The Bobo

It’s hard to miss them: The epitome of casual ‘geek chic’ and organised within the warranty of their Palm Pilots, they sip labour-intensive café lattes, chat on sleek cellphones and ponder the road to enlightenment. In the USA they worry about the environment as they drive their gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles to emporiums of haute design to buy a $50 titanium spatula; they think about their tech stocks as they explore speciality shops for Tibetan artefacts in Everest-worthy hiking boots. They think nothing of laying out $5 for a wheatgrass muff, much less $500 for some alternative rejuvenation at the day-spa – but don’t talk about raising their taxes.  They are ‘bourgeois bohemians’ – or ‘Bobos’ – and they’re the new ‘enlightened Liberal Leftist élite’ of the information age, their lucratively busy lives a seeming synthesis of comfort and conscience, corporate success and creative rebellion. Well-educated thirty-to-fortysomethings, they have forged a new social ethos from a logic-defying fusion of 1960s counter-culture and 1980s entrepreneurial materialism.

So proclaims David Brooks, the American journalist and self-avowed ‘Bobo’, who coined the phrase to describe the new cultural and corporate hegemony of his cosmopolitan, computer-savvy contemporaries, many of whom will no doubt recognise themselves in Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There .

‘These Bobos define our age. They are the new establishment. Their hybrid culture is the atmosphere we all breathe,’ Brooks declares in his ‘comic sociology’ of Bobo manners and mores. ‘Their status codes now govern social life.’ A phenomenon in step with the hard-driving digital utopianism promised by the internet and its money-spinning ‘new economy’, not to mention the ‘Third Way’ politics of Clinton , Obama and Blair, the Bobos have seized upon an ingenious way to sell without selling out – or so they tell themselves.
Combining the free-spirited, artistic rebelliousness of the bohemian beatnik or hippie with the worldly ambitions of their bourgeois corporate forefathers, the Bobo is a comfortable contortion of caring capitalism. They read the Guardian and write for the Observer. They smoke Dope and inhale Cocaine. They love abortion but hate Brexit and loathe Trump. Where do you find them? Well the so-called BBC is a hotbed of Bobos, profoundly antagonistic to Lower Class “populism”…And of all the Bobos, they are the worst of all…

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