Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Every Night, Alone Beneath the Hellmouth that Lights His Vast Spaces...

Mr. Brooks rubs one out over this clip from Fail Safe --

-- and weeps for how things might have been.

How bad was Mr. Brooks' column today?.

So bad that other people actually noticed.

For example, The New Republic was confused by how goofily off Mr. Brooks is today.
David Brooks Is Not Making Sense
Reason Magazine has nothing kind to say:
Americans Are Less Enthusiastic About War and "Leaders," and This Makes David Brooks Sad
It was a long, sad jag about how awful it is that Americans -- especially young Americans -- have figured out after a decade of catastrophic Republican military failures that the United States is not omnipotent.  Mr, Brooks believes that this is a bad thing, because the Neocon mind believes the United States can only exist in one of two states:  constant, glorious military expansion...or decadent, flaccid Hippie chaos.

Of course, David Brooks (being David Brooks) does not blame this healthy skepticism on a hangover from the long, bloody, disastrous and ultimately useless wars that he personally championed so energetically just a few years ago.  Instead, everyone and everything is to blame.

Because culture! (Pro tip: When Mr. Brooks talks about deep cultural issues, it's a tell.  Like Newt Gingrich's "fundamentally basically" or Rudy Giuliani's "9/11".  It means grab your wallet because the nice man is now going to try to distract you away from something he does not want you to look at):
These shifts are not just a result of post-Iraq disillusionment, or anything the Obama administration has done. The shift in foreign policy values is a byproduct of a deeper and broader cultural shift. 
Such is the thrall in which Mr. Brooks' holds the Beltway Hive Mind that even as Conor Friedersdorf cuts Mr. Brooks' column into paper dolls, he cannot break through the mesmerism long enough to understand why Daddy would even write such piffle in the first place.

Because -- damn it! -- David Brooks is better than that!
Americans who want the U.S. less engaged in world affairs are saying no more than what Brooks, for reasons I can't fathom, finds "amazing": that there are limits to the changes that American politicians and soldiers can bring about, and that those limits ought to be obvious to anyone looking at Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Ukraine.

This point is being made with increasing insistence by the American public because they perceive, correctly, that there is a cadre of Washington, D.C. insiders–bureaucrats, military contractors, think tank fellows, editors like Bill Kristol, writers like Max Boot–so oblivious to America's limits that they can't even see the last military intervention that they successfully advocated as a mistake, even though, in that case, the catastrophic results have already played out.

Brooks is a much more subtle thinker and insightful writer than any of these people. On matters of foreign policy and what he would call "national greatness," he is still unduly influenced by them, despite the fact that, more than any other actors in American life, they've destroyed the trust in leadership that Brooks himself values. Leaders that blunder into wars and subsequently lose them, at great cost in lives and treasure, forfeit their ability to lead. Their ideas lose esteem.
What Young Conor cannot comprehend -- and what the Beltway Hive Mind can never admit -- is that Mr. Brooks is not a "much more subtle thinker and insightful writer than any of these people."  He has been every bit as routinely and horribly wrong as Bill Kristol.  Has crowed as loudly. Has dodged accountability as successfully.

No, where Mr. Brooks excels is at being ingratiating,   Obsequious.  At sucking his way up the organization, which is a skill that someone like Bill Kristol never had to master.

The son of Irving Kristol. Bill Kristol is a second-generation neocon douchebag.  As a legacy, he gets a free pass to be the biggest, wrongest asshole in Christendom and never miss a meal.  As such he has never needed to hide his disdain for human beings or to wipe that hideous, deaths'-head smirk off his face.

David Brooks, on the other hand, had to develop a vocabulary and demeanor which would let him pass among the PBS/NPR Liberals at parties without someone spitting in his Rob Roy or socking him in the throat with a tote bag full of Car Talk CDs.

When the opportunity arose, both men eagerly saddled up with the Bush Regime and rode that pony for all it was worth.  Both men made their professional bones ballyhooing Operation Endless Clusterfuck and giddily curb-stomping us poor, stupid, hateful, surrender-monkey Liberals in print. And when it all went tits up, both men did what they needed to do to preserve their respective careers within their respective professional niches:  Bill Kristol kept doubling and redoubling down and down again on pouring ever more American blood and treasure down an infinite number of neocon ratholes, while David Brooks pursued the much more audacious path of simply denying he'd ever written any of the things he had most definitely written.

And it worked!

Sure Bill Kristol had to leave a sweet gig at Fox when his brand of crazy started to stink up the house brand of crazy, but ABC News snapped him right up.  And thanks to the mutual agreement among all of his colleagues to Not Mention The War -- 

-- David Brooks was able to get away clean and set up a very lucrative business as as America's leading salesman of a Conservative Accountability Avoidance scheme known as "Both Sides Do It".


Horace Boothroyd III said...

Bravo! This may well have been the best piece you will ever write.

I knew both Kristol and Brooks when I was at Yale, not as individuals but as types.

You have your legacies, born into the system, and all they have to do is NOT FUCK UP to be rewarded with lives of wealth and influence and maybe even a little fame.

And you have your climbers. Some one will rise to the top in our system, the only question is who - and how is a question politely ignored by the winners after the bodies have been composted.

The fact that one person in ten innocently develops a crippling brain disorder creates the demand for the one and provides the supply of the other.

Yastreblyansky said...

"This may well have been the best piece you will ever write." I hope not, but but if it is it's good enough.

casimir said...

"David Brooks, on the other hand, had to develop a vocabulary and demeanor which would let him pass among the PBS/NPR Liberals at parties without someone ... socking him in the throat with a tote bag full of Car Talk CDs."

Sterling prose, marvelous image! Man, I detest NPR and its decades-long role in cementing TINA/BSDI in the minds of the educated classes.

marindenver said...

You nailed Brooks with this one. I can't stand listening to him talk on the radio or teevee - he's so smirking and obsequious. So smoothly says things that are complete garbage and doesn't get challenged. E.J. Dionne probably comes as close as anyone to a rebuttal but it's half hearted at best. Mustn't contradict Bothsiderdoit theology or God will smite us dead.

OBS said...

Exceptionally well done driftglass.