What's So Wrong with Brunch?
Who knew brunch — that seemingly innocuous meal that ambivalently straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, that daytime gathering opportunity for those who stay out late and sleep in on weekends, that blood-sugar boon for those enamored of eggs Benedict and fancy frittatas, Bloody Marys and mimosas — could spark such controversy?
“Brunch Is for Jerks,” The New York Times declared on Friday (just before the weekend’s brunch-eating commenced), in a headline atop an opinion piece in which writer David Shaftel declares that he’s “through with brunch” and gripes that the hybrid meal has “spread like a virus from Sunday to Saturday” and “jumped the midafternoon boundary.”
The simmering “brunch backlash,” Shaftel observes, broke through to the mainstream after Strokes front man Julian Casablancas blamed brunch (and those who eat it on Saturdays) for his departure from New York City for parts less urban.
Oh, ho, ho, Shaftel, a former brunch admirer who traces his conversion to hitting 40 and having a kid, has some choice words for brunch. He calls it “a twice-weekly symbol of our culture’s increasing desire to reject adulthood” by throwing three-meal-a-day convention to the wind and “reveling in the naughtiness of waking up late, having cocktails at breakfast and eggs all day.” It is, he says, “the mealtime equivalent of a Jeff Koons sculpture.”
Brunch is actually “worse than adolescent,” Shaftel sniffs. “It is an adolescent’s idea of how adults spend their time.”
Man, brunch is toast, eh? Beaten to a pulp. Poor breakfast-lunch combo probably never even saw it coming …
Still, brunch’s defenders, feeling the burn, have come out swinging on its behalf:
“Guess what, New York Times? You're wrong,” Zap2It insists defiantly. “Brunch is awesome, and brunch is for everyone.”
“Brunch is here to stay, and that’s because it’s awesome,” Bustle argues.
“Shaftel is wrong: Brunch is delicious and fun,” asserts PandoDaily.
Other sites took nastier shots — at Shaftel, at old people, at parents — that might not go over so easy in some corners.
“One of the more horrifying elements of aging, for a person whose identity has historically revolved around youthful coolness, is coming to terms with the fact that there are always going to be people younger and more carefree than you are …,” Jezebel sneers. “And because they are doing exactly what you did when you were their age, you will be tempted to lash out and call them childish. But you are not their age. You are 40. You have a baby. It's their turn.”
And then there’s this, from Mediaite: “It’s not that brunch is so bad. It’s that Shaftel is now a parent,” the site contends. “And like all parents, he now resents the freedom others have. The freedom to participate in the brunch that he once loved. Maybe Shaftel can find a babysitter so that he may rekindle his lost happiness. Though, most of them probably already have brunch plans.”
Aw, come on, people. Brunch haters, brunch lovers — can’t we all just get together and settle this calmly? Perhaps over mimosas and French toast?