Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hey, St. Petersburg, Before You Ring Your Bell


Just been down in Beltway town
Done my time in hell...

Best-selling Author David Brooks speaks at SPC Foundation Distinguished Speaker Event

Best-selling author and op-ed columnist David Brooks will be speaking at the Second Annual St. Petersburg College Foundation Distinguished Speaker Event at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at The Palladium Theater, 253 5th Ave. N. St. Petersburg.

As a widely acclaimed political and social analyst, David Brooks is a keen observer of the American way of life and a savvy commentator on present-day politics and foreign affairs. He has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and quiet passion.
...

Brooks holds several prestigious positions including op-ed columnist for The New York Times and analyst on the PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered. Additionally, he appears regularly on NBC’s Meet the Press. His latest best-seller, The Road to Character, tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed. In a society that emphasizes success and external achievement, The Road to Character is a book about inner worth.

Event tickets are $65 for orchestra seating and $55 for balcony seating...

Event sponsors are: Raymond James; Bright House Networks; Cisco; Duke Energy; Merrill Lynch; LEMA Construction; Carroll Family Foundation; Ken and Sandee Cherven...
 It's the Duke Energy sponsorship that makes it art.

Meanwhile and unrelatedly, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times has once again sublimated his many spectacular professional failures into another rambling, discursive contrail of words about how "American Leadership" has failed --
Why America’s Leadership Fails
-- through no fault of anyone.
When you spend time around government officials you are constantly struck by the fact that they are more impressive in private than in public. Somewhere at the base of their personal story you usually find an earnest desire to serve some vulnerable group.

The fact is, political lives are simply not that glamorous or powerful or fun. Most politicians wouldn’t put up with all the fund-raising, the stupid partisan games, unless they were driven at some level by the right reasons.

But over the years, many get swallowed by the system...
It's the system, man!  The system!

Then comes the obligatory Both Siderism:
For example, Hillary Clinton seems to have been first inspired by a desire to serve children...

Mitt Romney seems to be an exceptionally fine person...
Because in David Brook's Conservative Dream House and Opium Den, Hillary Clinton is running against Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell is a dedicated public servant, Paul Ryan is a reasonable Centrist, the Caucus Room Conspiracy never happened and Fox News/Hate Radio never existed.

See, it's not that Mr. Brooks' Republican Party is so chock full of out-and-proud bigots and imbeciles that it has finally gone as nutso in public as they have always been in private.  No, the real problem is a "careerist mentality" (and the aforementioned "system") to which politicians in both parties all apparently succumb in equal numbers to equally bad effect:
But a careerist mentality often replaces the vocation mentality. The careerist mentality frequently makes politicians timid, driven more by fear of failure than by any positive ideal.

Such people are besieged by the short-term calculations and often forget about their animating vision and long-term ideal. They rationalize that, since the opposition is so evil, anything that serves their career serves the country. This is not just bad for the people involved but for the system itself.
And then Mr. Brooks' already-barely sublimated denialism and self-loathing finally bobs close enough to the surface for anyone to see:
I do think there’s often an arc to vocation. People start with something outside themselves. Then, in the scramble to get established, the ambition of self takes over. But then at some point people realize the essential falseness of all that and they try to reconnect with their original animating ideals.

And so I think it possible to imagine a revival of vocation. If Clinton is elected, maybe even she can remind us that we’ve all developed these bad habits, that most of us secretly detest the game we’re in and the way we are playing it.
Hillary Clinton will never be my ideal Liberal candidate, but she is an intelligent and capable public servant and for-real policy wonk.  And if the Sanders/Warren wing of the Democratic Party can continue to shepherd her in the right direction, it is possible that a President Hillary Clinton will accomplish many good things.  

But however successful a Clinton Administration may prove to be, it will never be powerful enough to save David Brooks' soul.

Down the road a piece, Yastreblyansky. raises a welt:
What would [David Brooks] like to be thinking about? He has no idea, but he has a kind of emotion in the shape of an idea, which is a nostalgia for the time when it used to be fun...

22 comments:

keith gargus said...

I know St Pete fairly well. Bobo will sell tens of tickets at that price. Maybe dozens. Thank dog for deep pocketed sponsors to pick up the slack.

Andrew Johnston said...

In the name of brazen self-promotion, I'll just say that Brooks used this same "vocation" pitch in The Road to Character and I've been reading that nightmare so that you don't have to.

Bob Muir said...

"That most of us secretly detest the game we’re in and the way we are playing it."

This is a cry for help isn't it? He's sold his soul and now realizes it was at a steeply discounted price at that but, like some cut rate Faustus can't quit the deal he made, because then he's not important.

Robt said...

Conservatives nostalgia for "the good ole days". Like when children of an era practiced school drills of climbing under their desks for safety. In preparedness of an eminent nuclear attack.
How fondly I recall those days when I was so young and had zero awareness of the world powers at that time. Yes, the good ole days.

How Brooks adores the good ole days of Ayn Rand who wrote the New breathing Bible series that many conservatives worship replacing their Idol of Reagan who bestowed the the great "Eleventh Commandment" (which many abandoned over Trump and by the miraculous T-Potters.

David Brooks like so many conservatives, Upchuck ?BELIEF" in something instead of factual discussions.
This, Belief shield acts to distract, dire call of persecuting ones religion, omitting science.
It is, "the art of belief". Brooks can sell "beliefs" under every traveling tent next to the healing powers of the bottled snake oil.
But he will never have to face and confront on equal terms the realities of facts, science nor experienced understanding.
Why? Because he "believes" otherwise............

Wendy said...

When you spend time around government officials you are constantly struck by the fact that they are more impressive in private than in public. Somewhere at the base of their personal story you usually find an earnest desire to serve some vulnerable group.

Of course, it never occurred to Our Miss Brooks that they were playing him for good PR.

dinthebeast said...

Fifty five dollars? Sixty five dollars? Like, American dollars?

-Doug in Oakland

RUKidding said...

He has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and quiet passion.

Coulda fooled me.

I don't know DFB's background, and I'm not interested enough to look it up. Just seems like an overly entitled white man-boy born into privilege, but who has just enough smarts (not a lot, though) to grab the cushy jawb he has via an old WASP boys network.

I assume he's highly compensated for his rubbish, which he poops out routinely and gets praised for. This latest episode, along with some others, seems to point to the fact that even DFB's is goddamn sick and tired of his mawkish squawking bullshit, but he can't quit it. After all, these are his golden handcuffs.

Should DFBs ever try his hand at anything else, he'd probably be a lousy failure. That's beyond contemplation. So we're stuck with DFB's vainglorious attempts at being erudite and meaningful, while typically, as always, he falls far far short of those marks.

In a world overlarded with bullshit, crap, hype, spin and pretentious nonsense ladeled out 24/7/365 by an increasingly dumbed down lying crap-a-thon on the M$M, I guess DFBs seems, uh, refined by comparison. It's such a low, low, low bar that even the most flexible cannot limbo below it.

trgahan said...

Funny, once again, Brooks discovers that elected politicians treat nicely (but not overly) dressed, middle aged white males with glasses and NYT press credentials (and "Best Seller" status from the very paper that makes the rules of who is and isn't a best seller) so respectfully.

I'm sure the rest of us would have a very similar experience.

Also, funny how the Conservative Dream House also ignores all the dark money backed public figures who's prime directive was to monkey wrench and/or break whatever piece of government they were placed into....



moeman said...

Got to love that DFBs newest Ex will be bagging 50% of the receipts at this gig.

steeve said...

Uh, why the hell does an event that charges real money need sponsors? Brooks won't deign to speak without a dump truck full of money above and beyond ticket sales? Doesn't he want to shape those young minds with his wisdom for its own sake? He must have lost his "earnest desire to serve some vulnerable group".

bowtiejack said...

I might pay sixty five dollars for an auto-da-fé featuring David Brooks as the main act but even then I'd have to think about it.

bluicebank said...

The only thing painful about watching David Brooks sink further into well-deserved melancholy is how long it's taking.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Granted, most of St. Pete proper is Democratic leaning (VOTE CRIST FOR CONGRESS) but you have a sizable GOP retiree population across the Tampa Bay area that would attend this event... as long as traffic didn't conflict with a Rays game (damn one-way streets!).

In other news, I am disappoint that one of my colleges (I got dual enrollment credit for College Algebra from the St. Pete (then-Junior) College back in high school) is promoting a clueless hack for an event. WHERE'S THE INVITE FOR TA-NEHISI COATES!!!

Jimbo said...

So boringly superficial..all politicians this...all leaders that. He continues to phone in even his depression. Imagine that.

Larry Crofford said...

I'll kick any man's ass who tries to argue that David Brooks is not a fool.

Larry Crofford said...

I'll kick any man's ass who tries to argue that David Brooks is not a fool.

Robt said...

Larry Crofford said...
I'll kick any man's ass who tries to argue that David Brooks is not a fool.
-------------------------------------------

There are many variations of "fool".

Do you have one type of fool in mind, specifically?

It would be very mean spirited to say he is a fool, when you meant sad clown.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Great song reference.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

FFS SAKE THERE ARE PEOPLE IN AMERICAN WHO ARE WILLING TO PAY 65 DOLLARS TO WATCH DAVID BROOKS WHINE AND PULE??!?!??

Dammit, I paid 15 Ameros a ticket to see the Mekons play two sets in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and I paid 150 per to see Springsteen do The River. Are my fellow americans so lacking in understanding of value?

Mr.Shemp said...

I'm guessing that questions from the audience won't be happening. Just a wild stab in the dark.

keith gargus said...

Half empty hall at a backwater junior college, nice location for a pie in the face. Just sayin'.

Lit3Bolt said...

I see "bloodthirsty, war-mongering, yellow-journalism jingoism for an ineffectual war based on lies" is now "savvy commentary ... on foreign affairs."

Do these corporations and people even know why they pay each other money anymore?