Friday, May 27, 2016

David Brooks' Journey Through The Dark Heart of America Has Been Temporarily Delayed


Again.

Approximately one-third of a Friedman Unit ago, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times suddenly discovered that he did not know a damn thing about America.

This turned out to be kind of embarrassing given that Mr. David Brooks' entire fortune and life of gilded privileged are based entirely on making grand, gassy generalizations about America for our nation's Newspaper of Record, acting as the in-house tribal grio for a small clutch of very rich, very powerful deluded old plutocrats who desperately want to believe that America was some other kind of country and that their Republican party was being run by some other kind of people.  For years, Mr. Brooks obliged their delusions (and made himself rich and influential in the process) by spinning them colorful bi-weekly fairy tales about America as they wished it to be.

Of course, many on the Left have spent many, many years regularly pointing out what the rise of Donald Trump has finally forced Mr. Brooks to admit -- that Mr. Brooks doesn't know fuck-all about America and that his observations of American life amount to little more than a tepid regurgitation of the same elite pablum that gets passed around like the received wisdom of the prophets inside the hermetically sealed Beltway whorehouse.  And by "many on the Left" I mean, well, basically three or four of us, all of whom have been conspicuously shunned by the Beltway media for the crime of pointing out that their emperor has been very naked for a very long time.

But hey,  now that Mr. Brooks has admitted that we on the Left were right all along...
...
  ...
    ...
      ...nothing whatsoever has changed.

Oh well.  Like being perpetually broke and despised, this is a condition of professional life that we on the Left have had to come to terms with.

See, it does not matter how right we may turn out to be on virtually every issue, the Beltway media has been so cowed by the Right and so hollowed out by a rating's race to the bottom that we on the Left will always be treated as potty-mouthed riff-raff to be roundly ignored for saying obvious and uncomfortably true things out loud.  In fact, it would be fair to say that the instrumentality of the Beltway media machine now exists primarily to insure that no one from the Left ever gets within a mile of a camera or a microphone where they might say something that outs people like David Brooks as the clueless frauds that they are.

However, even that indignity might be worth bearing nobly if finally, finally, finally David Brooks has Seen The Light...


...and actually intends to follow through on the pledged he made on the Charlie Rose Show (which has been lost to all history except my little blog) to finally get his ass out of "the bubble" -- including colleges -- and visit the world the rest of us live in:
Brooks:  Believe me, I travel every week, but I'm at a college here...so I'm always within the bubble.  And so I've gotta get out.  But then the other thing is, like, I've achieved way more career success than I ever thought I would, so it's time to take some chances on the spiritual realm, on the personal -- the emotional realm, and I've...got nothing to lose...
However, knowing Mr. Brooks as I do, you may imagine my sublime amusement and complete lack of surprise when I cracked open my digital NYT to find that Mr. Brooks has not only flung himself right off the "Finding Real America" wagon and hitched a ride in the opposite direction --
Today’s elite college students face a unique set of pressures. On the professional side life is competitive, pressured, time-consuming, capitalistic and stressful. On the political side many elite universities are home to an ethos of middle-aged leftism. The general atmosphere embraces feminism, civil rights, egalitarianism and environmentalism, but it is expressed as academic discourse, not as action on the streets.
-- but that he could not even be bothered to write a column based on his own, actual conversations with the students of Murrica's elite colleges, but instead opted to to skim someone else's essay based on interviews with a handful of students at a single college --
In his essay “The Big Uneasy,” in the current issue of The New Yorker, Nathan Heller describes life at Oberlin College in Ohio. In his penetrating interviews with the activist students you can see how the current passion for identity politics grows, in part, as a reaction against both sides of campus life.
-- as a basis for today's grand, gassy generalizations about America:
...
The current identity politics movement, like all previous forms of campus radicalism, is sparked by genuine social injustices. Agree or disagree with these students, it’s hard not to admire the impulse to serve a social good and commit to some lofty purpose.

On the other hand, this movement does not emerge from a place of confidence and strength. It emerges from a place of anxiety, lostness and fragility. It is distorted by that soil. Movements that grant themselves the status of victim lack both the confidence to lead change and the humility to converse with others. People who try to use politics to fill emotional and personal voids get more and more extreme and end up as fanatics...
David Brooks has made a fine life for himself inside the bubble.  And short of his employer grabbing him by the scruff of his neck, marching him bodily into a working man's bar on a Friday night and forcing him to listen to the locals, he clearly has no intention of ever leaving it.

8 comments:

Habitat Vic said...

Before I read your post, I was just thinking about how DFB should go to a working class bar in Chicago - maybe Hispanic or AA - say a mile or two from his alma mater U of Chicago and talk anonymously to the bartender/patrons. Hell, even the U of C has changed (at least if he stays away from the business or economic schools). Of course, that would never happen. God, if Royko were alive and in that bar with Brooks. One can dream.

OTOH, my electric teevee machine was on "liberal" MSNBC, and I just caught Tweety giving air time to vile Ann Coulter to trash the anti-Trump protests that are going on right now in San Diego. Joy Reid was there to push back on Coulter's spew of hatred, while Tweety basically did nothing.

Jefferson said "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever." This whole Republican/Trump/Conservative implosion may make our country pay a steep price if/when the correction comes.

Neo Tuxedo said...

grabbing him by the scruff of his neck, marching him bodily into a working man's bar on a Friday night and forcing him to listen to the locals

That reminds me, has anyone else gotten out to see Money Monster? Because I saw it this afternoon, and it's like the follow-up to The Big Short that I didn't realize I needed.

Jerry B said...

The unknown is scary.

bowtiejack said...

". . . his observations of American life amount to little more than a tepid regurgitation of the same elite pablum that gets passed around like the received wisdom of the prophets inside the hermetically sealed Beltway whorehouse."

Nailed it. Absolutely goddamn nailed it.

Chan Kobun said...

"Delayed"... right. He won't even try to leave the confines of Richdom.

Bob Harrison said...

"...And by "many on the Left" I mean, well, basically three or four of us, all of whom have been conspicuously shunned by the Beltway media for the crime of pointing out that their emperor has been very naked for a very long time..."

"...And by "many on the Left" I mean, well, basically three or four hundred thousand of us, all of whom have been conspicuously shunned by the Beltway media for the crime of pointing out that their emperor has been very naked for a very long time..."

Redhand said...

He's not even trying to find the "Real Murrica." Hoping that his readers have forgotten his pledge, DFB has settled back into doing what he does best: taking the path of least resistance in the Village Bubble.

Original research, or even an actual, physical encounter with another human being in an unstructured environment? Just for local color and an anecdotal take? Funk that! I'll read all about it in The New Yorker, mangle that writer's conclusions with my own perverse ruminations about "purpose" and "meaning," then turn my dreck into the NYT copy desk because my employer is stupid and lazy enough to publish anything I write, no matter how utterly worthless it is.

Jimbo said...

Dropped into a cafe near my Shenandoah Valley farm a month ago and two farmers (complete with Catpower ball caps and bib overalls) and they were discussing the merits of different kinds of solar power for their barns. And this is 20 miles from the WVA (coal country) border. Murrica is a lot more complicated than the lazy GOP Establishment's caricature of reactionary, white simpletons raging against Liberals. There are lots of those out there as Trumphas shown but fewer than the Right imagines.