Asks Ron Rosenbaum in (a mediocre) Slate article.
At the very least, Fish’s column showcases what happens when certain academics descend from the ivory tower to offer us their special insights on popular culture.
Not that Fish would cop to living in a tower. The professor took great pains to demonstrate that he is not one of those academics who mingle among the commoners for a mere 20 minutes or so before pronouncing on their baffling customs.
It seems that professor Fish is a real man of the people who has been getting his coffee served to him amidst the regular folk for years, at the kind of place where you could order your coffee and cheese Danish, and “twenty seconds later, tops, they arrived, just as you were settling into the sports page.”
You can tell he’s a down-to-the-earth guy, not some pointy-headed intellectual, because he uses phrases like “twenty seconds later, tops” and reads “the sports page.”
But our professor seems to think he has encountered a brand-new cultural phenomenon: coffee places that are disturbingly different from the lunch counters of yesteryear.
Well, I did a little Googling, and it turns out he’s right! There are hosts of these coffee chain stores, including one with the improbable name Starbucks, infiltrating our cities. I don’t understand why the Times’ cutting-edge “Styles” section hasn’t done something on this before. Wake up and smell the coffee, “Styles” section editors!
Article in question, by Stanley Fish is here.