22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Draws heavily on work by other authors. But unattributed., 9 Feb 2006
Remarkably similar to David Brooks's 2000 study, Bobos in Paradise -- The New Upper Class And How They Got There. In fact, a recent article in Ireland on Sunday went so far as to quesion whether McWilliams is the new copycat of the Celtic Tiger!
McWilliams writes of a new social class he calls HiCos, Hibernian Cosmopolitans disappointed that the social revolutions they supported in the 1970s, '80s and '90s led to mass consumerism rather than radical political change.
The Bobos -- Bourgeois Bohemians -- (from Brooks's book) fret about the same things as the HiCos. Both are seeking new spiritual paths, rejecting Judaeo-Christian worship and looking instead for New Age solutions to fill the aching void that rampant materialism has corroded into their souls, and each is appalled by the vulgarity of the class below. For the Bobo, that is Patio Man; for the HiCo, it is DIY Declan, a citizen of Deckland, McWilliams's catch-all name for anonymous satellite towns where garden decking is the ultimate sign you have arrived.
DIY Declan sees Woodie's as his temple -- which makes him a very close cousin of Patio Man, who feels the same about Home Depot.
And they are aspirational in very similar ways. For Brooks, that means they crave monstrous refrigerators and 'slate shower stalls'; for McWilliams, it means they crave monstrous refrigerators and 'slate wet-rooms'
In leafy US suburbs, Brooks found that so many blue delivery bags containing the New York Times lay on suburban lawns that the bags were visible from outer space. McWilliams decides that, along with the Great Wall of China, Christmas decorations in Celbridge gardens are the only things that can be seen with the naked eye from space.
It goes on. For Brooks, lifestyle magazines like Conde Nast Traveler are the new pornography. For McWilliams, The Irish Times Thursday supplement is 'property porn'.
Both are amused by the language of recruitment advertising; by the way that we have all embraced artisan breads; by how we drink machiatos and lattes instead of just 'coffee'.
They offer new names for the bars we have raised on our own expectations -- Brooks has an Achieveatron, while McWilliams invents an Attainometer.
And both love the wedding announcement pages. Brooks talks of The New York Times, where 'a Duke MBA who works at NationsBank marries a Michigan law grad who works at Winston and Strawn'. McWilliams, in the Irish Times, finds that 'lawyer beds down with doctor, AIB marries Anglo-Irish' etc -- and both guffaw at the fact that the engagement announcements are known among the monied classes as the Mergers and Acquisitions Page.
The similarities in the two books are astounding. The only significant difference is that Brooks's book was published in 2000 while McWilliams published his book in 2005.