Saturday, January 05, 2019

David Brooks: Every Now and Then

For the record, I am fully aware that Mr. David Brooks -- the New York Times' in-house wingnut protocol 'droid employed to scold the masses for wanting clean water, clean air, meaningful work and a decent future for their children -- is not perfect.

He makes mistakes.  Yes, even with lazy-idler dream-job which the House of Sulzberger handed him on a velvet pillow 15 years ago (two columns a week retreading of same Both Siderist drivel he has been troweling out for decades, except during those months when Mr. Brooks wants to blow off work for a vacation or "book leave" or his side hustle of reading his Both Siderist columns aloud as "lectures") every now and then his delicate internal mechanisms seize up.

Every now and then he gets locked into "Scold" mode so hard that it overloads his somnolent monotone of Reasonable Centrist settings and the seething contempt for our species that animates his thinking boils over and spills onto the page.

Yesterday was one of those every-now-and-thens.

Yesterday, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times -- this passionless little man who has spent his entire career cowering behind a series of wingnut-welfare-subsidized keyboards, whinging on and on about the pointlessness and narcissism of anyone becoming politically engaged on any issue which he finds inconvenient or icky -- decided to nuke, well, everyone I guess.

It's hard to tell because this column is written as a direct address to "you". In fact, by my count, Mr. Brooks employs some variation of the the word "you" in this column 68 times to scream at ... somebody ... about ... something?

If he handed this in as homework for my Lit Comp class I would hand it right back with a "D-" and "Who and what the hell is this supposed to be about?" written in red pen across the title page.  But then again, my standards have always been much higher than The New York Times.

So is Brooks mad at his kids?
You probably want to be a good person. But you may also be completely self-absorbed. So you may be thinking, “There is no way I can be good if I’m also a narcissist. Isn’t being good all about caring about other people?”

But how wrong you are!

We live in a culture of selfism...
Or his new wife?
Back in the old days people thought morality was about living up to some external standard of moral excellence. 
Or the wife he jettisoned to hook up with his new wife?
In the first place, when people hold up external standards of moral excellence, they often make you feel judged. 
Or the attorneys for the wife he jettisoned to hook with his new wife?
These people make you feel sad because you may not live up to this standard. It’s very cruel of them to make you feel troubled in this way!

When somebody does this, you should just say, “That makes me feel judged,” and just walk away. Don’t stoop to their level!
Was he humiliated in front of his new wife by some hipsters at the malt shop?
If people are talking to you, shouldn’t they be focusing their attention on your life? Shouldn’t they be saying things you can relate to? If somebody starts talking about some grand hero who is dead or lives far away, you should just respond, “Sorry, that’s not relatable.”
Shown up in public as a tone deaf fossil ala Spencer Tracy in "Guess Whose Coming to Dinner?"
The other great thing about meaning is that everybody gets to define meaning in his or her own way. You don’t have to read a lot of thick books or have hard experiences to feel meaning. Just do things that give you good feelings!
Was he visited on Christmas Eve by three ghosts of Citizen Activism -- Labor Rights, Civil Rights and #MeToo ...
When you are indignant, or woke, you are showing that you have a superior moral awareness. You don’t have to actually do anything. Your indignation is itself a sign of your own goodness, and if you can be indignant quicker than the people around you, that just shows how much more good you are!
...who fucked with his head so badly that he's still mad about it?
Second, you want to make yourself heard. You want to put up a lawn sign that says, “Hate is not welcome here” or wear a T-shirt that says, “Stop the Violence.” By putting up a lawn sign that everybody else in your neighborhood already has, or wearing that T-shirt that all of your friends already wear, you are taking a stand and displaying who you are. You’re showing the people who are trying to silence you that you are not going to stay silent! You are going to wear your fashion item whether they like it or not!
The fact that Mr. Brooks takes such great pains to avoid tell his readers who exactly pissed in his Metamucil this week and instead just lashes out at everyone and everything is what gets him the "D" in my class.

What gets him the "minus" is his clumsy attempt to sheen the surface of this pool of venom with a thin film of what Mr. Brooks believes humans refer to as "humor".

But the thing is, it doesn't matter how consistently awful Mr. Brooks' New York Times work product is, because no matter bad it gets, the House of Sulzberger is just gonna keep throwing bales of money at him no matter what.

Now wrap your head around that fact while we smash/cut to this article, to be found in Book News section of the very same publication which pays Mr. Brooks a princely sum to shart wingnut drivel all over its op-ed page:
Does It Pay to Be a Writer?

Writing has never been a lucrative career choice, but a recent study by The Authors Guild, a professional organization for book writers, shows that it may not even be a livable one anymore. According to the survey results, the median pay for full-time writers was $20,300 in 2017, and that number decreased to $6,080 when part-time writers were considered. The latter figure reflects a 42 percent drop since 2009, when the median was $10,500. These findings are the result of an expansive 2018 study of more than 5,000 published book authors, across genres and including both traditional and self-published writers.

“In the 20th century, a good literary writer could earn a middle class living just writing,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of The Authors Guild, citing William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Cheever. Now, most writers need to supplement their income with speaking engagements or teaching. Strictly book-related income — which is to say royalties and advances — are also down, almost 30 percent for full-time writers since 2009.

Writing for magazines and newspapers was once a solid source of additional income for professional writers, but the decline in freelance journalism and pay has meant less opportunity for authors to write for pay. Many print publications, which offered the highest rate, have been shuttered altogether...

So, does it pay to be a writer?

Good God no.

Does it pay to be a wingnut welfare drivel slinger for the "liberal" New York Times?

Oh Hell yes.

Funny old world.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Batman 54 said...

I made it all the way through his column, and all I could think of was "Whatthefuck?" Now I get it, someone reamed our Mr. Brooks. Real good too.
Thanks, DG

Davis Statton said...

The patron saint of his Republican Party is Ayn Rand, who wrote and book called The Virtue of Selfishness. The titular head of his Republican Party is a person afflicted with malignant narcissistic personality disorder (I have consulted several psychologists on this as well as DSM-5).

Robt said...

I think you should make the rounds of some of the competing papers of the NYT.

Offering the NYT's competition the reason why people should read their paper (say like the WaPo) for their opinion column calling out the fraud of opinion the NYT's sells you in their opinion section with the Brooks welfare.

Using the angle to compete with Brooks NYT opinion column. Tell'em how they can sell more papers. Drawing NYT readers who value opinion away because of Brooks columns.

Lawrence said...

You have penetrated the rhetorical blob that my mind kept bouncing off when I read Yas's take on this yesterday. Always remember what a sad man DFB really is. For a rich guy with a puff job ("job") that is.
But in other news I did learn yesterday, what you probably knew, Robert Heinlein was once the editor for Upton Sinclair's antipoverty newspaper in California. H/T to Erik Loomis at LGM.

John said...

Oh, oh, oh, from today's NY Times Magazine article "Old English":

"A kenning is like a Rothko painting. It doesn't make sense at first, but then it unfurls a beauty born of texture and contrast."

(The "texture" bit is key: that's why prints don't work well; you need to view the actual canvas with its textured surface.)

Meremark said...

Thanks 4 link, Lawrence. I had missed it.

I ditto Robt.
Many voices spew attack talk on bad politicos and politics.

My default mode for exterminating bad policies is to directly out-perform them.

Create a better mousetrap and cats might go extinct.

Against the Temp Goon I may say to his prospectors, "a better president would abide with your efforts."
Each person has their personal prospect in the president, some self-interest as far as it goes. Voicing an imagined alternative which helps their personal interest better than they get by the polis in which they stand now, and words that compose that thought-experiment in their mind knowing better prospects by knowing better than staying anti-hero, that thought attracts them away from the agony they are standing for.
In the mental world, promising thoughts beat pragmatic thoughts, every time.

Blind devotion can follow to a fault and lead to a fall. I first try to open blind eyes, if I can get the words that instructure knowing better, before I begin bashing them for their stupid pigheadedness.

Out-perform bad poltergeists. Just to ditto Robt.