Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Return of The Piddler

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...

About everything.

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.

And why?

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.


mw said...

I Couldn't agree with Brooks more. I've been blogging for over four years, arguing regularly with both the left and right over that time and I am continually astounded at their complete failure to understand the depth of the metacognition deficit they suffer. I wondered if I might be similarly afflicted?

To find out, I recently spent several hours in quiet meditation specifically to ponder the weakness in my own thinking and what I should do to compensate. After several hours of reflection and deep introspective analysis I had an epiphany - there was no weakness in my thinking. No one was more surprised than me to learn this, but I admit - it was a relief to understand that I am in fact - right.

Since then, I've decided to dedicate myself to helping others to understand the depth of their metacognition deficit by explaining clearly and forcefully exactly how wrong they are.

Roket said...

My favorite:

But, in general, the culture places less emphasis on the need to struggle against one’s own mental feebleness. Today’s culture is better in most ways, but in this way it is worse.

Shorter DFB: I yearn for the good old days when people knew their place in society. And where's that damn shoeshine boy? *snap* *snap*

Bustednuckles said...

After all these years Drifty, I have to ask.
Why do you bother with this pussy motherfucker?

It doesn't matter how he scrambles the eggs for his milque toast and oat meal of a column, it is the same
shit sandwich every fucking time.

Let me let you in on a secret,
I have never,I mean never ever, read one of his columns.
Do you know why?
Because it is a fart in a hurricane.
I could give a rat fuck what that wimpy fucking weasel thinks,or says.
The same goes for all the other bobble heads that drive you crazy.
I could give a fuck what passes for information coming out of the Mouse circus because it is all class warfare propaganda and it has no impact on my life.
I don't live in their bubble and it is like watching a piss poorly written Soap Opera.
Tune in next week so you can see what happened last week until the last thirty seconds and then tune in again next week, ad infinitum.

The shit never changes.

Fuck Bobo, give yourself a break. His schtick has been old for years.

You are too good of a man to be wasting time on that genital wart.
Although, I do have to say, you do one hell of a job of farting right back at him.
If he ever read all the shit you have written about him he would tuck his tail between his legs and go begging for a job at some right wing think tank no one has ever heard of.

deering said...

Hey, drift!

For a psychological view of Brooks' behavior, check out:


Sounds about right to me...:)

deering said...

I can't speak for driftglass, but I suspect the reason he follows Brooks is because men like the latter are extremely dangerous. Their hollowness and weakness are their strength--in sounding reasonable and moderate they constantly shift the center to a dangerous extreme. It's not the flashy dictators you have to watch so much--it's the empty men like Brooks who make them sound reasonable and sane.

Serving Patriot said...

@deering, not only "empty men" but willing (sometimes gleeful) co-conspirators.

Perhaps one day, the rabble they've built and unleashed will come for them? Tarring & feathering might be too good for some.


chautauqua said...

What Busted said. Plus, Our Miss Brooks was really not so bad, for its time.

Rehctaw said...

Ostensibly to Busted:

Yeah, and you live in a Weasel Den off the beaten track where you will never encounter Brooksians in their natural, yet superior, habitat.

It's a DENSITY issue you can't begin to appreciate.

In short, David Fucking Brooks is a cheap tool. ---I know you understand those. With every breath he takes, every word he rakes, he's buggering YOU.

Unfortunately, this cheap tool is hooked up to and into the New York Fucking Times which also puts him "in demand" for the pundit panels.
His duty is to make crazy sound reasonable. He does this by LYING.

Nice work if you can get it, but we can't afford it. So every time Drifty takes him apart, he's less put together. Every Fucking TIME.

Mel said...

Wait, DG, is it possible the Email-er mentioned in your Aug 13 broadcast is Brooks himself? I recall you recommended a fearless moral inventory to that person too.

Batocchio said...

I understand where Busted is coming from, but it's what Deering said – Brooks is genuinely destructive. Plus, depending on what circles you move in, or the political savvy of your friends and family, you run into either folks like Bobo all the time, or folks who think he's really sensible. And that can be absolutely fucking maddening, just like any piece by McArdle or Richard Cohen or David Broder or... Ask not for whom the Bobo toils; he toils for thee.

I actually popped over here because I was hoping DG would cover this one, which I first saw mocked over at Sadly, No, where I commented: And now that David fucking Brooks has written that column, I'm sure he'll finally, unflinchingly, cover the Bush regime's horrific torture program.

driftglass said...

I don't say it nearly often enough, but I have absolutely the best commenters anywhere. Imagine if this is what the exchanges sounded like on Sunday morning on every network?

Batocchio said...

I forgot to give kudos for the lovely literary leaping there in the post itself... so kudos. (There's a Bradbury celebration out here in LA, so that's especially timely.) It ain't incidental, either, because a central point in most DG posts on Brooks is that Bobo is a fairly smart guy, well-read and traveled.... He's seen some of the beauty of the world, and has a wonderful gig, yet has consciously chosen to serve more powerful, evil men instead.

deering said...

Thanks, guys!

1) It's amazing how Hitler had _so_ many enablers who were like Brooks.

2)Dr. Alice Miller, who studies the mindset of child abusers and how that can propagate itself through its victims, pretty much has Brooks nailed in the above link. I'd give a million to have been a fly on the wall during his childhood--musta been ugly. :P

3) And the excellent James Wolcott noted that MAD MEN's recent storyline about the hero's daughter Sally shows this mindset in action--and how "moderate" wingers like Brooks, Dreher, and Douthat would love to bring that shit back.


deering said...

"Perhaps one day, the rabble they've built and unleashed will come for them? Tarring & feathering might be too good for some."

Shoot, as much damage as these scumbags have done, I'd almost be in favor of elephant-crushing...


...if I weren't the mild-mannered sweetie I am, now...;)

Interrobang said...

What's especially infuriating to me (in particular) about this one is that it's a very cryptically-stated version of that same old canard about how suffering is good for you (for values of "you" not equivalent to "members of the ruling class") because it builds "character" or some such hogwash. Speaking as a handicapped person whose normal existence includes pain that would have Bobo snivelling in the corner like a terrified little boy who's been raised by a father heavily into the cult of machismo, this kind of crap reads to me like the same sort of crap we usually hear -- those of us lesser mortals who don't happen to be millionaires or richer should be grateful for our adversity, because it makes us somehow morally superior in a vague undefined way the rich are never particularly eager to experience -- which is also a damn good attempt at making sure the peons don't storm your gated community one moonless night and decide to stick your head on one of the gate's decorative wrought-iron spikes. Shit all over that noise.

Taking that particular twisted argument and then inisisting that we peons outside of the Sensible Centre ought to somehow summon the strength of imaginary character to do the sort of self-examination he assumes would perforce cause us to admit (despite the pain) how wrong we are is especially perverse, and is also the sort of triple axel of emotional blackmail.

cheaptalker said...

The italicized sentence at the end of Paul Krugman's columns will be missed. David Brooks is off today. Doesn't that just make you smile?

If you can find out his hat size, I might be able to talk my wife into sewing the embroidered silk pillow for Mr. Brooks.