Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“All Cruelty Springs...



...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 clich├ęs 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.

9 comments:

Earl said...

I skipped the column due to the double entendre in the Times email:

Would you exchange a professional triumph for a personal blow?

With the title of the column mentioning Sandra, it wasn't too much of a stretch for me. Thanks for reaffirming my choice...

Yes, I have a streak of adolescence going...or a long, long dry spell.

StringonaStick said...

Bobo says more than just "let them eat cake", he'd also like the great unwashed them to believe that if they did something award-worthy that their spouses would then be forced to cheat on them. Stay down people, it's really for the best...

Rev.Paperboy said...

Simply no tread left on Ole Bobo's tires, is there?

darkblack said...

'Nonetheless, if you had to take more than three seconds to think about this question, you are absolutely crazy.'

And thus Brooks reveals the stark binary resting at the core of his column, and perhaps his entire ouevre - either he's jotting off his creative typing based on the sort of sober reflection one gives to a booger on a fingernail...Or he's a barking loon.

;>)

Tengrain said...

Bobo has analyzed the situation from A to B and back again, and concludes that he is correct.

How can any of us mere mortals even begin to fathom how hard he works?

Regards,

Tengrain

Anonymous said...

Actually, DG, your book report metaphor nails it: BoBo has been mailing this in for 2 decades or more. (cf. Suzan, op cit ).

A cretin is a cretin, Harvard or no..., and I will assert (NB- "assert" should have been in full capitals to get o'really's? attention...). The Ivie's should be worried: ,they're the one's who are feeding the idiocy. Lugubrious is not salubrious...

HI!(gh), Suzan & BG...

satch said...

You can see this take everywhere... spokescreature David Haysbert for Allstate blatting on about how in tough times, Americans are rediscovering the joys of simplicity, or the joy of Stouffer's pizza, or macaroni and cheese, shared among friends who are also unemployed. Jesus, if corporate messaging had been this sophisticated in the thirties, we could have learned of the happiness of sharing a potato boiled over a flaming can of Sterno in an alley with our fellow hobos. Brooks really is a fathead, but he's not alone in this particular attempt to create nobility in suffering.

Interrobang said...

You missed something, drifty -- married men are generally happier than other people; single women are happier than married women. Which really shows up what a mean-spirited misogynist bastard Bobo is -- apparently women only exist to do what they're told, and/or make men happy, and it's totally unrealistic for a woman to expect to be able to "have it all," read, have what a man has as a matter of course.

deering said...

Given that the NYT is a notorious hotbed of snobbery/only-the-well-connected-need-apply-to-work-here, I have come to the conclusion that Brooks is given an insane amount of slack because his wife is an heiress. That would also explain why he loves to claim feminism as one of the Four Horsemen Of The 60's Apocalypse--nothing like a wife who can "buy and sell" you to make an insecure man a passive-aggressive scumbag in print.