Friday, July 17, 2015

#RichWhiteLivesMatterToo -- Update


Mr. Brooks has written a column today.

It is entitled:
Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White
And it is quite possible that the word "entitled" has never more comprehensively encompassed both of its definitions:


transitive verb
to give a title to : designate

believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
As The Twitter has already noted, Mr. Brooks is in for a very long day.  And as a wee Liberal blogger operating at the extreme outer exurbs of American letters already, the better part of valor would be for me to step aside and let others expend a million angry, bewildered words to discover that Mr. Brooks is an impregnable fortress of Beltway authority who is beyond caring about facts or about what his critics think.

However, as America's leading Brooksologist who has spent years carefully and fruitlessly documenting the daily progress of Mr. Brooks' vast and so-far highly successful project to completely rewrite the history of Modern Conservatism and take out all the icky stuff --
University of Chicago history baccalaureate David "Even David Brooks" Brooks has written a genuinely remarkable and revealing column about the rise and fall of American Conservatism.

What makes it remarkable and revealing it is not its scholarly depth or historical breadth or scathing, confessional honesty, but rather that it is a work of almost pure fiction being passed off as fact in America's Newspaper of Record

In his fairy tale, Mr. Brooks describes and eulogizes a fictional Conservatism built from a tense but harmonious fusion between what Mr. Brooks refers to as "economic conservatives" and "traditional conservatives" -- 
The economic conservatives were in charge of the daring ventures that produced economic growth. The traditionalists were in charge of establishing the secure base — a society in which families are intact, self-discipline is the rule, children are secure and government provides a subtle hand.
-- that never existed in the real world...

...whereas the real American Conservatism that has blighted this land for +30 years -- the Conservatism  of Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, Phyllis Schlafly, Newt Gingrich, Lee Atwater and the Southern Strategy -- is to be found nowhere at all in Mr. Brooks' telling.


Remarkable that the Neoconservative and the fundamentalist Christian conservative and the bigot conservative have all been completely unpersoned from David Brooks' imaginary history of a movement to which he has devoted his life. you remember that political party which spent the last three years obsessively obstructing the Obama Administration?  And fetishizing Barack Obama's birth certificate, ACORN, Saul Ailinsky and the Kenyan Usurper's secret plans to turn the country over to an army of welfare cheats? And wrecking the nation's bond rating?  And passing more meaningless, brutal anti-woman , anti-choice legislation than any other nine Congresses in history?  And cooking up laws requiring plastic punishment probes be shoved up women's vaginae?  And loudly declaiming their medieval ideas about rape and birth control very loudly?

Remember them?

In Mr. Brooks' "1001 Burkean Nights" those people simply do not exist...

-- I feel compelled to say that this one sentence from Mr. Brooks' column today --
I think you distort American history.
-- is the single funniest fucking thing I have read all month.

You see. after the collapse of his George W. Bush Dream Palace, Mr. Brooks was compelled to cobble together a brand new fake American history in which to live.  He now fully inhabits that fake history, and collects rent from every Both Siderist Beltway hack, Aspen Institute pseudo-intellectual and Centrist-humping politician in America who dove in there for shelter after Bushworld burned to the ground and now call Mr. Brooks' fake history "home".

So it should come as no surprise that, for America's self-appointed Moralizer-in-Chief, there is nothing more unnerving than a confrontation with the actual history of the actual country which has bestowed power and wealth beyond the dreams of avarice upon a grifting Conservative mediocrity like Mr. Brooks:
In your anger at the tone of innocence some people adopt to describe the American dream, you reject the dream itself as flimflam. But a dream sullied is not a lie. The American dream of equal opportunity, social mobility and ever more perfect democracy cherishes the future more than the past. It abandons old wrongs and transcends old sins for the sake of a better tomorrow.

This dream is a secular faith that has unified people across every known divide. It has unleashed ennobling energies and mobilized heroic social reform movements. By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism, you trap generations in the past and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future.
Scolding people for their bad manners -- "[i]n your anger at the tone..." -- has always been the Atlantic Wall of Conservative defenders of privilege and fake history like Mr. Brooks (See: "Table, Kiddie").   Ever since the collapse of the Bush Dream Palaces exposed the flagrancy and scale of their malfeasance and price in blood and treasure we have all paid as a result, they have successfully conspired to shove the entire Liberal blogosphere and million words brilliant, insightful critiques of their lies and disasters right out of the public square and back into Coventry for saying "fuck" and other high crimes against their delicate sensibilities. 

For you see, it is good manners uber alles for Mr. Brooks' cosseted coven of Serious People.   Except, of course, if you're slandering the shit out of the Dirty Hippies or the Kenyan Usurper, in which case please feel free to put your keyboard on full-auto and have at those Liberal fuckers.  On that mission, Mr. Brooks will be only too happy to hold your coat.

Update:  Yep,  A very long day.  The usual suspects are weighing in.

First, here are sources you will find if you Google "News" about David Brooks' column...

David Brooks scolds Ta-Nehisi Coates: “I think you distort history”

The Times columnist displays more white privilege in one column than some white people experience in a lifetime
Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates Whilst Snuggled Deep Within My Butthole
Here's Some Stupid for Lunch: David Brooks' American Dream
NYT's David Brooks Has Complaints After Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates 'While White'
Yahoo News:
New York Times Columnist David Brooks Blasted for White Privilege Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates

Then come the wee digital shire folk who never show up on The Google as being "News" worthy:

The Mahablog:
  Stop David Brooks Before He Expresses Himself Again
David Brooks White Whines Over Ta-Nehisi Coates' New Book While Appearing Not to Have Read It
The Rectification of Names:
Brooks on Coates


Sandman said...

The line "By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism," in a sane world governed by logic, reason, and evidence would render DFB a national laughing-stock who would be expressly forbidden from contributing to public discourse due to the sheer weight of his lies and stupidity. But only in the age of corporate fascism in which we live can a rich white man complain that confronting the realities of racism is distracting him from his country club fantasies and still be taken seriously. I'd love to think that this might be the last straw for him, but unfortunately, I've been awake for the past 35 years, and nothing ever is; it's always just IOKIYAR.

milegrinder said...

"By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism, you trap generations in the past and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future."

While I certainly have not studied the length, breadth, and calligraphy of this skin-flap's "work" to the extent you have, am I that far off base nominating this utterance as THE ONE that typifies all past, present, and future horse shit emanating from this orifice? Freud called, and he wants Brooks to shut the fuck up lest he give away the entire Super Bowl game plan for the Rich Whites team. Oh, the places you'll go with David Brooks. Just goddamn.

Susan of Texas said...

Jesus. "By insisting on operating in reality you destroy my ability to live in a fantasy future."

mcfrank said...

Dear Driftglass:

I believe that every time you write...

"Mr. Brooks has written a column today."

... you should include Darth Vader's "Noooooooooooooo!" from "Revenge of the Sith".

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I agree with Milegrinder. That statement is the purest distilled essence not only of Brooks, but of conservatism in general.

The core of conservatism is the denial of unpleasant realities. "Creationism" is only one of many glaring examples.

Conservatism must deny reality, because the reality at the core of conservatism is an inevitably unpopular one: "All for us, and nothing for other people". Adam Smith--no, not Karl Marx, Adam Smith--called that "the vile maxim of the masters of mankind." Of course, oligarchic, "really existing" capitalism must ignore that statement of its supposed guiding philosopher, just as oligarchic (pseudo-)Christianity must ignore many of the statements of that dirty hippie Jesus Christ.

Sandman said...

What's even more amazing to me upon further reflection (and as milegrinder referred to above) is that DFB really is giving away the whole conservative game here: As George Carlin famously said, "That's why they call it the 'American Dream'...because you have to be asleep to believe it." Mr. Carlin also summed up the foundational paradox of our nation: "We were founded by slave owners who wanted to be free." In order to believe the American Dream, you must willfully ignore: the forced relocation and genocide of millions of Native Americans; the kidnapping, enslavement, rape, and murder of millions of Africans; the theft via manufactured war of 1/4 of the U.S. mainland from Mexico; the illegal internment of American citizens of Japanese descent in the 1940s...the list goes on and on, and I haven't even mentioned the litany of democratically elected foreign governments we've helped overthrow. Even a cursory reading of Howard Zinn or Norm Chomsky makes it abundantly clear that we've all been lied to since Kindergarten about the true nature of the United States. If people ever really wake up, they will realize that the dream really has been one continuous lie; the next step is realizing who has been behind the lie, and that's what DFB and his enablers are most terrified about, and why they must not and cannot ever, ever, EVER, admit the truth.

bowtiejack said...

"By dissolving the dream . . . , you trap generations in the past . . ."

Excuse me, but isn't trapping generations in the past the whole point of conservatism? I saw on the TV machine where they even have their own flag and a club password - "heritage".

I mean this poodle cut his teeth working for Wm. F. Buckley who famously said,
"A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop. . . "

The man is without shame or coherence.

Equus said...

This is from a white FB friend of mine:

"...and yet Coates does provide me insight, and does not alienate me. I've been reading Coates since he got to The Atlantic. I've even conversed with him a bit. And I guess he's really arrived, if he's become so threatening that he requires the Brooks treatment. I guess he'll be making the National Review cover soon, since effectiveness, not violence or destructiveness, is what makes someone a target. The dream is a fantasy that, for whites, has always relied on others being relegated to second-class status or worse, whether or not even liberal whites want to see that. Coates hits on themes that great Black writers and even some white authors have been eloquently addressing since the early nineteenth century (and probably long before that). How is it these points continue to be new and shocking and just too complicated for "public intellectuals" like Brooks? Brooks' garbage makes me hesitate to ever ask a single person of color to have the least little bit of trust in me, or any other white person."

The "Coates has arrived" sentiment is the small silver lining in Brooks' column

Henny said...

Maybe the whole purpose of DFB's column was to call out this piece: "In what is bound to be the most quoted passage from the book, you write that you watched the smoldering towers of 9/11 with a cold heart. At the time you felt the police and firefighters who died “were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.”

See what he did there? Get the punditry and winged monkeys braying that TNC was happy about 9/11 to avoid talking about his actual argument. He is just the fucking worst.

Rand Careaga said...

I do not contest your Brooksologist chops -- you certainly belong on the senior faculty -- but our leading Brooksologist is, remains, always shall be Charles pierce.

Unknown said...

Henny just predicted exactly what the DC/elite media coverage of TNC's book will be about. To the extent they are forced to acknowledge his and his book's existence at all, they will chomp down on this 9/11 passage like a famished dog to a t-bone and won't let go until they can safely change the subject to a missing white girl, some ISIS fear-mongering, an interview with John McCain, or whatever. No grappling with the actual themes of the book itself will occur. David f'n Brooks served his abominable purpose again. What an asshole.

driftglass said...

Rand Careaga,

Brother Pierce is indeed a fine writer, who has been covering Brooks, the Sunday Shows, occasionally Tom Friedman and Peggy Noonan and (for awhile) Andrew Sullivan brilliantly since oh, 2011 or 12, I believe.

By an odd coincidence, I have been covering exactly these same subjects rather comprehensively since 2005.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good afternoon, Mr. Glass.

"Excessive Realism." I'd say that was the name of your 80s band, but I still strongly suspect you were the guy who sang "88 Lines About 44 Women." At least that's what I IMAGINE your voice sounded like in the 80s.

Enjoy your day.

---Kevin Holsinger

Anonymous said...

With due respect Mr. Careaga, comparing the admittedly estimable Mr. Pierce's commentary on Brooks' latest effluvium today alongside Mr. driftglass' really leaves no comparison.

And I have to say the commentary here is absolutely top notch, as well! I agree 110% with Equus comment about the likely coming push-back from the "thoughtful" conservatice commentariat at the National Review, mainly because we saw EXACTLY the same push-back against another increasingly prominent African-American public intellectual almost exactly a year ago, with their cover article on Dr. Neil deGrasse-Tyson.

And Henny is also spot-on with his observation of just how Brooks' has set up the push-back from the NON-thoughtful conservative commentariat, who will discuss nothing, NOTHING, other than "OMG TNC was happy about 9/11!"

bluicebank said...

Thank you, Drift, for reminding me of my oft-neglected study of when Conservativism will reach critical mass. The rise of The Donald? Brook's pushing the White Privilege outside its containment field?

While a few Conservative "physicists" are trying to add more bricks around the The Pile, moth are busy lobbing more uranium pellets.

I can hope that there be an "incident," wherein Brooks is the closest to the event and furiously scribbles on the blackboard his calculations before succumbing to the radiation he helped create.

Unknown said...

Shorter David Brooks: "Mean blah guy hurt my feelings."

Anonymous said...

This latest Brooks tantrum is hilarious.

On the one hand I'm not much of a Coates fan. I think he has important things to say and great insights, but I don't think his writing is as great as some of his fans say it is. There's an odd cult around which better writers don't have, and it seems largely about tribal loyalty in his own echo chamber.

But Brooks is a horrible writer with no talent at all, and manages to never say anything important or insightful. Yet Brooks also has an odd cult built around tribal loyalty in his own echo chamber.

As for push back against Coates, I don't really see it happening. Even AEI and Heritage scholars admit the man has some talent and insights. Coates is a lot like Brooks here, he's the sort of author you leave out as a method of social and class signaling. I'm upper class, I'm upper income, I'm educated, and I am superior to you! The New York Times and the Atlantic target the same type of audience. Furthermore, Coates has fairly powerful allies like Andrew Sullivan, often the same ones Brooks has.

I see this as a freak out from an old has been who realizes he's past his prime and not taken completely seriously anymore. He's an institution with no original thoughts left and mediocre talent that exists entirely off it's name. And here's this new up-and-comer who's getting a ton of attention for original thoughts, with access to top level publishers/magazines/papers who can also speed dial the likes of Andrew Sullivan. Brooks like a man frantically trying to get rid of the competition.

Susan of Texas said...

I agree. Brooks obviously has been feeling old and out of touch lately and Coates is on his way up. Brooks might be very worried that his owners want to appeal to a younger, multicultural customer base.

sharon said...

I do wonder how much of Brooks's column was addressed to the latest book, and how much was still responding to the Case for Reparations article in The Atlantic.

Anonymous said...


Coates says "Reparations" and he not only means it, his argument is irrefutable. That alone puts a target on his back.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Reparations are fine with me as long as they are financed by taxing corporations and wealthy individuals, rather than underemployed ordinary rank-and-file grafted devils such as moi.

However, I doubt that Mr. Coates's ethnic group ever will acquire sufficient political power to obtain them.

Bill Michtom said...

YES! That is the central part of Brooks entice vile lie. After all, nothing is worse than 9/11, not genocide or slavery or Jim Crow or mass incarceration, or slaughtering millions all over the world.

My "I Promise Not To Give Your Money To Rupert Murdoch" Fundraiser.

I am given to understand that the Lincoln Lads are trying to raise one million dollars to create content that would "mess wit...