Friday, March 16, 2018

The Bobo Wormtongue Moment

A well-placed poisoner inside the castle is worth 10,000 troops outside the castle.
-- driftglass

As I'm sure you nerds know, in the Lord of the Rings, Gríma Wormtongue was the chief counsel to King Théoden of Rohan and a spy for Saruman the wizard.  The horsemen of Rohan were a direct threat to Saurman's plans to conquer Middle Earth on behalf of his boss, Lord Sauron, so Wormtongue's task was to cripple the kingdom of Rohan and by keeping its king under a spell of confusion and impotence.  Under the thrall of Wormtongue, the king sat decaying, blind and cobwebbed on his throne issuing orders which broke alliances, impoverished his people, exiled his most capable commanders and nearly destroyed his family.

Which brings us to Mr. David Brooks, who The New York Times has employed at considerable expense to whisper slight variations of the same, honeyed lie into the ears of its 500K daily readers twice a week, every week, for the last 14 years.

The same lie. 
The same goddamn lie. 
The same goddamn ludicrous lie. 
The same goddamn toxic treason-enabling lie. 
Over and over again. 
Week after week.  For decades.  With the Sulzberger family not just happily footing the bill for the all of it, but bolstering the ranks of these liars with the likes of Ross Douthat, Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens.

But to use Lamb’s victory as a club against “identity politics” or “cultural issues”—which, in this context, means people of color and other groups fighting against a kind of re-marginalization that seems somewhat popular among the economically insecure—is to end up in the intellectual junkyard in which we find our old pal David Brooks on Friday morning. Brooks is flailing so desperately to avoid the responsibility he and the rest of movement conservatism have for foisting a vulgar talking yam on the Republic that he drafts Lamb into his Church of the Poisoned Mind. 
There may be a different scaffolding from time to time --  a different Christmas on which Mr. Brooks can hang his shitty Both Siderist trinkets -- but the ornaments themselves never change.  The tenor and target of his lies never change.  They are lies calculated to convince the Good Guys to never stand up and fight back against the metastasizing monster that his Republican Party has devolved into.  To never raise our voices.

From Mr. Brooks today:
...Trump asked for the party’s soul, and he got it. That was the story of 2016 and 2017.

The question of 2018 is whether the Democrats will follow suit. The temptation will be strong. In any conflict the tendency is to become the mirror image of your opponent. And the Democrats are just as capable of tribalism as the Republicans, just as capable of dividing the world in self-righteous Manichaean binaries: us enlightened few against those racist many; us modern citizens against those backward gun-toting troglodytes. Listen to how Hillary Clinton spoke in Mumbai last weekend.
No, the question of 2018 is the same as the question or 2017 and 2015 and 2012 and 2009 and 2007 and 2004:  Why the wide world of sports are men like Mr. David Brooks paid astronomical salaries by once-respectable national media institutions to repeat these particular lies over and over again.

Lies that are so manifestly ridiculous.  Lies that are so easily debunked.  For example, the now-universally agreed upon Beltway lie about the origins of the disaster we are all living through.  The lie which proclaims that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with Mr. Brooks' Republican Party.  That until two years ago, his party was just fine. and then somehow single, depraved person sprang fully-formed out of nowhere to seized control of all it. 

From Mr. Brooks today:
In the decades before Trump, the Republican Party stood for an idea: character before policy. To Mitt Romney, John McCain, the Bushes and Ronald Reagan, personal character and moral integrity were paramount. They stood for the idea that you can’t be a good leader or a good nation unless you are a good person and a good people.
They are lies to lull Mr. Brooks' colleagues and fellow influencers in the media into never calling out the fucking troglodyte Right for who and what they truly are in blunt, clear language -- 
Putting a higher love, like nation, over a lower love, like party. Going against yourself — feeling that urge to lash out with the low angry insult, and instead rising upward with the loving and understanding response.
-- as if the Obama Administration had never fucking happened.   As if we had not all just lived through an eight-year real-time beta test of what happens when the unending, unhinged seditious sabotage and slanders from the racist Birther/Death Panel Republican Party is countered with a bottomless well of nearly-superhuman patience, civility, and open-handedness.

What happened -- over the increasingly hysterical denials of Mr. David Brooks -- is that the Republican Party nominated, elected and stands firmly and giddily behind the anti-Obama.  A racist, pig-ignorant fire demon who, in every way, reflects exactly who and what Mr. Brooks' Republican Party always has been.

Ah, but that's the trick, isn't it?  The fact that no one but a few of us dirty hippie outcasts dares to remember that as recently as two years ago Mr, David Brooks of the New York Times was confidently writing shit like this: the most perfectly Brooksian denialist title  -- "Donald Trump Isn’t Real" -- that any of us had seen in a long time:
The amazing surge for Marco Rubio shows that the Republican electorate has not gone collectively insane.
But of course Trump was real.  Because Trump is the Republican Party and the Republican Party
is Donald Trump.  And no matter how loudly Mr. Brooks may thunder his Centrist sermons from the pulpit of the High and Holy Church of Both Side Do It, there no parity whatsoever for this on the Left. 

The disease that is killing this country is David Brooks' Republican Party.  Period.  Full stop.  And nothing on Earth scares the shit out of squirmy little Quislings like David Brooks more than the thought of this plain truth being spoken everywhere, out loud and unafraid.

To save the country the spell of Bobo Wormtongue must be broken. 

Please do what you can to break it.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


dinthebeast said...

"Putting a higher love, like nation, over a lower love, like party. Going against yourself — feeling that urge to lash out with the low angry insult, and instead rising upward with the loving and understanding response."

Uh, wait, are you talking about Republicans, David? I mean, Republicans in this reality we all get to inhabit, regardless of which words we use to describe it? You know, the same Republicans who codified "low angry insult" into the Nam Shub of Enki, I mean "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" all of those years ago and still revere its hideous, huckster author as some kind of wise man right this fucking minute?
Read 'em and weep, David. There's a whole generation of humans out there now who don't buy your despicable bullshit:

"I’ll say it…The adults have been failing since before I was one, and I’ve been pissed about it for thirty-nine years. I couldn’t get my own generation to do anything worthwhile about the damage bullets do using ballots, so I raised and educated one."

That was Blue Girl, who used to write the excellent "They Gave Us a Republic and We Intend to Keep It" this morning on "Show Me Progress"

-Doug in Oakland

Anonymous said...

thank you, dinthebeast.

Andrew Johnston said...

What the Sensible Centrists have learned from Donald Trump is that Democrats must be stopped at all costs. The logic is thus: Since both sides are equally bad, and conservatives created a totally dysfunctional government, then liberals will obviously do the same, complete with their own leftie Trump. Does such a person exist? No, but expect them to spend the next decade looking for one (much like they spent many years looking for a liberal Rush Limbaugh back in the day).

The Sensible Centrist solution is to move the parties closer together. However, thanks to Murc's Law we know that they'll never even try to engage with Republicans on this, and as most "centrists" are really right-of-center we know that they aren't willing to move to the left. The endgame for guys like Brooks is to have our political system changed into one in which the available parties are Eisenhower Republicans and Reagan Republicans. This arrangement would much better suit Brooks' own politics as it would spare the indignity of having to support a Democrat.

And what of the rising under-30 crowd who are well to the left of their elders - where do they go? Presumably, after reading a few dozen of Brooks' book reports, they'll give up on their campaigns for socioeconomic and ethnic parity and henceforth mind their betters in the new Republican parties. Absurd? Yes, but Brooks has been predicting that it's right around the corner for years now - a boy can dream.

Robt said...

Flies (the insect) like DFB require rotting decomposing nutrients to lay its maggots. To perpetuate the species. Or, in conservative ideology. Perpetuate the falsehoods.

It is about survival of their species that seems unable to adapt and evolve in a world that a society is going to exist and form into a livable environment.

Not that of the inherited royal offspring demands in his well funded ideology to maintain that presence of rule.

There are slight variable differences between Brooks, Kistol and hannity.

They all speak the same direction and make the same excuses and even point blame in the wrong directions.

One has a degree, one has his ownership in the national review while the other reads a teleprompter and skips the tough stuff by breaking away to a high speed police chase.

Robt said...

".Trump asked for the party’s soul, and he got it. That was the story of 2016 and 2017."

First, the republican party did not have a soul to offer up since it had been bought in a free market deal with their Satan soul collector. They have been soulless ever since they started demanding you believe they have one.

Even if they had a soul to give in 2016-17.
Any remaining souls in the GOP would have been sacrificed up at the alter of President David Dennison.

e.a.f. said...

Nice post. Every one ought to have a read of it and then put it next to their mirror to review each morning. People seem to forget the Republican "courted" the teabaggers and prior to that they just weren't that "progressive". they have always loved their guns, fewer taxes, etc. At least Eisenhower put corporate taxes at a higher rate and built roads and bridges, but some times I think that is just like saying at least Mussilini made the trains run on time.

trgahan said...

Good on Brother Peirce, but I have yet to see (please send if I missed) a Conner Lamb post game that states the ONE simple fact:

Enough Democratic voters exist in this supposedly "safe conservative district" to force Republicans to spend $10 million on a losing house campaign.

Just as the media has disappeared 65 million Americans by Nov. 9, 2016, it is clearly still a fire-able offense to discuss actual Democratic voters after electoral victories in terms other than A) being gifted by conservative "defections" (everything since 2016) or B) anomalous turnouts by atypical voters (aka. non-white conservatives as in NPR's all day coverage of 2008, and 2012...stopped listening after that).

jim said...

A lone charismatic tyrant magically morphing an entire nation of Nice Guys into bloodthirsty paranoid psychopaths overnight ... wonder where the heck THAT convenient myth came from?

David Fucking Brooks: The Babe Ruth of putting the CON in retcons.