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Do You Know Your Italian Meats?

Prosciutto and other meat imported from Italy are seen at a delicatessen in Arlington, Va.
Prosciutto and other meat imported from Italy are seen at a delicatessen in Arlington, Va.
Do You Know Your Italian Meats?
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This is What’s Trending Today.

David Brooks writes opinion pieces for the New York Times newspaper.

His pieces often deal with politics, human relationships and education. They appear in the paper’s op-ed page, across from the editorials.

In one recent column, Brooks wrote about what happens to young people when they leave school and are faced with life’s long-term decisions.

The New York Times columnist David Brooks.
The New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Another article suggested it is too easy to break promises today. People will make plans two or three days before a big event, he wrote. Then when the time comes, they have no trouble sending a text message saying they changed their minds.

But no recent David Brooks op-ed piece received as much attention as the one published on Tuesday. It was called “How We Are Ruining America.”

Brooks was the number one trending topic on Twitter Tuesday.

His article deals with education. He says wealthier people in the United States, mostly those with a college education, do everything they can to make sure their children become wealthy and well-educated.

He notes: “As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.”

All that is fine, he argues. But there is a problem when wealthy and intelligent people actively work to make sure other people do not reach the same level of success.

Brooks notes there are physical barriers, like good schools only being within wealthy communities. But there are also social barriers that keep some people from improving their lives.

Brooks discovered one example of this kind of social barrier when meeting with a friend who did not finish college. They went to an Italian sandwich store for a meal. Brooks said his friend felt uneasy with the choice of foods. She did not know about two specially-made kinds of meat: soppressata and capicollo.

Brooks said he and his friend went to a Mexican restaurant instead.

Brooks said when places like the sandwich shop become popular, it keeps people with limited cultural experiences from moving into the upper-middle class.

An Italian cyclist eats a sandwich after the final stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2013.
An Italian cyclist eats a sandwich after the final stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2013.

His column provoked many comments on social media.

One person said he did not need a college education to know about lunch meat.

Another said he has an advanced degree from a university and still had to look up the meaning of capicollo.

Liza Sweeney wrote that Brooks’ friend must have thought paying $15 for a ham sandwich was absurd.

And Jessica Blankenship decided the main thing she learned from the op-ed piece was that Brooks is not a good friend.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Do you know about Italian meats? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

column – n. a newspaper or magazine story that is written by a particular writer

provoke – v. to make (something) happen

absurd – n. extremely foolish, or unreasonable

editorial n. a report with the opinions of the publishers of a newspaper

kidn. a child

sandwichn. two or more pieces of bread having a filling in between