Tuesday, October 31, 2017

O Tempora! O Mores! O Fuck David Brooks!

Preaching the noxious gospel of Both Siderism is literally all Mr. David Brooks has done for the last 15 years of his professional career.   Trafficking in this toxic Big Lie has made him a rich and unassailably influential man because the most powerful people in media and politics and every wingnut in Christendom all value this particular lie very highly.

It has also made Mr. David Brooks' column in The New York Times very much like unto the menu of the world's shittiest Taco Bell: the same, few banal ingredients, rearranged over and over again into the same handful of predictable, inedible configurations and slopped out by an indifferent hack.

How vapid, dishonest and utterly predictable is Mr. Brooks' response to, well, everything?

Here is me, amusing myself by making a little sport of Mr. Brooks' shopworn driviality (when drivel collides with triviality) on the Twitter yesterday.
Sure, I was having a goof, but how did I do?

1. 13th-century philosopher, Mechthild of Magdeburg

David Brooks today:
I didn’t get to Richard Linklater’s brilliant 2014 movie, “Boyhood,” until this past weekend. That was the movie, filmed over 12 years with the same actors, about a boy growing up in Texas. But I did have the advantage of seeing it in the Trump era. It’s a sadder movie now. Different themes leap out at you, which were not as prominent in the reviews written three years ago.
 Meh.  Close.  I'll score myself a "C-", also known as a Trumpian Perfect 10.

2. Narcissism of the 1960s.

David Brooks today:
What you see is good people desperately trying to connect in an America where bonds are attenuated — without stable families, tight communities, stable careers, ethnic roots or an enveloping moral culture. There’s just a whirl of changing stepfathers, changing homes, changing phone distractions, changing pop-culture references, financial stress and chronic drinking, which make it harder to sink down roots into something, or to even have a spiritual narrative that gives meaning to life...

...Today, partisanship for many people is not about which party has the better policies, as it was, say, in the days of Eisenhower and Kennedy.
A solid "B".

3. Donald Trump.

David Brooks today:
Trump’s supporters follow him because he gets his facts wrong, but he gets his myths right. He tells the morality tale that works for them.
Easy "A". 

And, 4. Both Sides! And this is, as always, the big one.  The Big Lie that Mr. Brooks deploys both  explicitly --
It should be said that people on the left and on the right who try to use politics to find their moral meaning are turning politics into an idol.
-- and by deliberately deflecting what should be a serious, grown-up discussion about how Mr. Brooks' Republican party has become a fascist shitpile, how the base of Mr. Brooks' Republican party has becoming junkie-dependent on a constant supply of ever more reckless, racist lies  and what we should do about it...

...into one more string of grandiose pseudo rabbinical argle bargle proclamations about the habits of "people" and the failure of their "politics".  Observe (with emphasis added):
Today, partisanship for many people is not about which party has the better policies...

These days, partisanship is often totalistic. People often use partisan identity...

Last week my colleague Thomas Edsall quoted a political scientist, Alex Theodoridis, who noted this phenomenon: “Partisanship for many Americans today..."

When politics is used as a cure for spiritual and social loneliness, it’s harder to win people over with policy or philosophical argument...

Idolatry is what happens when people give ultimate allegiance to something that should be serving only an intermediate purpose...

Politics these days makes categorical demands on people. It demands that they remain in a state of febrile excitement caused by this or that scandal or hatred of the moment.

If politics is going to get better we need better myths, unifying ones that are built on social equality...

 The excessive dependence on politics has to be displaced by the expulsive power of more important dependencies...
An "A".  Lay-up "A".  Gym-class "A".  Because with Mr. Brooks, it always eventually gets around to propping up the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It.

Honestly I would happily never write about this subject again if Both Siderism were just the harmless, cowardly flapdoodle that some timorous idiot at the office reflexively squid-inks into the middle of any conversation about anything which threatens his perfectly balanced timidity, and then scampers away.

But while it it definitely cowardly and definitely flapdoodle, Both Sideism is definitely not harmless.

It is the Big Lie which has enabled all the smaller lies that have corroded the foundations of our democracy.  It has taught an entire generation of Conservative goons and their Beltway media enablers that there is no Conservative catastrophe so great or treason so monstrous that it cannot be wished away by mutilating history until the bloody lump of happy-clappy moonshine you have left  fits neatly into the dogma of Both Siderism.

Like, for example, the jaw-dropping log of steaming Confederate-revisionism that the Chief of Staff -- John-Who-Will-Save-Us-All-From-President-Stupid Kelly -- shat out on State teevee last night.
Both Siderism is, in fact, the real idolatry.

A cult which has destroyed our media and our politics.

And this guy is its High Priest.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


proverbialleadballoon said...

Would 'Moralizing' be a step in the Brooks column algorithm, or is that implied with the obscure 13th century philosopher and Both Sides steps? I suppose that it's baked-in, and inherent. Preaching from up high, how the plebes should run their lives. Anyway, that's lean and precise. Brooks prays to Baal every night that the BullshitterBot5K doesn't take his job in ten years, like is going to happen to all the dirty plebes. I mean, look how simple it is Lmao.

proverbialleadballoon said...

Off topic: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/357995-dem-pollster-vast-majority-of-trump-voters-say-he-should-stay-in

We are about to enter the Twilight Zone. The last year has given new meaning to the word Absurd, at least to me. Absurd happens every day now. What the eff happens now that the indictments are being unsealed? Can 'Total Insanity' go to eleven? Is this was a book, this is the most fun-to-read book ever, and we haven't even gotten to the second act yet. But this is real life (or _is it? lmao), and _we haven't even gotten to the second act yet_!

trgahan said...

Can I now slap the shit out of anyone claiming Kelly (or anyone else in this administration) are there to "Save The Country From Trump's Worst Impulses"?

The only thing Kelly is doing is holding the administration together just enough to do the damage HIS political party wants to do now that its in power.

Herman Goring/Erwin Rommel/etc. were also smart, competent, even masterful, military leaders serving their country with distinction...and they were died in the wool NAZI's! Same can be said for all the lionized Confederate Generals who managed to keep the Union bayonets away from a Confederate government full of greedy, vicious, backstabbing, rock stupid, slave owning plutocrats.

If anything, Kelly/McMaster/et al. are making what governing Trump has done possible.....we tend to call those people collaborators.

Andrew Johnston said...

@proverbialleadballoon: Brooks prays to Baal every night that the BullshitterBot5K doesn't take his job in ten years, like is going to happen to all the dirty plebes.

I used to joke that many pundits are so predictable that they could (and should) be replaced by computers, but I'm more convinced than ever that this is a project worth pursuing. Brooks is a good start - his ideas are simple, large amounts of his columns are borderline plagiarism, and he seldom - if ever - offers specific solutions to problems. Here's a basic outline as to what AutoBrooks v. 0.1 might look like:

1.) THE BOOK REPORT - Return the text of a recently released book, using an algorithm based on common keywords and the authors he's previously cited. Extract and save a random passage. You could probably use some neural network bullshit to calibrate this further, but it's not necessary - Brooks cites these people to give weight to his columns, not because of what they actually have to say.

2.) THE NEWS REPORT - Return the text of a news article published in the previous three days and extract and save the opening line. Easily done with a feed reader set up to look for certain keywords ("Donald Trump" and "WTF" would probably work just fine).

3.) THE PLATITUDES - Initially, this would be a database of pre-written inoffensive mush. Over time, text analysis and a well-calibrated Markov generator could be used to procedurally output new Brooks platitudes.

All you'd have to do is rig up a few templates, output lines from the appropriate databases into the spaces, and boom - Brooks on demand for a fraction of the price. And I'm kidding, but I'm also really not.

Eric said...

Your words cut like a knife, man. I could read you're critique of a microwaved hotdog.

Robt said...

Don't you think D F'ing B applies Trickle down republican old yeller journalism.

Keep in mind, I define republican Journalism as , Paid anonymous paid speech.

MCPlanck said...

Both-siderism is far more toxic than I realized. It is nihilism in disguise; the death of knowledge at the hands of sophistry. If no one can know, then anything is possible; if both sides are guilty, then guilt ceases to exist.

David Brooks is the face of Nazism of our age. Genteel, learned, erudite, and smiling while the smoke rises in the background. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," he sings, "because I certainly don't!"

It is still a crime that he gets space in the NYT and you don't.