« Previous | Main | Next »

August 10, 2014


The New York Times published this amazing essay by a woman named Pamela Druckerman, who used to live in Miami (she now lives in Paris) and came back to visit for a couple of weeks, then wrote about it. Here's one of the amazing paragraphs:

Most locals also don’t seem bothered that Miami is one of America’s most unequal cities, with lots of very poor people living close to rich ones. Miami’s have-nots are easy to ignore, since — if they’re not cleaning your house or parking your car — you just drive past them.

Isn't that amazing? She's here two weeks and she knows how "most locals" feel about income inequality! I've lived here almost thirty years, and I'd never claim to know that. Probably because I'm not a thinker. I'm referring to this sentence from Ms. Druckerman's essay:

And while there are some thinkers scattered around town, Miami is overrun with lawyers, jewelry designers and personal trainers, all trying to sell services to one another.

That's right: She knows who Miami's thinkers are -- all of them, apparently -- and also knows where they are! "Scattered around town."

I wish the Times had printed a map, so I could go see them.

This is from her final paragraph:

There was a lot of pleasure in Miami, but not enough surprising interactions and ideas. Miami may one day be the city for normal-looking people with semi-intellectual aspirations and a mild social conscience. But it’s not there yet.

So she's saying we have a chance! Not to be New York or Paris, of course, but some day -- if we have a few more "surprising interactions and ideas" thanks to enlightened visitors who deign to visit us -- we might develop semi-intellectual aspirations! And a "mild" social conscience!

I don't know what we would do down here without the New York Times.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Wait. Rich people living alongside and blithely ignoring poor people? Isn't that NYC? Did the NYT write an endlessly obvious series about this very topic in a shameless bid for a Pulitzer last year? Maybe that was a different NYT.

Thank you, so much, Dave for writing this reaction/rebuttal to that insufferable article. Wish I could express myself as well as you can.

Hey Dave - I found out along time ago what I'd do without the Times.

And I still do.

She should try growing up in Kentucky. "You wear shoes!? Wonderful!!" "But where do you keep the mule you ride to town?"
Should anyone tell her the rumors we've heard about the French?

And they wonder why newspaper readership is declining

People who want to feel superior to everyone else write articles for the New York Times, to be read by others who also want to feel superior to others, but not too superior.

I just don't know what I'd do without the New York Times.

Oh yeah, I remember. I'm doing it now. Great post, Dave.

Maybe if you revive the RBRs, Dave, you could rename it Semi-Intellectual Aspirations. That would be cool. Maybe then you'd get some jewelry designers and personal trainers who make up the bulk of Miami's population (apparently) to come see you.

Incidentally, I must admit I do read the Sunday NY Times.

I skipped Ms. Druckerman's essay, however.

Geez Dave, getting a bit testy, are we?

Take note of the "about the author" blurb at the bottom of the article (yes, I somehow made it all the way through): Pamela Druckerman is a contributing opinion writer and the author of “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.”

If she's discovered French parenting, that obviously means she's already surrendered to...something.

Wasn't it NYC that had the "poor doors"? These were doors sanctioned by Bloomberg so the poor wouldn't go through the same apartment entrance doors as the not poor, iykwim. When I read an article such as this which makes sweeping generalizatons about people in a certain area, I just assume the author is either ignorant or too lazy to actually go out and talk to the people face to face. It's so much easier to just make stuff up.
Dave, you should write and ask her where she keeps her Pulitzer Prize. When she says she doesn't have one, offer to send her a picture of yours.

Dip shit in a cute, arrogant sort of way.

The NYT is a weird paper. It takes a liberal view on domestic issues, yet its fashion, style, and wedding pages glorify the upper class (especially NYC elite). Probably the worst dreck it publishes are the stories in the wedding section on how people met. And Dave has hit the nail on the head -- its writers often ruminate on subjects about which they know little.

Fortunately, there was not mention of the "thongs" . We would be in real trouble.
Always refreshing to hear from you, Dave! Hope all is well


New York Times hires ex-Miami 'thinker' now French socialite column writer. Ms. Druckerman's credentials include playing six Bingo cards at the same time as a valuable social skill.

Bravo, Dave! I suppose Ms Druckerman didn't read an article this week that the New York squeegee men are back harassing motorists and Paris continues to endure its strikes and Muslim riots. We've all got problems, so Miz Druck, how's about you take care of yours and we'll worry about ours.

She lives in Paris and is raising her brat like the French do?

That says it all for me.


You poke fun at Miami on a regular basis, but your underlying love for your city always comes through. Then comes this particularly snotty missive originating from someone who now lives at the epicenter of world snottiness, via the NYT, which is, let's face it, occasionally perceived as one of our nation's foremost conduits of, um, snot (sorry, I live in the West). Way to stand up for the home team, Dave!

Every burg on earth has its issues. More people results in more problems, so all great cities have their challenges. It's just so much more fun to point out the flaws in others, rather than address our own. We modern humans find it much more convenient – and far less stress-inducing – to blame external factors for our own personal social failures.

There's a place for everyone, and hopefully Ms. Druckerman has found hers. At least for the time being. Or until enough people in Paris piss her off and she seeks her next geographic solution. I'm inclined to think that if France was truly her socio-economic Valhalla – if she were now the picture of enlightenment and self-awareness – she would feel absolutely no need to heap unhelpful criticism and unearned superiority on others. But she did feel the need, so... you know...

Hell hath no fury like a snotty ex-pat scorned.

Dave - Perhaps it is time for you to take a trip to Paris so you can write an article for the MH on what is lacking with Parisians.

Don't forget to set a personal record time for running through the Louvre, be sure to get your ticket stamped by the official Louvre timekeeper.

Paging Mr. Lileks, Mr James Lileks.

Well I'm glad "Ms." Druckerman has dispelled once and for all the cliches about how rude and arrogant Parisians can be.

So Dave! You would like for me to have a small chat with zee woman who wrote this article non?

I'm going to go out back, smoke a Gauloise and ignore the dinner guests. Care to join me ?

Thanks for reading it so we didn't have to.


It takes a liberal view on domestic issues, yet its fashion, style, and wedding pages glorify the upper class (especially NYC elite).

That reminds me: I was wondering why today's weddings included two guys (NTTAWWT, of course) who are Swedish and got married in Stockholm.

Am I missing something? Is it not official unless it's in the Times?

Dave... The last time (1987) the Times pulled this nonsense, you responded masterfully, armed only with with a generous expense account, a photographer, several taxis, and a rental helicopter.

But here comes another Big Apple Snot...obviously a recessive trait stimulated by exposure to escargots.

For a low-budget (i.e., 'free') response, I think you and the blog are doing extremely well...although I really liked the helicopter.

I know how much this woman's preaching is going to piss me off, so not going to read. She has too many First World problems. Made the mistake of reading her drivel once before.

Miami is so unequal? Its wealth and its opportunities are a beacon to immigrants(excuse me, "have nots") who show up with nothing but a desire for a better life. And they find it in Miami, USA. Thank you for slapping her down Dave.

I really don't know why y'all are so bent out of shape by that NYTimes piece. Didn't you see that the writer is an expatriate? Who lives in Paris! With her husband, who is also a writer! And her copy is as smooth as State Road 84! And she didn't engage in merit-less generalizations at all! And she's not a bit self-absorbed and/or self-satisfied!

So she's discovered "the wisdom of French parenting." I'm sure that her offspring will turn out to be down-to-earth and not snotty at all.

Something about all this reminds me that I ran out of toilet paper. Can't exactly put my finger on it...

You all should come viist California! SoCal is more Hollywierd than anyone really cares to admit.

A friend of mine once asked me "Why do you live in the armpit of the United States?"

Now I finally know the answer. Because it is still better than France!

Love the fact that Ms Druckerman is happy to pour scorn on Miami for all its failings - so, so many, in her view - and yet lives in Paris. That would be the capital of one of the most racist and anti-semitic countries in Europe. Nice, Ms D; real nice.

Racism, of course.

Half of Miami's population are Hispanic, including one of my Colombian born sons. They work for a living and so were too busy to hang out with the elites so they don't count.

Ditto what Alix said. The NYT has printed a condescending lecture in part about income inequality and ignoring the "have-not's" by a woman who has chosen to live in - oui oui, chi chi - Paris! You couldn't make this up!

Great job dissecting her column, Dave.

One request. Can we get further clarification from the author and the NYT about "thinkers" and thinking? Do they believe that uninformed, lecture-y observations from 30,000 feet constitutes "thinking"?

The amount of income inequality between PARIS and some poor guy living on two dollars a day in some sh*thole third world country is about the same as the amount of income inequality between MIAMI and that same person.

So she doesn't object to POOR PEOPLE per se, she is just horrified that there are poor people 'living close to rich ones'. WITHIN DRIVING DISTANCE of each other. Quelle Horreur. She should take a drive out to the banlieues of Paris. Plenty bad as anywhere in Miami, but not part of the city proper, and so, not statistically relevant for measuring 'inequality'. What a hypocrite. Or a fool. Hard to tell which.

Well, bless her heart.

I expect Pam drives right past the poor people in NYC or gay Paree just as easily as she does the ones in Miami.

Although given how far she's got her nose stuck in the air, I can't see how she can even see passers-by, much less gauge their social status.

Or even see where the hell she's going, for that matter. Unless she has a chauffeur, which only makes her screed even funnier.

And while there are some thinkers scattered around town, Miami is overrun with lawyers, jewelry designers and personal trainers, all trying to sell services to one another.

Yowser! This is breathtaking stuff. Wass fuer eine Geshnobkin! And you can get this stuff delivered right to your home. Provided you subscribe (what a concept) to the NYT. Maybe she has a point with lawyers, though.

She should take a drive out to the banlieues of Paris.

And have her car torched by the "disaffected youths"? Non!


Outside the borough of Manhattan, her book Bringing Up Bébé was met with almost universal derision, as I recall.

I'm willing to bet Pam flies first class.

Also, I guess it would be better if all those poor people would please move to Orlando or something and stop causing Pam such guilt as she goes from hotel suite to restaurant to beach.

Typical Yurp Derp. Purports to be an America Expert based on a two week visit to Disney, Vegas and/or Times Square (for shahpping). Is stunned, stunned I tells ya, by the lack of intellectuals.

I went to Paris and did not meet any intellectuals. I also did not see any intellectuals out the window nor did I drive by any lying in the street. I do strongly suspect one attempted to pick my pocket. Pure amateur hour stuff, of course. I killed the creature with my deadly weapon (genetically modified intellect). Ergo, intellectuals do not exist in Paris. Nor, probably, in all of France. Nor, most likely, on the entire continent. Because anecdotal evidence.

Dear Pam "Thinker" Druckerman,
Come visit San Francisco. You CANNOT ignore the have-nots. (It's against the law. Also, they pee on you.)

the New York Times... written BY sneering, self-anointed elitists FOR sneering, self-anointed elitists.

She was looking for a "surprising interaction?" I guess she was expecting someone to shoot at her.

Heh. The NY Times.

They keep sending me an offer to subscribe.
Comes with a self addressed envelope with return postage paid by the Times.
I think I'll tape a brick to the next one with a note saying 'You Deserve a brick today.'
Let them pay for for the postage.

Anyone else in?

Dave's too classy to call this woman a sanctimonious tw-t.

But I'm not.

Two words for the writer: Calias, France, where you
should really live, Ms. Know-It-All.

Other than the precarious traffic, I found Miami to
be very intellectual, friendly, and kind people.

I suspect she garnered her "Insights" at Miami
International, and they could tell she was a

PS With such insightful and cutting edge report?s like
that one, shouldn't they be solving or brokering peace
in the Gaza conflict? They should not sit on their or
anyone's laurels...

So, come on Dave, 'fess up. You made up the alleged quotes from Ms. Druckerman, right?

See, I'd recognize your style anywhere. Humor through caricature!

I hope!

And here I was thinking that Pauline Kael had died, but I guess she just changed her name.

I look forward to the bankruptcy of the NYT.

Kev noted from the article, ' Pamela Druckerman is a contributing opinion writer and the author of “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.” '

Oh, GOOD GRIEF!!! She had to go to France to learn parenting that she could've learned from her own parents or grandparents if she wasn't such a hugely arrogant snob. And her column is conclusive evidence she still is a hugely arrogant snob.

One suggests that Ms. Druckerman avoid the banlieues. Not welcome there.

How come, Pam, if Miami is sooo inferior, is it populated with so many ex-pat New Yorkers. Surely that would raise their mythical cultural IQ.

Probably feeds the kid Gerber pureed escargot and sauvignon blanc formula.

God help us if she visits my former stomping ground Detroit.

Hey... Thanks New York Times for the money I made shorting your stock from '04 to '09

> I don't know what we would do down here without the New York Times.

My take it that not enough Miami residents lined up to kiss her butt and she's now graciously extending the invitation.

what's rich? she paid for her trip with that essay (French for "try" and is "nice try"

How very odd that the NYT allows no comments to the silly little twerp's article.

On the other hand, she's a hot piece of business, and as all men know, the rule is, hot chicks rule, no matter how goddam stupid they are.

I looove her....

She's from Paris, huh? Paris Arkansas, Paris California, Paris Idaho, Paris Illinois, Paris Kentucky, Paris Maine, Paris Michigan, Paris Mississippi, Paris Missouri, Paris New York, Paris Ohio, Paris Pennsylvania, Paris Tennessee, Paris Texas, or Paris Virginia?

Maybe Paris, France, which is most likely due to the hoity toity tone.

If it is France, she should drive around her own home town and check out the haves and have nots. Her have nots are likely to be just a wee tad bit more violent than ours. But she is one of our betters so we must listen to her and learn.

Sure. Of course I will. How do you say "Pound sand" in French?

According to Babelfish, the French equivalent of "pound sand" is "livre de sable." Probably loses something in translation, alas.

When dealing with such arrogant jackholes as New York Times writers, I myself personally prefer something along the lines of the fine old Russian approbation "Yob tvoyu maht."


It has a chance if her and her 'scattered equals' leave Earth.

"Miami is overrun with lawyers, jewelry designers and personal trainers, all trying to sell services to one another."

Paris, of course, has none of those people. All the lawyers, jewelry designers, and personal trainers were rounded up and executed years ago. Can't have them breathing the same air as thinkers like Pamela Druckerman.

My Texan kids would get the la merde kicked out of them for the

Well, somebody would try, anyway.
And Fred needs new glasses.

She should try visiting the ring of neighborhoods surrounding Paris; filled with budding intellectual youths of undetermined origin chomping at the bit to exchange their views on social consciousness while burning her car.

"Most locals also don’t seem bothered that Miami is one of America’s most unequal cities, with lots of very poor people living close to rich ones."

Of course it would be better if the poor people lived out of sight of the rich people. The rich are too far above us and shouldn't have to look at poor people.


On a sidenote, I can't help but wonder if these problems are all due to LeBron leaving. She could have mentioned we still have Bosh!

Pamela Baise(s) Up. A Little.

Some of us non-thinkers have to use Google Translate.

Many years back Mad magazine showed how great the NY Times is, especially the Sunday edition.
No other publication, they pointed out, has nearly as much volume of paper for paper training a puppy.

Dave: "I don't know what we would do down here without the New York Times."

Here's an idea: you could buy toilet paper like the rest of us.

I admit it. I am a fan of the NY Times. NTTAWWT. I also recognize that the NY Post gets more stories right on the first printing.

Before they started charging for their forums, I was in a discussion with one of their reporters on an imprecision (nice word for an error) in his reporting, an error that the misidentified organization was trying to correct.

The reporter's response was that all Baptists are the same. My response was "So the NY Times, NY Post, Washington Post and Washington Times are all the same thing?" He failed to see the irony.

I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

I had a druckerman once but I had to get rid of it because it bit people.

I saw the Semi-Intellectual Aspirations warming up for Phish last summer. Meh.


'I wish the Times had printed a map, so I could go see them.'

dave - check the bottom of the bird cage - they may have 'printed a map' for you ;}

The writer failed to mention that she did or did not miss the nightly auto burnings in Paris. Writing of income inequality as a resident of Paris involves people in glass houses throwing stones. Regarding income inequality, the cure for the problem is an individual effort. Ambition, drive, resiliency, a plan, a dedicated effort, and then some luck. Luck, of course being defined as, the intersection where preparation meets opportunity.

Dave, you forgot Paris Ontario.

He forgot me too!

Boy, is everyone hereabouts in a foul temper, even the estimable, ever-witty Dave Barry.

This was not a fly-by dissing. Druckerman is a third-generation Miamian.

And on her recent return she found lots to like, and did conclude, for what it's worth: "I’m a third-generation Miamian. I’m fond of it. I’m an expatriate, so it’s the only American city I can still legitimately claim. Many of its faults — especially its inordinate interest in shopping — are my own too. And it’s obvious why people like it here."


"And while there are some thinkers scattered around town, Miami is overrun with lawyers, jewelry designers and personal trainers, all trying to sell services to one another."

Wonder why no mention of plastic surgeons? They're everywhere - or is that Boca? Or would that be too personal?

Anyone from Paris can claim to be a third-generation Miamian, I guess. Maybe she was trying to write a humor column, Dave? You should critique her jokes and show her where she missed.

I do not know much about NYC so I had never heard of "poor doors" until I saw nursecindy's mention of it. So in certain parts of NY, people are required to use separate facilities based on their social status? Hmm. Sounds a lot like a policy we used to have in the South. I was under the impression that Jim Crow was dead. Nope. He's alive and well and living large in New York City.

The reason Paris and many other European cities do not have the huge income equality issues that most U.S. cities do is that they never allowed poor people in in the first place. While many American cities have faltered as a result of "white flight," Parisians dug in their heals and made the working class and immigrants live in the suburbs. Here, suburbs consist of mcmansions and manicured lawns; there, many of them resemble what we would call "the projects."

Al's got a good response to those Druckermanesque NYTers too: http://youtu.be/bwvlbJ0h35A

check out http://www.mcwasteservices.com

I am a cuban that practically grew up and lived in Miami untill several years ago when I moved to another state.

What is so bizarre about this article? I go to Miami every year to visit my family and many of my friends and see the same. It is a very, materialistic city in which most people care more about vanity and money/power than anything else including family.

It is mostly accurate no matter how much miamians dislike to read about it.

Miami? New York? They Both suck. Everybody knows D.C. is the epicenter of pure unadulterated POWER. Stick it blingified suntanners and snotified Yanqui Weenies. We have the Washington Monument- and with THAT we have our way with you in a very UN safe sex way.
PS- If we want your ideas, comments, or opinions we'll send missives or simply legislate it out of you.
The only people who have EVER really mattered
PPS: Paris? Really? It doesn't even make the pissoff list.

And don't forget Dave Barry, we're all related to SOMEONE working just down the street at the NSA.

Daniel Buck,
But it was a fly-by dissing. Miami: It's a nice place to shop and work out but don't expect any deep thinking, not like in Paris where I, International Intellectual Pamela Druckerman, reside. It's faux elitist perception reinforcement and it's annoying and faux and shallow and, well, thoughtless.

Hmm... she is the one that in 2010 published a long story in Marie-Claire about the MFF threesome she arranged as a 40th-birthday gift to her husband.


Jeez, could you be any more passive-aggressive?

Apparently "Dan" and I are among the few that actually read the article in the Times. Dave Barry must skimmed it and didn't grasp the fact that the writer grew up in Miami as did her parents and grandparents. This was hardly "fly-by". She comes here most summers with her children for them to see their grandparents.

Learn to read for comprehension, Dave B.

first of all, anyone who lives in paris (she does) thinks the rest of the world's cities are shitholes

second, anyone who has left miami for good will nod in agreement with her points about materialism/consumption

third her smug and condescending attitude are a product of the miami that she tries to distance herself from

fourth, she is just another poseur who claims to hate miami when in fact she loves it. anyone who visits miami for weeks in the summer, its most
unpleasant season, like she does clearly loves the place

finally, her ivy league degrees and time spent in cities full of intellectualism did nothing for her critical thinking skills, as this vapid piece of prose makes her sound
like a classist asshole

pam should stay in paris. miami has enough people full of themselves.

What she forgot to mention is that much of Miami, both poor and rich alike, share the passion for fishing, and that her article, along with the rest of that horrid paper, makes for an excellent pinfish or mullet wrapper.

If I had come from Paris to Miami and couldn't write anything more interesting/informative than that, I'd have been unable to submit it for publication anywhere. Too snotty, y'know? Starts noplace, goes nowhere. Just drop it, my inner editor would tell myself, or start over with more thought and effort-- but only if I really needed to write off the travel costs at tax time. Would the NYT print it? Why not? You ever read the stuff its WDC bureau writes?

'witz -- is that you, Arnie?

Mary Browning and Other Friends of Pam,
The amount of time that Pam the Intellectual spends in Miami is not relevant. Why do you not grasp that? Were you not reading for comprehension? Her analysis of the city is trite, shallow and smug regardless of how much time she has spent there.

Mary, Daniel and other apologists for this article: I read every word critically, thanks, being the stupendous intellectual that I am.

And the article is both superficial and supercilious. She is a vacationer, not a resident, regardless of where she lived when she was 12.

What effort has she made to have adult conversations? Does she hang out with any of the local writers? Does she know the local bookstores, even? Aware of the existence of the Arsht Center? of UM and FIU? Apparently not much. And now we know that even Mr. Language Person is not in her contacts list. Guess who needs to grow up?

She's fascinated by good weather, plastic surgery and shopping, and so when she leaves her dingy Paris apartment, that's what she comes looking for in Miami. Just like lots of other tourists.

And they used to call us ugly Americans! Hey, anybody seen my personal trainer? Dang -well, I'll just mosey on outside should be another one along any second.

1 2 »

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise