Tuesday, August 19, 2014

David Brooks 101

There are a lot of aspiring David Brookses out there trying to scale Mount Media following the recipe (an admix of hippie slandering, lazy Villager Centrist sermonettes on what other people should be doing and massive historical revisionism) which Mr. Brooks has helped to perfect. But as any student of Brooksianism can tell you, it takes years of diligent study and practice to master the art of sharting all over observable public reality while keeping a very large stick up your ass, and nearly as long to learn to humbly preach the virtues of bravery, civic responsibility and integrity while cowering behind a mile-high wall of privilege, money and clout.

It is a long and crowded road to the top of Mount Media, and any trick one can glean from the maestro is always appreciated, which is why every time Mr. Brooks releases an update to his "Villager Knob Gobbling For Dummies" curriculum, y'all need to sit up and take notice.

Such as Friday.

On Friday Mr. Brooks delivered a twofer:  a Lesson in Laziness and a mini-master class on his One Weird Trick to Writing Successful Whig Fan Fiction.

First the epic, lazy bit, which was ably covered by Heather at Crooks and Liars:
DAVID BROOKS: I hope there is somebody in my paper investigating why the militarization happened. Were there contracts involved, somebody was getting — making a lot of money selling this equipment to police forces?

You may not know it. but David Brooks started off his career as a beat reporter -- a crime reporter -- in Chicago.  So he knows how to ask questions and take notes.  Now, 30 years later, (as I wrote last week) ."David Brooks can never never be fired, can write about anything he pleases as often as he pleases, job out the task of reading his hate mail to interns, lecture at colleges, Aspen or TED whenever he chooses, speak to large audiences every week on PBS and NPR, drop in on Meet the Press as the mood takes him and has the bottomless pockets of the New York Times at his disposal. In other words, he enjoys all the power the Beltway media world has to offer, and needs to worry about none of the consequences of using it."

And once again, David Brooks uses yet another gaping hole in our ship of state to demonstrated to the rest of the class the beauty of being David Brooks:

Of course the beauty of being David Brooks is that once you, David Brooks, have identified a problem -- especially a very large problem which your own Conservatism had a very big hand in creating --  you, David Brooks, need never be shy about stepping right up and insisting that someone other than David Brooks really needs to get in there and fix it. 

Whether it's fighting and dying in Mr. Brooks' Great Patriotic Wars or triaging the various follow-on catastrophes which his Great Patriotic Wars created or bearing the brunt of his crackpot economic schemes or being the guinea pig for one of his little social engineering experiments in character building -- you can always count on David Brooks to demand someone else get in there and do the hard, heavy lifting, because cleaning up another one of Conservatism's messes is a crappy job for other people.

His job, as David Brooks, is to sit on his ass sipping an indifferent chardonnay and spouting helpful suggestions about Humility and Character and National Greatness.

So that's the Lesson in Laziness, which for most instructors would be enough.  But not David Brooks.  This time he goes that extra mile to show his acolytes how to make decades of unsightly modern history magically disappear!

Watch closely...
DAVID BROOKS: ... As for the larger political thing, it’s almost unanimous. You look across left, right and center, people think it’s overreacting what happened in the nights subsequently. And that’s, a libertarian suspicion of really forceful and violent government. Liberals tend to I guess be suspicious of police power, especially against minority communities.

But for conservatives and especially traditional conservatives, there’s a community thing going on here. The traditional conservatives, led by a thinker named James Q. Wilson, many years ago, was to believe in community policing, getting cops out of cop cars and actually interacting with the locals.

And so that’s the traditional conservative position, that you don’t want to erect walls...
Did you catch that?

By skipping completely over actual Conservatives as they exist here and now in their tens of millions and instead shifting automatically into Whig Fan Fiction mode to opine fartily about an exotic and virtually extinct species called "traditional conservatives", Mr. Brooks once again simply snipped out a big festering hunk of modern history that makes him look like a lying hack so that he could run a variation on his usual "Both Sides" scam and pretend that, on the subject of Ferguson, MO, there was virtual unanimity "across left, right and center."

To her credit, Ruth Marcus very gingerly pointed out that, no, there was actually a very clear split on the Right between between Rand Paul and pretty much everyone else in the GOP:
RUTH MARCUS:  And so I think that to the extent there is this blurring of kind of liberal-libertarian lines, it’s a piece of a very interesting strain within the party. And I think you are a little bit underselling it, David, because there is this tough-on-crime aspect to your party.
And because she had the bad taste to remind the audience that the Republican Party is, in fact, David Brooks' Party, thing got very uncomfortable there for a minute:

([Incredibly uncomfortable] LAUGHTER)

DAVID BROOKS (The PBS transcript does not have this but the video clearly shows this is what Mr. Brooks' says next)::   Who are you calling "we" Kemosabe?


RUTH MARCUS: I’m sorry. I’ll take that back.

RUTH MARCUS: You know, when we’re done, we can hug it out.


HARI SREENIVASAN: We will get to that in a minute. All right.

RUTH MARCUS: But in any event, Rand Paul’s views on things like marijuana legalization, on same-sex marriage, on other issues that might attract, bring — not to David’s party, but to the Republican Party, to attract some younger voters, I think is a very interesting thing that my colleague Dan Balz did point out in The Washington Post this morning.

DAVID BROOKS: I would just say, Mr. Republican, I have my mace and my shield and my armored vehicle afterwards.

Any malfunctioning institution which devotes this amount of energy and effort making sure that nobody ever speaks openly about the painfully obvious source of its dysfunction is broken beyond repair.


Redhand said...

Really good post, Drift, especially that part at the end about how "Any malfunctioning institution which devotes this amount of energy and effort making sure that nobody ever speaks openly about the painfully obvious source of its dysfunction is broken beyond repair.

I frankly despise DFB for his dissembling, intellectual dishonesty, laziness and colossal mediocrity. Just onec I'd like to see someone with air time corner the sonofabitch and call him on his bullshit. As Shrek said, "Like that's ever gonna happen."

dinthebeast said...

From "Mutiny I Promise You" by the New Pornographers:

What's the weight of the world worth to ya, kid
Go write down what you see
And see how far it can go
What's the weight of the world worth to your side
Here is where you got lost
And here is how you got by

And here's the mutiny I promised you
And here's the party it turned into

Uh, yes, DFB, the party you have been cheerleading and apologizing for while it morphed into the thing people are recoiling in horror from now. That stuff in your hair? We do know what it is, and probably where you got it.

-Doug in Oakland

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

David Brooks...not invited to Taco Tuesday.

Enjoy your day.

---Kevin Holsinger

Neo Tuxedo said...

Any malfunctioning institution which devotes this amount of energy and effort [to] making sure that nobody ever speaks openly about the painfully obvious source of its dysfunction is broken beyond repair.

This. And it's why, as I said on the "David Brooks: Bisectual" post, I don't agree with the Literals, even though I know that David Fucking Brooks actually exists. Because I don't see our present leading to their time.

The people trying to piece together the history that came before them will not be asking whether the "David Brooks" pseudonym was used by the Pundits Guild to camouflage the worst of their idiocies or by some clever satirist taking the piss out of their vacuity. They'll be asking "Did the ancients really build towers that pierced the clouds? Carts that pulled themselves faster than the fastest horse can run?"

It'll be like the bit in one of the Wheel of Time books where somebody is wondering what the scraps of myth left from before the Age of Legends really mean; did Lenn really fly to the moon in the belly of a giant eagle? Did the giants Mosk and Merk really do war upon each other with spears of fire?

Robt said...

You know, as a tax payer Mr Brooks,

I hope there is somebody out there calculating how much tax payer money has been and is being spent by the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

It seems that the so called fiscal conservative majority who wants to save during a Democratic President only.
That during a "Swquester" these House Republican Majoirty-critters seem to have a SLISH fund of tax payer money to spend on their lobbyist lawyers to friviously file law suits and to hold as many hearings as it takes to find out what was in the report of the original hearing. In other words, using a tax payer funded SLUSH FUND to campaign to their partisan base with.
By keeping a 2 year old corpse on life support while at the same time trying to deny life sustainning health care to the living.

casimir said...

I'm not going to look at Brooks' column but is he saying someone at the NYT should investigate how the police have come to adopt military equipment and techniques? Seems this would be just the topic for Andrew Sullivan to address, since the left has been pointing to it for a couple of decades now. That means it's ripe for Sullivan to come forward, courageously and insightfully, and be the first to speak to it.

Yastreblyansky said...

1. I think I learned from you what the City News Bureau was, and from Wikipedia that Brooks worked there for a matter of no more than six months before his soft landing at the Washington Times. His experience as a crime beat reporter was virtually nothing more than a summer internship.

2. As a New Yorker I am really infuriated beyond words at the idea of community policing as a "conservative" concept. It was introduced here by Mayor Dinkins and is being revived by Mayor De Blasio who has brought back Dinkins's commissioner Bratton. The New York Post and the Pollce Benevolent Association screamed all the way as NYC crime continued to plunge. Pretty sure Brooksy has never written a word about it.

3. "What do you mean, my party?" Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

n1ck said...

One Weird Trick to Writing Successful Whig Fan Fiction.

Should be your go-to title for Brooks. Love it.

Also: Who are you calling "we" Kemosabe? is just DFB saying "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain".

theo said...

Dear Drifty - this is extremely off topic but I want to publish it on as many blogs that I like that I can. If you don’t want to, that is cool.

I cry a lot. Sometimes it is joy, which is a good thing. However, ever since the ascension of Reagan in the USA, I have seen more and more of the authoritarian and corporatocracy infect the the so-called democracies of the world. Corporations run the Western democracies, not the citizens who reside in them. Because the Western democracies essentially drive the planet I have seen over the last 30+ years a devolvement of cooperation to the benefit of a few global entities whose only raison d’etre relies on the next quarter.

China, of course, changes that particular dynamic because they have a history of thinking very long term and if the corporations don’t follow their advice, heads are removed. China is becoming the driving economic force in the world and as corporations are run by sociopathic scum that have no moral ethics whatsoever the Western democracies are particularly vulnerable to the the long term thinking of China.

So I cry more often in sadness than in joy. The USA, which for all its faults, I once regarded as the greatest of countries, has become an idiotocracy. Someone once said, “Shit tends to float”. Never were truer words spoken in regards to the US electoral system and sadly, it has become gamed to that fact. The shit are the ones that get the money to compete at the electoral level. Any person of moral conscience that succeeds is denigrated and thrown to the sidelines of public discourse unless it serves a narrative of corporate advantage. The internet has alleviated that a tiny bit, but realistically, no.

The planet is facing monumental challenges due to man-made climate changes. These changes are already affecting all of us. Nothing is being done on the Western democracy side because that might affect the next quarterly earnings of the corporations that run them. As an aside, the corporatocracy knows their actions are ultimately going to kill BILLIONS of us. There is no other possible outcome. They say otherwise. They lie. Realistically, the planet cannot support the people that live currently on it. Yet, we, as a species, continue to propagate beyond that. Do you think China does not consider these scenarios?

So I cry. My grandchildren very likely will live through hell, or die. I regret to say that hate fills a large portion of my character. I try and balance that through my art which I do simply on the hope I make people smile. Then I read of of Robin Williams. A person who made tens of millions smile over the decades and he killed himself. I wonder if it was his inner demons that truly made him take his life or was it those demons attacked his sense of helplessness that he felt observing the world in 2014. I know I feel that way but I do not suffer from clinical depression. If I did, I am pretty sure I would be dead.

Monster from the Id said...

Oh, I expect the people at the top in China are sociopaths as well, though I will accept that they might be shrewder than our sociopaths.

After all, their system is also hierarchical.

In any hierarchical system, sociopaths will have a huge advantage over non-sociopaths in the competition for higher rank, due to the grim fact that the sociopaths are not handicapped by empathy or conscience.

Hence, sociopaths tend to rise to the top of any hierarchical system.

I don't see any way out of this trap.

Unsalted Sinner said...

Obviously, David Brooks is no Republican. He's just an independent and open-minded thinker who carefully examines all relevant arguments on any given issue and then makes up his mind based on whatever the facts of the case tells him. It's purely a coincidence that he always lands on the same side as the GOP.

Batocchio said...

If they cared about evidence – and fairness – and honesty, especially about policy and history – they wouldn't be conservatives. Feature, not a bug. (Good post, obviously.)