Friday, January 22, 2016

Today In Both Sides Do It: David Brooks



Having gotten the angsty, post-divorce Humbert Humberting temporarily out of his system, and having published his bold plan to save the Republican Party by rallying a mighty and imaginary army of haints, cartoon animals and astrally projected Whig super-beings from an alternate universe, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times felt the inevitable tug on his leash from his owners and got back to doing what they pay him to do:  blaming everybody!
The Anxieties of Impotence
OK, maybe not all of Mr. Brooks' creepy post-divorce weirdness has been successfully re-sublimated.  My bad.

Mr. Brooks continues:
Today we live in a world of isolation and atomization, where people distrust their own institutions. In such circumstances many people respond to powerlessness with pointless acts of self-destruction.
...

To address these problems we need big, responsible institutions (power centers) that can mobilize people, cobble together governing majorities and enact plans of actions. In the U.S. context that means functioning political parties and a functioning Congress.
Sigh.  And so here we are, back to this twaddle once again.  Once again, it isn't the "Republican Party" that has torn the place up. It isn't the "Republican Party" that needs to be put down like a rabid beast.  Once again, we're getting one more godawful, chapter of patently-ludicrous Both Siderist drool from Mr. Brooks' vast and turgid alternate history of American -- massive work of fiction in which somehow no specific person or group or movement is to blame for anything, but  "political parties" generally and "Congress" institutionally are to blame for everything.

 Mr. Brooks continues:
Those institutions have been weakened of late. Parties have been rendered weak by both campaign finance laws and the Citizens United decision, which have cut off their funding streams and given power to polarized super-donors who work outside the party system. Congress has been weakened by polarization and disruptive members who don’t believe in legislating.
Once again, the brokenness of our political system is somehow unrelated to the specific, destructive actions of scum like Ted Cruz, or lunatics like James Inhoff, or goblins like Trey Gowdy, or wingnut killbots like David Brat. Instead some nonspecific group "parties" are failing and some nonspecific group of "disruptive members" are messing up the Congress.

Mr. Brooks then ritually lumps together all of the leading candidates from both parties who propose to disrupt the established order and writes them all off as equally unfit for the office of President:
Instead of shoring up these institutions, many voters are inclined to make everything worse. Plagued by the anxiety of impotence many voters are drawn to leaders who pretend that our problems could be solved by defeating some villain. Donald Trump says stupid elites are the problem. Ted Cruz says it’s the Washington cartel. Bernie Sanders says it’s Wall Street.
As someone who has sold his soul to become a wealthy stooge of stupid elites and the Washington cartel and Wall Street I can see why a myopic fraud like David Brooks would think that everyone who says mean things about America's corrupt plutocracy looks equally terrifying. I cannot see why anyone in their right mind would continue to pay him to print such glop in America's newspaper of record.

Mr. Brooks continues:
There’s no all-controlling Wizard of Oz to slay.
Wow. You know, given all the obscure and eclectic movies I have seen in my life, I'm amazed that I have somehow never seen the Mr. Brooks version of the Wizard of Oz -- the one in where the Wizard is taken out by a Sovereign Patriot Citizens Movement of Oz.

Well you live and learn.

Mr. Brooks continues:
If we’re to have any hope of addressing big systemic problems we’ll have to repair big institutions and have functioning parties and a functioning Congress. We have to discard the anti-political, anti-institutional mood that is prevalent and rebuild effective democratic power centers.
And we wind up back where we started:  David Brooks collecting one more paycheck for pretending that the "Republican Party" simply does not exist, but instead our country is being ruined by "political parties" generally and "Congress" institutionally.

There may be no Wizards to slay, but there are frauds with huge microphones who really, really need be exposed.

And every day I try my best to do my bit to tug the curtain back a little further.




16 comments:

Redhand said...

Once again, the brokenness of our political system is somehow unrelated to the specific, destructive actions of scum like Ted Cruz, or lunatics like James Inhoff, or goblins like Trey Gowdy, or wingnut killbots like David Brat. Instead some nonspecific group "parties" are failing and some nonspecific group of "disruptive members" are messing up the Congress.

If he were required to name names, he'd soil himself. They are ALL Repubs. I can't think of a single Democrat who comes close to these swine.

trgahan said...

"There’s no all-controlling Wizard of Oz to slay.....that I don't either directly or indirectly draw a pay check from"

FTFY David. Enjoy your Friday evening ogling the dance studio cross the street!

Unknown said...

"To address these problems we need big, responsible institutions (power centers) that can mobilize people, cobble together governing majorities and enact plans of actions. In the U.S. context that means functioning political parties and a functioning Congress."

You know, sort of like what we had from 2009-2011. What was I, David f'ing Brooks doing during that period, when one of our major parties made a sincere (if halting and painful) attempt to govern the nation in a time of multiple crises? Oh, right. I was jumping aboard the teabagger moron brigade bandwagon with both feet because it was a convenient short-term way to bring my beloved GOP and conservative movement back from the brink or irrelevance.

And now he's pulling out the "mistakes were made" dodge to try to salve his anguished conscience over the massive dungheap his faux intellectual mendacity helped create. Fuck him.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

I don't read Brooks except for the snippets you quote, but Dear Lord it's as if the man recycles every column, with the "people distrust/are angry at" and the we's and the they's and the have to's and the moral compasses. How does such a less than mediocre writer make so much money writing for a major paper?

Mr. Glass, I don't know if you and Blue Gal have seen "Trumbo" starring Brian Cranston, but I highly recommend it. While he was blacklisted he wrote scripts under a pseudonym, two of which won Oscars he could not accept. He also wrote and contracted to other blacklisted writers schlock B movie scripts. Take a page from Trumbo. Start submitting Brooksian Babble using a pseudonym, then start a fake blog to feature same. It would be so much fun to watch you troll Brooks and the other Minions of the Mainslime Media.

bluicebank said...

I'd like to believe that David Brook's mammalian sense of self-preservation has been kicking at his door, telling him that it's pitchfork to the Right of him, torches to the Left, that the walls are closing in.

Once every third blue moon, Brooks is rightfully afraid, but usually he reaches for that bent crescent wrench and strips the bolts a little more.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

@bluicebank

Your comment brings to mind a snippet from the 1972 Stealer's Wheels hit:

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

Which also expresses a certain BoBoian state of mind.

proverbialleadballoon said...

I had to click over to the Old Grey Mare, to see if Books really titled this facile, limp-dicked essay "The Anxieties of Impotence" (what are you trying to tell us, Dave?). He did! He also appropriates a real journalist Orwell's elephant in Burma essay, and gets it completely upside-down. (The guy with the gun is the oppressor, knucklehead, and the elephant is the oppressed. The elephant is Burma, and the guy with the gun is the British, putting down burmese rebellion.) Anyway, even if we go along with Brook's misreading, he doesn't finish his thought. Because he can't, the next sentence would have to be "and the elephant was put down, it had to be, it was causing far too much damage to be allowed to live." But no, instead Brooks inserts a donkey into the story, so to speak, that's just as damaging and dangerous as the elephant. He gets right up to a point, so that the reader thinks that this is a real critique, but then can't bring himself to do it. What about that rampaging elephant, Bobo?

Unknown said...

Just wrapped up reading David Talbot's "The Devil's Chessboard", in re: spawnfather Allen Dulles. One not-totally-revelatory eyeopener tidbit: Just about the entire Big News of that era was in the bag for the Deep State, faithfully regurgitating and propelling every lie and scurrilous personal attack that the Establishment wanted "out there." Not a whit, jot or tittle of difference to now.

That unusual noise you may be hearing is the faint rumbling of the tumbrils, Frau Brooks: they roll for thee.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Just about the entire Big News of that era was in the bag for the Deep State, faithfully regurgitating and propelling every lie and scurrilous personal attack that the Establishment wanted "out there."

*nods* That was the era that gave us the phrase "the Mighty Wurlitzer", because all the three-letter agencies had to do was put another nickel in to get 11-U any time they wanted. Former Company head William Colby is alleged to have said that "the CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media."

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Hmmm...I had gotten the impression that the DS-phrase was taboo on this site...

driftglass said...

There are few taboo phrases on this site.

OTOH I will no longer tolerate obsessives hijacking threads to bang on about their One Issue.

Don't like it?

Go with God. Start your own blog. Call it "Everything's Fucked and We're All Screwed Anyway". Spend a decade reading and writing every day.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Nah, that's work.

Did you think I became a leftist because I wanted to work? xD

Chan Kobun said...

So does it paint me as a young'un that I have no idea what this supposedly-taboo phrase is even about? I know that, compared to many of you, I AM a young'un, but I'd rather not it be so obvious.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Among us hairy-eyed conspiracy nuts, "Deep State" is shorthand for the intelligence agencies as head of the Military-Industrial Complex snake. See also Bill Hicks' speculation that, right after a new President is sworn in for his first term, the 12 corporate scumfucks whose asses he kissed to fill his war chest show him the film from the camera that was looking over Eddie Blake's shoulder on the grassy knoll, just in case he had any illusions about who's really calling the shots (as it were).

Ormond Otvos said...

It's the obverse of "There's a club and you're not in it."

A.J. said...

"...we’ll have to repair big institutions."

So "big government" is now OK...?

Keeping up with Republics iz haaard.