Sunday, April 12, 2015

10 Years After: 2012 -- The Gravitational Constant of History

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with the Presidential Election year of 2012.

In Star Trek TNG episode "Déjà Q", the crew of the Enterprise are faced with two, seemingly insoluble problems: saving the inhabitants of a planet that it about to have a very large rock fall out of the sky and kill everyone, and continuing to provide asylum to the sadistic and formerly-omnipotent "Q" who has been stripped of his power and is now vulnerable to righteous retribution from the many sentient races he has tormented over the millennia.

Our analogy for today focuses on the former problem.

When asked by Data and Geordi what he would do about the very large rock falling out of the sky -- a rock too massive to blast to bits or tractor-beam out of the way -- "Q" tells them the answer is very simple: change the gravitational constant of the Universe.

So can a Conservative deal with an accumulated mass of 40 years of catastrophe, sedition, racism, treason, criminal incompetence, economic ruin, hypocrisy and lies bearing down on the Party of Personal Responsibility?  Especially since, for Conservatives, admitting even the smallest degree of error (unless it's "We weren't Conservative enough!") and asking forgiveness and expiation in any way is completely unthinkable?

It's very simple:  just change the gravitational constant of past.   Rewrite the recent history of the United State so that none of that catastrophe, sedition, racism, treason, criminal incompetence, economic ruin, hypocrisy and lies ever happened the way it happened.

Of  course, for the Pig People it's easy,  Since they are already trained to immediately doublethink away inconvenient facts whenever Boss Rush tells them to, all that was required for them to obliterate their own past wholesale was to roll up the Bush Off Machine and open the door.

Goodbye "Bush/Cheney" bumper stickers: Hello tricorner hats.

But to preserve to power and influence of the Conservative Brain Caste -- and their enablers in the mainstream media -- more was required.  A grander and more sweeping fraud.  A more strategic forgettery perpetrated the Beltway media and spearheaded by someone who is both a regular fixture at every one of the nation's elite media outlets and idolized by the Beltway as the ne plus ultra of Humble, Reasonable Centrism.

And since at least 2005, that is exactly what David Brooks -- the Beltway's own Ellsworth Monkton Toohey -- has been up to.

I write about it in an occasional series, occasionally called "The Great Project Continues".  Some samples of that product line from 2012 are:

And this -- The Whig Fan Fiction of David Brooks

The Whig Fan Fiction of David Brooks


Like a sculptor inspecting a magnificent slab of raw statuario marble, the wise critic carefully circles today's amazing, mile-high-shitpile of a David Brooks column once... twice... thrice... before unwrapping the tools of his trade.

And then the wise critic stops and realizes the futility of such an enterprise.

Because long ago Mr. Brooks simply stopped writing "columns" full of "facts" about "stuff" and started writing a collection of Whig Fan Fiction short stories.

These stories are not about the world as it actually exists, but the world as Mr. Brooks wishes it to be.  And since he is not a very good fiction writer, there are many, many points where the gears of the real world and his fake Whig World grind and howl, forcing Mr. Brooks to apply gallons of fictive lubricant to keep the keening noise of the real world ripping Whig World off its hinges from drowning out the tepid drone of his writing.

When Mr. Brooks needs an imaginary moral high ground of Centrism on which to stand, he conjures an imaginary army of Dirty Fucking Hippies on the Left that exactly counterpoises the very real mob of Pig People on the Right. 

When he wants to redress what he believes to be the immorality of the deficit, he wishes away the entire, debt-drunk Bush Era and instead pounds away at naughty people having sexy sex time in ways Mr. Brooks does not approve of and invents Whig FanFic "grand bargain" and "austerity" sub-genres wherein he expounds his on his rustic theories about money and cutting social programs.  After which he regularly has his ass absolutely sawed off and served up on the fine china by people like Dean Baker and Paul Krugman and myriad others who actually know what they're talking about.

(UPDATE:  Like, say, Sarah Kilff at the Washington Post:

Yes, we do know how to control health cost inflation 
Posted by Sarah Kliff on October 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm 
David Brooks’s column today is a suggested opening for his Wednesday night debate. It includes this “brutal truth” about Medicare costs: “Nobody knows how to reduce health-care inflation.” 
It’s would be a pretty brutal truth except for the fact it’s not really true at all: We have a lot of examples to look at where governments have successfully held down the rate of health-care cost inflation. Most of them do that through some version of price controls, where the government sets the rates that doctors can charge for various services. 
... )
Does this deter the indefatigable  Mr. Brooks in the slightest?

Goodness no!  

Sure, if he had to fend for a living in the real world where you and I live, Mr. Brooks would starve to death under a bridge within minutes.  But Mr. Brooks does not live in the real world.  He lives in an alternate universe of wealth and privilege where his friends and financial backers continue to completely insulate him from the brutal professional consequences that would normally accompany getting caught in public over and over and over again piling such ridiculous bullshit so very high and deep.

In other words, what Digby said:
The fact that Brooks has been horribly, astonishingly, unequivocally and ludicrously wrong about almost every major issue of the decade and still manages to keep a job as New York Times columnist is precisely why few people trust institutions like the New York Times. If a political analyst and prognosticator were as consistently wrong as Brooks in earlier eras, there would usually have been accountability for it.
And ironically it is here -- in Mr. Brooks' obsessive contempt for the real world as it really is and in his pathological denialism about his own past -- that Mr. Brooks is at his most deeply Conservative.  Like Michelle Malkin (who Mr. Brooks dismisses as "a loon") the more Mr. Brooks lies about the real world as it really is to please his audience, the more he prospers.  And the clearer it becomes that his prosperity is directly tied to his lies, the more operatic those lies become -- such as his complete revision of the entire history of Conservatism to infuse it with a genteel, communitarian spirit that never was and to omit all the inconveniently icky stuff that actually turned it into a cultural and electoral force to be reckoned with  (from me last week):
University of Chicago history baccalaureate David "Even David Brooks" Brooks has written a genuinely remarkable and revealing column about the rise and fall of American Conservatism. 
What makes it remarkable and revealing it is not its scholarly depth or historical breadth or scathing, confessional honesty, but rather that it is a work of almost pure fiction being passed off as fact in America's Newspaper of Record...
And now, in order to court the favor of all seven David Brooks Conservatives left within the  borders of the continental United States, Mr. Brooks advises Mr. Romney to tell the tens of millions bigots and imbeciles and anti-science Christopaths that make up his Party's voter base to go fuck themselves. 

Tell them that to get their votes in the primaries, he duped them, chumped them, led them down the garden path and promised them a Kenyan Moon that he never, ever had any intention of delivering.

Tell them that every single thing Newt Gingrich and Sick Rantorum said about him was the plain truth, and do it in the most condescending way imaginable:
I’m a nonideological guy running in an ideological age, and I’ve been pretending to be more of an ideologue than I really am. I’m a sophisticated guy running in a populist moment. I‘ve ended up dumbing myself down. 
It hasn’t even worked. I’m behind. So I’ve decided to run the last month of this campaign as myself.
Of course I lied to you, honey.  See, I wanted to put my penis in your vagina, but you wouldn't let me unless I promised to love you forever, so what was I supposed to do?

Here's a musical video thingies by a Mr. Meat Loaf that explains the whole dynamic in small, easy words that you poor dumb fucks can understand:

Then, as the Party base goes positively supernova with rage, explain the reason why he lied and lied and lied to them  was because, although he is running entirely on his resume as a badass capitalist problem solver with a business-brain the size of a planet and who fires the unfit without flinching, he somehow let a bunch of pipsqueak consultants -- a bunch of the hired help -- run all over him with their tiny, cloven hooves and turn him into someone he was not:
The problem is that you get caught up in the competitiveness of a campaign and all the consultants want to make you something you’re not. 
I’ve allowed that to happen to me. 
Because in Whig Fan Fiction, that sort of alibi works flawlessly.

Finally, to stick the Brooksian landing, in the middle of his epic truth-telling, Romney should first pivot 180 degrees away from the truth and double-down on the biggest lie of them all: that nothing is getting done in Washington D.C. because President Obama was not sufficiently pliant and capitulate-y during his first two years in office --
The next president is going to have to forge a grand compromise on the budget. President Obama has tried and failed to do this over the past four years. There’s no reason to think he’d do any better over the next four. 
He’s failed, first, because he’s just not a very good negotiator. You don’t have to believe me. Read Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics.” Obama spent the last campaign promising to be postpartisan and then in his first weeks in office, in the fullness of his victory, he shut down all cooperation with Republicans and killed any hope of bipartisan cooperation.
-- and then -- in an epic, sweep-the-leg re-reversal move not seen in these parts in living memory -- contradict the words that just came out of his own mouth by saying something that sounds nice and Centristy 
The second reason there’s been no budget compromise is that Republicans have been too rigid, refusing to put revenue on the table. 
but which will, in fact, 
  1. Please only David Brooks, 
  2. Completely negate the lie he just told, and, 
  3. Terminally piss off the few, remaining GOP base voters who have not already decided to burn you in effigy in the Sisterfuck, Arkansas town square  
Whig Fan Fiction at its finest.

But what the Hell it is doing on the op-ed page of the NYT week after week remains one of journalism's deepest and most enduring mystery.

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Why yes, your humble scrivener would be delighted to take your money!

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