Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Today In "Both Sides Do It": David Brooks -- The Farce Awakens

For all of those who have written (or just driven by shouting incoherently) expressing your concern about David Brooks' mental health following his unseemly public truthblurt a week ago, it appears the worst is over.

First (and as predicted), thanks to a near-complete embargo on talking about that unseemly public truthblurt, the Village has bulldozed the entire incident down the media memory hole.  So way to go team!

Second, it appears that Mr. Brooks' therapy is going so well that the nice people at the Villager Nervous Hospital for the Temporarily Forthright nor feel confident enough to give him a day-pass so that he can go down to the corner store for corn nuts and energy drink, and get back to the business of blaming 1) Bad Morals --
Since 2000, this vision of the post-Cold War world has received blow after blow. Some of these blows were self-inflicted. Democracy, especially in the United States, has grown dysfunctional. Mass stupidity and greed led to a financial collapse and deprived capitalism of its moral swagger.

But the deeper problem was spiritual...
-- and 2) Both Sides --
The establishments of the West have not responded to these challenges by doubling down on their vision, by countering fanaticism with gusto. On the contrary, they’ve lost faith in their own capacities of understanding and action. Sensing a loss of confidence in the center, strong-willed people on the edges step forward to take control.

This happens in loud ways in the domestic sphere. The uncertain Republican establishment cannot govern its own marginal members, while those on the edge burn with conviction. Jeb Bush looks wan but Donald Trump radiates confidence.

The Democratic establishment no longer determines party positions; it is pulled along by formerly marginal players like Bernie Sanders.

But the big loss of central confidence is in global governance. The United States is no longer willing to occupy the commanding heights and oversee global order. In region after region, those who are weak in strength but strong in conviction are able to have their way...
-- for why everything is so terrible and stuff.

Yep.  Bernie Sanders: Leader of the barbarian horde.

Sadly, the scant 800 words which the New York Times allots him is scarcely enough to explain how screwed we are because of how badly everyone has failed David Brooks and how horribly Both Sides are doing:
I only have space to add here that the primary problem is mental and spiritual.
Mr. Brooks can only hope that someday some charismatic leader will come along to help the United States out of the crapper:
Some leader has to be able to digest the lessons of the last 15 years and offer a revised charismatic and persuasive sense of America’s historic mission. This mission, both nationalist and universal, would be less individualistic than the gospel of the 1990s, and more realistic about depravity and the way barbarism can spread. It would offer a goal more profound than material comfort.
Actually, Mr. Brooks, we might have had just such a leader. 

Too bad that he had to be black. 

And have a (D) after his name. 

And that, instead of helping him govern, your party of hysterical bigots, imbeciles, lunatics and demagogues has spent the last seven years working tirelessly to destroy him and burn the very concept of competent self-governance to the ground.

Still, staff at the Villager Nervous Hospital for the Temporarily Forthright have decided that Mr. Brooks is steady enough to start getting back to his regular routine as long as he has Very Serious sponsor on the outside who will vouch for him.

Like, say, Ron Fournier:

Also apropos of nothing but also of interest to me is how this site managed to copy and post Mr. Brooks' entire column hours before it was up at the New York Times?


Also it's kinda hilarious that, as he reverts to his old, despicable Weekly Standard roots to argue for a Strong Man to lead a Global American Empire, America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Thought Leader shows that his grasp of politics and culture is every bit as feeble as his grasp of high school astronomy.  Because you see, space, like politics, it is very big and full of gravities...
As every schoolchild knows, the gravitational pull of the sun helps hold the planets in their orbits. Gravity from the center lends coherence to the whole solar system.

I mention this because that’s how our political and social systems used to work, but no longer do. In each sphere of life there used to be a few big suns radiating conviction and meaning. The other bodies in orbit were defined by their resistance or attraction to that pull.
Tom Friedman called.  He wants his Shitty Analogy Generator back.


bowtiejack said...

OK, we all know how The Emperor's New Clothes ends.
But what I want is a denouement like the one The Duke and The Dauphin got in Huckleberry Finn when the rubes finally realized how badly they'd been had. Unfortunately I'm afraid our rubes are intellectually inferior to those in mid-1800's Mississippi river towns. So it goes.

Neo Tuxedo said...

I'm afraid our rubes are intellectually inferior to those in mid-1800's Mississippi river towns.

Remember, Nybbas didn't even invent the television until 1884.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I can't agree with Drifty that Obama is such a leader, because he does occupy the White House.

I do not believe the Deep State, and the Malefactors of Great Wealth who own it, will ever allow such a leader to occupy the White House; hence, the fact that they do allow Obama to reside there indicates he can't be such a leader.

The last time we might have had such a man in the White House was the year I was born. About six months after my birth, a "lone nut" (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more) put a bullet through his skull.

Obama is moderately conservative by the standards of any Western country except the USA, but our vacuum-skulled conservatives are too blinded by their barely-concealed loathing of his melanin content to realize that.

I suspect the Republic has been irreversibly converted into the Empire.

Drifty still thinks the Republic can be saved.

Haruhi-kami-sama let me be wrong, and him right.

Unknown said...

If I wanted to "understand the times", Ron "Severe Dementia" Fournier might be the very, very, very last person on earth I'd seek advice from.

Lit3Bolt said...

David Brooks again fails to acknowledge how Democrats, in the face of populist uprisings, 28% unemployment, and oblivious, let-'em-eat cake plutocrats, saved capitalism from itself in 1933 and gave capitalism its "moral swagger" only by conceding to vast socialist concessions, like fair wages, reasonable work hours/conditions, and making sure the elderly don't starve in the streets or be a drain on individual investment ("Ok, we can have Grandpa and Grandma, or a house.").

David Brooks also yearns for the Cold War, or the Made-Up-War-On-Terror, back when things made sense, like when we attacked Iraq for the actions of 19 Saudi nationals and threatened nuclear war on the whim of an old actor with dementia. Throwing Middle Eastern countries up against the wall and telling them to "Suck on this!" gave the U.S. such tremendous prestige that we will reap the rewards for decades to come, just as we did with our policy triumphs in Cuba, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. I'm sure the Ivy League lecturer on "Humility" has a very interesting rhetorical Mobeius Strip to justify why intervening in every conflict on Earth makes the U.S. strong and noble yet also humble and wise.

Of course, during the entire time things were unstable and the world is a horrible moral mess with no discernible cause, David Brooks and his fellow Republicans were innocent wallflowers for the past 30 years, who said and did nothing, influenced nobody, and had no opinions on anything until this momentous moment in history where things are so CRAAAAAZY that only Super-Republican-Daddy-He-Man can use his STRENGTH and WILL to makes things RIGHT by the Power of Greyskull.

Maybe David Brooks can make a documentary about his yearnings called "Waiting for Lex Luthor."

Unsalted Sinner said...

"Also apropos of nothing but also of interest to me is how this site managed to copy and post Mr. Brooks' entire column hours before it was up at the New York Times?"

It seems the NYT has introduced a new practice of only putting columns up on the front page and op-ed page several hours after they are actually posted. Apparently, it was to prevent us Yuropeans from taking over the comment section, as we rise early on this side of the Atlantic. But if you go to the NYT early in the morning US time, you can still find the new columns by going to the individual columnist's pages.

Not that this is something I recommend when it comes to Bobo, of course; every hour you can postpone an encounter with his latest drivel is precious.