David Brooks' "How To Negotiate With Monsters" as it works in the real world.
(Caution: Contains a major Breaking Bad spoiler)
(Caution: Contains a major Breaking Bad spoiler)
As America's Leading Brooksologist, after 13 years and the hundreds of thousands of words I have published on the subject, I take it as my job to tell you true things about Mr. David Brooks and, by extension, the mainstream media power structure which created Mr. Brooks and protects him like a glutton protecting his lunch.
So here is a true thing: The Sulzberger family has been paying Mr. Brooks to write slight variations of the same, ridiculous Both Siderist claptrap for 15 years. This has made Mr. Brooks a wealthy and influential Washington D.C. power player. It has brought him professional respectability and a life of extraordinary privilege which Mr. Brooks has lived exactly where Mr. Brooks has always wanted to live -- detached from human concerns and floating dirigibly as far above the Real World as humanly possible.
Here is another true thing: Mr. Brooks' wealth and influence flow directly from his ability to bullshit other wealthy and powerful individuals who also live lives as far removed from the Real World as possible that he, Mr. David Brooks, is possessed of a keen and accurate insight into what is really going on in the grubby Real World far below. He doesn't, of course -- Mr. Brooks knows shit-all about this country and has a long and well-documented record of being completely wrong all the time about everything. But none of that matters, because his audience of clueless titans of industry, Beltway-media moguls, and TED-Talk jet-setting university presidents are even more clueless than he is.
Here is another true thing: The cloistered plutocrats who are Mr. Brooks' primary audience do not want to hear that Mr. Brooks' Republican Party has gone mad and is killing the country because that would impose a moral burden on these parasites that they have no interest in shouldering. They do not want to hear that the lowest of the low -- those dirty, disrespectful hippies who say "fuck" all the time -- have been right about the Right all along, because that, too, would require some kind of action on their part, and they have paid a shit-ton of money to buy their way into the cloud city of High Above It All where the brochure promised that the problems of the Little People would not harsh their beautiful minds.
Here is another true thing: Thus in order to maintain his position of wealth and influences, Mr. Brooks' must perform one task over and over and over again, perfectly and without fail. That task is to tell his cloistered plutocrat audience the lies they want to hear. Lies about squabbling Tribes of Red and Blue peasants who are Both Equally Wrong About Everything All The Time.
And today Mr. Brooks glided right over the bodies of 17 murdered Americans to deliver the latest iteration of that Big Lie -- hot and fresh -- to his employer.
We have one big tribal conflict, and policy fights are just proxy battles as each side tries to establish moral superiority. But just as the tribal mentality has been turned on, it can be turned off. Then and only then can we go back to normal politics and take reasonable measures to keep our children safe.
Yes, Mr. David Brooks, who has never in his entire professional life had the first fucking clue about what goes on out here in the Real World, nonetheless has some very definite ideas about how we who do live in the Real World should be conducting our gun control debate. Specifically, that we as a nation cannot lift one fucking finger to stop mass shootings until the paranoid madness of America's NRA thugs and ammosexual ghouls is heeded -- humbly and respectfully -- by everyone else.
I'm not kidding:
If you want to stop school shootings, it’s not enough just to vent and march. It’s necessary to let people from Red America lead the way, and to show respect to gun owners at all points https://t.co/BBrlNIlzY3— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) February 20, 2018
Because then apparently, God Almighty will pass a fucking miracle the likes of which has never happened before in American history when a fanatical minority held the majority hostage:
other Great David Brooks Columns Of History pic.twitter.com/CkEPABACg5— Current Affairs (@curaffairs) February 20, 2018
Here is another true thing: Within living memory, there has never been any conflict over any public policy where Mr. Brooks has not warned the Left that our only reasonable course of action was to cave, capitulate or otherwise cede ground to the madmen who run his Republican Party. And as a matter of historical fact, there has never been any case of concession or capitulation to the madmen who run Mr. Brooks' Republican Party which was not immediately followed by those same madmen taking even more hostages and demanding even greater concessions.
But of course, those hostages are never anyone that Mr. Brooks actually knows.
The families whose health care Mr. Brooks' Republican Party wants to strip away are no one Mr. Brooks knows.
Robbing poor senior citizens of fuel assistance won't kill any old people of Mr. Brooks' acquaintance.
Shredding the social safety net to pay for Mr. Brooks' tax cuts will not inconvenience anyone in Mr. Brooks' social circle.
The kids who were slaughtered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were not Mr. Brooks' kids.
So you can certainly be appalled by Mr. Brooks' column today -- I know I am -- but no one has any business being shocked by it.
Mr. Brooks has spent his entire adult life clawing his way to a position of professional respectability and privilege which permits him the luxury of not having to give a shit about the actual life and death struggles of the poor and the elderly and the kids who live here in the Real World. And the way he gets to keep that very valuable seat in Beltway Elysium is by continuing to feed his cloistered, plutocrat patrons the happy horseshit they wish to believe. By reducing the very real misery and ruin which Mr. Brooks' Republican Party visits on real people in the Real World every day to fairy tales about the faraway yammering of tribes of equally unreasonable Red and Blue peasants:
The discussions reveal other sensitivities. Some Blues didn’t want to enter a venue that had a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag on the wall. To Reds that was a neutral flag from American history, but to Blues it carried all sorts of nasty associations. Reds were offended by the lawn signs that said, “Hate Has No Home Here.” The implication: Hate has no home in my house, but it does in yours.
In another exercise, Reds and Blues ask each other honest, nonleading questions. Blues may ask Reds, “Name a safety-net program you can support.” Reds may ask Blues, “How do you balance having a heart with keeping health care costs under control?”
Here is one last true thing: Mr. Brooks will go right on gliding over as many dead and suffering Americans as it takes to keep his place in the clouds until his employers kick him out. So how does one go about getting the Sulzberger Family to take some action? Any action at all?
Well, as of this writing, Mr. Brooks has been trending on Twitter all day because of the sheer perversity of today's column, and he is being eviscerated on social media and in the blogosphere.
From Splinter News: David Brooks: Please 'Show Respect to Gun Owners' During This Difficult Time
From Brother Charlie Pierce: Our 'National Gun Conversation' Is Now the Worst of American Discourse
Media Matters: David Brooks needs to shut up
This Space Reserved For Yastreblyansky
All of which is right and good, but none of which will make the slightest difference because Mr. Brooks is protected from on high. And Mr,. Brooks will go right on being immune to the forces of both merit and morality as long as he keeps delivering that sweet, sweet Both Side Are To Blame (But Mostly Liberals) sugar to his premium clientele.
In fact, according to Mr. David Brooks, the only way to finally get the Sulzberger Family to pass common-sense restrictions on David Brooks' morally bankrupt columns is to listen to David Brooks.
To really listen to him. Humbly and respectfully. Decade after fucking decade.
To stop shaming David Brooks.
To stop calling David Brooks potty-mouth names.
To stop pointing out that he lies flagrantly and constantly in order to prop up his morally bankrupt cult of Both Siderism.
Then and only then will David Brooks lead the way to common sense restrictions on David Brooks' toxic bullshit.
Wait, where have we seen this movie before?
Behold, a Tip Jar!
Emma Gonzalez et al to David Brooks: "We call BS!"
I saw a link to the DFB column at the bottom of the page when I was reading Krugman last night, and when I read the title I said to myself:"Welp, there's gonna be a good Driftglass post tomorrow."
-Doug in Oakland
Ye Olde: well you canna have the dreaded, smelly, disgusting, lousy, lazy, loafers on the scumdog so-called "Left" ask for/demonstrate for/demand ANYTHING ever under any circumstances, no matter what.
Nay, verily, those who are labeled as "leftists" or "Democrats" or "progressives" or similar must ALWAYS, without fail, kowtow and cater to those labeled as Republicans or "conservatives," "make nice" with them, and search high and low for someone of the rightwing tribe to be some sort of spokesperson for the allegedly debauched and disgusting ideas/positions/goals/aspirations/demands that leftists have... no matter how seemingly "reasonable" these ideas are.
Nay, verily, ONLY someone with rightwing cred has the standing to take the "lead" on ANY issue, no matter what it is. It HAS TO BE a rightwing person who has the ideas and is the spokesperson for whatever in order to get the ideas heard, listened to and maybe see some changes or some laws enacted.
Otherwise: fahgedaboudit. NO ONE on the left is allowed or permitted to espouse ANY kind of idea and expect to be taken seriously, to actually be heard or listened to by anyone on the right because it's axiomatic that EVERYONE even putatively and marginally "lefty-ish" is a priori WRONG. The end.
I was listening to some radio show on NPR (yeah: my first mistake) this past weekend, and some douchebag was rabbiting on about climate change. This douchebag basically said that the "BIG MISTAKE" about climate change was that Al Gore, back in the day, led the charge. Why seriously how on earth was anyone on the right supposed to take THAT seriously from FAT super leftwing Al Gore?
Nay verily, said the douchebag, what leftists need to do is go out and "draft" someone on the right to talk to the dittoheads in "language that they understand," and THEN and ONLY THEN can we actually have a national "conversation" about climate change.
The douchebag either pretended to believe, or actually believed, that there was nothing wrong with his douchebag proposal. I mean: seriously, why should anyone on the right ever give ANY crediblity, much less seriously listen to, ANYONE on the left, ever under any circumstances? All ideas have to come from rightwing people for the ideas to have merit and take hold.
I would say I was gobsmacked by such brainwashed, dittoheaded nonsense, but anymore, I'm just TIRED and disgusted.
What a load of hooey.
DFB can stick it where the sun don't shine. Yet another rightwing asshole shithole douchebag purporting to lecture to the PEEDons about the social "Dos" and "Don'ts" while HIS POTUS makes a flaming shitholed asshole of himself daily on the twit machine. Got it.
Reds may ask Blues, “How do you balance having a heart with keeping health care costs under control?”
Institute any of the systems used in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Japan. They all cover everyone for about one half to two thirds of what we spend per capita.
Why do I think Brooks wouldn't accept that as a fair answer.
Brilliant as always, DG. Quick heads up - your new background shows up as dark gray on phones (well, my phone at least), so your posts are black text on a dark gray background and pretty hard to read. Not sure if others are having this issue on mobile devices but wanted to let you know.
I have the same issue on my phone as Zach Feiner. This particular background isn't that great for mobile devices. Know you're busy but might need a little tweaking. Thanks for your good work, however, driftglass.
Given the NYT just tried to hire an ACTUAL Nazi to pontificate on culture and technology, but got caught:
I can't help but wonder if the Burke-ian conservative courtiers are again feeling that market pressure the shows up from time to time when politically conservatism has face planted (aka. trolling Liberals gets more clicks/sells papers) and they are now again writing like they act after the third highball in order to keep their numbers up before their column space is given to a Nazi who managed their social media persona better.
Time for some multi tasking.
While Brooks requires the earnest to peer review his grand ideology others should live by.
Plenty of vetting (extreme vetting) cannot let other rats through the holes into the grain silos.
Hew Hewitt in my local paper. Article titled "congress should debate guns". But in the article (story wonderland of Hew's tooth fairy. Substance in the story is not what is advertised in the title.
Some scheme for GOP to be idolized in the end and being a strong small un intrusive government and telling strongly everyone what "they" decided on guns.
Then on the MSNBC. (Where the same Hewitt is employed.
There it was last night on the Last Word with Lawrence .
Who Larry O' calls Thomas Friedman a non partisan.
Because he wrote a story called, "Code Red". about Friedman's republican president.
We must have republican on to speak poorly or factually about a republican president, congress majority. Actually, they go to republicans to speak out about Democratic minded.
It is why Trump has never had to face a press firing squad over apologizing to Obama and his family for Trump and the GOP's ugly accusations of the Foreign borm Muslim crap. Trump with his investigators finding all kinds in Hawaii.
That he lied and propagandized his willing base through racist, white supremacist venues. Let alone any other sick and deviant criminal actions.
The press gave Trump billions in free air time and it was fluff, empty podiums to discard other candidates. What Bush called, catapulting the propaganda. which they did so well for Bush to go to war(s) or bail outs.
Obama had the press going to Boehner hollering, "hell no". McConnell's filibusters and judicial obstructions were just so lack luster newsy irems that would make people yawn and change channels.
It is more than life preservers, supporting them for the life boats to get there. Scotty is beaming them straight up to the mother ship.
It is the enabling factor.
They compete with the FOX (who competes with the infowars) to set the entertainment interest level. The other networks to compete move to their itinerary. Books those same FOX cat box prizes on to have the same arguments . For ratings which never provides information.
I realize if any impeaching or oversight is to occur with a republican congress wide majority and the Presidency. Republicans are going to be needed.
But Larry O'. ?? Thomas Friedman is a true non partisan?
Let's have Sean (small hands) hannity on to ask him to express opinion on Thomas Non partisan "Code Red" article of Trump>>
The old lawyer advice, of not asking a question you do not already know the answer to. Comes to mind.
I've always enjoyed your intelligent snarky viciousness when it comes to your regular take downs of David Fucking Brooks. Most any DFB editorial is cause for being pissed off but this one really got me seeing red. I knew I had to come on to your site and let the steam valve open and you didn't disappoint. I don't have anything much to add other than I'd like to see David Fucking Brooks forcibly removed from his ivory tower of shit ideas, have all his money confiscated and kicked to the streets ala Trading Places and see how well his deep understanding of the working man helps him survive.
A couple of tangents:
1. I was listening to the 538 podcast and Nate Silver brought up this DFB editorial. Nate criticized him but also said that he likes DFB. That was disappointing to hear and now I question his judgment in general. But maybe he just needs to leave his analysis to numbers because he clearly got snowed by Brooks.
2. Drew Magary of GQ stole your thunder DG, sorry to say. You will always be the one and only true Brooksologist but Magary does a great job with his recent editorial talking about the value of being rude and of channeling unbridled anger directly at the mechanisms that protect the lying assholes of the republican party. He uses DFB's editorial as a launch pad. As someone who knows DFB so completely, I figured you'd appreciate another's incisive take on the hollow intellectual waste of space.
Brooks needs someone to sit him down and explain it.
Republcians tried to repeal the ACA so they could take that money. Redistrigute it to the rich for Christmas. They enjoy playing Santa.
Could not get 'er sone.
They were so angry with McCain for his thumbs down they decided to just borrow and put it on the platinum tax payer credit card because, The corporations were
feeling neglected and just not having the financial gains they expected and didn't really want to work for it. Something to do with entitlement.
So borrow the money. Put it on the tax payers tab. Give the tax breaks to corporations (oh, who owns the corporations?) we need to give them a windfall too.
Those poor rich people going broke are now able to donate big money to the GOP for elections and buying laws.
And Shazzaam, Charles Koch found some extra cash he never had before and donated that $500 K to Paul Ryan alone. When does David Koch rummage through the couch for a few hundred thousand to spare in alms to the Republicans?
But you know, George Soros is paying Russians to pay Americans to send people dressed like HRC in prison garb to help HRC rig the election.
Is Brooks writing his inner thoughts? or writing what people would think his inner thoughts would be like?
I think Brooks and Mike Pence would get along fabulously.
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