Today we learn about exurbia & the Marx Brothers


Today David Brooks of the New York Times writes about exurbia, the anthropological concept embraced by George W. Bush and his puppet master, Karl Rove.

Exurbia is the result of urban decentralization, a phenomenon whereby populations shift past existing suburbs into new exurbs, the faceless sprawl of subdivisions named for the physical features obliterated by their builders, tracts of strip malls, evangelical churches big enough to host the Super Bowl, pitilessly standardized chain restaurants and look-alike office parks.

According to Brooks, if there is any underlying philosophical basis for exurbia, it is a conscious rejection of all things urban. He describes them as “conservative but utopian,” and places where an entirely different conversation is taking place, one ignored by mainstream politicians but seized upon by Rove and like-minded strategists.

Contemplating this, I stumbled upon an article that referenced sociological research on the topic of brand loyalty. To simplify, the theory is that in a time of the post-neighborhood, where people live places but not in communities, brand loyalty takes the place of the neighborhood and the community. In other words, your neighbors are those folks anywhere in the country who follow NASCAR, are devoted to Craftsman Shop-Vacs or subscribe to Jerry Falwell.

Brand-loyal exurbians – can they be something other than Philistines? If so, I’m interested. If not, they’re simply a canvas that doesn’t interest me, and since I’m not a Democrat and care not one jot for the travail of one major political party in a two-party system to which I object in very fundamental terms, I’m under no obligation to make peace with the exurbian evangelical etceteras that are so resentful of being looked down upon by people like me.

Brooks is here: