shower when I got here (and lug all my bathroom items each day) – but then I’ve added a 25 minute bike ride, a half hour of getting ready for work, and a gym membership fee onto my time BEFORE work each day. It’s just not worth it.

  • avatar
    LBJs Love Child

    Thank you, Jack. You took the words out of my mouth.

    -recovering and retired urban planner

  • avatar
    tedward

    Ahhh, the good old days. The only thing missing is a drunken visit to her comment section and/or facebook profile to deposit some kind words of wisdom. I swear if “getting Jacked” wasn’t already a thing I would try to verb it in your honor.

    I really do miss that stuff, if you feel like indulging don’t forget to print screen and publish!

    As to the subject matter…it’s amazing how little time it takes for a NYC resident to develop these particular blinders. I know people who have grown up in car country only to sound like this woman after just a few years of subway cars and overpriced gin drinks.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Much ado about nothing much in Jack’s piece. But he’s an alchemist, turning a banal (and maybe slightly tone-deaf) piece by a reasonably decent health writer into an altogether wonderfully entertaining screed. I want him at any party I’m having. Bottom line, though, is that long commutes suck and take a large toll on the people doing them, not to mention their families. I sense that some younger people are thinking that the suburban patch of green comes with its own considerable costs. To call that thinking “anti-car” is silly. But as a car lover, I believe that something is indeed changing.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    One thing that keeps coming to mind when I hear about the one percent is that they are one in a hundred. Hardly rare. Also, the term is really, really misleading. I would like to see an actual number on what percent are at one time or another part of the one percent. I think my wife and I might have been in the top three percent once back when.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      The most trustworthy number I’ve seen bandied about is that the top 1% of household income starts at about $380,000 nationally. (In my metro area, that figure’s apparently closer to $580,000.)

      Personally, I’m constantly annoyed by the conflation of wealth and income. Come on, Occupiers — is it really too much to ask that you vilify people by the same metric you wish to use to punish them?

  • avatar

    I know quite a few people,young and old, including my Y-gen son, who live in San Francisco exactly for the same reason – to be close to city attractions and live in community. And still they commute hour if not more in a one direction to work everyday. I asked my son why he is willing to suffer commute instead of renting apartment close to the work to ride the bicycle. He told me that he likes the excitement of living in the big city. I lived in the big city and can understand. When you are young the most boring place to live is in suburbia.

  • avatar
    CGHill

    Here’s the bottom line for yours truly:

    There are bus stops one block from my house and literally right in front of my workplace.

    And it takes one hour and 25 minutes to go 10.7 miles, which I can drive on a good day in 19 minutes flat.

    2:50 versus 0:38. Two bus fares plus transfer ($3.50) versus a gallon of premium ($3.299). Add a few cents for the cost of insurance. (The car is 13 years old, so depreciation is a nonfactor.) The bus only wins if my time is worth nothing — and if it’s worth nothing, why should I even go to work?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Excellent analysis.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfinator

      Putting politics aside, I think this is a much bigger factor than anything else for many people. And often completely unaccounted for by mass transit proponents.

      Where I live (Portland OR Metro area), there are reasonable mass transit options, including a combination of trains and buses. But the system overall is slow. Very slow. Taking the MAX across town is a 2 hour proposition, whereas the drive is a quarter of that off rush hour.

      Transit advocates like to go on about how “oh, but you can read a book on the train!” That’s true to a degree, but what if I don’t HAVE time to sit around reading a book? What if I have kids at home and a million todos I have to get to?

      For many people, every minute of the day counts. If driving cuts your commute time in half, it’s often a no-brainer.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That’s true also in reverse.

        I have a bus that takes me from close to my home to 1 block away from my office. Because of a special bus-only set of freeway ramps, it’s significantly faster than driving in both directions during rush hour. So using it is very natural.

        I’m fully aware this is a pretty exceptional situation.

        • 0 avatar
          CGHill

          It’s not typical, perhaps, but if there’s that big an advantage to it, you might as well take it and be happy. My own situation may not be all that typical: there aren’t too many metro areas over a million population where you can cover more than 10 miles in less than 20 minutes during the afternoon rush.

          Which may be the whole point: one size does not fit all, and never will.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Wolfinator
        I have to agree. I can walk to work in 35-45 minutes depending on weather, bike is 15-20 +5-10 minutes putting in in the “bike cage” and locking it up and donning/doffing safety gear and work clothes.. Driving is 6-8 minutes plus 2 minutes to park.
        I can’t take my kids to school in the opposite direction without a car. The school bus is 40-50 minutes for them even though it is an 8 minute drive for me. My wife works 12hr shifts so my kids get a late supper when I get home.
        In a perfect world or for many a self propelled commute works, I don’t mind what others do as long as a self righteous smugness isn’t directed at me.

  • avatar
    Ralph ShpoilShport

    Wow.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Jack, with all due respect, your rant is long on ad hominem and short on meaningful analysis. Are you auditioning for a gig at Car & Driver? What a load.

  • avatar
    deanst

    All is right with the world – new York times employs crazy little old lady to attack cars, wall street journal employs crazy little old lady to attack bicycles (Dorothy Rabinowitz – google the video – its hilarious!).

    In the interest of full disclosure, my ID here is short for “dean street”, a street I once lived on in Brooklyn – but not in any of the million dollar brownstones.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    I swore this story was going to end up with a good shagging in a 3-story walk up.

  • avatar
    jetcal1

    Well darn, you mean there jet engine repair and aerospace jobs around the corner and I can walk/cycle?

  • avatar
    prattworks

    I tend to agree that commuting by car is quickly becoming inefficient and ineffective. While I don’t believe we all have the ability to arrange our lives in such a way to replicate the squishy poshness of Ms. Brody’s lifestyle, we can be strategic in where we live, work and play. It’s about doing the math on the cost of owning, maintaining, insuring and fueling a piece of hardware that is costly, depreciating and carbon-intensive. Does it makes sense to live within walking/biking/public transit distance to where you work, perhaps trading some square-footage of living space for not having a commuter car? Does it make sense to buy something on credit that depreciates and requires collision insurance? My ideal state would be to walk/bike to work, and have a car that allows me to travel, relatively unimpeded, to places other than the heart of the city or to and from a job. Loving cars doesn’t mean being predisposed to waste, inefficiency and idleness.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I agree 100%. The only reason I don’t live right downtown is my car hobby. I gave up a lot of convenience for a 3400sq/ft garage – I had a great downtown apartment prior. Then I got a work at home job which takes most of the pain out of it. But I would still rather have an apartment or condo downtown. I can afford one, but there just aren’t any with 6-car garages.

      Even when I did commute, I had a short one by current standards, 20 minutes or less normally, no traffic issues particularly. And it STILL sucked.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      If you are single or DINKs this makes sense; the no cares freedom of urban living with public transit to shuttle you around is very appealing.

      Throw in kids and some middle age and things change…

      The crappy urban schools probably won’t work if you care about your kids getting a decent education. Having a yard for you and yours to relax in begins to sound better than a 4’x8′ concrete deck on the side of a building. Lower crime is nice when you own stuff that people want to steal. Having middle class neighbors with middle class values starts to become very appealing (the diversity of the homeless, drug addicted, mentally ill, urban poor begins to wear on most peoples nerves).

      Plus, not all jobs are in a “downtown;” most are in the suburbs and beyond. That almost always requires a car.

      Throw in the commuting requirements of modern child raising which means slogging kids from activity to activity, and that requires a car.

      Cars provide the freedom to escape from urban problems and expand opportunities if you and your family are so inclined…and most people do exactly that. There is a reason the suburbs are still growing while city populations are shrinking.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I disagree with the whole premise of the NYT article that commuting per se is bad. My expereience with both public transportation and private transportation (cars) is that the private mode is far superior provided that your commute is not more than 15-20 minutes.
    As I learned the hard way, long commutes are brain sucking chores. IMHO, but given the realities of the post mordern western economies, one of the few ways to beat the system is geo-arbitrage; living in a low cost area and working in a high wage area. Long comkmutes are a necessary by product of this startegy.
    The tech implosion of 2000-2001 put me recluctantly in the geo-arb vortex. All I could do was to suck it up with the knowledge that the substantial amounts of cash I can use to fund my retirement is the payoff. Car pooling has proved to be a boom to my situation. I have been doing it since 2004 and can say that it really beats driving alone. The only alternative that I would consider better would be to have my own company paid driver. I have a better change of getting hit by a meteor than that happening

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Can’t telecommute? That is way better than a driver. But it takes enlightened management, something most companies sorely lack. Has become VERY common in my area though, pretty much all the big companies do it here.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    “hot house flower” – don’t know that I’ve heard that one before. seems hinky.
    “What the actual fuck” – i know I’ve not heard that one before, but plan on putting it into hard service at my next meeting, which will be with state employees. Thank you kindly, sir.

    That being said, I also find it somewhat humorous that the vitriol towards Brooklyn comes from someone who looks like they’d fit right in walking down Bedford absently shopping for vintage headphones from street vendors while escorting the obligatory underfed girlfriend in ripped stockings and a knit hat fresh-bought from Etsy.

    It’s also the first of Jack’s rants I wholeheartedly agree with, and take no exception to the venom. good read (For whatever that’s worth)

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Nice. I especially like the conclusion. Sometimes I think that revolution is inevitable. The one percent should probable stop hiding money to avoid taxes. The welfare state may be the only thing that keeps the proletariat at bay. I really dont know anything about the author of that “piece”, but I suspect she has always been 1%, because someone who has had to work in their life would not put such excrement to paper with a straight face and self rightious tone.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    My life would be pretty empty without a commute. Driving my car is always more interesting than wherever I’m going.

  • avatar
    lodasi

    Just a little nitpicking: you listed three major highways. But the Chicago Loop is actually the elevated train loop that runs through downtown Chicago as part of the CTA “L” system. It would have been more accurate to mention the Kennedy (I-90 & I-90/94) or the Eisenhower (I-290) or the Stevenson (I-55) or the Dan Ryan (I-90/94 but south of downtown).

  • avatar
    mvlbr

    Jack you are my heroe. I wish people here in California would stand up to all these Whole Foods shopping Tesla driving tree hugging 1 percenters who control my beloved state. They forget that California is where the car culture flourished the most. Most fast food joints were created here along with the drive thru. So damn all these anti car people and their stupid ideas.

  • avatar
    cdrmike

    And, by the way, using all that glorious mass transit to get to work from the burbs ain’t cheap either. $300-400 a month for the privilege of riding the stinking, uncomfortable, late running, mismanaged Metro where I live. Another limousine liberal, trying to make sure we live right.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Here in Oklahoma, mass-transit is spotty, things are spread out, and you just don’t get most places without a motorized vehicle of some sort. My commute takes an hour to an hour and a half of my time round-trip, but that time would be tripled if I had to walk or even bicycle places. Could I be a little calmer while driving through rush-hour traffic and perhaps better preserve my health and sanity? Well, yes, but “losing hours a day”?

    Please…

  • avatar
    BigOlds

    Jack,

    I love the rant and agree on all counts. I would caution that you should be careful that you don’t stray too far into the BS zone. I wonder if editorial power also corrupts… I kid mostly, probably since I tend to agree with your stand on things.

    Anyway, what I really wanted to point out is that you just took the click bait. Remember, WE are not her target audience. Her target audience is upper class, wealthy, educated white urbanites (NYT, ferchrissake) and those who are wannabe same. You know, the type who name their kids Tristan and Ethan, and who drink soy lattes, and will only shop at whole foods with the reuseable bag proclaiming their moral superiority to the world. Contempt for them, I got.

    If I had to guess, this site is upper middle class, educated, white suburbanites who loathe Walmart but will shop there when it is the only thing open, drink whatever coffee is convenient (Dunkin, Starbucks, local gas station; regular coffee with cream and sugar), and buy their food at Shaws/Food Lion/wherever.

    I am generalizing on both counts, of course, but the second group clearly has the moral superiority.

    • 0 avatar
      Stumpaster

      How do you pay for Starbucks coffee and claim moral upper middle class superiority at the same time? Are you the guy who drives a 5000 lbs SUV to get that Starbucks? Come on, I know you are.

      • 0 avatar
        BigOlds

        Nah, I go one better. I use my 67 Olds, burning at 10mpg through no cats to pick up my coffee. I do haul a lot of air in my pickup, however.

        And one of us needs to recalibrate his sarcasm meter… I’m just not sure whether it’s you or I.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    It really feels like people only read Jack’s interpretation of the article.

    Anyway, are we going to disregard the next study coming out of MIT because they have a smug PHD, thinking they know better than us?! Academic elites!

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    DAMN, I wish I had access to a stage like yours, Jack. I could whip out dems rants aalll daaay long.

    But if you think this woman is a contemptous New Yorker, I got one better for you! Visualize this this morning. Before 8 a.m. the green line downtown subway rolls into the station. You know, the one that rolls through all of the UES that needs another line desperately. I see a big gap in the car – obviously people should move because there a crowd at the doors trying to get downtown. They can’t. There is a woman with a Prada backback, albeit ripped one, and a bicycle. A foldable bicycle at that. Of course it’s not even folded. And of course it has a pink bottle in the bottle holder and some lame socialist newspaper bungeed to the rack.

    Take that!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I rather like my commute. It gives me some quiet time each day to enjoy my car, it’s fatures and my favorite stations on satellite radio.

    It’s not a grueling commute, I’m never in gridlock. Mostly 50mph back roads, and maybe only 10 minutes of freeway. I would definitely waste more of my day biking to work than driving. Moving closer to work isn’t something I’m interested in doing as it took me a long time to find my ideal acreage in the country.

    It’s great that this lady and her super-human family can enjoy the serenity of a big city on their bicycles, but it ain’t for me. No thanks.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Jack,

    Fantastic. Suggestions:

    Step 1: Tone down article (slightly).

    Step 2: Submit to NYT “Letters to the Editor”.

    Seriously.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, Jack, the NYT is, as the military says, a “target-rich environment.” I am one of those privileged people. I actually live in a house in Northwest DC, near the Washington Cathedral. If I drive to work, it takes 10 minutes; if I take transit, it takes 20. I could bike to work: it’s all downhill from where I live; but I’m not fond of the idea of riding home in the dark, and it would be all uphill coming home.

    Here’s the deal for Ms. Brody. The reason she and her ilk live in such an urban paradise is that, generations ago, progressive legislators began limiting the occupancy of the townhomes and apartments in NY. As white-collar employment grew in Manhattan, those who owned the townhomes and apartments grew wealthy because the proximity to work of their residences grew more valuable.

    Ms. Brody and others act like people commute by choice. Most of them don’t. They commute because they can’t afford the cost of living in Manhattan or Park Slope. The only way for New York to transform itself into Ms. Brody’s vision of an urban utopia would be to remove the occupancy limits and allow people to cram themselves into what used to be called the “tenements” which are now called “brownstones.”

    As it is, “affordable” apartments in Manhattan and the tonier parts of Brooklyn are laughably small. A 27-foot Airstream travel trailer is palatial by comparison.

    Final, factual point: according to Joel Kotkin who is an academic demographer, the “new Urbanism” is a myth. Except in a few places (like Cambridge, New York, and DC) population growth is happening in the suburbs, not the cities.

  • avatar
    dts187

    I read her entire piece. It sounds like it’s coming from a clueless person who has lived one way their entire life and thinks everybody should emulate them. I’ve met many who share this attitude and will treat the author of this piece the same way as I’ve treated many before. I will respectfully listen to what they have to say and go on with my life.

    The USA is a big, diverse place. I live in a rural area. Significant population areas are typically an hour drive away. To us, a significant population is 8000-10,000. There is no cost-effective and efficient way to provide mass transit. Walking or riding a bicycle simply isn’t feasible. Some who haven’t experienced this lifestyle simply can’t or refuse to understand it.

    For what it’s worth, I used to live in Columbus, Ohio. I could bike/walk to the office and I did nearly every single day I was working out of that location. When I’d fly to other locations, I’d take the bus to the airport. I had any kind of food or shopping I wanted within walking distance. It was possible. It was convenient. It was cheaper. I embraced the lifestyle. That doesn’t mean it is going to work everywhere.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    This has been a fun thread.

    Thanks, Jane and Jack!

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I’ll never forget my first city bus trip. With a friend, I took a short, 4 mile road to a local mall. The bus got us there in about 10 minutes with two stops. This is great, I thought. Then it was time for the return bus home. Same route; however this time I was on the back end of the bus’s two hour loop, the loop that ended in the 10 minute trip that I took earlier. The way back took an hour and 50 minutes. I could have walked faster.

  • avatar
    Les

    Mrs. Hepburn: We don’t care about money here.
    Howard Hughes: That’s because you have it.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    I guess you can always take the subway. Or not:

    http://nypost.com/2013/10/27/subways-overrun-with-homeless-as-panhandling-busts-down/

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Reading this a bit more it just irks me to hear someone who’s involved with urban planning to completely gloss over some of the bigger time wasters that you’ll find on s standard commute.

    Other drivers and congestion, but what drives this congestion are the poorly thought out roads that we must all endure with numerous stores that’re too far to walk to.

    Must we lay only one road to travel to local mega shopping centers like K-Mart or Target? Must we constantly build new strip malls before filling the existing areas? Must we try to cram as many stores per a square inch into one area?

    My snarky comment earlier aside I do appreciate the dissection Jack, todays urban planners know diddly squat about designing road layouts.

  • avatar
    CAMeyer

    I, too, found Brody’s column offensive. In fact, in the comments section, I wrote, “I actually found this column offensive.” I added, “I wonder if Ms Brody offers advice to her cleaning lady on the virtues of having a personal trainer.”

    I read Brody’s column only after seeing Jack’s rather emotional post. It’s the first time I’ve looked at it at any length in years, even though I get the Times delivered daily. The column, which has been in the paper forever and is syndicated to umpteen hundred other papers nationwide, generally covers the same old information about the same old topics in an insufferably smug and preachy tone. Her piece this week is over the top with self congratulation. I don’t know how her Times editors deal with it; they must be waiting for her to die. As a former resident of Park Slope–very nice neighborhood, though difficult to park–I had to laugh at her boast about bicycling to do shopping. Most of the supermarkets and stores are within five to ten short blocks of her home. Also, I don’t know how her Aryan son and his family get around, I can tell you that most people take the subway to work, not a recumbent bicycle or something, and the trip to midtown takes a good half hour, when there are no delays.
    I’ll certainly agree that a long commute can be bad for one’s health, though I don’t know why Brody treats this as a revelation. Let me point another risk factor: anger and hostility. I hope Jack’s Ed Anger act (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Anger) is just that. If he thinks big brother and an elderly health columnist are coming to take his car away, he needs to read an article on stress management!

  • avatar
    MattPete

    Meh.

    My wife are technically part of the intellerati. We both have PhDs. To varying degrees, we work for the MIC. We live in Oakton, VA, outside of DC (Oakton is a very heavily wooded island of parkland).

    We both have ZERO desire to ever work, or live, in a big city. As it turns out, our jobs are in the DC suburbs, but we’d be happy to work in the KC, Austin, Denver, Indy suburbs if given the chance (and the houses would be 1/3rd the cost). We have no desire to live in a densely-packed rat-warren. We live in the *close* suburbs because of the commute times (we enjoy the deer and fox frolicking in our backyards), but we’d be more than happy to move to the aforementioned cities because of the cost of living. Further commutes, such as Loudon county, are a bit too far (we both work right at the beltway).

    Commuting-by-bike? Pshaw! That’s for city-living-utopians! I want none of that (unless it include a pitstop at Free State Brewery, for a “Bicyclist ale”).

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Awesome, Jack! Laughed my arse off, especially “doddering around her castle”. Yes, the 1% just don’t get it, do they? PS: just retired after 28 years in a union job- now working at Walmart- so every word you speak rings true, as I slave away in the Walton family purgatory!

  • avatar
    doublechili

    The ironic thing is that the suburban sprawl lambasted by the “we know better than you” crowd is the result of “we know better than you” urban planners way back when. If they had just let development occur organically, it would have continued to be more mixed use, denser, and less stratified – all the things they pine for now. The problem with elites is not that they actually are elite, it’s that they think they are and that the rest of us need them.

    The NYT article here is an annoying pinata, and Jack took some entertaining swings at it. I enjoyed the candy. But the effort to separate us from our cars has been going on for decades now. If/when it eventually happens, it will be because we accept mass-transit in the guise of self-driving cars. Not because we’re convinced by some silly, out of touch lady who makes the mistake of being so annoying in a supposedly persuasive piece that she probably alienated people that agree with her basic premise.

  • avatar
    96E36M3

    Loved it. Keep this kind of thing coming. It’s sharp, pointed, vitriolic, and funny. And it offers an insightful counterpoint.


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