Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The A-Hole Problem

I which Mr. Brooks appears to be talking about A-Rod but actually conducts a mini-camp in how magnificently oblivious America's Greatest Living Conservative Potted Plant has become now that he can afford to spend his days wandering the vast spaces of his great mansion, thinking great, humble-braggy thoughts about his awesome ascent from execrable Conservative media scribe who occasionally listened to his critics to execrable Conservative media empire and Professor of Humility who has completely given up on giving a rat's ass what his critics say about anything.

And is so very much the happier for it.
The A-Rod Problem

I started writing a column for The Times about a decade ago, and I endured a tough first few months. That was, in part, because, like anybody starting a new job, I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

So, especially in the first few months, I had a self-preoccupied question on my mind: How am I doing? There was no noncrazy-making answer to that question. I was always looking for some ultimate validation, which, of course, can never come. But, after a little while, I settled into a routine and my focus shifted from my own performance to the actual subjects I was writing about. This shift from performance to subject may not have made the columns any better, but it sure did improve my psychic equilibrium.

That period was a lesson in the perils of self-preoccupation.

I think of this because of the news on Monday about Alex Rodriguez’s suspension from baseball through the 2014 season...
Blah blah blah.
Even when he tried to be a good teammate, that was little naturalness or spontaneity. Self-preoccupied people hit the right notes, but often so hard that they sound tinny. Self-preoccupation creates an ego that is at once overinflated, insatiable and overly sensitive.
Blah blah blah.
My theory would be that self-preoccupied people have trouble seeing that their natural abilities come from outside themselves and can only be developed when directed toward something else outside themselves. Enclosed in self, they come to believe that their talents come from self, are the self. They have no outside criteria that tells them what their talents are for or when they are sufficient. Locked in a cycle of insecurity and attempted self-validation, their talents are never enough, and they end up devouring what they have been given.
Of course once Mr. Brooks hit upon the simple strategy of completely denying the real and ugly history of Modern Conservatism in favor of his own Whig fan fiction, it became inevitable that he would have to jettison his own past too; a feat which would be virtually impossible for any mere mortal whose whole professional life had been spent spilling his opinions all over the pages of major American publications.

But Mr. Brooks is a Media Players Club Gold Card holder, which comes with infinite number of no-questions-asked do-overs for cardholders just as long as they never embarrass their fellow Club members in public. And so all Mr. Brooks had to was spend much of the last decade cloning the same, godawful Centrist claptrap column over and over again, refining his Whig fan fiction epic to get rid any residual unpleasant, fact-y bits and assiduously avoiding apologizing for -- or even mentioning -- the many, colossal fuck-ups and lies he has eagerly and loudly collaborated in over the last 20 years.

And it worked!  Worked so well, in fact that, that his daily regimen of ignoring his critics and stuffing his past into the incinerator has been terrific for both Mr. Brooks' financial portfolio and his "psychic equilibrium."

Which I am sure comes as great comfort to the millions of people who now live in the rubble and ruin of the various crackpot Conservative foreign and domestic policy catastrophes which Mr. Brooks spent his career  publicly endorsing.


dinthebeast said...

In the story "Scanners Live In Vain" they had a device to turn that shit back on for a while. I'm imagining Bobo with his shame circuit plugged back in for, say a week. Psychic equilibrium? Removing one's fragile ego from the line of fire probably does make things more comfortable for him. But I should shut up because I don't even read DFB. On the other hand, he probably doesn't know (or know much about) A-Rod either. So the difference is he's writing in the New York Times and I'm not. And to think that Molly Ivins used to write for that paper...

-Doug in Oakland

Anonymous said...

If I were a baseball player, I'd define a good teammate as a guy who can hit homers and who gets on base a lot. Maybe A-Rod is a bad human being and a liar and a cheat - and well past his prime - but let's stop acting like sports are some deep metaphor for heroic qualities.

Anonymous said...

Bobo is so yesteryear's narcissistic bloviating gasbag.

Whatever will he do when Bill Gates buys the NY Times for 50 cents on the dollar?

Will he be reduced to.....dare I say it....blogging?

That would be sweet....lick, lick...

steeve said...

"Will he be reduced to blogging?"

No - lecture circuit, columnist at some conservative rag, or professional talker at David Gregory. But he shouldn't do that either.

He should instead sit on a couch and order his friends to simply give him money for nothing for the rest of his life. His friends would totally do it and we'd have a 100% pure case study of wingnut welfare and The Club.

StonyPillow said...

IMHO, in the long run, Bobo is far more pernicious to the common good than Glenn Spleenwald.

Good digestion and little or no stress-induced lower back pain are to be treasured on the march into late middle age.

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Anonymous said...

"Whatever will he do when Bill Gates buys the NY Times for 50 cents on the dollar?"

Sorry, that should have been "Whatever will he do when Michael Bloomberg buys the NY Times for 50 cents on the dollar?

....and the answer is, the same thing he has been doing for far too long.

That will not be sweet at all. Sigh.

bowtiejack said...

I am in awe of your photoshop skills (and obvious graphic design talent).

Well done, sir. Well done.

In a just world, we know who would have the vast spaces for entertaining (that would be you and Charles Pierce).