David Brooks Airport Meal Unleashes Torrent of Memes

1911 Smokehouse Barbecue in Newark immediately called out David Books for misrepresenting the price of his meal there. (meme by Valentina Di Liscia/Hyperallergic)

We’re all familiar with how expensive a sit-down meal at any airport can be, but who could possibly wrap their heads around spending $78 for a burger and fries? Well, New York Times columnist and moderate sociopolitical commentator David Brooks would have liked for us to believe that this was his experience when dining at the 1911 Smokehouse Barbecue in Newark International Airport as he lamented the state of America’s economy in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, but the restaurant chucked him on the grill with a searing fact-check about the alcoholic drinks he conveniently failed to account for.

David Brooks’s initial post on X (all screenshots Rhea Nayyar/Hyperallergic)

“Looks like someone was knocking back some serious drinks – Bar tab was almost 80% and he’s complaining about the cost of his meal 🤔,” the New Jersey-based restaurant shared on Facebook in response to an article covering Brooks’s falsified complaint. The smokehouse delivered one final blow in meme format by creating a flyer for a new “D Brooks Special,” consisting of a burger, fries, and a double shot of whiskey for $17.78 — a feast in the eyes of the internet, which didn’t skip a beat in calling out the columnist for his lie.

Many social media users, including New York Times Senior Investigative Editor Kurt Eichenwald, noted that the burger and fries were less than $20 at that particular dining spot, while one person pointed out that Brooks must have ordered three drinks minimum to get a number that high for the check. But the real field day was the memes that clowned on Brooks’s burger blunder:

It looks like everyone from the regular web user to “the best Bruce Springsteen blog on the Internets” has set aside Girl Dinner in favor of the $78 airport meal …

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Thanks, Biden … (screenshot via @BeaglesResist on X)

Me when I spent $50 on two Screwdrivers at JFK that one time we had to deplane from a flight to Seattle that was delayed for 5 hours …

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See, it’s Girl Dinner-coded but there’s growth here … (Screenshot via @HollyBriden on X)

What terminal is this available in?

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Straw(s) not included (screenshot via @IHateNYT (lol) on X)

Same story, different substance …

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At least it’s nutritious ?????????? (screenshot via @Etanetan23 on X)

Has the economy really always been this bad?

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I’m glad they set the record straight within the day otherwise I would have been confused. (screenshot via @blogness on X)

Some people had some sage advice to impart …

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Death by electric chair or social media suicide? (screenshot via @tweetfacts2me on X)
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Terrible economy or living beyond our means? (screenshot via @BettyBowers on X)

While others doubled down on the bit:

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No notes … (screenshot via @jayblackisfunny on X)
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They didn’t even include gas in the bill … (screenshot via @dieworkwear on X)

Naturally, Joyce Carol Oates couldn’t and wouldn’t stay out of it, either … And if you check her X account, she’s been keeping up with the “D Brooks Special” Discourse like it’s a sport.

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Brutal. (screenshot via @JoyceCarolOates on X)

But some people have come to Brooks’s defense on this one …

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The scourge of soppressata is no match for Brooks’s care for his friends. (screenshot @JessieLosch on X)

Jessie is of course referencing Brooks’s harrowing tale he shared in a 2017 op-ed in which he saved one of his friends without a college education from being confronted with Italian sandwiches and deli meats, taking her to eat Mexican food instead. This anecdote has proven to be very inspirational for the New York Times Pitchbot parody account on X, as evidenced below.

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And because we’re an art publication, Hyperallergic‘s Editor-in-Chief Hrag Vartanian and News Editor Valentina Di Liscia came through with the art history angle:

I would not, however, pay any money to eat any piece of shellfish from Osias Beert’s “Still Life with Various Vessels on a Table” (c. 1610) (meme courtesy Hrag Vartanian)
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All things considered, I’d pay $78 just to bite that really tasty-looking bread from Pieter Claesz’s “Breakfast Still Life” (1647) (meme courtesy Valentina Di Liscia)

… And as we continue to mob Brooks for this screw-up of epic proportions, the 1911 Smokehouse Barbecue is having the last laugh!

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The best revenge is turning slander into banter. (screenshot via Google Reviews)

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