Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Today In Both Sides Do It: David Brooks' Single Story

Not long ago, having been comprehensively and publicly humiliated by his insistence that dumb-as-toast human footnote, Marco Rubio, would soon kick into second gear and save the GOP from both the Fascist and the Theocrat, Mr. Brooks took an oath that he would sally boldly forth into the dark heart of Actual America and talk to Real People in order to figure out WTF is actually going on outside his hermetically-sealed bubble of circle-jerking Beltway pundits.

So when Mr. Brooks begins his column today with...
In 2009 the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a fabulous TED talk...
,,,you can be pretty confident that, unless his plane is forced to make an emergency landing in a cornfield in the No Man's Land between the suburbs of Bethesda and the Aspen Institute, David Brooks has no intention of dropping in on Actual America anytime soon.

Which makes sense.  Because David Brooks only has a Single Story to tell.  It is a story that has made Mr. Brooks a wealthy and respected Beltway Insider, but it is also an incredibly fragile story that is constantly in danger of total protonic reversal --

-- whenever it comes within a hundred miles of Actual America.

David Brooks's Single Story is a fairy tale about Both Sides always being equally inept and complicit and horrendous, regardless of facts, history, circumstances or the specific issue inviolved.  It is a fairy tale which Mr. Brooks has sailed so far over the horizon into the Undying Lands of delusion, projection and wish-fulfillment that even the furthest outcroppings of Reality no longer show up on Mr. Brooks' long range radar.  And yet year after year he continues to reap massive financial and professional rewards for repeating some variation of this same, tired, ridiculous fairy tale over and over and over again in virtually every column he writes.

So it will come as absolutely no shock to any of my readers that America's Most Ubiquitious Conservative Public Intelletual has once again fled to the fetal comfort of the deepest, furthest corner of his Both Siderist Bunker to spin yet another tale of how Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are basically two sides of the same fringe, extremist coin!

And the most delicious irony of all?

That this time, Mr. David "Single Story" Brooks is bitching about Both Sides because, according to Mr. Brooks, each of them traffics in a false Single Story narrative that ignores complex reality!

And, no, I am not kidding.

The Danger of a Single Story

David Brooks APRIL 19, 2016

This year the problem is acute because Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the giants of Single Storyism. They reduce pretty much all issues to the same single story: the alien invader story.

Every problem can be solved by finding some corrupt or oppressive group to blame. If America is beset by wage stagnation it’s not because of intricate structural problems. It’s because of the criminal Mexicans sneaking across the border or it’s because of this evil entity called “the banks.” 
This is a phenomenon borrowed from campus political correctness. In order to express your solidarity with the virtuous team, you have to embrace the socially approved story...
This is, by my count, either the fourth of fifth time in which David Brooks explicitly equates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in order to advance the Beltway's favorite Single Story fairy tale.  And, because he knows what the handful of wealthy shut-ins who read and love his columns want to hear, Mr. Brooks also throws in a completely gratuitous shot at the campaign to raise the minimum wage using a statistic that is so grossly misrepresented that any high school newspaper editor would have bounced it.
One study found the modest hike in the national minimum wage between 2006 and 2009 reduced employment among young people without a high school degree by almost 6 percent.
Yes, in an act of calculated dishonesty so breathtaking that it really does defy description, what Mr. Brooks goes out of his way not to mention is that, in addition to a "modest hike in the national minimum wage", between 2006 and 2009 this also happened:

Remember?  The collapse of the global economy?  Perpetrated by those banksters which Mr. Brooks insists are a product of Bernie Sanders' imagination?  

Christ on a credit default swap, Brooks, it was in every paper on Earth.  It was in your fucking paper. Hell, Hollywood even made a Very Big Movie about it starring Batman and Tyler Durden.

Which brings us right back to why -- no matter what desperate promises he makes to his employers -- Mr. Brooks will never dare to soil his cuffs by walking among the proles out here in Actual America, 

Because for people like me who live out here in Actual America, the collapse of the global economy was a real, brutal, world-shattering thing that reduced my employment by 100%, probably for the rest of my life.

But for cosseted pundits and True Conservatives like Mr. Brooks, the collapse of the global economy -- like every other inconvenient historical event -- has become nothing but an incongruent plot point to be wished away because it does not fit into the Single Both Siderist Story that will continue to provide cosseted pundits and True Conservatives like Mr. Brooks with great wealth and privilege for the rest of their lives.


bowtiejack said...

OK, let's take a closer look at "both sides" theory.

So there is matter and anti-matter in the physical universe, but "both sides" are not equal. There is an asymmetry of matter over anti-matter which is why we can have flowers and deer and nice days and ice cream sundaes.

Unfortunately, in our political universe there is an asymmetry of antimatter (which we call "evil") over matter which is why we have .o1% Pareto distributions, Flint, Michigan and David Brooks.

Oh, and no matter how many times you mindlessly repeat it, a theory does not become an axiom.

Susan of Texas said...

David Brooks is copying his favorite economics blogger, Megan McArdle or whatever Koch-funded think tank she got the memo from. Failure is structural and there's nothing we can do about it. The fact that wealth was transferred up from the lower classes to the very upper class is no doubt just a feature of the structure as well.

The Democrats are going to ignore our fun new poverty until they are forced to admit it exists and the only thing that will do that is fear. Theirs, not ours. We have more than enough as it is.

steeve said...

Trump: "things are bad because people with no power have ruined everything"
Sanders: "things are bad because people with overwhelming power have ruined everything"

One of these makes sense.

RUKidding said...

Well Fuck Cakes isn't even coherent in his recycled puling.

...They reduce pretty much all issues to the same single story: the alien invader story...
It’s because of the criminal Mexicans sneaking across the border or it’s because of this evil entity called “the banks.”

WTF? Yeah, OK, I'll stifle my urge to barf and "buy it" that Trump is peddling the "alien invader" story - not just about the rape-y Mexicans but also about the murder-y Muslims. Sure. Whatever.

But how do "the banks" become an alien invader, much less an "evil entity"?? Yo, DFB: "the banks" are financial institutions. One may call them evil (I mostly do), but that's as far as I'll go.

Sheesh. My 6th Grade teacher would've given him a big fat old "F" for that analogy, alone.

Lazy, tedious hack with no perceivable writing skills. Beggars the imagination that he's still employed and highly compensated, no less.

trgahan said...

An economy isn't a physical thing with an immutable physical structure, like a car, building, etc. S

o a good rule of thumb is anytime someone talks about an economic issue being "structural" it is code for the guys who have access to private jets are responsible.

bluicebank said...

Shorter David Brooks:

"The Single Story. My Autobiography."

Longer: "I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas."

Short and that's a rap: "It's not my fault."

Redhand said...

Another fun nugget is DFB's reference to Chuck Colson simply as "an evangelical," completely ignoring his criminal Watergate past in the Nixon White House.

I swear, DFB could repeat the lines of "Mary had a Little Lamb" enough times to fill 800 words and it would make it into print without the slight bit of "editorial oversight" by his nominal bosses.

I have completely given up on the NYT as a source of either news or "opinion." The paper's continued toleration of DFB makes it a bad joke.

Dr. Puck said...

Let me get this straight: Brooks is telling the single story about the problem of the single story?

Is this what Bateson meant by the term recursion?

John Robinson said...

Whaaa? By gum, it's almost like It's Always Projection.

Donald Walsh said...

Things we're going to have to learn to live without--

--jobs that add up to a career
--political parties that, between them, pretty much cover the spectrum of political thought in America
--any meaningful distinction between our economy and Guatemala's
--a national postal system not owned by UPS
--an independent news media whose employees have the nation's best interest at heart