This is the week David Fucking Brooks returned to his labors after a revivifying sojourn far away from the hustle and rigor and bustle and grind of producing nearly 1,600 words a week on any subject of his choosing for the United States' newspaper of record.
Exactly where he went and what dragons and demons he slew along the way can never be known, for that is the nature of the Hero's Journey: it must needs be a solitary trek through a spiritual furnace from which the hero emerges either purified and girded for greatness...or a shambling wreck, warped beyond repair and fit only for guest appearances on "Fox and Friends". But as the leading Conservative Public Intellectual of Our Time, I can only assume he fled the agonizing bourgeois horrors of suburban life at the first opportunity to renew his soul by plunging jut-jaw-first back into a state of raw and savage nature, relying only on his finely honed Centrist sensibilities and credit cards to see him through.
Perhaps he went a'hunting T-Rex in some long ago place where he could slake his primal lusts and slaughter great beasts from a position of perfect safety?
Perhaps down to Innisfree he went, and nine bean rows did he have there?
Or perhaps, having unraveled the most subtle and perplexing cultural mysteries of his generation, he actually retired to Sussex to keep bees, only to be summoned back to service by some great and immediate crisis?
Where he went matters less than the fact that, following his monastic period of searing introspection, he has returned bearing an important message for us all.
So Attend! Attend! now, you yappy little Non-David-Brooks primates. Whatever you are doing at this moment -- looking for a job for the second year in a row, limping home after a long and terrible war, wondering how in the world you're going to keep a roof over your family's heads -- put your petty concerns aside and give Mr. Brook's words of wisdom the respectful and undivided attention they deserve, for your world is hollow, and he has touched the sky!
Mr. Brooks wants you to to know that, in politics...
both sides are equally wrong...
In equal measure...
All the time...
In equal measure...
All the time...
Of course, before actually arriving at the same bullshit Centrist lie that has been the conclusion of virtually every other David Fucking Brooks columns ever printed, Our Mister Brooks puts his readers on a little journey of their own.
The first 2/3 of his first column back from his Hero's Journey is very much like most every other David Brooks column: A long transcription of someone else's experience. In this case, he chooses the genuinely inspiring story of the novelist Fanny Burney, who underwent a terribly painful cancer surgery in 1811 and then wrote about it in stark and unflinching language.
So far, so good.
However, it will come as no surprise to any of this site's Gentle Readers that from his long, long running start, Bobo leaps like Tom Fucking Mix onto one of his favorite hobby horses -- the inherent superiority of the Mentally Tough Heroes of the Past to the Flabby Loser of the Present -- and rides it right over the graves of Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, Cato the Elder and several hundred other famous orators, social commentators and satirists from virtually every age of recorded human history who bemoaned and mocked the ignorance, laziness, dishonestly, deviousness, hypocrisy and various swinish habits of their contemporaries.
Perhaps one of you talented readers could needlepoint "O tempora! O mores!" on a silk ass pillow for Mr. Brooks to make his weekly gallops through the bogs of maudlin nostalgia a little more comfortable?
Shortly we arrive at our destination where, in a cloud of dust and dead flies, the moth-eaten curtain is once again swept dramatically aside and exactly the same Important Lesson which David Fucking Brooks has used his NYT column to sledgehammer home every single fucking week (except those weeks set aside for his Spiritual Voyages) is once again revealed (from today's iteration entitled "A Case of Mental Courage"):
...The ensuing mental flabbiness is most evident in politics. Many conservatives declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim because it feels so good to say so. Many liberals would never ask themselves why they were so wrong about the surge in Iraq while George Bush was so right. The question is too uncomfortable.
There’s a seller’s market in ideologies that gives people a chance to feel victimized. There’s a rigidity to political debate. Issues like tax cuts and the size of government, which should be shaped by circumstances (often it’s good to cut taxes; sometimes it’s necessary to raise them), are now treated as inflexible tests of tribal purity.
To use a fancy word, there’s a metacognition deficit. Very few in public life habitually step back and think about the weakness in their own thinking and what they should do to compensate.
And so at last we reach the false-equivalence razor that you will find in the apple of virtually every, single David Fucking Brooks column. And on this one -- this utterly despicable assertion that the wisdom of the surge in Iraq is exactly comparable to the Conservative racist fantasy du jour -- is such a buffoonishly inept Seven Layer Mendacity Salad that one could dine out on it for a week and still have enough leftovers for a Sunday picnic.
So let us step past the admittedly-tempting snarktacular possibilities of the fraudulent bait Mr. Brooks proffers, and move on to the cowardice of Conservatism's Master Baiter himself.
Let us note that, in a column devoted to the horrors of "confirmation bias", Mr. Brooks has again shown himself to the oozing-pustule-laden Patient Zero of the very disease he pretends to decry.
Let us step back and consider that for all of his many, many, many windy diatribes on the subject. anyone who has read more that a column or two of Mr. Brooks' excreta cannot help but notice the glaringly obvious fact that Bobo always, always, always exempts his own "metacognition deficit" -- his own Centrist Asymmetriphobia -- from exactly the sort of "searching and fearless moral inventory" he is forever exhorting others (read "Dirty Fucking Hippies") to undertake.
Having read Bobo for several years, it is obvious to me that he is simply far too cowardly and and far too economically dependent on maintaining his Centrism charade to ever seriously risk even the slightest nudge to the "Both sides do it" tent pole which props up his entire world.
And because it cannot survive even the slightest scrutiny, instead of subjecting it to the same rigorous testing that he insist is the mark of "Mental Courage", he builds a fence around his career-load-bearing sacred cow and guards it with the tireless ferocity of a pie-faced Cerberus.
"Fearless soul-searching for thee but not for me!" sermonizes America's leading Conservative public intellectual from his plush and permanent perch high atop America's newspaper of record.
I guess this is what happens when you spend your Hero's Journey pounding down gin and tonics at imaginary Applebees.
You may now all resume trying to glean a living from the rubble that David Fucking Brooks' Conservatism has made of America.