Saturday, May 17, 2014

David Brooks Talks To America's Kids About Journalism -- UPDATE


Let’s say you wanted to understand a social problem in depth. Let’s say you wanted to move from a dry, statistical understanding of a problem to a rich, humane one. How would you do it? What steps would you take on your climb toward understanding?

Well, obviously, first you’d start with the data. Let’s say, for example, you were studying teenage pregnancy...
Yes.  Let's say that.  Then let's mosey right on past it, because I don't really feel like talking teen pregnancy with the old guy who thinks weed can drive you mad or that the 60s led to Penn State becoming Jerry Sandusky's serial rape free-fire zone 40 years after Woodstock.  Instead lets move right to the "journalism" bit:
The research helps you to make informed generalizations about how categories of people are behaving. If you use it correctly, you can even make snappy generalizations about classes of people that are fun and useful up to a point.

But this work is insufficient for anyone seeking deep understanding. Unlike minnows, human beings don’t exist just as members of groups...

We all slip into the general patterns of psychology and sociology sometimes, but we aren’t captured by them. People live and get pregnant one by one, and each life and each pregnancy has its own unlikely story. To move the next rung up the ladder of understanding you have to dive into the tangle of individual lives. You have to enter the realm of fiction, biography and journalism. My academic colleagues sometimes disparage journalism, but, when done right, it offers a higher form of knowing than social science research.

By conducting sensitive interviews and by telling a specific story, the best journalism respects the infinite dignity of the individual, and the unique blend of thoughts and feelings that go into that real, breathing life...
Two things.

First let me say that I and not at all surprised that Mr. Brooks' academic colleagues sometimes disparage journalism.  I would also suspect that Mr. Brooks' fellow Beltway gatekeepers in whatever-the-hell-profession it is that Mr. Brooks practices also disparage journalism.

Because such is the fate of the journalism.

And second, there is a part of me that believes with a gravitational certainty beyond reason or faith that Mr. Brooks absolutely damn sure betcha deployed his naughtiest "infinite dignity of the individual" bedroom sweet talk and boldly disrobed his earnest desire to capture the "unique blend of thoughts and feelings that go into that real, breathing life" every single time he went about humping the leg "conducting sensitive interviews" with the likes of Scooter Libby or John Thune or Lindsay Graham or John McCain or Holy Joe Lieberman or George Bush or Mitt Romney or some titan of the fracking industry or, seemingly, every single person who works at the American Enterprise Institute so that he might better reflect the light of Beltway Received Wisdom across the land and into the squalid huts of flyover denizens like me.

Most of the rest of the column is more David Brooks post-divorce musings which some enterprising intern has apparently fed through a Dan Hill Lyrics Generator:
Affection motivates you to want to see everything about another. Empathy opens you up to absorb the good and the bad. Love impels you not just to observe, but to seek union — to think as another thinks and feel as another feels. 
So we've got that going for us:

UPDATE:  Citizen Yastreblyansky tries very hard to decrypt this latest dispatch from Mr. Brooks to his homeworld regarding the carbon-based, Applebee-dining apex predators of planet Earth .


Yastreblyansky said...

His continued belief that he's a journalist is almost endearing. Does anybody here know where he got that St. Augustine shit from, by the way? I couldn't figure it out.

Anonymous said...

the idiot believes that in order to move beyond dry statistical understanding we need to start with the data (statistics)

Kathleen said...

Dan Hill Lyrics Generator! May I kiss the hem of your keyboard?

Dave said...

I get it, Brooks is a professional propagandist disguised as a journalist to spew concepts and pretend there's no such thing as objective reality.

And whatever he says will change in the desire of defending a republican from public judgement.

In short, his stair way to wisdom is to pretend both sides do it and "let me tell you the republican side" which is:

1) women maybe get pregnant due to love, or love.. or LOVE. Let's not focus on rape or reality -- It's all love. Because if it's not, then this would be more serious than what i'm making this out to be.

2) and don't you worry about all those easily obtainable facts. It's all love and nothing else. It's obviously the woman's fault for teenage pregnancy

3) When people take that.. true journalist tone with you about teenage pregnancy base on facts, objectivity, and journalism.. just remember.. LOVE LOVE LOVE and when lives are ruin due to the inaccessibility of abortions or basic birth control, turn off critical thinking and reflect passionately.. so you can conclude.. she must have really loved that guy to make that baby

If you're a logical person, you might fall for the trap of trying to engage in this. If you're not logical and extremely gullible, you may consider his point of view, but the important thing is LOVE LOVE LOVE and not consider the obvious reason why teen pregnancy is an issue. And if you're not incline to bother with politics, hard to follow pass the first paragraph.

This is the new dog whistle. You make up some bull crap and sprinkle conservative talking points so while the smart people focus on the flaw logic and not combat the hidden message that in Mr Brook's world.. there's no such thing as rape.

Robt said...

You know,
How Jonah Goldberg waits in the on deck circle after brooks' at bat.

They are sort of like the elite journalists of radio as Rushbo and the Becker-head, of the Tea Potter universe.

You do realize, most of this word compilation on the right is for their political right mindless to point to these blathers in terms as,
-There has been studies.
-many reports have been written on this ...

It is compilations of words that can be pointed out by GOP speakers as references to back up their B.

What makes you think privatizing Social Security would shore it up?
There has been many studied writing on this that support my position.

This is what it is about...............

You see,
Instead of burning books as was done before, They will replace them and flood the availability of their view.
As it is, there are many stores that may not carry a book written by Sen Elizabeth Warren, but will have many copies of Sarah Palin's books for your consumption.

Anonymous said...

Brooks has become the "Marigold" Sterling of punditry.

Anonymous said...

I think he’s trying to say that all you need is love to understand his exploding journalism piles, and to love the proctologist you’re with, who has to deal with the collateral damage that keeps resulting from those throbbing, gooey exploding piles of journalism. Statistically speaking, that is. And concluding with all the sensitive interviews to tell the story of how his piles did what they did. I’m sure St. Augustine mentioned this once.

CM said...

**His continued belief that he's a journalist is almost endearing.**

And that he has *academic* colleagues is disturbing.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting how when Brooks casts about for a social "problem," he looks right past all the Wall Street sociopaths, mostly men, who are doing real, material harm to us all, and, focuses on women, particularly poor women--those probably least capable of doing any harm at all.

The man is messed up.