Friday, June 30, 2017

David Brooks: Tummlers and 'Splainers



After a week of getting baked 24/7 with Walter Isaacson and Henry Kissinger at the Aspen Ideas Festival, it was clear that Mr. Brooks was in no shape to produce his 800 words of contractually-obligated bibble for The New York Times of bibble on Friday.  And so, at a all-night auction-and-resume-frottage marathon that would make the late Hunter S. Thompson  weep to see what has happened to respectable drug culture in this country, the rights to write a real, live "David Brooks column" were sold to Khori"Sans Serif" Mosh-Wittenstein-upon-Daffodil: a 22-year-old millionaire /visioneer/ disruptarian currently tearing up the cosseted oligarch lecture "scene" (as the kids say) which his new book, "Times New Roman:  The Hidden Reciprocal Palliative of the Global Economic Order".

Which is a hurry-up/follow-up to his first book, the New York Times best-seller, "How Garamond Font Destroyed The Virtuous Ideal".

The sales was transacted with two conditions.

First, the title had to be something frivolous and stupid and "Brooksian" enough to get a whole room full of stoned plutocrats roaring.
Tuners and Spinners
Check.

Second, Mr. Brooks specified that since the editorial standards of The New York Times op-ed page were so fucking rigorous (gales of laughter from the wasted plutocrats at this punch-line, further demonstrating why Mr. Brooks is their favorite tummler* and 'splainer*) the column must be written according to the Secret David Brooks Style Book, which your humble scrivener risked life and limb to revealed to the world for the first time seven long years ago ("How To Write a David Brooks Column -- In just 10 Easy Steps you'll be punditting like a pro!):

1) Pick a subject. Any subject. From Tasseled Loafers to Torture, it literally does not matter.

2) Quote extensively from one person or group on the subject. It's OK to just more-or-less copy and paste in big hunks of what whatever-you-happen-to-be-reading-at-the-moment to flesh out your 800-word column. Here at the Times we call that "research"!

3) Quote from some other person or group on the same subject who appears to hold a different opinion. If no actual opposition exists, just put on your Magic Green Jacket and invent an opposing opinion.

4) Although such is not the case with today's subject, as often as possible, try to impute these fictional distinctions to the different hemispheres of the political Universe. So no matter how bigoted, reckless or just bugfuck crazy the Right behaves, you just go right ahead and blandly assert with no supporting evidence whatsoever that the Left is equally and oppositely bad in exactly the same qualities and quantities. Here at the Times we call that "seriousness"!

5) Discover in your final paragraph or two that -- amazingly! -- the precise midpoint between those two completely artificial positions on an imaginary spectrum just happens to be exactly the Right and Reasonable answer!

Oh boy!

6) Rinse and repeat. No matter what the subject, no matter how false or bizarre the equivalence, just rinse and repeat. Twice a week.

7) Every week.

8) Year.

9) After year.

10) After year.
And seven years later, I leave it to you, dear reader to determine how accurately Mr. Mosh-Wittenstein-upon-Daffodil has risen to the challenge of mimicking Mr. Brooks' vapid-robot-who-no-longer-gives-a-shit style...

Cass Sunstein, the eminent Harvard law professor and writer, notes that some people are spinners and some people are tuners.

The spinner is the life of the party...

The spinner is funny, socially adventurous and good at storytelling, even if he sometimes uses his wit to maintain distance from people...

Spinners are great at hosting big parties...

The tuner makes you feel known...

The tuner is good at empathy and hungers for deep connection...

The tuner may be bad at small talk, but in the middle of a deep conversation the tuner will ask those extra four or five questions, the way good listeners do..

Spinning and tuning are different kinds of courage — the courage to be adventurous and the courage to be intimate. It seems to me that spinners and tuners each have their own kinds of happiness and sadness.

I even think writers and thinkers fall into these categories. Shakespeare, Einstein and Isaiah Berlin were...

Dante, Proust and Toni Morrison fall into the...

There’s one final social category I just learned about, from a talk I heard Sherry Turkle of M.I.T. give at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

She observed that some 4-year-olds wander on to the beach with their own shovel and bucket. They’re fine to play alone, but they’re welcoming if anybody wants to join them. They have a mixture of self-sufficiency and sociability. Turkle noticed that other kids are drawn to these kids, just as they recoil from the kid who doesn’t have a bucket and is needy for theirs.

So my lesson of the week is: Go into every social occasion with your own bucket. Be a spinner when life’s going good, a tuner when things go down, and have a great Fourth of July weekend.
I'd say the kid nailed it.

*Tummler: An employee - usually male - of a Borscht Belt resort charged with the duty of entertaining guests throughout the day by providing any number of services, from comedian to master of ceremonies.

*Splainer:  a combining form extracted from mansplain, and meaning “to explain or comment on something in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner, from the perspective of the group one identifies with,” 

4 comments:

dinthebeast said...

Sorry DFB, Starkist doesn't want tuners with good taste, Starkist wants tuners that taste good.

-Doug in Oakland

trgahan said...

As a anthropological counter to Mr. Tone-Deaf-Privileged-Male-Courtier-No.15475244's mythical party (or, say Aspen Ideas Festival):

Spinners are the wealthier/more powerful people who don't have to give a shit about anyone else in a social gathering because everyone is lining up to get some time with them. It is easy to be an adventurous, life of the party, when no one would dare call you out for your behavior because you can literally and figuratively have them knee capped.

Tuner's are the poorer/less powerful people at that same function that need to construct and work social contracts with others. The hope is, one day, be strongly associated with a Spinner or lifted up (cause we're a meritocracy, right?) to be a Spinner themselves. They are measured and careful in this social situation because they can't afford a misstep especially in front of a Spinner for reason's stated above.

and the 4-year-old thing is just a thinly veiled Wealthy-People-Like-Wealthy-People because they don't want anything from each other like those damn needy poors! allegory.

Professor Fate said...

If find myself wishing in the middle of writing this dreck - that our Miss Brooks would simply snap and start writing things like "Yog-Slototh is the gate and the key" for a bit and then go back to normal. with the current culling of copy editors at the Times, the odds are even less the Paper would notice before it got into print.

crweaver said...

If someone were to ask me if I was a 'spinner' or a 'tuner', I would respond(a la Ringo Starr): "I'm a 'spooner'!"

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