David Brooks' remarkably stupid column -- "Death By Data" -- dropped four minutes ago as I write this. Just a fluke that I was checking out the NYT's op-ed page when it happened, but then connoisseurs know that the fluke is the tastiest part of the fish which Cholly Baker's imaginary New Bedford fishermen are constantly hauling out of the Atlantic.
Mr. Brooks' actual column, on the other hand, is an inedible mess in which Mr, Brooks' uses the stick which he normally keeps jammed far up his ass to "pen" (ew!) a might jeremiad against the Modern Political World, with all its consarn, data-drive doo-dads and whatnots.
He longs for the Good Old Days when families would take a break from a busy day of killing themselves for pennies at dance marathons or dying of scurvy to crowd around the Philco and listen to Jack Armstrong, The All American Boy being American, Terry and the Pirates tangling with The Dragon Lady, and FDR building coalitions by the sheer powah of his remahhkable non-rhotic, Groton accent:
Some politicians, like F.D.R. or Ronald Reagan, can reframe debates and envision coalitions that don’t exist. Their visions emerge out of unique life experiences, which are unusual but have broad appeal. They build trust not through a few targeted messages but by fully embodying a moment and a people. They often don’t pander to existing identities but arouse different identities.
Of course Mr, Brooks simple deletes from his stupid theory the inconvenient fact that Ronald Reagan's campaign for President was fundamentally Nixon's Southern Strategy on steroids, and that it was all about "pandering to the existing identities" of southern white bigots and god-bothering con men like Jerry Falwell. Also much of this happened long before Mr, Brooks was born, so why he is sure things were way better back when Boss Prendergast could make a United States senator like a tailor making a suit (h/t Meet John Doe) and then tell him when and how to vote, I have no idea.
But this time around the block, this by-now-routine Procrustean bedding of the facts to fit Mr, Brooks' fatuous, grump old man theory of the day doesn't interest me.
Nor, frankly. does the utter predictability of finding yet another, bare-faced Both Sider lie buried like a razor in the apple of yet another of Mr. Brooks' awful excreta (emphasis added):
...This analytic method encourages candidates across the country to embrace the same tested, cookie-cutter messages.Candidates who have overrelied on these techniques have been hurt by them. One victim was Mitt Romney, who ran for president not as himself, but as a thin slice of himself. Another victim was President Obama. His 2012 campaign was legendary from an analytic point of view, and, of course, it was victorious. But it lacked a policy agenda and produced no mandate. Without a compelling agenda, the administration has projected an image of reactive drift and lost public confidence.
President Obama had a fucking agenda in 2012, you pie-faced golem, He had one in 2008 as well. But on both occasions, your fucking party decided that it's agenda -- its entire fucking agenda -- was to demolish, derail and destroy his agenda at any cost...and then stand on the ruins and rail about government dysfunction.
But that really doesn't interest me either. I am a bugsplat on windshield of the huge, Both Sider monster truck and I always will be.
Liberating, really, to settle in and get cozy with the fact of my own intractable irrelevance :-)
Today what interests me is the delicious fact that, four minutes after dropping a column about how awful it is that mindless, efficient modern technology was being deployed to warp our national political discourse --
In the midst of this scuffling economy, voters are thinking as Americans and not as members of a niche. They’re asking: What can be done to kick-start America? They’re not asking: How can I guarantee affordable contraception? People who are building campaigns on micro-targeting are simply operating on the wrong level of consciousness.
-- the traffic and popularity of Mr. Brooks' really terrible column was being fizzed up very quickly by being tweeted and over and over again, mere moments after it appeared.
Tweeted and over and over again by Twitter users mostly from places like Bangalore and Singapore and Mexico who all -- amazingly -- seem to have nothing to do, hour after hour, all day long but post tweets about the same New York Times articles, using the same language, at the same time, in the same order, and who all suddenly and simultaneously decided, from all corners of the Earth, that the twitterverse needed more goddam David Brooks cowbell!
Of course, by the time an hour or two had elapsed there were dozens of other tweets and retweets , ostensibly from humans, driving Mr. Brooks' message around the globe again and again, praising his wisdom and sagacity.
But there was just something about a flock of twitterbots being dispatched as pump-primers to drive traffic for a column deploring the use of efficient, mindless automation as a marketing tool to drive political messaging...that was too perfect to pass up.