David Brooks' talks about his Magic Black Friend.
"President Obama has the intelligence, the dexterity and the sense of balance to navigate these crosscutting challenges. But he apparently lacks the creativity to break out of the partisan categories, the trench warfare gridlock."
-- David Brooks, September 7, 2012
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have occasion to roll Clint Eastwood and David Brooks into the same post. But the Right has run straight up the crazy tree and is still going like 60, so here we are. Eastwood and Brooks. The two halves of the GOP: the bugfuck nuclear core and the bland Centrist coolant of the GOP's Pretty Hate Machine I described way back in 2006 ago in "Reactionary":
The Liquid Bobo KoolantThe Koolant system that keeps it all from blowing apart at the seams and melting itself back into the masturbatory fever dreams of every wannabe Jefferson Davis is a viscous Koolaid-based composite goo made up of 43% David Brooks, 27% Tom Friedman, 23% Tim Russert, 12% Joe Klein and 10% David Broder.
You say that’s 115%? Well fuck you and your fancy, liberal, Jebus-hating elitist “arithmetic” anyway.
If you press your ear to the containment shell you can hear in murmuring through the pipes:“There are no crazies here.”
“The Southern Strategy is a myth.”
“Ignore Falwell, Dobson, and Reed. They’re Men of Faith.”
“Ignore Schlafly, Limbaugh and Hannity. They’re just firm”
“Ignore Robertson, Perle and Nordquist. They’re just amusingly provocative.”
“Gingrich isn’t a fascist; he’s just ‘controversial’.”
“Coulter isn’t really serious, even though she is the keynote speaker and commands top dollar at national Republican events, Republican media outlets and sold-out Wingnut Christian rallies.”
“That carcinoma spreading across your face. It looks just the Jesus, so you know it can’t be bad for you!”
“The Moderates really run the party.”
“The Center is where all right thinking people should be, despite the fact that in the last 30 years the Right has dragged the Center a million miles into Crazyville.”
“No matter how completely the GOP rapes American values, without a sliver of evidence to support this assertion you should still somehow believe that Liberals are either just as bad or worse.”
“The GOP cares about idiots like you.”
“There is no core in this reactor.”
That’s how it works. Simple, right?. And yet to build this electoral dynamo the Republican Party has had to completely sell out any vestige of principles or soul it once had for dominion over the divided and bitter land it has created. And because of that, there is be no “Plan B” if you are a GOP candidate for national office.
See, for your hard-core nutjob, Eastwood's hard-edged, racially derogatory shoutycracker performance was a Yes! Yes!, Jesus God Yes! affirmation (by Dirty Harry himself!) that every one Crazy Uncle Liberty's deepest, most bigoted impulses were righteous and true all along.
But however off-the-leash you let the mad dog run, Base-pandering only gets you to 45%. You need that last little bit: as much as you hate it, you need that god-awful, pudding-soft, panty-waist, tribe of Centrist wafflers to throw in with your Great Cause one, last time.
And for those people, Clint Eastwood ranting at an Invisible Negro President will not do. For those people you need a slipperier, silkier, more upscale, more-in-sorry-than-in-anger kind of racism. For those people you need David Brooks' to talk tearfully about the tragic failure of his Magic Black Friend, Barack Obama:
The Magical Negro [or Magic Black Friend] is typically but not always "in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint," often a janitor or prisoner. He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist. He usually has some sort of magical power, "rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters." He is patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and is "closer to the earth."
The Magical Negro serves as a plot device to help the protagonist get out of trouble, typically through helping the white character recognize his own faults and overcome them. Although he has magical powers, his "magic is ostensibly directed toward helping and enlightening a white male character." "These powers are used to save and transform disheveled, uncultured, lost, or broken whites (almost exclusively white men) into competent, successful, and content people within the context of the American myth of redemption and salvation." It is this feature of the Magical Negro that some people find most troubling. Although from a certain perspective the character may seem to be showing blacks in a positive light, he is still ultimately subordinate to whites. He is also regarded as an exception, allowing white America to "like individual black people but not black culture."
To save the white protagonist, however, he would do anything, including sacrificing himself, as Sidney Poitier does in The Defiant Ones, the prototypical Magical Negro movie.
Since it is financial and psychologically impossible for Mr. Brooks to tell the simple and obvious truth about his Republican Party, he must constantly resort to lies and fantasies to square the real world as it really exists with the bullshit he sells on the pages of the New York Times. And the Number One lie he sells is the Big Lie of Centris, which, in this case, manifests itself as ancient, racist fable of the Magic [Centrist] Negro; the lie that Barack Obama's primary responsibility is to deploy his magical black powers in the service of "helping and enlightening [the] white male" Republican Party. And to whatever extent the Party of Bigots and Imbeciles remains a gleefully depraved, obstructionist mob of empty-chair screaming assholes...
...that it is extent to which Barack Obama has failed in his job as David Brooks' Magic Black Friend.
You know, I get that most people lie every once in a while.
And that some of them lie on the job.
And that a small subset of those actually lie for a living, and that an even smaller subset of that group makes their living telling exactly the same lie for a living over and over again.
But because it requires such an extensive insulating infrastructure to keep someone like Mr. Brooks from being either punched in the throat of publicly mocked every time he opens his pie hoke -- a support system combining the exotic plant care-taking precision of a high-end cannabis grower with the multi-layered security precautions of a high-end cannabis grower -- the our American corporate media can only afford to provide an almost invisibly microscopic fraction of a fraction of that small group with a princely living telling exactly the same "Both Sides So It", Centrist lie for a living over and over again in front of huge audiences, long after that lie has been thoroughly and publicly discredited.
I think the story behind the story -- the story of the mechanics behind how someone like Mr. Brooks keeps getting away with telling exactly the same "Both Sides So It", Centrist lie for a living over and over again in front of huge audiences, long after that lie has been thoroughly and publicly discredited -- would not only be a great public service, but properly executed, would make a great read.
Too bad no one will ever write it