Friday, January 03, 2014

The Prude Abides -- UPDATE

File under, "Dave's Not Here."

After months of "book leave" and divorce lawyers, David Brooks sat alone in his vast space for entertainment, riffling through twenty years of columns. Twenty years of championing (and then quietly scuttling away from) crackpot economic schemes, backing (and then backing away from) ruinous military adventures, promoting (and then silently absenting himself from) one Great White Conservative Hope after another. 

So much bullshit. 

So much of it deep fried in Beltway trans-fat "Both Siderism". All of it served up with a side of smug moralizing and whatever pop sociology fad was tickling the wind sock that week.

Twenty years of columns.

An empire, really.

And when David Brooks saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more subjects on which to write horribly stupid opinions.

And then...

And then...

And then...Colorado legalized pot!

Briefly, the premise of Mr. Brooks' column today is that he used to smoke pot, and he enjoyed it, but only because he and his friends smoked exactly the right amount of pot during exactly the right decade.  Also, being white and privileged, his future was never annihilated by getting busted and picking up a criminal conviction that would ruin the rest life, but having only 800 words at his disposal, Mr. Brooks omits that little detail.

In fact, he omits a lot of details -- pretty much everything that happened between the screening of Reefer Madness in 1936 and the minute he rolled out of bed and decide to lecture America on the evils of weed -- preferring instead to focus on this one time, decades ago, when he screwed up an oral report in an English class because of the mary jane.

Decades later, that moment still haunts him so horribly that you shouldn't smoke pot.

Normally I would do my David Brooks thing.  The same David Brooks thing I've been doing for going on nine years now, since back in the day when taking on Mr. Brooks in public was illegal, so I'd stay up half the night drying it, bagging it and cleaning out all the stems and seeds in secret. Then I'd hop in my beater and run it out to a few of my regulars, hoping all the while that I was being careful enough not to get busted.

My typical yield would be a few hundred views, four comments, and that would be that.

I might supplement it with a custom graphic I put together for that batch: a visual complement to my post that would tantalize the eye while my customers got baked on my backyard chronic.

I might tweak my sweet, illicit home-grown with a few asides that only an experienced grower would know about.  Like...

...seeing as how Mr. Brooks spent years rampaging around in a state of ranting, moral stupor from very publicly binge-huffing Iraq War resin out of Dick Cheney's underpants, perhaps lecturing others on the virtues of pursuing "the highest pleasures" (Translation: living la vida Bobo) and eschewing the "lesser pleasures" -- 
I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.
-- is not a humiliation that any normal person with his public record would want to risk...


...the revelation that while Mr. Brooks's nappy-time is capable of being haunted by past mistakes, amazingly it is goofing a classroom assignment as a college kid decades ago and not his unremitting and catastrophic failures as a Neocon grownup adult that troubleth his sleep.

But of course, this was all before slapping around David Brooks for being an insufferable dolt was legalized.  Before the big combines moved in with their vast acreage, controlled environments, salaried employees and international distribution networks and took over the entire enterprise.  Small grower like me?  Well, a few of us will still exist for awhile as novelties, but we're not long for this world.  

We were loners, Dottie.  Rebels.

Disreputable alchemists working in the shadows to keep our fellow mutants sane.

But now that the law has changed, everything that law carried with it has also changed.  

Now anyone can walk right up and purchase a public vivisection of Bobo in broad daylight from Vanity Fair or Esquire or BuzzFeed or Mediaite or The Daily Beast or  The Daily Dot or Slate or  Slate (again, this time with an embarrassingly bad PhotoShop) or The Week or The Baltimore Sun or (sort of) The Washington Post or Politico or Business Insider or The Nation or Bloomberg News or the Chicago Reader or the BBC or The Economist.

For fuck's sake, you can score a bag of ditchweed Bobo Takedown at Forbes or International Business Times nowadays; it's so 100% risk-free that even Andrew Sullivan's Pot-'n-Pope-'n-Stuff blog has taken a gentle gibe at his very good friend David Brooks:
I sure hope I’ve treated David’s arguments, such as they are, civilly. Ditto my friend David Frum’s. I know they are well-intentioned, and the idea that there can be no cost to ending Prohibition is silly.
And so what until recently had been the honorable, outlaw and potentially-career-crippling avocation of a few has become another high-end, over-the-counter commodity.  And while I believe the quality and consistency of my sticky icky is as good or better than anyone's, anywhere, I am old enough to know that nothing can beat superior marketing and distribution.

So today just go read Gary Greenberg's post, "I Smoked Pot With David Brooks" -- 
... I never spoke up before because I figured if I threw mud at someone whose whole career rests on being squeaky clean, well, that’s just mean. And it’s mostly irrelevant now. I mean, like he said, we’ve “aged out” and “left marijuana behind.”

Well, all except me. I still get high from time to time. It helps me deal with the kids, makes me more playful and my knees ache less when I get on the floor with them. Dave would probably say I delayed having them until so late because I was too busy getting stoned, and maybe he’s right, although I like to think I was waiting for the right woman and the right time. Anyway, I gather he doesn’t have any problem with my once a week toking, even if it’s “not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure and should be discouraged more than encouraged.” So even if social scientists have proved smoking doesn’t really make me more creative (although I could swear it does, and I’ve heard others say the same, but what do we know?), and even if it makes it impossible for me to “graduate to more satisfying pleasures”–although marriage, kids, reading, music, conversations with friends, I used to think those were pretty satisfying– I guess I’m okay in his book.

Funny thing. I didn’t know before this morning that I was the “full-on stoner” who was one of the four reasons Dave gave up weed. Sorry as I am to hear that our frolics are now his shameful 4 a.m. memories, after all these years of silence, it’s nice to know I mattered to him, that I was a significant part of the moral life of someone so important and with such a strong “sense of satisfaction and accomplishment”—an achievement I guess I made possible by teaching him that “one sort of life you might choose is better than another sort of life.”

And here all along I thought he quit because of that time we got pulled over by the Radnor cops in senior year right after we’d clambaked his Mom’s Vista Cruiser...
-- which is either 100% true, or such a subtle and lovely parody that the truth should be ashamed of itself for not living up to its potential.*

And as always, Matt Taibbi is well worth your time:
Yet here they come, luminaries like MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, publishing mogul Tina Brown, and Yale blowhard-in-residence David Brooks, all hot to build a Wall of Decency around the New American Menace. They are the 21st-century version of the Anti-Saloon League, gathering now to denounce the perils of the legal recreational joint.

The Brooks column is particularly infuriating because in just a few hundred words it perfectly captures why marijuana needs to be legalized. Here's this grasping, status-obsessed yuppie who first admits that that he smoked an illegal drug without consequence in his youth, then turns around and tells us, as a graying and bespectacled post-adult, that it would be best if the drug remained illegal for the masses.

It was a lovely, subtle parody, so reality should consider itself scolded.

Also, based on it's verisimilitude, that one post generated interest from many, big-name publications with which you may be familiar:
Gary Greenberg, the psychotherapist who had unintentionally convinced journalists around the country that he had grown up toking up with a New York Times columnist, was having a good day. Greenberg’s essay, a takedown of David Brooks’ anti-pot confessional column written as if Greenberg and Brooks were childhood smoking buddies, had become easily the most popular piece ever published on Greenberg’s personal blog. He had gotten interest from (among others) The Atlantic, The Washington Examiner, and The Huffington Post.

“First of all,” Greenberg said, “almost everyone thinks it’s true.”

Including, for a time, me. Like almost all of the writers I follow on Twitter, I initially read Greenberg’s satire as genuine, a biting reflection from a friend that Brooks said had become so dangerously dependent on marijuana that the Timesman had foresworn the drug forever for fear of ending up like Gary. It was a little piece of internet gold, new media reaching out and very uncomfortably tapping the old on its shoulder.
Obviously I must now re-think my entire blog marketing strategy.


Anonymous said...

As soon as I read his piece, I knew you'd be right on it. You did not disappoint. Thanks!

Cirze said...

But sales surpassed projections in CO and the price went up!

So much for economic/social expectations, I guess.

- The Masses (h/t to Karl - one of the Marx brothers)

Anonymous said...

I have to echo Anon@3:19 -- I saw this DB article and I resolved to check your blog regularly for your reply. Some of us still like a quality product.

--Nonny Mouse

Strider said...

I saw you only had three comments and so I wanted to validate the prognostication in your column. Also, I have a question: have you ever answered the question of why DB has a column after accumulating a mountain of bullshit that is arguably higher than that of Fox News? 'Cause I'd really like to know.

Anonymous said...

I want a (possibly funny smelling) cigarette after reading this. Satisfying. Thanks driftglass, as always.

bluicebank said...

Brooks does this thing, wherein he magnifies an experience (or an imagination). He once wrote that people come up to him "on the street" and ask him questions. As if he were a small town columnist in some imaginary Midwestern town where such things happened.

I'll take DFB's pot-smoking claim with a grain of salt. Perhaps he may have toked on someone's tossed roach, alone, one summer. This memory served him today as an expansive experience, to be dismissed, by the world-wise yet now learned philosopher king. Because, dude.

fastfeat said...

driftglass-- don't read you as much as I should, but thought your Bobo Road pic was friggin' awesome. The heads are just the perfect size and free of expression. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Sir, You knocked it out of the park and shattered the windshields of whatever unfortunate owner's vehicles were parked outside the grounds ... I saw the item on Hayes and my first thought was "why the F isnt he interviewing Driftglass" ... but oh yeah, its TV. They don't really do the J word.

\thanks from Canada

Jason said...

Hey Driftglass- I guess I'll just pile on with what I'm sure is a regular stream of admirers of your writing. Maybe you don't get the eyeballs that a Brooks gets but you take social commentary to an art form. I remember reading your Dr. Seuss parody and was blown away. When I heard about David Brooks' column (which I've never read and can't get myself to read for any reason)I knew you would have something good to say. Using drug references to deconstruct Brooks was really funny. I liked your assessment of the mainstreaming of mocking Brooks even at Forbes and International Business Times by calling their critiques a "bag of ditchweed Bobo Takedown". Love that metaphor.

I actually felt sad when you wrote that you and blogging in general was not long for this world because having a voice in print, especially talented voices with print like you, is a seemingly rare thing these days.

Thanks for making me laugh while you skewer.


gozenpeace said...

You are brilliant! You and Brother Pierce are must reads.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Hum, it is Strider Hiryu. He will never leave Eurasia alive.

Also, I have a question: have you ever answered the question of why DB has a column after accumulating a mountain of bullshit that is arguably higher than that of Fox News? 'Cause I'd really like to know.

The impression I get is that DG would like to know that as well. All he can do for now is speculate, same as anyone else outwith the community of media High Sheriffs who decide who's to be taken Seriously and who's to be marginalized.

wagonjak said...

The quality and consistency of your sticky icky IS as good or better than anyone's!!! are always so much fun to not only nail your subject to the wall, you make me laugh out loud! Keep up the great work in the new year dg!

jim said...

No doubt many a sufferer of AIDS wasting, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, glaucoma, et al is very intersted in Bobo's new pearl of wisdom & now wishes to subscribe to his newsletter.

n1ck said...

This post is the reason why you're my favorite read, DG.

Thanks for letting us read it.

Mister Roboto said...

Perhaps our Mr. Brooks should consider moving to Wisconsin. I have a feeling it will be a looong time before we see any pot-legalization, even for medical purposes only, here in Fitzwalkerstan.

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