Tuesday, June 14, 2016

David Brooks Isn't Here Right Now, But If You'd Like To Make An Appointment...

You might remember way back during those first, few days of being publicly pantsed as a highly-paid fraud that followed Donald J. Trump locking up the Republican nomination for president, Mr. David Brook of the New York Times made a great, public display of declaring that he would personally risk life and limb by finally going abroad in the land to talk to the hoi polloi face-to-face.

Sure, he'd spent his entire fucking career speaking authoritatively on their behalf, explaining in microscopic detail what they wanted and why they wanted it (and why their desires always seemed to comport exactly with David Brooks' passing whims and preferences) , and periodically scolding them for not living up to his expectations, but damn it, this latest humiliating example of his myopic cluelessness was the last straw!  Why, just three short months ago, Mr. Brooks was so consumed by dread of the rough beast that had slouched right past him on it's way to Cleveland to be nominated that he wrote:
Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.
But a funny thing happened on the way to America.

It seems that now that he has gotten a good, long whiff of the stink coming off the raving wingnut mob he helped to create and the monster they have nominated, Mr. David Brooks has gone quietly to pieces. Well, not "quietly" as you and I understand the term given that the New York Times continues to pay him handsomely for dribbling random words into a column twice a week.  But "quietly" in the sense that, like every other top-shelf Beltway pundit, Mr. David Brooks conducts his business behind a formidable perimeter of professional colleagues, fawners, enablers and fellow travelers that insure that no one will ever actually ask him WTF ever happened to his grand plan to go forth and Listen To The People!

Instead, Mr. Brooks seems to have gotten comfortable with his own "not knowing what he doesn't know" and has instructed his houseboy move his writing desk to the deepest subbasement of his own "closed fortress".  And there, between the casks of tasty Amontillado and the moldering remains of the never-to-be-spoken-of Weekly Standard/Bush Administration portion of his career (still safely walled up behind The Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks) we find Mr. Brooks, contentedly typing out meandering sentences about whatever wanders into his mind

Ancient Greeks... 

 From March 31:
Ever since the days of ancient Greece, philosophers have distinguished between the beautiful and the sublime.

Recently neuroscientists have shown...

The distinction between the beautiful and the sublime is the distinction between...
From today:
The ancient Greeks had different words for different kinds of love — like Ludus (playful love), Pragma (longstanding love) and Agape (universal love). Sixteen hundred years ago, Augustine argued that the essence of a good life is choosing the right things to love and loving them well.
Love and the Soul...

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik wrote that God is... 

In daily life we have big and little loves, too... The small attachments serve as the foundation of our emotional lives, but when you have a big love for your country or a cause... 
 From today: 
 But over the past several centuries our models of human behavior have amputated love...

Teachers are now called upon not only to teach biology but to create a culture: a culture of caring criticism, so students feel loved while they improve; a culture of belonging, so fragile students feel their work has value...

Many teachers sense that students are more emotionally vulnerable today. Social policy has to find a hundred ways to nurture loving relationships. Today we have to fortify the heart if we’re going to educate the mind.
A scrap of what a social philosopher once thought about something...

From March 31:
Alexis de Tocqueville wondered if democracy would dampen Americans’ big love.

I’d say that in America today some of the little loves are fraying, and big love is almost a foreign language. Almost nobody speaks about the American project in the same ardent tones that were once routine.
From Today:
Hobbes and other philosophers argued that society is a machine driven by selfishness. Enlightenment philosophers emphasized reason over emotion. Contemporary social science was built on the idea that we’re self-interested, calculating creatures.

This philosophical shift has caused unimaginable harm, especially in the sphere of education...
And there, deep beneath the Earth, down in the cool silence among the bones of his failures, undisturbed by the travails of actual humans, algorithmically typing the same things over and over again, is where Mr. David Brooks shall spend the rest of his days.

In pace requiescat.


banker puppy said...

I blame The Core Program at the U of C. I'll bet the bits about the Greeks and philosophers came from his profs' lecture notes. Which makes it plagiarism.

John said...

You know, I just read today's Brooks column, which begins:

The ancient Greeks had different words for different kinds of love — like Ludus (playful love), Pragma (longstanding love) and Agape (universal love).

I actually teach Latin and Greek for a living, and this statement is just full of inanity. .

First off, "ludus" is Latin, not Greek. Perhaps it is meant to translate some Greek word based on the stem παιδ-. In any case, Brooks' statement is a variation on a commonplace in Christian self-help literature. Google "Greek words for love" and you'll see many variants on this. They're all treacly pseudo-intellectual distortions of the real facts in the Greek language. There must be some source for this folkloric tradition, but I don't have time to track it down now.

In any case, Brooks actually did make some sense in the column. He's right about social inequality being the primary problem in our educational system. Congratulations, Mr. Brooks! After years of doing everything he can to support those who assiduously engineered the inequality we fact, you have begun to realize it's a problem. Of course, he never mentions that there needs to be some wealth transfer to address this issue--if nothing else to see that poor kids get well-paid teachers who have the resources to help kids.

But you know, I've been an educator now for, like, 30 years. I'm tired of people like Brooks, who never would deign to set foot inside real classroom (I'll ignore his famous ivy-league grad seminar on humility), telling us what's wrong with our education system. Inevitably, their rhetoric gets used to impoverish teachers and enrich the one percent as so-called reformers attack teachers' unions and set up essentially private schools funded by public monies.

Neo Tuxedo said...

In pace requiescat.

Or, to put it another way, a way I'm sure you'll appreciate:

"Garrett," said Stendahl, "do you know why I've done this to you? Because you burned Mr. Poe's books without really reading them. You took other people's advice that they needed burning. Otherwise you'd have realized what I was going to do to you when we came down here a moment ago. Ignorance is fatal, Mr. Garrett."

dinthebeast said...

" There must be some source for this folkloric tradition, but I don't have time to track it down now."

My guess would be Dr. King, who spoke at eloquent length about the three Greek words for love. DFB probably considers himself a contemporary, or some such horse shit.

-Doug in Oakland

trgahan said...

"Teachers are now called upon not only to teach biology but to create a culture..."

Pseudo-intellectual crap brought to you by Brooks et al. after he spent last night's dinner party hearing some Upper East Side Oligarch bitch about how his off-spring's Biology teacher isn't giving his child the grades his child deserves while that OTHER kid is getting good ones....because the entire education system has broken since "my day" of course.

It is funny when actual meritocracy bites the ruling class in the ass.

Kevin Holsinger said...

So Mr. Glass, we meet again.

It's starting to look to me like you can classify Mr. Brooks' columns according to the states of matter.

SOLID COLUMN: deals with practical issues, where Mr. Brooks is woefully inadequate to propose practical solutions, despite trying. Example: his problems with Future Republican Unperson Donald Trump.

LIQUID COLUMN: deals with practical issues, but Mr. Brooks wants to solve everything with philosophy. Example: this recent column on education, where he's willing to blame Mr. Hobbes (mfing Hobbes!) for changing Western civilization's philospical tone, but not the Republican Party for helping to exacerbate our wealth inequality.

GAS COLUMN: deals with things...and stuff. Example: his column about his expensive, paid vacation.

Feel free to come up with wittier names, if you haven't already.

Be seeing you.

RUKidding said...

Wherein DFBs unsuccessfully attempts to prove his bona fides (what prize do I win for using that Latin phrase? huh? huh?) as an intellectual philosophical brainiac. So vaunted. So smarty pants.

Proving? Exactly nothing.

PS I thought Big Love was about lucky Morman men having multiple wives. Of course, in the fervid imaginations of the infotainment industry, all of those wives are uniformly hawt and smokin' hawt in bed. You betcha! Is that what DFB was getting at? Because otherwise, I haz confused (not uncommon with Fuckcakes' scribblings).

Redhand said...

The fuckin' guy really is out to lunch these days. A lunatic murders 50 in Orlando with an assault rifle while maiming an equal number, and the Repub. presumptive nominee goes Full Metal Fascist. But DFB can't be bothered to alter his opinion queue and proceeds to publish some sophomoric shit about about the need for "love" in the classroom?

Does the stupid bastard have an opinion on gun control and re-institution of the assault weapons ban? Of course not. How about violent homophobia? Naw. What about condemning Trump's latest demagoguery? Oh, that might be considered "impolite."

He's one of the poorest excuses for an "opinion leader" I've ever seen. Only in the vast wasteland of the NYT's editorial pages could such a worthless drone drone on, and on, and on * * *

Karen Crosby said...

"Algorithmically typing". You are a genius, Mr.D.