Or, "A Thatcher in the Rye"?
Either way, the central lesson of today's sermon from Our Mr. Brooks is that, as a life-long, establishmentarian testicle cozy, he loves and trusts wealthy people very, very much. So very much, in fact, that sometimes it hurts.
And sometimes he takes his hurt out on his readers.
Like today, in his New York Times column entitled
Built largely out of scraps scavenged from the Cliff's Notes on the "Mormonism in America", Mr. Brooks sings paeans to his giant stick figure, dances immodestly around it for awhile, then set it on fire and calls it a good day's work. It is his own, personal Burning Man, and it begins as follows:
Mitt Romney is a rich man, but is Mitt Romney’s character formed by his wealth? Is Romney a spoiled, cosseted character? Has he been corrupted by ease and luxury?
The notion is preposterous. All his life, Romney has been a worker and a grinder.
After which we are treated to a ten paragraph pamphlet on "The Noble Legacy of the Latter Day Saints from the Early 19th Century Through Last Thursday".
After which, this:
Mitt Romney can’t talk about his family history on the campaign trail. Mormonism is an uncomfortable subject. But he must have been affected by it.And thus Mr. Brooks finishes off his 800-word New York Times contractual obligation on the virtues of being "... worker and a grinder" the way Mr. Brooks completes all such assignments: as lazily as possible.
It is a story of relentless effort, of recovery and of being despised (in their eyes) because of their own success. Romney himself experienced none of this hardship, of course, but Jews who didn’t live through the Exodus are still shaped by it.
It is also, needless to say, complete nonsense. A textbooks example of the Conservative Straw Man genre with David Brooks doing what David Brooks does best; fitting a monster mask of non-existent arguments over the head of some unnamed, imaginary Liberal opponent cobbled together out of throw pillows from his den and then going righteously to town on the Terrifying Pillow Ogre he just invented.
However, in addition to letting him once again play rhetorical handball against a shower curtain, today's 800-word embarrassment serves another, equally important Brooksian imperative -- it allows Mr. Brooks to hedge his bets and protect his position as America's Number One Callow Political Insider by publicly and shamelessly sucking up to Willard Romney hard enough to, as the kids say, strip the chrome clean off a trailer hitch. Because taken as some kind of "rebuttal" against some unspecified imputation of corrupt foppery on the part of some critic somewhere, what Mr. Brooks has written is so transparently ridiculous -- so easily collapsible with the barest flick of fact -- that there is no other way to read it other than as just one more of Mr. Brooks' signature, gooey editorial mash notes to yet another potential-future-meal-ticket.
Because nothing I have read by anyone, anywhere, has ever inferred that Willard Romney is in any way lazy at all.
Quite the opposite: the brief against Romney is that like Gordon Gekko
Larry the Liquidator
"Boiler Room"'s Jim Young, or Hannibal Lechter, Willard Romney has the empty soul, fierce drive and infinitely reprogrammable ethical software of a really industrious sociopath.
When we look at Romney, it is not that we see indolence.
Instead, when we look at Romney we catch a deeply disturbing glimpse of what William Gibson once described in "Neuromancer":
“...for an instant, she stared directly into those soft blue eyes and knew, with an instinctive mammalian certainty, that the exceedingly rich were no longer even remotely human.”Just as when we look at Mr. Brooks, we do not see mere hackery, but catch a deeply disturbing glimpse of a creature who craves nothing more than to grow rich in groveling service to our inhuman, plutocrat overlords.