From Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times:
...We are animals who can’t flourish unless we can’t get along without one another. Yet one finds too many people thrust into lives of semi-independence.These are not the victims of postindustrial blight I’m talking about; they are successful people who worked hard and built good lives but who are left nonetheless strangely isolated, in attenuated communities, and who are left radiating the residual sadness of the lonely heart.
Ever since the shocking discovery that his Republican Party is full of Republicans, Mr. Brooks has been in in a terribly fragile state. So for goodness sake, please nobody tell him about "The Grapes of Wrath".
Or "Of Mice and Men".
Or "Player Piano".
Or "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman".
Or "Bartleby, the Scrivener".
Or "The Jungle".
Or "The Space Merchants".
Or "The Sea Wolf".
Or Henry David Thoreau.
Or "Save the Tiger".
Or "The Midas Plague".
One more unintentional funny from this column comes when Mr. Brooks references Richard Sennett:
Some of that dignity comes from the fact that he knows how to fix things. One of the undermining conditions of the modern factory is that the workers no longer directly build the products, they just service the machines and software that do.
As the sociologist Richard Sennett once put it, “As a result of working in this way, the bakers now no longer actually know how to bake bread.” But this guy in Kentucky can take care of himself — redo the plumbing at home or replace the brake pads.
Longtime readers might remember me writing about Mr. Sennett once or twice. One of my favorite short pieces of his was written in 1998, back when Mr. Brooks was making his bones at the Weekly Standard writing paeans to globalization and The New Economy in which infinite tax cuts were easily affordable.
The dizzy life of Davos manAnd to think, just a little over a year ago, Mr. Brooks had a bright, shiny future all picked out for you:
Every year, on a magic Alpine mountain, the monarchs of capitalism assemble their courtiers and meet to plot all our futures. Is the world safe in their hands? Richard Sennett thinks not
Richard Sennett Saturday 10 October 1998
Yet I had an epiphany of sorts in Davos, listening to the rulers of the flexible realm. "We" is also a dangerous pronoun to them. They dwell comfortably in entrepreneurial disorder, but fear organised confrontation. They of course fear the resurgence of unions, but become acutely and personally uncomfortable, fidgeting or breaking eye contact or retreating into taking notes, if forced to discuss the people who, in their jargon, are "left behind." They know that the great majority of those who toil in the flexible regime are left behind, and of course they regret it. But the flexibility they celebrate does not give, it cannot give, any guidance for the conduct of an ordinary life. The new masters have rejected careers in the old English sense of the word, as pathways along which people can travel; durable and sustained paths of action are foreign territories.
It therefore seemed to me, as I wandered in and out of the conference halls, weaved through the tangle of limousines and police on the mountainous village streets, that this regime might at least lose its current hold over the imaginations and sentiments of those down below. I have learned from my family's bitter radical past; if change occurs it happens on the ground, between persons speaking out of inner need, rather than through mass uprisings. What political programmes follow from those inner needs, I simply don't know. But I do know a regime which provides human beings no deep reasons to care about one another cannot long preserve its legitimacy.
David Brooks' has a shiny, new future waiting just for you!Well, not you exactly. You can hop the nearest ice floe and disappear into oblivion as far as Mr. Brooks is concerned. But he does have a bright future prepped and open for business for his affluent neighbor's kids, some of his students at Yale and a few of his fellow passengers on the Acela Corridor express.So yay!But what (you ask) are these mad skills that are the entree to Mr. Brooks' Brave New World of Tomorrow?And how does one get them?And can I haz some?The answer to your last two questions are "Magic Eight Ball says 'It's...fuzzy'' and "No", so let us concern ourselves with your first question...
And just one year later, Mr, Brooks has suddenly become a Champion of the Working Man. And all it took was the complete destruction of every lie on which Mr. Brooks has built his entire career for the last 20 years.
But let's not talk about unpleasant and inconvenient history, because from now on working stiffs, David Brooks will be there!
He’ll be all around in the dark – He’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight so Republicans can cut entitments, he’ll be there. Wherever there’s a guy yelling’ at a guy about using his cell in the Quiet Car on the Acela Corridor train, he’ll be there. He’ll be in the way guys write snide, discursive, passive-aggressive columns in The New York Times when they’re mad. He’ll be in the way kids sign up to take classes in Humility at Yale, and when the people are gettin’ stuff for dinner at Whole Food or having it sent over from Plated or Terra’s Kitchen to the houses that writing claptrap for the New York Times paid for – he’ll be there, too.
So please, for fuck's sake, nobody tell Mr. Brooks about "Glengarry, Glen Ross".
Because it'd kill him: