Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

"David Brooks is one despicable motherfucker" Edition.

This morning, over on basic cable, the best GOP candidate you've never heard of -- Gary Johnson -- was on the best show you've never seen -- "Up, With Chris Hayes". And I'm not saying this just because the awesome sweeping-the-planet internet meme Mr. Hayes highlighted

(Oprah Running Away From Stuff) was conceived of and launched by the mighty Blue Gal but also because Mr. Hayes' show was, as always, substantive, packed with vitamins and generally built strong civic awareness 12 ways.

In fact, Mr. Hayes' efforts were so sui generis good that it would be nice to think that my revulsive, biting-into-an-aluminum-hoagie reaction to the rest of the Mouse Circus was merely the whiplash resulting from leaving Mr. Hayes' flavorful political boit and immediately sinking my teething into the stale Fluffernutter of everything else.

Sadly that is not the case: the Mouse Circus was genuinely vile in its own right and on its own terms -- and I'll post more on the Consensual National Hallucination that the GOP has become (h/t William Gibson) later on -- but right this moment the very ippy-tippy-top of my shit list is reserved for Mr. David Brooks, who used his inexplicably irrevocable backstage pass to "Meet the Press" to lay the blame for the Penn State Child Rape Cult squarely and entirely at the Birkenstock-shod feet of America's libertine, "If it feels good, do it" morality.

Translation: those Dirty Fucking Hippies have polluted our precious bodily fluids and destroyed our capacity to recognize and confront Evil.

For "proof" of his sweeping, categorical and all-but-explicit indictment of Godless Liberal Heathenism, Mr. Brooks cited the following:
  1. Some murder that took place in his neighborhood in Bethesda,

  2. The case of Catherine Susan "Kitty" Genovese who was murdered in 1964, four full years (according to the Authorized Conservative History of America) before Abbie Hoffman and Jane Fonda conspired with Bill Ayers and Fred Hampton to destroy America at the Battle of Woodstock, and,

  3. A "ton of research".
Of course, seeing this kind of loathsome demagoguery spewing from the pie-holes of bland, moon-faced "respectable" wingnuts on "Meet the Press" is nothing new. After all, frequent "Meet the Press" guest and racist bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich (from Alternet, April, 2000):
Gingrich & The Susan Smith Case

Newt Gingrich has gotten away with it.

Newt Gingrich has gotten away with it. Again.

Even after a South Carolina jury declared Susan Smith guilty of murdering her two sons, reporters are not pressing Gingrich about the Smith case. Many seem to have forgotten that nine months ago, he loudly proclaimed the infanticide to be a campaign issue. Back in early November, the motor-mouthed Gingrich had much to say about the case -- offering a treatise so wrong-headed that it's almost laughable. Except there's nothing funny about the Susan Smith tragedy...or Gingrich's attempt to exploit it for election-eve advantage. Here's what Gingrich said three days before last November's election -- in response to an Associated Press reporter who asked him how the campaign was going:
"Slightly more moving our way. I think that the mother killing the two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we need to change things."
Gingrich concluded,
"The only way you get change is to vote Republican. That's the message for the last three days."
Two days later, less than 24 hours before the polls opened, Gingrich defended his comments on the Smith case as no different than what he'd been saying for years -- that violence and related ills arise from a Democratic-controlled political system: "We need very deep change if we're going to turn this country around." Asked if the change he was offering the country would stop killings like those in South Carolina, he replied, "Yes. In my judgment, there's no question."
has been making a fucking cottage industry out of it

for years.

A cottage industry which is only possible due to the complicity of Villager gate-keepers

like David Gregory.

Of course, as reported, the Penn State Child Rape Cult had little or nothing to do with the so-called "Bystander Effect" -- random strangers reacting with cowardice to a random crime -- and everything to do with Power.

With corrupt, institutional Power.

With powerful people at the top of a corrupt hierarchy lying about matters of life and death...and people further down the food chain who depend on those at the top for their livelihoods and professional identities going along with those lies because that's how corrupt hierarchies work:

But of course, powerful people lying about matters of life and death is not material about which Our Mr. Brooks "reports", but instead is the contaminated water in which he swims.

From his full-throated support of the Operation Iraqi Clusterfuck and contempt for the filthy hippies who opposed his full-throated support of the Scooter Libby and contempt for the filthy Lefties who opposed his full-throated support of the Oligarchs and his contempt for the filthy Occupiers who opposed his full-throated support of Paul Wolfowitz and his contempt for the filthy anti-Semites who questioned him...Mr. Brooks' career has had one, utterly consistent and very profitable theme: Afflicting the afflicted and comforting the comfortable.

And so when any powerful, depraved institution anywhere -- from the Bush Administration to Wall Street to Penn State football -- splits wide open long enough to spill the rot in its belly out into the sunlight...well-fed Kowakian monkey-lizards like David Brooks are always on hand to scuttle into the breach where they immediately begin to deflect and diffuse away from Power (and towards the imaginary sins of imaginary Liberals) --
MR. BROOKS: I don't think it was just a Penn State problem. You know, you spend 30 or 40 years muddying the moral waters here. We have lost our clear sense of what evil is, what sin is; and so, when people see things like that, they don't have categories to put it into. They vaguely know it's wrong, but they've been raised in a morality that says, "If it feels all right for you, it's probably OK." And so that waters everything down. The second thing is a lot of the judgment is based on the supposition that if we were there, we would have intervened.

MR. DIONNE: Right.

MR. BROOKS: And that's just not true.

MR. GREGORY: But I have to challenge you on that point.


MR. GREGORY: Is it really that we don't know right from wrong? Is there anybody who doesn't know that sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in a shower by another man is wrong?

MR. BROOKS: But if you...

MR. DIONNE: Exactly.

MR. BROOKS: If you're alert to the sense of what evil is, what the evil is within yourself and what evil is in society, you have a script to follow. It's not a vague sense. You have a script to follow. And this is necessary because people do not intervene.
-- any blame for the deeply-rooted depravity that had clearly been putrefying at the heart of those institutions for years (by Mr. Brooks' logic, the child rape cult at the heart of the Catholic Church could only have been the product of the free-wheeling, godless, anything-goes attitude for which Catholicism has so long been famous.)

On any other day I would have said that Michele Bachmann's complete, on-camera psychotic break from reality was the most astonishing freak-show on display at the Mouse Circus, but not today.

Today the sight of Mr. Books -- a man who has grown rich and powerful as the craven "Reasonable Conservative" apologist for the incompetence, corruption and outright malevolence of other rich and powerful men -- staring mildly into the camera and lecturing America on evil and "taking personal responsibility, regardless of what the rules are" left me literally speechless with astonishment.

Today Mr. Brooks walked off with the prize.

And no one intervened.

Update: Mr. Brooks decided to re-plow this ground in the New York Times on Monday.


Anonymous said...

America's libertine, "If it feels good, do it" morality.

March 20, 2003
WASHINGTON -- War erupted Wednesday night as the United States launched dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles and aimed 2,000-pound bombs in a "Shock and Awe" attack on Baghdad.

President Bush announced the attack in a four-minute television speech to the nation...Minutes before the speech, an internal television monitor showed the president pumping his fist.

"Feels good," he said.

RockDots said...

Bobo succeeded in his chief aim, which was to steer the Buick of Serious Discourse down Hippies-Did-It Lane, and away from Institutional Corruption Boulevard.

Monster from the Id said...

"...right this moment the very ippy-tippy-top of my shit list is reserved for Mr. David Brooks..."

And that differs from every other moment how? -_^

Anonymous said...

Talk about yer banality of evil... Our Mr. Brooks typifies it. He questions whether if present we would have intervened. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have have intervened to stop Sandusky and report him to the police. Mr. Brooks, apparently, not so clear. He has become an apologist for child rapists and their enablers.

Rehctaw said...

(Sunday, January 16, 2011) TOTAL VIEWERS A25-54 MM/Rtg

ABC “THIS WEEK” 2,460,000 660,000/0.5

NBC “MEET THE PRESS” 3,240,000 1,060,000/0.8

CBS “FACE THE NATION” 2,990,000 790,000/0.6

FOX “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” 1,320,000 500,000/0.4

Source: The Nielsen Company, NTI (Total Viewers and Adults 25-54); Live+SD for 1/16/11. 1/9/11 & 1/17/10.

Something I must have failed to grasp back in grade-school is how certain numbers matter more than others. Real versus unreal? No, that's not it. Figures lie and liars figure? Closer, but still not satisfying the discrepancies.

What do the numbers mean and to whom? Do the numbers tell a story? What is the story about? Who is the audience?

We rely on numbers as measurements, but where does accuracy count?

In a nation of 330,000,000 how does a less than 1% interest have a stake in anything?

Considering that only a sliver of that one percent is earnestly seeking reliable information, while the rest are just passing time before Sunday religious services (pickem; church or sports) do the numbers have any validity?

Tom Allen said...

Rehctaw, you're looking only at the total numbers. It doesn't matter that only 1% of the nation is watching cable TV news for their information, if those same 1% are also the people running the country as well.

You can get much better (or, admittedly, markedly worse) news and information on the internet, as the other 99% of us have found out.

n1ck said...

Funny that Brooks states his position exactly in that back-and-forth. The reason Brooks is finding an out for institutionalized power and corruptness is because he knows exactly where he fits in. Brooks also has a script to follow.

MR. BROOKS: If you're alert to the sense of what evil is, what the evil is within yourself and what evil is in society, you have a script to follow. It's not a vague sense. You have a script to follow.

Cirze said...

And, Tom,

Those who make up their audience seems clear to me.

As catastrophic world-changing events occur, those in charge have made it clear that only the Villagers' opinions (and where they get their news) count.

The number of people in the country (and world) who could get involved and make a difference is not important. Only those who do.

And they depend on it.

Thus the current need to rid the streets of the OccupyWhatever groups.


What do the numbers mean and to whom? Do the numbers tell a story? What is the story about? Who is the audience?

Biggie said...

I see. According to David Fucking Brooks, as cultural liberalism increases so does the murder rate. That's the kind of hypothesis you can gather some empirical support for. For example, conservatives think Europe is a depraved cesspool of moral turpitude. It's an even more "If it feels good, do it" kind of place than the US. Thus, it should have a higher murder rate. Oh.

Clearly there is some other factor at work. It's not American's lax gun control. Those on the Right have repeatedly assured me that gun control laws absolutely, positively do not and CANNOT account for Europe's much lower murder rate. If you ask them for a more detailed explanation you find there isn't one. Conservatives want it to be true, so it is. Personally I think that could be the other factor. Dirty fucking hippies weren't the only group who got together in the 60s. Conservatives say their modern movement began with Barry Goldwater and the 1964 presidential election. "If I want it to be true, it is" was unleashed around the same time conservatives claim "if it feels good, do it" was. If anything the conservative message was more influential. Even back then very few (if any) liberals actually believed morals should be based on the principle of "it feels good, do it" and very few believe it today. That's a far cry from what happened with the right's message. Nowadays "if I want it to be true, it is" is what holds conservatism together. Without that their entire world view would collapse under the weight of its own mendacity, illogic, hypocrisy, hatred and heartlessness. They deal with those problems by refusing to even acknowledge them. Rejecting reality has become an accepted part of conservatism. Its what allows David Brooks to go on "Meet The Press", make a ridiculous argument about how liberals are responsible for Penn State and have no one call him on his noxious bullshit. He's a conservative and no one expects them to care about facts or making sense.

All in all, if you're going to blame all the shit you don't like that's happened in the last 50 years on an idea or concept, I think case for "if I want it to be true, it is" is stronger than the one for "if it feels good, do it". Not that I expect conservatives to care. They don't want that to be true, so it isn't.

And, oh, by the way? Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno are registered Republicans.

Batocchio said...

I figured you caught that. (Steve M. also has a good take.) So now both Bobo and Chunky Bobo have blamed child rape on liberalism. How positively despicable and Gingrichian. (But I repeat myself...)

DonQ said...

It speaks volumes about Brooks's journalistic integrity, vel non, that he believes the popular misconception that nobody tried to help Kitty Genovese or call the police. When history gets in the way of a good, self-affirming, lie, go with the lie, Davy Boy, go with the lie!

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