As a tax-deductible endowment to all future colleges which will offer a course in "The Rise and Fall of the America Journalism", the New York Times proprietary algorithm which generates David Brooks columns has extruded a journalistic stool sample so perfect in every way that I almost suspect the algorithm has become sentient and is deliberately trolling Ken Silverstein:
I'm doing @Salon's 2015 Hack List of country's worst political writers. I will not accept nomination so don't bother but suggestions welcome— Ken Silverstein (@KenSilverstein1) October 23, 2015
So out of what snips and snails and Broderite entrails does one construct a perfect David Brooks column?
First, doodle out a pure, Whig Fan Fiction-based "solution" to a real and dangerous problem -- the implosion of the Republican Party -- without ever actually naming the problem (the GOP sinking into "Lord of the Flies" sewer of political barbarism) or your own prominent role in causing that problem.
A Sensible Version of Donald Trump...But imagine if we had a sensible Trump in the race. Suppose there was some former general or business leader with impeccable outsider status but also a steady temperament, deep knowledge and good sense.What would that person sound like? Maybe something like this...
Oh my good and fluffy Lord. If there is anything more ipecac-y than a standard-issue David Brooks column it's a David Brooks column in which David Brooks talks to his own ass and pretends his ass answers back as Dwight Eisenhower.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m no politician. I’m just a boring guy who knows how to run things. But I’ve been paying close attention and it seems to me that of all the problems that face the nation, two stand out...
Then, propose some cartoonishly ridiculous Very Big Thing that should be done to solve the problem of The Poors. On today's menu, something that sounds a lot a program of mass, compulsory relocation. Because yeah, that always ends well.
The studies I’m talking about were done at Harvard by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Lawrence Katz. They looked at the results of a Clinton-era program called Moving to Opportunity, which took poor families and moved them to middle-class neighborhoods. At first the results were disappointing. The families who moved didn’t see their earnings rise. Their kids didn’t do much better in school.
But as years went by and newer data accumulated, different and more promising results came in...
Then the obligatory ritual of blaming Both Sides:
I know the professional politicians are going to want to continue their wars, but I see an opportunity...
And while everyone is laughing wildly at the idea of groveling Beltway lichen, David Fucking Brooks, scolding "professional politicians", rapidly pivot to a solemn promise that the Great Bipartisan Pumpkin will definitely rise from Mr. Brooks' pumpkin patch this time because it is the humblest and most Whiggish of them all.
I mean, the Great Pumpkin's just gotta pick this one.
He's got to!
I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more humble and Whiggish than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of honest journalism. Nothing but Both Siderism far as the eye can see...
This will mean doing some things Republicans like. We’ve got to devolve a lot of power from Washington back to...
This will mean doing some things Democrats like. We’ve got to reform and expand...
For extra credit, take an entirely gratuitous shot at Bernie Sanders, probably because Senator Sanders reminds the algorithm which generates David Brooks columns waaaay too much of Mr. Brooks' father. (Oh, and while we're at it, may I suggest that the New York Times invest a few dollars and upgrading its algorithm to include a working understanding of the difference between a "democratic socialist" [Bernie Sanders] and a "demented socialite" [David Brooks]):
Basically we’ve got to get socialist. No, I don’t mean the way Bernie Sanders is a socialist. He’s a statist, not a socialist...
And because you can never catapult the propaganda hard enough, remind The Poors once again to pull up their pants and stop having non-David-Brooks-approved sexytime:
And finally, we have to get a little moralistic. There are certain patterns of behavior, like marrying before you have kids and sticking around to parent the kids you conceive, that contribute to better communities.
(Because as everyone in Mr. Brooks' social circles knows, the time to dump your wife is after your kid has been safe consigned to the loving arms of Bibi Netanyahu's army.)
Then tie this steaming pile of Ex Cathedra Beltway Wisdom up in one more big, Both Siderist ribbon --
Look, I don’t know if I’m red or blue. If you want a true outsider, don’t just pick someone outside the political system. Pick someone outside the rigid partisan mentalities that are the real problem here.
-- and hit publish.
After which I absolutely guarantee you that no one but a few disreputable nobodies will be so rude as to point out that this latest chapter of Mr. Brooks' Great Project --"The Whig Alternate History of the United States" -- was negated in its entirety by Mr. Brooks' own words less than three weeks ago.
Because, as everyone knows...
Click below to support your local disreputable nobody during my birthday fundraiser :-)
PS. You really owe it to yourself to check out "The Sensible Trump!" over at The Rectification of Names. Here's a wee taste to get you going:
Oh the Sensible Trump
Is a creature most rare
He doesn't talk trash
Or comb over his hair