Friday, August 30, 2013

David Brooks Gets Those Jewels of Nuance Out of Hock

Once upon a time, the notion of an unreconstructed Iraq War chickenhawk like David Brooks ever again scraping together the fucking nerve to fish his Yellow Elephant battle ribbons out of the sock drawer and recommission his dead-as-Dillinger Neocon hobbyhorse to once again gallop into the thick of a debate over "Whither Persia?" would have been nearly inconceivable to me.

Mr. Brooks, for those of you late to the party, is a man who literally built his career gleefully booming Dubya's Operation Endless Clusterfuck and bashing the shit anyone who expressed any doubts or nuanced thoughts in column after column like this gem from March of 2003:
"Meanwhile, among the smart set, Hamlet-like indecision has become the intellectual fashion. The liberal columnist E. J. Dionne wrote in The Washington Post that he is uncomfortable with the pro- and anti-war camps. He praised the doubters and raised his colors on behalf of 'heroic ambivalence.' The New York Times, venturing deep into the territory of self-parody, ran a full-page editorial calling for 'still more discussion' on whether or not to go to war.  
"In certain circles, it is not only important what opinion you hold, but how you hold it. It is important to be seen dancing with complexity, sliding among shades of gray. Any poor rube can come to a simple conclusion -- that President Saddam Hussein is a menace who must be disarmed--but the refined ratiocinators want to be seen luxuriating amid the difficulties, donning the jewels of nuance, even to the point of self-paralysis."
Mr. Brooks, for those of you late to the party, is a man who (as one long-forgotten wag put it) once:
...nearly sprained his back giving himself the full, Neocon reacharound by cramming both "Chomsky" and "luxuriate" into the same paragraph -- in an article he wrote shortly after he had been handed his job-for-life at the New York Times where Our Mr. Brooks explains why anyone who questioned the motives or honesty of his fellow pro-Bush Neocons was obviously an Anti-Semitic prick who was also "unhinged from reality".

Oh my! Was America's Greatest and Most Reasonable Conservative Public Intellectual really spouting stupid, lying shit like that just a few short years ago?

Yes. Yes he was (emphasis added):
"You get to feed off their villainy and luxuriate in your own contrasting virtue. You will find books, blowhards and candidates playing to your delusions, and you can emigrate to your own version of Planet Chomsky. You can live there unburdened by ambiguity."
Mr. Brooks -- Yale's very own professor of Humility -- is a man who has to my knowledge never once apologized or retracted a single word he has written.  Mr. Brooks -- a lecturer on reticence and honesty -- is a man who was videotaped by your humble scrivener a few years ago flatly denying he ever said or wrote any of what he said and wrote.  Mr. Brooks --  former pro-Iraq War logorrhea sufferer -- is a man who marked the occasion of the 10th anniversary of everyone's favorite Worst Foreign Policy Debacle In American History, by stammering out less than 60 seconds of vague, uncomfortable twaddle on the virtues of modesty.

Fucking modesty.

So imagine my entire surprise when I decanted Friday's New York Times and discovered that America's Most Famous Conservative Public Intellectual had charged right back into the middle of the scene of his greatest journalistic crimes:
One Great Big WarBy DAVID BROOKSPublished: August 29, 2013 
What’s the biggest threat to world peace right now? Despite the horror, it’s not chemical weapons in Syria. It’s not even, for the moment, an Iranian nuclear weapon. Instead, it’s the possibility of a wave of sectarian strife building across the Middle East...


But after a moment's calm reflection on the many hundreds of posts I have written over the years on the subject of David Brooks, you know, I really have no business being surprised in the least. After all, if there is one, iron-clad lesson about the mainstream media ecosystem that has been hammered-the-fuck-home harder over the last 40 years than all the rest, it is the never-explained-or-even-acknowledged fact that certain members of our elite media are simply immune to the normal market forces which would have driven lesser frauds and hucksters out of the journalism game and into a life of dancing for nickles on the street-corner long ago.

What I mean is, Mr. Brooks isn't going anywhere.  Ever.  He will never be held to account for anything. Ever. Because his bosses want it that way.  Because the rules of accountability don't apply to him.  Because his colleagues permit it, just as he, in turn, permits them to get away with journalistic arson week and month after year.

Because there is a Club.

And you are not in it.

And if to so happens that you are nostalgic for those heady days when you could get a fine freakout-high of just-making-shit-up delivered in the pages of Serious Newspapers in large-bore neocon doses , well Hell son!  Mr. Brooks' "Return To Sunnibrook Farm" has a dram of that good old mountain dew on hand too!
As the death toll in Syria rises to Rwanda-like proportions...
(For the record, the death toll on all side in Syria now stands at around 100,000.  And as horrible as that number is, the Rwanda Genocide killed somewhere between five and ten times that many human beings.)

But what knocks me out me is this paragraph that everyone will probably be focusing in on tomorrow.  And what makes it a genuine, David Brooks work of motherfucking Bush Era art is the brisk, one-two combination of 

  • Mr. Brooks' positively sociopathic ability to casually tune out an entire decade of actual, documented, horrifying neoconservative foreign policy disasters in which he fully and eagerly participated, in favor of  
  • getting right down to the vital business of reviving the Way of the Neocon by radically revising our settled past:

It is pretty clear that the recent American strategy of light-footprint withdrawal and nation-building at home has not helped matters. The United States could have left more troops in Iraq and tamped down violence there. We could have intervened in Syria back when there was still something to be done and some reasonable opposition to mold.

And so did David Brooks look back at the footprints in the Iraqi sand.
And notice that at many times along the path of his life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled him, so he asked his very good friend and former employer Bloody Bill Kristol about it. 
"Kristol, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

And Bill Kristol whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I have often said, and you have made a cottage industry of proving, that Mr. Brooks has a lot to be humble about.

I am, of course, just as aggravated as you are that he has been rewarded with unjustified vast spaces for entertaining for being mediocre in the service of the plutocrats.

Of course, as an architect who is desperate to remain somewhat viable, I would jump at the chance to spend his money on properly designed rat-holes that diverge from the typical faux-historic and overblown constructs that usually serve as bragging points with their fellow overpriviliged sparrow farts.

so I am a bit conflicted overall.

Yastreblyansky said...

Drifters--according to my research Brooks has made a correction once. Curiously enough, he did it on the birthday of our most (or only) truthful president, February 22, 2013.
I thought the most startling and deeply Brooksian thing about the current column was the implication that ongoing violence in Iraq is caused by the absence of US troops, as if to suggest it came out of nowhere