Friday, November 18, 2011

Predicting Mr. Brooks

Today's column by David Brooks is tagged "Europe's Crisis".


Now what could that crisis be?

And should I bother to read his column to find out?

Well, at 11:30 on Thursday night -- having just run up and down the state of Illinois and spent a couple of long days in the company masking tape and paint -- I'm pretty wiped out so I'll let you in on a little secret: eventually I'll probably read it, but for the moment I'll pass because that would be cheating.

Because after years of the same drab helpings of the same tepid Beltway consomme , my own little game -- a little game that keeps my colandering of Mr. Brooks' hidden razor blades and chicken bones out of his thin gruel mildly entertaining -- is a minimum information puzzle I set for myself: trying to suss out which hoary old lie the blabby old fraud will lard up his column with today based on nothing but its headline, and what I know about its author.

My own carnival mentalist act. What can I say; it keeps me amused.

For the convenience of you the reader I'll number them as I go and then score them based on quotes from the actual column as I read it.


  1. It has to be a moral crisis, right? Because every-fucking-thing in Mr. Brooks' Conservative universe is a moral crisis caused by the breakdown of some set of Traditional Values.

  2. And it goes without saying that has to be Serious. And since it's Europe, it's almost certainly the Serious Economic Crisis.

  3. However, since these days Paul Krugman seems to bury his foot in Mr. Brooks' ass up to his femur every time Mr. Brooks tries to flog his pseudo-intellectual Conservative economic snake oil in the New York Times, the real real problem will have to be about something else. Something squishily subjective like "culture", or at least David Brooks impression of European culture that is in some way also a moral crisis.

  4. The specifics of the squishily subjective moral-failure-with-economic-consequences also has to be sufficiently unverifiable that we'll just have to take Mr. Brooks insider word for it.

  5. And because after he crushes it into his narrow, ideological Procrustean Bed, every David Brooks Moral Crisis must come with a turgidly predictable Aesopian ending by which some tragic and irremediable flaw in the human condition is illuminated by foolish Liberals learning a Valueable Lesson, I'll just bet you this squishily-subjective-moral-failure-with-economic-consequences was caused by some well-intentioned smarty-pants European Liberal clique or class decided they knew best and tried to force human nature out of its natural shape.

  6. Finally, bonus points will be awarded for some unfavorable comparison between the Great Murrican Heartland Values and the crappier European Values over which foolish Liberals foolishly tripped.

Flash forward seven hours...

So, it's Friday morning bright and early and the kids are out the door, lets read Mr. Brooks' efforts and see how I did.

1. It's a moral crisis,Batman!
At this moment of crisis, it is obvious how little moral solidarity undergirds the European pseudostate.
2. And a Serious one at that.
The mess threatens to bring down the European project and European economies. It threatens to send the world into another global recession.
3. But screw economics; this is all about Culture...
The nations of Europe have been running different kinds of economies and different kinds of democracies, reflecting their diverse histories, values and cultures. If you jam diverse economic cultures into a single currency, you’re bound to get an explosion.
4. ..which I am qualified to comment upon because of my unique Insider Knowledge of what those wacky Euro-elites are really thinking:
"Off the record, Europe’s technocrats would say the most blatantly condescending things: History had taught them that Europe’s peoples were not to be trusted and government should be run from the top by people like themselves."

5. The Conservative Lesson, delivered with the subtly of a 2x4 to the head.

"But the real problems emerge from the technocratic mind-set, from the arrogant gray men who believe they can engineer society, oblivious to history, language, culture, values and place."


"In the short term, the European Central Bank, the stable European nations and even the U.S. will have to take extremely big and painful action to stabilize the situation. But, after that, it’ll be a time for chastening. It’ll be time to discard the technocratic mind-set that created this inherently flawed architecture and build a Europe that reflects the organic realities of those diverse societies."
Silly Eurocrats: everyone knows that the only Elites who can be trusted to run the word world are those that have been hand-picked by David Brooks!

And, for extra credit...

6. Relative American Awesomeness.
Americans in Oregon are barely aware when their tax dollars go to Americans in Arizona. We are one people with one shared destiny. West Germans were willing to pay enormous subsidies to build the former East Germany. They, too, are one people.

But that shared identity doesn’t exist between Germans and Greeks, or even between French and Germans...
So six for six. But then again, as my former students found out, if I know you really did the homework, I can be a pretty Liberal grader.

Also, just for my own information Mr. Brooks, I would like to know what powerful narcotics you were abusing when you asserted Americans are generally "barely aware" of where their tax dollars go based on "[w]e are one people with one shared destiny" given the fact that the single, consistent defining characteristic of your Conservative Movement for the last 40 years has been an escalating, paranoid fury over their delusion that "taxes" are nothing but a Dirty Liberal scheme to confiscate their hard-earned dollars and redistribute them to various groups of undeserving losers, moochers and criminals

That the the ideological forbears of your Conservative Movement fought a long and bloody Civil War over their explicit horror at being forced to share a "destiny" with the rest of the country.

And that the Modern Conservative descendants of those Confederate traitors have been re-fighting that Civil War ever since.


steeve said...

"If you jam diverse economic cultures into a single currency, you’re bound to get an explosion."

Since this is supposedly a rigid consequence of nature, Brooks was saying exactly this 3 years ago, right? And that's such an obvious question that he'll be asked that in every interview, right?


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

You get an A+!

P.S. Silly Eurocrats: everyone knows that the only Elites who can be trusted to run the word...

I'm guessing you meant 'world', but word works even better.

Anonymous said...

The problem is, that assholes like Brooks have only flourished (after the 8 years of we-could-fuck-up-an-anvil...from BushCo) because of the leadership vacuum that Barack Obama has created.

As a wicked poster on FDL put it:

"We thought we were getting something of a Lincoln...instead, we got George McClellan."

Anonymous said...

OK I'm having trouble deciding whose near-daily takedowns of DFB is more entertaining, DG: Yours or Mr. Pierce's.

Bravo, Sirs, to the latest from both of you!

- Mike from CA

(p.s. HA: My 'word verification' word is "dazing" - sounds like an active verb which describes the manner in which DFB extrudes his columns.)

Anonymous said...

so, you mean dazing = taking a dump?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you bought up the Civil War because that has been on my mind of late.

After the Civil War, Northerners chose to let 'bygones be bygones' for the sake of national unity.

The effort to get past their animosity towards the South and sympathize with them took the extreme form of ADOPTING a Southern sense of nostalgia for the good ol' days of wealthy southern slaveowners.

Post civil war popular culture in the north was awash in reverence for the former enemy, minstrel shows, the songs of Stephen Foster then "Birth of a Nation" and "The General" then Gone with the Wind.

And for all the sympathy showered on the South, what did we get, nothing but decades of bitter contempt and a thirst for vengeance.

Sometimes it seems like a pattern of Northern progressives trying to make nice with reactionary Southerners and failing miserably continues onto this day. I'm a liberal not a radical, but I think some righteous anger is in order here.