Did Vogue Publish the Year’s Most Offensive Article About Brooklyn?

Those floors. Those floors!
  • Francois Halard
  • Those floors. Those floors!

Not too long ago, Vogue paid a visit to the stunning—really, it’s difficult to look at the pictures without going into a state of envious shock—home in which Miranda Brooks and Bastien Halard live with their two daughters and some bunnies. Vogue does this type of home-pornography spread quite often and, because it’s Vogue it always features the homes and lives of the very rich and very beautiful. Or, you know, the wife of the Syrian dictator. But so anyway, this particular profile has engendered a lot of rage on the Internet, to the point where it seems kind of excessive. I mean, is all this hatred warranted? Is the Brooks-Halard family really the worst family ever to live in Brooklyn? Should we collectively drive them back to Manhattan, chasing them over the bridge with pitchforks and flaming torches?

Well, obviously not, no. That would be ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the Vogue article itself, which is pretty ridiculous. Basically, Miranda Brooks and Bastien Halard are a young, good-looking, very wealthy couple who live a charmed life, and they happen to live it in a “four-story Neo-Grec Boerum Hill brownstone. ” Is Halard quoted in the article as saying, “We’re going to Brooklyn, so let’s just pretend we’re moving to the country?” Yes, he is and, yes, that is an obtuse and stupid thing to say, especially when the part of Brooklyn that they live in is pretty similar to Manhattan and is, as the Vogue writer points out, situated by “the dense Jenga towers of the Gowanus Houses across the street and the hurtling F train two blocks away.” It’s a pretty special wordsmith who will unironically compare one of the largest public housing projects in the country to a children’s game, but that’s the kind of writer that they hire at Vogue, I guess. It probably also doesn’t hurt that this writer is Chloe Malle, daughter of Candace Bergen and Louis Malle, but I’m sure that didn’t, you know, help or anything. It just probably didn’t hurt.

So, yes. It’s a somewhat irritating feature to read, especially for those of us who live in Brooklyn and do not own a brownstone with a carriage house out back. But is it really, at this point in time, that much of a surprise that some people in Brooklyn live extremely privileged lives that bear almost no resemblance to most people’s daily existence? It shouldn’t be. And Vogue kind of exists to showcase this privilege, it is a company that focuses on the elite. That doesn’t make Miranda Brooks and Bastien Halard monsters, they are living the life that they know. I mean, if there is one thing that is really eye roll-inducing about the article, it is that the family seems to treat their home as an oasis amid the “urban bustle” of Brooklyn, “rarely ventur[ing] out except for daily runs to the girls’ French primary school, one subway stop away, and summer trips to Van Leeuwen for chocolate and Earl Grey Tea ice cream.” This is so antithetical to what city life is—no matter if you’re in Brooklyn or Manhattan—that it seems absurd that the Brooks-Halard clan would choose to live in New York at all. Why live in a place if you’re not going to be a part of it? But ridiculous as that is, it’s not a reason to condemn these people as if they are single-handedly responsible for every depressing element of the current economy. Maybe, this time, there’s not much point in being mad. And, really, I’m someone who likes to be mad. Maybe this time it’s better just to look at the pictures of the flawlessly decorated house and the immaculately dressed children and the pretty, pretty garden, and just enjoy the beautiful orgy of design. And figure out your own way to recreate some of it. For much, much less money.

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