Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blabbey Road -- UPDATE



Mr. Brooks runs with the Hippies.

In addition to a captive audience of millions, the ear of presidents and kings, and a spacious, multi-million dollar mansion in an exclusive neighborhood, one of the perks of being America's Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual is that while you're killing time in Europe waiting the Euro to collapse, you get to follow Bruce Springsteen around:

They say you’ve never really seen a Bruce Springsteen concert until you’ve seen one in Europe, so some friends and I threw financial sanity to the winds and went to follow him around Spain and France. In Madrid, for example, we were rewarded with a show that lasted 3 hours and 48 minutes, possibly the longest Springsteen concert on record and one of the best. But what really fascinated me were the crowds.

One of the downsides of being America's Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual is that you feel compelled to masticate that exhilarating experience into a bucket of pseudo-intellectual tax-write-off spackle like this:
It makes you appreciate the tremendous power of particularity. If your identity is formed by hard boundaries, if you come from a specific place, if you embody a distinct musical tradition, if your concerns are expressed through a specific paracosm, you are going to have more depth and definition than you are if you grew up in the far-flung networks of pluralism and eclecticism, surfing from one spot to the next, sampling one style then the next, your identity formed by soft boundaries, or none at all.

UPDATES from around the Internet

Samir Chopra leads the pack in the "Best Titled Post about Mr. Brooks' latest 800-word embarrassment" category with, "David Brooks Went to a Springsteen Concert, And All I Got Was A Stupid Op-Ed":
...
Brooks finds that audiences ‘in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula’–reaching which, I presume, requires three weeks of hard hiking from the nearest trailhead–’singing word for word about Highway 9 or Greasy Lake or some other exotic locale on the Jersey Shore.’ Amazing. In Europe? When did they get television, radio, newspapers, magazines, or the Internet? This is pretty mind-boggling stuff. Here is an American rock star, surely the most obscure type of cultural figure there could be, and folks in Europe, a land separated from the US by a BIG ocean, know the lyrics to his songs. Next thing you know, someone will tell me that kids in the US know the lyrics to songs sung by working-class kids from Liverpool!
...
Matt Taibbi asks:
"Has anyone ever said that even once? About Springsteen and Europe?"
Matt Yglesias:
"Had higher taxes rendered David Brooks unable to afford this trip, he would have no incentive to work so hard"
The Chronicle of Higher Education:

David Brooks Flies to Europe to Bash Cosmopolitanism

By Todd Gitlin

David Brooks, self-hating cosmopolitan, could visit Disneyland and report back that it goes to show that small town virtues are alive.
...
Nigel E. Richardson
"They say you've never really read a David Brooks column until you've done so while Thomas Friedman is feeding you truffles."

Tengrain puts the boot in here:
...
And before we go too far down the rabbit hole, Brooks writes about Tupac. David Brooks drops Tupac’s name in a dependent clause like he is familiar with the subject. OK, before your head explodes in wonder, rest assured he gets the fundamentals of Tupac so wrong that it is absolutely laughable; I won’t spoil that for you but when you read it, if you know anything about Tupac’s life (or death) I promise you that your pants will wet themselves you will laugh so hard. Brooks–as usual–is skimming the culture.
...

Charles P. Pierce:
...
Of that "oft-repeated idiom," as Tupac once said to Biggie over a blunt, contains "Racing In The Street." There are six songs that reference either cars or driving, including the title track. You'd have to be deaf to call the sound of that record "spare." (Again, I think Brooks is thinking about Nebraska here, but who in hell knows?) And I know every lyric to "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" and I've never been to Liverpool in my life. This has nothing to do with my creating a "paracosm" of Liverpool. It has to do with the fact I heard the damn song about 15 times a day back in 1965, and that I still enjoy hearing it today. This kind of thing turns nostalgia into an exercise for lab rats, which, I've long believed, is basically Brooks's take on all of his fellow humans.
...

The Rude One:
...
3. Responding to fans in Madrid, Spain, singing "Born in the U.S.A." Brooks writes, "Did it occur to them at that moment that, in fact, they were not born in the U.S.A.?" Did it occur to Brooks that this is a patently idiotic question? When Eminem fans sing "I'm the real Shady," does it occur to them that, in fact, they are not the real Slim Shady? Seriously, who does Brooks blow to get to keep writing this shit? 'Cause that man must be able to suck a dick.
...
Alex Pareene:

We get it, Grandpa, you’re hip to Springsteen  
Rich old conservatives love The Boss and they really, really want everyone to know it 
...
The success of Springsteen is, apparently, some sort of object lesson in staying true to your (geographical?) roots, and not being too “eclectic,” or something, who the fuck knows. The column literally has this line in it: “Did it occur to them at that moment that, in fact, they were not born in the U.S.A.?” I don’t know, David, do Clash fans realize that London is not actually calling them?
...

Some days it is so clear that American political journalism is almost entirely driven by a secret wager made bettween  David Brooks and Tom Friedman over who can write the column that most closely approximates standing on a pile of money throwing poo at passers-by while laughing at them and not get fired by the "New York Times".

26 comments:

RockDots said...

"in the day we sweat it out on the streets
Of a runaway American Paracosm..."

Linkmeister said...

Even for Brooks that's incoherent as hell.

Phil said...

What the fuck is he talking about?

That last paragraph is some serious word salad.

Habitat Vic said...

Wow, Brooks actually uses the phrase "factory closings" when writing about what Bruce's songs are about - otherwise mentioning (personal) corruption, escape, New Jersey, highways, and so on.

Brooks is ignoring Springsteen's 40 years of music that typically included - sometimes exclusively focusing upon - the hardships of the downtrodden. But Brooks skates around that by focusing on ... WTF, I don't know what he's saying either.

Its like a plutocrat writing about the "catchy folk song rhythms" of Woody Guthrie.

WereBear said...

In Madrid, for example, we were rewarded with a show that lasted 3 hours and 48 minutes, possibly the longest Springsteen concert on record and one of the best. But what really fascinated me were the crowds.

Of course! Soulless meat puppet is not there for the music.

Anonymous said...

I *think* he's saying that working class people have flavor (excuse me, "flavour"), and that people who use the Internet do not.

Anonymous said...

I *think* he's saying that working-class people have flavor (excuse me, "flavour"), and people who use the Internet do not.

Anonymous said...

I think someone did some serious pre-concert weed.

Fran / Blue Gal said...

He's on drugs.

Patricia said...

I guess I would be more successful if I wasn't so far flung and eclectic. Sucks for me!

Ebon Krieg said...

We have only our pluralistic eclectism to lose by our unwavering particularism.

darkblack said...

Every time this poncy jiveass centrist muppet talks about music, ,he comes unstuck from the cheaply glued make-believe world that his ilk (and those who wish to have their minds made up by his ilkdom) inhabit anon.

Whudda maroon.

;>)

blackdaug said...

Maybe one day "The Boss" will spot Bobo in the front row, and pull him up for a dance (ala: Courtney Cox)...or better yet, single him out to the other European concert goers, as one of the most high profile american cheerleaders / enablers for their current disastrous economic problems.
You've never seen a truly great crowd mauling until you experience a mass of unemployed Greeks descend upon one pompous American oligarch....

Bukko Boomeranger said...

What the fuck is a "paracosm"? I usedta be a journamalist, and I have a better-than-average vocabulary, but I have never heard of "paracosm." And while I know I could Oogle it in less time than it takes me to write this stupid fucking comment, I'm not going to, because it's David Fucking Brooks, and I'd rather spend a few moments bitching about him than devoting any time to uncovering his slimy snail-trail of printed pomposity. William F. Buckley and William Safire are dead, Bobo. Please go join them and compare thesauruses

Zebrauser said...

Too bad no one told JS Bach to shun eclecticism and exoticism. His music may have had depth and definition. Douchenozzle.

runst said...

"In the middle of the Iberian Peninsula" is where you find Madrid, the capital of the kingdom which conquered most of America, so he has really travelled through the wilderness to the farthest outliers of civilization this time. And to think that those primitive savages listen to rock and can understand English! I wonder if they have heard of the electric telephone?

Kordo said...

I'm with Bukko Canukko here. What the fuck is a "paracosm"? googling now...

I quote- paracosm - noun
a prolonged fantasy world invented by children; can have a definite geography and language and history

One of the rare instances where Dictionary.com creates more befuddlement than it solves...

Cirze said...

I'm with blackdaug.

I used to have fantasies of groups waiting outside of the PBS tapings . . . .

I can't believe that no one's caught him out yet. (Friedman, I believe, goes nowhere without being surrounded by a squad of 300-lb. protectors who escort him from and back to to his moat.)

Love you guys!

S

Anonymous said...

I think "paracosom" was his way of sounding intellectual and erudite when saying "you people's fantasy world".

One of the things that bugs me about his columns is that I usually agree with something in the first paragraph. I do agree that strong cultural delineations gives a deeper sense of identity, and there are many in the USA who are disillusioned with their culture of birth and desperate for something larger to latch on to. Religions often fill that roll, but you also see in in people who are suddenly "made into an Indian" or suddenly devoutly Buddhist or suddenly a Wiccan who is a reincarnated witch from Salem or Atlantis. Let us also not forget the many middle-class suburban white kids who suddenly think they are hardcore ghetto because they "borrowed" mommy's credit card and bought all the right hardcore ghetto clothes and accessories.

That brief defense aside, the rest is utter shit. It amazes how DFB does this bait-n-switch, starting with something that could potentially lead somewhere interesting, and then lures you in just close enough to shit all over you.

Otherwise, Rude One: 'Cause that man must be able to suck a dick.

Something else I've long thought...

Mike.K.

grs said...

"The column literally has this line in it: “Did it occur to them at that moment that, in fact, they were not born in the U.S.A.?” I don’t know, David, do Clash fans realize that London is not actually calling them? "

Holy shit that's brilliant.

Habitat Vic said...

“There are people who have lost their job and their homes.” I know that the bad times are here even worse. Our heart is with you. “Must send this message to all those who are fighting in Spain,” Springsteen said in Spanish as prelude to Jack of All Trades.

Fine, DFB is an overpaid, boot licking toady for the plutocrats. And an arrogant pseudo-intellectual hypocrite who makes shit up to earn his paycheck.

But that he could also just be so FUCKING clueless as to what Springsteen (yes, I'm a fan since I first saw him in '75) sings about, what his lyrics mean and why he connects to all those working class downtrodden fans - oh, and fuck you too Gov Christie, just on principle - just leaves me gobsmacked.

As Rude Pundit said, just because Bruce is IN the 1%, he most definitely is not OF the 1%.

Batocchio said...

Yeah, nothing says Americana like being rich enough to fly to Europe to see an American musician perform. Boy, that pitch was just slow and hanging, wasn't it? And don't forget the 2009 Roy Edroso piece Pareene links:

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2009/11/david_brooks_ex.php

"What could be less like a Bruce Springsteen song than a David Brooks column?"

Nothing against Springsteen (some of his stuff is very good), but it's also telling that he's the figure these guys are pointing to as a sign of their hipness. I doubt they could name any of the good bands from this century.

Anonymous said...

Oh...so the fact that I fled the south side of Chicago and my gun-toting, racist friends for a life in LA with all kinds of interesting and diverse people was a bad move on my part, sez Mr. Brooks. Okey doke.

Anonymous said...

Actually DFB, you've never seen Springsteen til you NEVER SEEN Springsteen ... like me. And unless I win a lottery I never will, he is playing two hours away from me this summer, but $$ talks.

Thanks for not 'shopping Bobo's head on the Boss leaning against the Big Man,
some things should remain sacred.

deering said...

It still burns me that one of the reasons UVA's excellent president almost lost her gig for good was because the board member behind her ouster was taking cues from Brooks' recent online education column. she thought the president wasn't ready for the tsunamni of paradigm change, or whatever..

Anonymous said...

And if Brooksie understood / read the lyrics to Born in the USA; would he still be a Bruce fan?

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up
Born in the U.S.A.

Snarkeology 101: I Cannot Believe We Forgot The Celebrate The 17th Anniversary Of The Late Robert Novak...

...losing his shit and storming off the CNN set back in 2005. The Dubya Administration was just beginning to come apart at the seams.  ...