Monday, October 20, 2014

Today's "View From Nowhere" Master Class Guest Lecturer: David Brooks


When you read a lede like this in the NYT --
The Quality of Fear

The reaction nationally to Ebola is rooted in weaknesses in our cultural fabric.
-- you can be 100% damn betcha sure it was pounded out on this guy's little tin drum.

And if the actual problem at-hand is demonstrably being caused by the premeditated vandalism of the gang of Conservative nihilists who now run Mr. Brooks' Republican Party, as you be equally, perfectly, 100% certain that, buried throughout Mr. Brooks' latest mush, you will find a scattering of a tiny, shiny, Both Siderist razors.

He is so pathologically predictable in the lazy, lifeless way in which he tells his One Big Lie over and over and over again, that I did not bother to read beyond the articles lede before wrote what I have written until now.  Seriously.  Because like a bad dream, I already know exactly what Mr, Brooks is going to say next.  

And so do you, 

And I know I will hear this drivel echoing and re-echoing from the hollow gourds of far too many otherwise intelligent people. 

And so do you,

And I know he will never, ever suffer a single moment of professional censure for selling his horse-piss-and-varnish patent medicine from the pages of America's newspaper of record.

And so do you.

But for the record and for the benefit of future historians who may be fascinated by the degree to which we ritually elevated obvious frauds to positions of enormous power and influence, let me bust out the Ouija board and foretell the following without looking at anything else Mr. Brooks has written beyond the lede.

While trying to circumnavigate what is obviously the clear and definable problem of Republicans sowing lies and panic for political gain, at no point will Mr. Brooks mention the words "Republican" or "Conservative".  

Unlike any legitimate reporter, Mr. Brooks will expend great effort to withhold the "Who?: in this story, conspicuously refusing to lay a bill of particulars against Fox News or Hate Radio or any specific people or corporations which are working very hard to spread the lies and panic which Republicans are sowing for political gain.

Instead he take this clear and definable problem of Republicans sowing lies and panic for political gain, aerosolize it, and spray it over every human being in America in a fine mist.  He will walk right down the imaginary middle, ritually dispersing generalized judgments against nonspecific "people" like a bishop swinging a censer.   Unnamed "institutions" and vague "trends" will be scolded and, very probably, "politicians" and "Washington D.C."  will come in for an upbraiding.

Now, lets take off the blindfold and see how I did:
There’s been a lot of tutting-tutting about the people who are overreacting to the Ebola virus...

The critics point out that these people are behaving hysterically, all out of proportion to the scientific risks, which, of course, is true. But the critics misunderstand what’s going on here. Fear isn’t only a function of risk; it’s a function of isolation. We live in a society almost perfectly suited for contagions of hysteria and overreaction.

In the first place, we’re living in a segmented society...

People are much less likely to marry across social class, or to join a club and befriend people across social class...

That means there are many more people who feel completely alienated from the leadership class of this country, whether it’s the political, cultural or scientific leadership.They don’t know people in authority. They perceive a vast status gap between themselves and people in authority. They may harbor feelings of intellectual inferiority toward people in authority.

So you get the rise of the anti-vaccine parents, who simply distrust the cloud of experts telling them that vaccines are safe for their children. ...

,,,the rise of the anti-science folks, who distrust the realm of far-off studies and prefer anecdotes from friends to data about populations.

You get more and more people who simply do not believe...

Second, you've got a large group of people who are bone-deep suspicious of globalization...

Third, you've got the culture of instant news. It’s a weird phenomenon of the media age...

Fourth, you've got our culture’s tendency to distance itself from death. Philip Roth once wrote...

In cultures where people deal with death by simply getting it out of their minds...

Given all these conditions, you wind up with an emotional spiral that develops its own momentum...

In these circumstances, skepticism about authority turns into corrosive cynicism. People seek to build walls, to pull in the circle of trust...

Ebola is a treacherous adversary. It’s found a weakness in our bodies. Worse, it exploits the weakness in the fabric our culture.
I especially liked "...the rise of the anti-science folks" as if it were just some mysterious and uncontrollable nature phenomenon like a "seiche" or the "Chicago Cubs" and not a very useful strain of virulent, anti-government ignorance which Mr. Brooks' Republican Party has very carefully and deliberately cultivated, cross-bred and empowered over the last 40 years.

So, while "Washington" did not get spanked by name, overall Mr. Brooks' absolutely cowardly record of steadfastly refusing to notice that his Conservatism has become nothing but a mob of lunatics and fascists crying "Wolf!  Big Scary Negro Wolf! from high atop mountains of Koch Brother's money remains unbroken.  

So for a final grade, I give myself about a B+ or an A-. 

I bet you scored about the same.

And isn't that just terribly sad.

For more on this perpetually breaking story, we go now to November of 2010 where a cop is still trying to get David Brooks to fill out a police report...

Officer: So you say you saw who mugged you, sir?

Brooks: Yes. It was a big guy. With a bat. Also liberals were involved.

Officer: Leaving aside the liberals for a moment, what did this "big guy" look like?

Brooks: About six foot. Maybe 200 pounds. White. But the Democrats unreasonable position on Medicare contributed...

Officer: Like I said, sir; we'll get back to the Democrats and liberals later. Now about the man who mugged you. Could you describe what kind of clothes he had on?

Brooks: Yes. He was wearing a "Bush/Cheney '04" t-shirt, a tri-corner hat and was carrying one of those "Don't Tread On Me" flags. (pauses) Officer, you seem to be deliberately ignoring the liberal involvement here.

Officer: No sir -- I'm writing all of it down. It's just important that we start with the facts.

Brooks: Well the fact is, officer, that Democrats are clearly implicated here as well as a fringe nutcase who in no way represents the main body of Conservative thinking.

Officer: Alrighty then, Mr. Brooks, you seem to be going into shock or maybe you have a slight concussion, so lets try coming at this another way. You say you were mugged, right?

Brooks: I was definitely mugged. Assaulted and mugged.

Officer: OK, then. How many people were physically holding the baseball bat? How many different people had their hands on it?

Brooks (pauses): Uh...just the one guy.

Officer: The man with the "Bush/Cheney '04" t-shirt?

Brooks (pauses): Yes.

Officer: And how many people actually said to you -- and I quote -- "Gimme your fucking wallet or I'll fucking kill you you fucking Commie"?
Said that out loud.
In your presence.
During the mugging.

Brooks: Well, technically it was that one guy, but...

Officer: And how many separate and distinct people actually hit you in the face with the bat?

Brooks: The one guy.

Officer: The one man with the "Bush/Cheney '04" t-shirt?

Brooks: Yes.

Officer: And how many people -- physical, real people -- were within, say, 30 feet of that one guy? At any time during the incident?

Brooks: Well that is very hard to say. I mean, there was a lot going on, what with the one guy screaming at me and hitting me in the face with the bat, and the Democrats causing an equal amount of...

Officer: Oh, I'm sure it was frighting, sir. Very frightening. But it would make my job a lot easier if right now you could just tell me how many other, physical, real people were within 30 feet of that one guy.

Brooks: Well, if I had to guess.

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: -- and this is just an approximation, you understand?

Officer: Of course.

Brooks: I'd have to say...around...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: Generally...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: Roughly...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: In the vicinity of...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: Bordering on...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: Verging between...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: Ballpark...

Officer: I've got all day sir.

Brooks: Más o menos...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: Somewhere between, maybe, five...

Officer: Yes.

Brooks: And...none.

Officer: And closer to which of those two numbers -- five and none -- would you say would be more accurate?

Brooks: (long whistle) Well the range is potentially unlimited, isn't it? I mean, what with geometric regression and Nancy Pelosi and rounding errors and Harry Reid and fractals...

Officer: Would it help your memory if I told you we have the whole thing on tape?

Brooks: Oh.

Officer: (pointing) See those two cameras? The one on that bank over there and a traffic camera across the street?

Brooks: Uh.

Officer: Between them, they'll give us a very accurate count of how many physical, real people were involved.

Brooks: Oh.

Officer: So you were estimating something about it being between five and none?

Brooks: Uh, let's just go with "none" then. To keep it simple.

Officer: Of course sir. So there were no people other than you and the assailant within 30 feet of the incident. How about 50 feet?

Brooks: None.

Officer: 100 feet?

Brooks: None.

Officer: So it would be fair to say, then, that the entire street was deserted except for you and the big man in the Republican t-shirt, and Tea Party flag and hat who called you -- and, again, I'm quoting -- a "fucking Commie"...

Brooks: Yes.

Officer: ...clubbed you on the head...

Brooks: Yes.

Officer: ...and stole your wallet.

Brooks: Yes, yes, yes. If you want to be a pedant about it, technically that is a description with which I cannot disagree.

Officer: "Pedant" is a big part of my job description, sir.


Robt said...

I very much enjoyed, "the Brooks and officer police report".
I couldn't imagine Brooks self representing himself in court in front of a judge.!

You know,
With all this, If your not frightened with us your against us Ebola fear mongering, Including in the Brooks article. Some points of his swerved into Americans isolating themselves etc.. Americans not able to face death(s).

These stuck out more loudly than other words for some reason.
Because it sounds as if he is expressing HIS isolation and fears more so than of the Americans he supposedly wrote of.

May I just point out that in America every year there are many life and death occurrences.
Sickness and death;
Quote, "Salmonella is the second most common intestinal infection in the United States. More than 7,000 cases of Salmonella were confirmed in 2009; however the majority of cases go unreported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 1 million people in the U.S. contract Salmonella each year, and that an average of 20,000 hospitalizations and almost 400 deaths occur from Salmonella poisoning, according to a 2011 report."

Then there is;
Iraq War U.S.casualties--4,489.
Afghanistan War U.S> casualties 4,412.

These are but 2 states that Brooks from his poorly imposture of Spiderman in spinning his web of scritppted deceit. Americans are not as isolated as he thinks base on his own self evaluation.

I mean pass the Depends,,,,
"We do not want the Iraq treat to be in the form of a mushroom cloud".\\ "ISIS is coming across the Mexican border infected with Ebola".

2008--If Obama is elected he will go door to door and confiscate all your guns".

2012--"If Obama gets elected he won't have to worry about running for office again and then he will definately come for your GUNS to confiscate them".

You have to admit it, conservatives do understand the weak mentality of their voters...................

Batocchio said...

What a gutless little shit. He could follow Shepard Smith's lead and condemn conservative fearmongering on Ebola – it's a gimme – and then cite his easy opposition later as proof of his independence. But he can't bring himself to say, "The people in my party are lying" or even that they're wrong. Plus, the midterm elections are coming up, and Brooks' "reasonableness" and "bipartisanship" and "centrism" strangely always supports conservatism.

This David Brooks piece makes a great pairing with an old Arthur C. Brooks (of AEI) column, where (plutocratic shill that he is) he disingenuously tries to infer that Americans don't support raising taxes on the rich while simultaneously ignoring multiple polls showing that Americans strongly support raising taxes on the rich. (The two are pals, but not related.)

waldo said...

'...we ritually elevate(d) obvious frauds to positions of enormous power and influence..'

Come on, that's the national past time in the US.

Robt said...

Hey,,,,,I found Waldo,
Perhaps out youthful ignorance I participated in your notion of American ritual past time of electing "obvious frauds".
If so, that was a long time ago. So "WE" do not confront election choices as a past time. "I" on the other hand address my election choices with a conscience to improve our direction.
I understand you point and in no way mean this derogatory. \I have noticed (including myself at times) where I stereotype other voters. Yes some can be categorical. Another problem is how low the voting registration is and the participation in the franchise being so low.
How might you explain and define those that do not vote?

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to read Bobo's foul dreck, but the only thing that appears to be missing from this recap is a blatant if oblique attempt to pin all the blame on this damn dirty f'in hippies.

I mean, we all know that's what he means when he blames Ebolapalooza on a "weakness in our cultural fabric," but he usually takes it a little further than that and makes some sort of reference to the 60s and/or a decline in moral rectitude (those damn hippies are getting laid and smoking dope!). Oh well.

steeve said...

I certainly didn't predict Brooks sorta kinda laying blame on rich people walling themselves off from the normals.

I wonder if he knows someone who does that?

I've given up on the media kicking someone out for being a moron. But can they kick out someone who can't even be bothered to believe their own beliefs?

dinthebeast said...

You've probably already seen this, but on the off chance that you haven't:

-Doug in Oakland


Anonymous said...

"Ebola...exploits the weakness in the fabric our culture."


Redhand said...

What an appalling hypocrite. He was and is handmaiden and cheerleader for the elitist 1% forces that have fractured our society. And now he tut-tuts about how sad it is, from his perch as faux Olympian observer with no dog in the fight. I just can't stand the pompous sonofabitch.

Anonymous said...

Yep, as others have noted it is no mystery what Brooks is talking about when he opines about the "weakness in our cultural fabric" -- dirty hippies indeed. As if it is the dirty hippies who are crouched around snarling in fear all the time. Brooks just can't bring himself to see what is patently obvious.

My wife and I regularly listen to yours and Bluegal's podcast, Driftglass, and sadly my better half thinks you're obsessed with Brooks. Is he really that big a deal? Who the fuck really cares what some Beltway jellomold thinks or writes? I've tried to impress upon her what is really objectionable about Brooks -- the sheer opportunity cost associated with him occupying his lofty perch or the brand of mental Novocaine he reliably dribbles forth -- but it is actually kinda hard to demonstrate Brook's perfidy in a concise fashion. Taken in isolation alot of Brook's work looks like dimwitted tapioca, not poison.


Michael said...

Superb! Brooks and the Cop couldn't have been better. DB reminds me of Cypher in the Matrix movie...knowing full well how many people he will betray, the lives he will ruin and the incredible pain created by his traitorous acts, he does so anyway because after all is said and done he will have a place in the new society that will be free of all who would recognize his cowardly and selfish acts. The "enemy" vanquished he will be free to eat his steak and ponder what might have been. But unlike Cypher, this modern day Judas will not have the luxury of amnesia, he will be remembered for his betrayal and vilified heavily for it. If there is an almighty being I would like to think Brooks will spend his last few minutes on this earth looking into the eyes of an underpaid health care professional, as they prop up his fetid brain carrier with a non-union made pillow, absolutely wracked with guilt and paranoia, unable to leave this existence in comfort..."What have I done?!" echoing off the walls of his atrophied mind. Closing this sad story with a collective "Finally!" from the hospice staff would meet the required Karmic balance that the universe so sorely craves.