There are a lot of aspiring David Brookses out there trying to scale Mount Media following the recipe (an admix of hippie slandering, lazy Villager Centrist sermonettes on what other people should be doing and massive historical revisionism) which Mr. Brooks has helped to perfect. But as any student of Brooksianism can tell you, it takes years of diligent study and practice to master the art of sharting all over observable public reality while keeping a very large stick up your ass, and nearly as long to learn to humbly preach the virtues of bravery, civic responsibility and integrity while cowering behind a mile-high wall of privilege, money and clout.
It is a long and crowded road to the top of Mount Media, and any trick one can glean from the maestro is always appreciated, which is why every time Mr. Brooks releases an update to his "Villager Knob Gobbling For Dummies" curriculum, y'all need to sit up and take notice.
Such as Friday.
On Friday Mr. Brooks delivered a twofer: a Lesson in Laziness and a mini-master class on his One Weird Trick to Writing Successful Whig Fan Fiction.
First the epic, lazy bit, which was ably covered by Heather at Crooks and Liars:
DAVID BROOKS: I hope there is somebody in my paper investigating why the militarization happened. Were there contracts involved, somebody was getting — making a lot of money selling this equipment to police forces?
You may not know it. but David Brooks started off his career as a beat reporter -- a crime reporter -- in Chicago. So he knows how to ask questions and take notes. Now, 30 years later, (as I wrote last week) ."David Brooks can never never be fired, can write about anything he pleases as often as he pleases, job out the task of reading his hate mail to interns, lecture at colleges, Aspen or TED whenever he chooses, speak to large audiences every week on PBS and NPR, drop in on Meet the Press as the mood takes him and has the bottomless pockets of the New York Times at his disposal. In other words, he enjoys all the power the Beltway media world has to offer, and needs to worry about none of the consequences of using it."
And once again, David Brooks uses yet another gaping hole in our ship of state to demonstrated to the rest of the class the beauty of being David Brooks:
...Of course the beauty of being David Brooks is that once you, David Brooks, have identified a problem -- especially a very large problem which your own Conservatism had a very big hand in creating -- you, David Brooks, need never be shy about stepping right up and insisting that someone other than David Brooks really needs to get in there and fix it.Whether it's fighting and dying in Mr. Brooks' Great Patriotic Wars or triaging the various follow-on catastrophes which his Great Patriotic Wars created or bearing the brunt of his crackpot economic schemes or being the guinea pig for one of his little social engineering experiments in character building -- you can always count on David Brooks to demand someone else get in there and do the hard, heavy lifting, because cleaning up another one of Conservatism's messes is a crappy job for other people.
His job, as David Brooks, is to sit on his ass sipping an indifferent chardonnay and spouting helpful suggestions about Humility and Character and National Greatness....
So that's the Lesson in Laziness, which for most instructors would be enough. But not David Brooks. This time he goes that extra mile to show his acolytes how to make decades of unsightly modern history magically disappear!
DAVID BROOKS: ... As for the larger political thing, it’s almost unanimous. You look across left, right and center, people think it’s overreacting what happened in the nights subsequently. And that’s, a libertarian suspicion of really forceful and violent government. Liberals tend to I guess be suspicious of police power, especially against minority communities.But for conservatives and especially traditional conservatives, there’s a community thing going on here. The traditional conservatives, led by a thinker named James Q. Wilson, many years ago, was to believe in community policing, getting cops out of cop cars and actually interacting with the locals.And so that’s the traditional conservative position, that you don’t want to erect walls...
Did you catch that?
By skipping completely over actual Conservatives as they exist here and now in their tens of millions and instead shifting automatically into Whig Fan Fiction mode to opine fartily about an exotic and virtually extinct species called "traditional conservatives", Mr. Brooks once again simply snipped out a big festering hunk of modern history that makes him look like a lying hack so that he could run a variation on his usual "Both Sides" scam and pretend that, on the subject of Ferguson, MO, there was virtual unanimity "across left, right and center."
To her credit, Ruth Marcus very gingerly pointed out that, no, there was actually a very clear split on the Right between between Rand Paul and pretty much everyone else in the GOP:
RUTH MARCUS: And so I think that to the extent there is this blurring of kind of liberal-libertarian lines, it’s a piece of a very interesting strain within the party. And I think you are a little bit underselling it, David, because there is this tough-on-crime aspect to your party.
And because she had the bad taste to remind the audience that the Republican Party is, in fact, David Brooks' Party, thing got very uncomfortable there for a minute:
DAVID BROOKS: My party?([Incredibly uncomfortable] LAUGHTER)DAVID BROOKS (The PBS transcript does not have this but the video clearly shows this is what Mr. Brooks' says next):: Who are you calling "we" Kemosabe?(LAUGHTER)RUTH MARCUS: I’m sorry. I’ll take that back.RUTH MARCUS: You know, when we’re done, we can hug it out.(LAUGHTER)HARI SREENIVASAN: We will get to that in a minute. All right.RUTH MARCUS: But in any event, Rand Paul’s views on things like marijuana legalization, on same-sex marriage, on other issues that might attract, bring — not to David’s party, but to the Republican Party, to attract some younger voters, I think is a very interesting thing that my colleague Dan Balz did point out in The Washington Post this morning.DAVID BROOKS: I would just say, Mr. Republican, I have my mace and my shield and my armored vehicle afterwards.(LAUGHTER)...
Any malfunctioning institution which devotes this amount of energy and effort making sure that nobody ever speaks openly about the painfully obvious source of its dysfunction is broken beyond repair.