Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The Speech Code of David Brooks, Ctd.

We join America's Leading Admonisher Without Portfolio in the 30th year of his perpetual midlife crisis, once again turning his astigmatic, cyclopean attention to the moral order of the universe and, once again, finding that out of all the sin joints in all the towns in all the world, what the dirty hippies are up to on America's college campuses, once again, rises above all other issues as a target of his opprobrium.
The Campus Crusaders 
Well-intentioned moral fervor on campuses today often slides into a dangerous type of zealotry.
Since I have already written on the subject and since I am very lazy, I will indulge myself with a brief visit to the bygone days of January, 2015 for an excerpt from when I was so much younger and more naive:
Let's start with sheer moral loutishness of breezing past the actual events in France so that Mr. Brooks can settle down to equating a mass shooting in the offices of Charlie Hebdo with Evil Liberal Speech Codes at some American colleges.  Because, just like his lower-rent Conservative cousins working the rougher trade over at Fox News, for Mr. Brooks no act of depravity is truly presentable until he has dipped it in the Dirty Hippie sauce.
The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.

Public reaction to the attack in Paris has revealed that there are a lot of people who are quick to lionize those who offend the views of Islamist terrorists in France but who are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home.
Hey, speaking of speech codes...apparently having been inexplicably reprieved for life from the laws of cause and effect in the labor market, Mr. Brooks has grown deeply confused about how marketplaces work...

And by the way, speaking of speech codes...what makes this an especially idiotic false equivalence is...

Since we're on the subject of speech codes...this is an awfully high horse to be riding, Mr. Brooks, for someone who actively hides from his own commentors and has his houseboy sift his email to make sure he doesn't accidentally see someone saying something mean about him.  

And while on the topic of speech codes...one last thing.  I would be more than happy to debate   speech codes (which, were I were Emperor of the Seven Galaxies, I would abolish, which is why there should never be an Emperor of the Seven Galaxies) with Mr. Brooks anywhere, any time...on one condition.  Rather starting a debate what kind of limitations which some institutions may put on free expression with some restrictive decisions that may occur every once in a great while and affect an audience of a few hundred -- 
Americans may laud Charlie Hebdo for being brave enough to publish cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad, but, if Ayaan Hirsi Ali is invited to campus, there are often calls to deny her a podium.
-- let us instead begin where we should begin -- with a massive, public venue with an audience of millions every week where the hosts consistently and methodically banish entire topics of vital public interest -- from climate change to the ongoing seditious lunacy of the Party of Bigots and Imbeciles -- because broaching them may hurt the delicate fee-fees of the worst people in America:
Chuck Todd: We all sit there, because we all know, the first time we bark is the last time that they do the show. You say something, and sometimes it is last time they will ever come on your show. There is that balance.
But we're never, ever going to discuss that speech code, are we?  Because rigid, across-the-board adherence to that speech code is the only reason people like Mr. Brooks has a job that doesn't involve grimly welcoming bulk mayonnaise and ammunition shoppers to WalMart.

And speaking of David Brooks' work history...

And this is where we leave a younger and less worldly-wise driftglass and return to the modern era just long enough to note the pure, existential hilarity of David Brooks -- a powerful, incredibly privileged grown ass man who adamantly refuses to speak honestly about his own, well-documented history of being horribly wrong about almost everything and who confines himself to venues where no one would be rude enough to press him with any hard questions about his own sketchy moral decisions and his own ethically bankrupt writing -- lectures college students on their moral duty to "not hide from what you fear"  to "[face] hard facts" and to otherwise be the diametric opposite of David Brooks in every way:
There will always be moral fervor on campus. Right now that moral fervor is structured by those who seek the innocent purity of the vulnerable victim. Another and more mature moral fervor would be structured by the classic ideal of the worldly philosopher, by the desire to confront not hide from what you fear, but to engage the complexity of the world, and to know that sometimes the way to wisdom involves hurt feelings, tolerating difference and facing hard truths.


Professor Fate said...

Not only does this last quote not make a lick of sense - it pretty much reads the same backwards as well as forwards.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

@Professor Fate
Thank you. I was just about to post a "WTF is he talking about" comment but you beat me to it. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was puzzled. Though I will add that I think it's hysterical that "Mr. Morals" thinks there's a problem with other people's "moral fervor".

gocart mozart said...

"sometimes the way to wisdom involves hurt feelings"

Fair point David. In the interest of finding common ground, let me just say "Fuck you, you preening sanctimonious codswollop bellend.*

*I,like Mr Brooks, also decry speech codes.

Red Hand said...

Good Grief! The man is so myopic, and oblivious to his own "moral fervor," that it's almost comical. Consider this:

They want to not only crack down on exploitation and discrimination, but also eradicate the cultural environment that tolerates these things. They want to police social norms so that hurtful comments are no longer tolerated and so that real bigotry is given no tacit support. Of course, at some level, they are right. Callous statements in the mainstream can lead to hostile behavior on the edge. That’s why we don’t tolerate Holocaust denial.

As in, "Oh, pay no attention to the fact that I'm a major Zionist who thinks the only thing Arabs understand is force. If the moral fervor caters to my biases, it's OK, because, 'the Holocaust.'"

I think the last paragraph of Mr. Morals' piece actually isn't gibberish. What he's really saying is that if a worldly philosopher [like me] doesn't think your cause if important enough, well, Fook You."

dinthebeast said...

"Hard truths"?? Does he mean as opposed to squishy ones such as the hundreds of thousands killed and the trillion dollars squandered destroying Iraq, possibly beyond repair?
It is near impossible to care about hurt feelings you don't have and are thus unaware of. I'm not saying he can't do it, I'm saying that perhaps he would do better at it if he at least tried to factor his own wealth and isolation into his moral equations.

-Doug in Oakland

bowtiejack said...

Gee, I was going to write something, but you guys have all said it so well. Seriously. Kudos all around.