As the old Stealer’s Wheel tune goes, there are clowns to the left and jokers to the right.
But in the case of “moderate conservative” New York Times columnist David Brooks, many would argue that both terms apply since he tries to present himself as “stuck in the middle” between both major political parties – but usually comes out of it looking like a discarded Kleenex.
That said, “clowns” in my opinion would be the most fitting this week thanks to a tweet he posted that went viral for all the wrong reasons.
Apparently, Brooks was either headed off somewhere or returning home from a trip Wednesday, which put him in Newark Liberty International Airport for a time. Like many people who travel, Brooks was hungry and stopped for a bite to eat at an airport restaurant.
As even casual travelers know, it’s usually not cheap to dine at the airport (not even when times are good), but the price is for the most part doable as long as you don’t add alcohol to the tab.
Except that is exactly what David Brooks did. And then he tweeted about how his $78 “meal” was “why Americans think the economy is terrible”:
This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible. pic.twitter.com/1qeV9qOBL3
— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) September 21, 2023
As one might suspect, not all was as it seemed with Brooks’ claim:
The post landed 16 million views, as online food court judges demanded to know if the drink was whiskey, which might explain the hefty tab.
Commenters tried to hunt down where Brooks’ burger came from, with several guessing 1911 Smoke House BBQ, a Trenton, New Jersey, steakhouse that has a location at Newark’s Terminal A.
As of this writing, the tweet has over 25 million views and it continues climbing.
A cheeseburger and fries at 1911 Smoke House BBQ costs roughly $18:
I’m pretty sure this is intended as a joke, given the obvious whiskey. The menu says the hamburger costs $17. https://t.co/4yy6Skf1nd pic.twitter.com/jStG0zyZsp
— Robᵉʳᵗ Graham 𝕏 (@ErrataRob) September 21, 2023
The restaurant’s owner, Maurice Hallett, speculated on what likely made Brooks’ tab so high in comments made to the New York Post:
Hallett guessed that in order to reach a $78 tab, Brooks would have had to have “two doubles.”
He said a double whiskey costs between $28 and $29.
The numbers add up to roughly the cost of what Brooks says he paid. $28×2 plus $18 for the burger and fries is $74.
While many people would agree that the economy under Joe Biden is indeed terrible, I’m fairly certain that a wildly out-of-touch New York Times columnist enjoying a couple of expensive doubles and having to pay big for it in more ways than one later on doesn’t factor into their assessments in the least.
On Facebook, the restaurant was unsparing towards Brooks.
“Looks like someone was knocking back some serious drinks,” they wrote. “Bar tab was almost 80% and he’s complaining about the cost of his meal – keep drinking buddy – we get paid off everything.”
Inject into my veins, y’all. Inject, inject!
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