Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Kidz In The Club

Last year, Details magazine (Motto: "You're wearing that?") helpfully told me who would be telling me what to think in the years to come.

Among the young lions queuing up to shape my opinion, Mr. James Poulos, who Details described as Huffington Post's "own Gen-X David Brooks" because I guess "Dick Armey with a hip-hop sensibility" was taken:
James Poulos
Age: 33
Guest commentator, MSNBC
Trending Now Because: The self-described postmodern conservative mixes wonky talk with Marilyn Manson lyrics and incites liberal ire with pugnacious Daily Caller posts like "What Are Women For?"
Prime-Time Moment: Soon after "WAWF?," Poulos—a HuffPost Live producer and contributor at Forbes and Vice—gamely appeared on MSNBC's UP With Chris Hayes and said: "We're going to be stuck in this culture-war situation regardless of the ultimate merits of the issue unless we find some way to get through to the other side." Then the Huffington Post hired Poulos as its own Gen-X David Brooks.

Mr. Poulos, 33, is a Reagan Baby.  He has never known a world where Imaginary Reagan was not The Greatest Fucking President Ever.  Never known a world where Rush Limbaugh and his myriad imitators were not fixed and immutable points in America's political constellation.  Where casually punching Hippies was not perfectly acceptable.  Where Republicans did not think heaving political cinder-blocks into traffic was the height of statecraft.  Where impeachment was a garment the Right began openly fitting every Democratic president for before his first inaugural speech was over.  Mr. Poulos has never known a world where every Republican administration left giant, steaming piles of deficits in its wake, which the Right began screaming must be cleaned up now!now!now!...once that Republican administration was safely out of office.  Where the daily -- sometimes hourly -- revision of history to fit today's Conservative party line was not so normal it ceased being noticed.

And where "...yeah, but Both Sides" was not 100%, gold-plated, guaranteed Letter of Transit out of any tight corner of fraud or hypocrisy or bigotry or imbecility is which today's Conservatives or Conservative-enablers may find themselves.

So given Mr. Poulos' terribly deprived childhood, it is perhaps understandable that he has written something as hilariously trifling and dumb as this:

The Next President Won’t Save Us

Two consecutive failed presidents haven’t taught us anything—like David Brooks, we want to ‘strengthen the presidency.’ It’s time we shed our secret longing for a mighty ruler.

Why, God? Why is it in the news that Jerry Brown will possibly run for president in 2016? Why have we already been talking about Christie vs. Clinton for months? Are we masochists?

Perhaps our political abuse at the hands of two consecutive failed presidents has inspired us to adopt their two great mottos—“Bring ’em on” in Bush’s case and, in Obama’s, “Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection.”

Or perhaps the answer lies far in the depths of our human psychology. Only an account that profound would explain, for instance, why New York Times columnist David Brooks—a man surely aware of the research that shows we want more powerful government the worse government gets—has just proclaimed that our only hope is to “strengthen the presidency.” Oh, he’s just a dead-tree Op-Ed writer? Look around you. It is a truth written on the free bumper stickers and endless prognostication peddled from sea to shining sea: When it comes to the cult of the presidency, we are all David Brooks now...
God damn those free bumper stickers!

Which, I guess, are HuffPo Gen-X Conservatism's version of Peggy Noonan's (tm Mock, Paper Scissors) yard signs.
"And there's the thing about the yard signs. In Florida a few weeks ago I saw Romney signs, not Obama ones," professional political expert Peggy Noonan writes. "Is it possible this whole thing is playing out before our eyes and we're not really noticing because we're too busy looking at data on paper instead of what's in front of us?"
But with a hip-hop sensibility.


Mr. Poulos then goes on to quote Gene Healy, a Vice President at the Koch Brother's Little Shop of Wingnut Horrors Cato Institute, who describes the limitless malevolence of the Obama Administration using terms like "regime" and "unilateral diktat".  Mr. Healy supports his thesis by leaning very hard on such Conservative campfire bogeymen as the IRS "scandal" and Benghaaaaazi!  Oddly, Mr. Healy makes no mention whatsoever is made of the ideologically inconvenient Bush Administration or the Republican Party.

And thus we see the Wingnut Statue of Liberty play worked to perfection: Libertarian goof Gene Healy takes the "Obama is a Commie Tyrant!" snap from the dregs of wingnut radio...fades back......back...fakes a pass...hands the ball off to Libertarian goof James Poulos, who lopes lazily into the Centrist end-zone for an easy, unopposed "Both Sides Do It!" touchdown.

And isn't it just a beee-utiful day for Calvinball ladeez n' gennelmen, here at historic Daily Beast stadium!

Wikipedia tells me that:
When executed properly, the Statue of Liberty is a very deceptive and high-yardage play. However, the coordination of motions required is difficult, and failure may lead to a fumble, sack, or lost yardage. Additionally, disciplined defenses may be able to spot the fake.
Of course is doesn't matter how disciplined the defense or how many times you fumble when the refs are all on your side, does it?

Footnote: Of course I have already thoroughly covered the David Brooks column which precipitated Mr. Poulos terrible column.  It was, if I may be so bold, a typically very well-written, very detailed examination of how Mr. Brooks circa December 2013 has thrown his Caddy hard into reverse and is now backing willy-nilly over much of what previous iterations of David Brooks have had to say on this very subject over the years.  I also noted how no one in our Elite Beltway Media is going so say shit about it, because David Brooks is the current godfather of  Elite Beltway Media, and you never takes sides against the family in public.


I also had a very fine laugh over the fact some of the people who were now freaking most loudly out over the idea of President Obama might being given a bigger battering ram with which to get his agenda passed by a Republican Congress which had sworn a blood-oath to obstruct anything with his name on it...

...were the very same people walked around sporting giant,  adamantine hard-ons over the bloodthirsty, authoritarian antics of Richard Bruce "Unitary Executive" Cheney just a few years before.

As I said, it was a pretty fair piece of writing, which you will never see on MSNBC or in the pages of the Daily Beast because, sadly, Details magazine has no idea who the fuck I am :-)


Cirze said...

But we do.

And this is one helluvagreat essay.


May you be read by millions.

(And may David Brooks' caddy hit a brick wall of knowledgeable reader resistance, which results in his being fired for making up his sources.)

Which we know he has been doing in taxi cab confessions for years.

Anonymous said...

I would tend to discount anything Jimmy Poulos says simply because he could not find the courage to tell his barber not to give him that ridiculous haircut, let alone trust him to speak truth to power.

Anonymous said...

I would tend to discount anything Jimmy Poulos says simply because he could not find the courage to tell his barber not to give him that ridiculous haircut, let alone trust him to speak truth to power.

n1ck said...

Being the unSerious radical that I am, I often long for a genuine class war. Not one that requires blood, although sometimes there's just no getting away from it. But a real class war where the people who should be running things stop giving the sociopaths and walking trash the power, and take it back for ourselves and for everyone else in the country who deserves it.

The more I look around, the closer I think we're getting to that point. Movies that hint at class warfare are popular and attract big names. And inequality is slowly becoming a topic that more than just unSerious radicals like myself talk about.

People like David Brooks and James Poulous, whoever the fuck he is, are the last of the cheerleaders for status quo elite hegemony.

They're akin to the Vichy French of WWII, and if there is any justice in the universe, will be treated as such after we liberate ourselves.

Thanks, DG, for recording for posterity the crimes of our Vichy human Masters of the Universe.

1793 is coming.

Mister Roboto said...

Who is this man, and why is he sporting an SOS pad on top of his head?