...from hardheartedness and weakness” -- Seneca
David Brooks began his 821-word Tuesday column with a question:
Would you take that [an Academy Award in exchange for finding out your spouse is an adulterous asshole] as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?
Mr. Brooks concludes that 821-word column thusly:
Governments keep initiating policies they think will produce prosperity, only to get sacked, time and again, from their spiritual blind side.And at no point during the intervening 743 words does he in any way bother to connect his predicating question to his broad, dumb, government-indicting conclusion.
Bobo burns through most of those 743 words regurgitating a lot of common pop-culture wisdom which most people know -- married people are generally happier than unmarried people; a rising income usually only makes you happier if it comes though interesting, rewarding work; good neighbors are important, and so forth -- dawdles around a little whining that schools teach the wrong stuff and gummints study the wrong stuff...
…and then takes this Hella Great Leap which is in no way justified by the 743-word-long ramp up which he’d been rambling.
It’s not that this is a good or bad column; this threadbare lump cannot muster enough of a spark to justify either of those words, or any description that suggests passion or purpose. This is a wholly unnecessary and lazy column. Not something that clawed to get out of the writer’s pen -- something that fervor or perspective or history insisted come into existence -- but instead something tepid and puddingish. A loose bowel movement of syllables, basted together because it was Tuesday, and the contract says you owe 800 words.
A hurried, half-assed book report (Money’s OK, but sometimes not. Clubs are fun. Also too maybe people shouldn’t stress so much about stuff.) done about a novel barely skimmed, with a couple of creedal Conservative clichés bolted to the end.
And given that this particular column was hacked together in the lengthening shadows of the Republican Great Recession it is also a remarkably thoughtless and swinish piece of creative typing, written with the jarringly “flies to wanton boys” inflection of a smugly self-satisfied plantation owner observing how how happy and fulfilled his darkies look just a'sittin' on their porches and a'singin' their spirituals.
I mean, who but a carelessly cruel prick of the First Water would have the amazingly poor taste to crap out sentences like this --
“Most people vastly overestimate the extent to which more money would improve our lives.”-- at literally the exact moment when tens of millions of American men and women are watching their tomorrows being obliterated in a brutal tsunami of lost homes, lost jobs, lost savings, lost health care, lost retirement, lost marriages and lost futures.
And in the face of such widespread fear and pain, who but an utterly oblivious and insufferably privileged asshole would have dared to print such drivel in the New York Times, reminding us yet again that, as millions of hardworking citizens go broke, David Fucking Brooks -- for reasons that passeth all understanding -- continues to be inexplicably and lavishly remunerated, year after year, for cranking out what are essentially two, perfunctory, 800-word, C-minus high school book reports a week.