Tuesday, April 12, 2016

David Brooks' Expedition To The Rest Of America Has Been Delayed Indefinitely

Remember about ten minutes ago when Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times suddenly noticed he was really terrible at his job and had fucked up very badly and didn't know a damn thing about what was going on in his own country?  And then promised his employers that he would immediately rectify this situation by boldly leaving the cozy bubble of the Acela corridor and boldly cross the dangerous demographic seas to Working Class Skull Island where he would boldly capture the Terrible Truth about the Real America and bring it back to New York in chains!


Yeah, it turns out that, for David Brooks of the New York Times, getting out to see the real America --

-- is apparently much more complicated than, say, using the NYT credit card to book a leg on an elite $120K globe-hopping vacation.

And besides, that hammock out in his own back yard hung between his favorite pop-sociology tropes is sooooo damn comfortable.

And so, today in "How to Fix Politics"...
In the middle of this depressing presidential campaign I sometimes wonder, How could we make our politics better?
Oh, I know!  I know!  Call on me!  Step one, burn what's left of the Party of Limbaugh to the ground and salt the Earth on which is stood.  Step two, sack every single fucking leach of a "pundit" who has ever made a living selling "Both Siderist" schlock to the American public.  Step three...

Drat.  Once again, Mr. Brooks is not going to call on me.  Out here.  In the cornfield.

It’s possible to imagine an elite solution. The next president could get together with the leaders of both parties in Congress and say: “We’re going to change the way we do business in Washington. We’re going to deliberate and negotiate. We’ll disagree and wrangle, but we will not treat this as good-versus-evil blood sport.” That kind of leadership might trickle down.

But it’s increasingly clear that the roots of political dysfunction lie deep in society. If there’s truly going to be improvement, there has to be improvement in the social context politics is embedded in...
Yes, ever the careerist coward, Mr. Brooks has once again steered another column as far away from the dangerous shoals of honest political analysis as possible by once again opting to blame the brokenness of our politics on Very Big Sociological Trends For Which Everyone Is Equally At Fault...

...instead of the actual, calculated decisions taken by actual people and institution with identifiable names and histories which turned the GOP from the Party of Eisenhower into the Party of Limbaugh.

In fact, Republicans are not to blame for anything in particular at all.

Instead, we begin in the dim and noble Past when everything was Better...
In healthy societies, people live their lives within a galaxy of warm places. They are members of a family, neighborhood, school, civic organization, hobby group, company, faith, regional culture, nation, continent and world. Each layer of life is nestled in the others to form a varied but coherent whole.

But starting just after World War II, America’s community/membership mind-set gave way to an individualistic/autonomy mind-set. The idea was that individuals should be liberated to live as they chose, so long as they didn’t interfere with the rights of others...
...and end up -- through no fault of anyone -- in our parlous Present where -- surprise! -- somehow Both Sides have become equally tribal and terrible!
With middle-ring memberships deteriorating, Americans have become worse at public deliberation. People find it easier to ignore inconvenient viewpoints and facts. Partisanship becomes a preconscious lens through which people see the world...

We’re good at bonding with people like ourselves but worse at bridging with people unlike ourselves. (Have you noticed that most people who call themselves “connectors” are actually excluders because they create groups restricted to people with similar status levels?)

With fewer sources of ethnic and local identity, people ask politics to fill the void. Being a Democrat or a Republican becomes their ethnicity. People put politics at the center of their psychological, emotional and even spiritual life.

This is asking too much of politics. Once politics becomes your ethnic and moral identity, it becomes impossible to compromise, because compromise becomes dishonor...
I could point out for the 1,000th time in excruciating detail how consistently and transparently dishonest Mr. Brooks is.

Or I could just point to the fact that the Big Both Siderist Lie which Mr, Brooks will simply NOT let go of has become so ridiculously indefensible that even some of his most stalwart Beltway co-enablers can't keep up the fraud any longer (from Salon):
They’re radicals, pure and simple: The GOP has finally destroyed the political press’ most destructive narrative

For years, we've been told both sides are to blame for government dysfunction. Not anymore, not after this primary

...for some of us, it didn’t take Donald Trump’s careening campaign to confirm the destructive state of the GOP. But if it’s the Trump circus that finally opens some pundits’ eyes, so be it.

Recently, Dan Balz, the senior political writer for the Washington Post, seemed to do just that while surveying the unfolding GOP wreckage as the party splinters over Trump’s rise. Balz specifically noted that four years ago political scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein examined the breakdown in American politics and zeroed in their blame squarely on Republicans.

“They were ahead of others in describing the underlying causes of polarization as asymmetrical, with the Republican Party — in particular its most hard-line faction — as deserving of far more of the blame for the breakdown in governing,” Balz acknowledged.

“We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional,” Mann and Ornstein wrote in The Washington Post in 2012. “In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”

But I will do neither.

Because I actually live out here, across the dangerous demographic seas, on Working Class Skull Island.  A place which David Brooks has no intention of ever visiting, inhabited by a people to whom David Brooks has no intention of ever listening.  


bluicebank said...

I suppose Mr. Brooks can't keep away from the crack pipe of false equivalency.

Because it's a lot easier to keep feeding the monkey, than have a moment of clarity, much less act on it.

Brooks doesn't have a bottom to hit.

Perhaps some of us, once or twice, saw glimmers of light in those vacant eyes; turns out DFB is just a lying junkie and always will be.

Unknown said...

drifty, you omitted one of the most time-worn tropes David f'ing Brooks rolls out when he needs to muddy the waters in faux-sociological drivel and blame both sides. The dirty f'ing hippies!

Brooks: "We probably have to scale back the culture of autonomy that was appropriate for the 1960s but that has since gone too far."

In something of an about face, Brooks actually seems to allow that the dirty f'ing hippies were OK, so long as they took showers and got jobs once the 60s ended. Normally they're just the root of all of society's ills, full stop. He's obviously cracking under the pressure of explaining away all this unpleasantness as an aberration.

dinthebeast said...

In wealthy societies, people live their lives within a galaxy of warm places. They are members of a family, neighborhood, school, civic organization, hobby group, company, faith, regional culture, nation, continent and world. Each layer of life is nestled in the others to form a varied but coherent whole.

There, I fixed it for you.

-Doug in Oakland

SamB said...

The KKK was one of those "warm places" that "nestled in the others to form a varied [sic] but [sic] coherent whole."

Karen Crosby said...

When I saw this column in the NYT this AM, I decided to write this comment, "Driftglass will sure have fun with this today." And, you did!!
Thanks. I will make a donation in May.

bowtiejack said...

"Both sides" is the phlogiston of current day 'pundits'.
However, the sunk costs are so great that truth can never be acknowledged.

(And while we're on it, Reagan was not the great "leader" they applaud but an Alzheimer's addled actor whose real talent was salesmanship - convincingly delivering the message on the 3x5 cards put in front of him. It is my understanding the Japanese are developing a robot that will do this even better.)

We can, however, at least applaud drifty's flensing of the bullshit, buy popcorn and await the Cleveland Götterdämmerung.

steeve said...

"In healthy societies, people live their lives within a galaxy of warm places."

All politics aside, Brooks simply can't write. Or think in public.

This is a college freshman trying to force their writing to sound "educated". "Look, i used 'galaxy' there. I could have used a normal word. But i didn't."

keith gargus said...

"we're going to change the way we do business in Washington."

Uh, Bobo, maybe you don't remember the first year of Obama's administration. Seems he went to the hill, went to the opposition, said the exact same thing, except maybe in a prettier way. How did that work out? Your convenient losses of memory make you write stupid things. Very stupid. Until the GOP is a glowing slag, and the financiers of said slag are either jailed, or taxed to death, there is no fix.

Rehctaw said...

For grins, I decided to do a Google Search for "David Fuckity Fucking Fuck-cakes Brooks". The Ad placed at the bottom of a page of links to your comprehensive compendium was:

"David Brooks on character‎
Ad www.chicagohumanities.org/‎
David Brooks describes the road to becoming a deep, virtuous person."

So there you have it...

fish said...

Even the best writers can use an editor now and then. That would be "leech"...

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

For a guy who doesn't like hippies, he sure likes to talk like them. Remember when we got rid of slavery by enhancing our middle-ring relationships?

David Brooks wants to buy the world a Coke, while his Republican Party wants to drink your milkshake.

Be seeing you.

Redshift said...

DB today, pining for the good old days:
"With fewer sources of ethnic and local identity, people ask politics to fill the void. Being a Democrat or a Republican becomes their ethnicity. People put politics at the center of their psychological, emotional and even spiritual life."

DB 2008:
"But the entire theory of identity politics was that we are not mere individuals. We carry the perspectives of our group consciousness. Our social roles and loyalties are defined by race and gender. It’s a black or female thing. You wouldn’t understand."

So, group identity is an essential force for good, except when it's a pernicious disorder. It's completely disappeared, and it's pervasive. It all of this is transparent Brooksian bullshit.

I vote for Door #3.

RossK said...


Algorithms for Brooks!

(FFF-Cakes sold separately)


SamB said...

We need a campaign to get Driftglass into a major magazine or onto teevee.
Does anybody have an in with John Oliver? This idea seems like a natural for his long-form treatment: That dummies who have been wrong for decades get on TV over and over again, while people who have been right get no invites.

RUKidding said...

I'd be happy to see Drifty get more media attention. I come here for the amusement value of how he writes, plus amazingly pertinent inserts of the dramatic arts (so to speak).

That said, it just highlights for me why I never paid any attention to David Fuckity Fucking Fuck Cakes because I witness yet again that he's just recycling the same boring material endlessly. I really never noticed this before... mainly bc I choose not to notice Fuck Cakes. No wonder.

What a boring git. A boring entitled git.

No Fuck Cakes ain't never ever ever gonna venture away from the Acela corridor. I'm sure his snooty nose would be all crinkled up in horror at the mere thought of having to mingle with the actual hoi polloi. Heaven forfend!

So wait for the next recycled scrawls from Fuck Cakes about how veddy veddy fabulous it is to be a rich WHITE man... ever so civilized, doncha know? Gotta keep the riff raff at bay. But simply can NOT figure out why the dirtbags are ever so ungrateful for their lots in life. Why? Oh Why can't they see the fabled light that shines upon such as Fuck Cakes and be ready to do what Fuck Cakes says with no complaints.

What's up with the serfs not following orders?? Do they think they're free to do as they please or something?

Garima said...