Friday, June 07, 2024

David Brooks Has No Immediate Plans to Engage With the Real World in Any Way

I'm going to repeat myself a little bit here.  Sparingly, I hope, but y'know sometimes I do go on.  But also legitimately, because, seen at eye-level, sometimes it is difficult to gauge how completely full of bovine byproduct Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times actually is.  

Sometimes you have to take a running start and make a big jump way high up into stratosphere in order to gain the right perspective: a place from which to take in the vastness of his crimes against journalism.

So, for a little perspective, I now take you back to the very end of the Before Time -- March of 2016 -- by which time Donald Trump had easily swept aside the best the establishment GOP had to offer and was coasting his way to the nomination.   Back then I wrote...

And now, that Trump has done all the things David Brooks swore he could never do at the head of an army of fire-eyed Republican meatheads that David Brooks swore could not exist,  Mr. Brooks has written a column so redolent with the stink of begging and fear and schadenfreude that it almost defies analysis.  Suffice it to say, Mr. Brooks really, really, really wants someone to come along and save him from the beast he has been feeding for 20 years.

Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship. He pollutes the atmosphere in which our children are raised. He has already shredded the unspoken rules of political civility that make conversation possible. In his savage regime, public life is just a dog-eat-dog war of all against all.
...So today David Brooks wrote a very special column.

It was not a column explaining that the Republican party  -- his Republican party, his Conservative movement -- really is just a festering cesspit of paranoia and bigotry and fury, because he has already written himself into an inescapable corner by writing so many columns over so many years swearing that this was not so.

And it certainly was not a column saying the simplest, and most obvious truth of all -- that the Left was right about the Right all along...

Instead, Mr, Brooks has written a letter of supplication to that small clutch of wealthy men, begging them to let him keep his job as the Greatest Conservative Public Intellectual in Murrica.  Promising to do better next time.
Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.

Yes, Mr. David Brooks promised his employers that, in exchange for keeping his ideological featherbedding gig at The New York Times, he was going to get out there in the, uh, world and, uh, talk to people.  Real people!  Yeah, that's the ticket!

He even went across the street to rend his garments on the now-defunct Charlie Rose Show:

Brooks:  I messed up big time in not knowing Trump was coming.  And so when something like that happens  you take a look at yourself and you think "What did I miss about America?"  And...I'm...too much in the Acela corridor.  I've gotta get out.  That's one thing.  
Brooks:  Believe me, I travel every week, but I'm at a college I'm always within the bubble.  And so I've gotta get out.  But then the other thing is, like, I've achieved way more career success than I ever thought I would, so it's time to take some chances on the spiritual realm, on the personal -- the emotional realm, and I' nothing to lose...

Gonna get out of that damn bubble, you betcha!  Especially colleges! They're the worst!

Gonna get out of that damn bubble and touch Indians!  See the mountains and the prairies and the whole rest of that song!

But it turned out that the actual Republicans we here in the actual heartland interact with every single fucking day were wildly different from the Screensaver Republicans which Mr. David Brooks was clearly hoping to find.  

Scary!  But I coulda told him if he'd bothered to ask.  

It is now eight years later and the the mess that David Brooks helped make of the world has only gotten worse.  

Much worse.

Donald Trump is more unhinged, openly fascist and dangerous than ever, and is once again cruising to an easy nomination by the GOP.  The Republican party and Conservative movement which Mr. David Brooks devoted his entire adult life to building has centrifuged out the last few stray non-lunatics and is nothing but a pure, deranged shitpile of bigots, imbeciles and grifters from top to bottom.  The Republican Supreme Court which Mr. Brooks has always aggressively defended, has dropped any pretense of legitimacy and now acts as the GOP's own private revolutionary tribunal  

And all of these horribles, acting in concern, are straining every political, judicial and financial sinew to shove this country into a totalitarian abyss from which it, and the world, may never recover.  

So, in the face of all that, what has captured the interest of the Most Ubiquitous Elite Media Conservative Pundit in Murrica on this 80th anniversary of the Allies storming the beaches at Normandy to put an end to the evil that the Republican party now embraces?

From Mr. David Brooks of The New York TimesJune 6, 2024:

The Sins of the Educated Class

Yes, in the face of the immediate and existential threat posed by his recently-former party and his recently-former movement, Mr. Brooks has scampered back to his Safe Space to carp about the behavior of a tiny number of students on a few elite campuses.

For Conservatives during these turbulent times, this ritual has been as basic as praying at the Stations of the Cross is for old-school Catholics, or performers rubbing the Tree of Hope stump at the Apollo.  This is just a small sampling.

This is David Frum in 2015:

Liberals and the Illiberal Left

When Democrats don't stand up to the policing of speech, they surrender control of their party to its most extreme elements.

From that bitter old pile of dead ideas named George Will in November, 2016:

Higher education is awash with hysteria. That might have helped elect Trump. 

Childishness and intolerance on college campuses embody what’s wrong with American liberalism. 

David Brooks, June 2015:

The Campus Crusaders 

Well-intentioned moral fervor on campuses today often slides into a dangerous type of zealotry.

Andrew Sullivan in 2015 as he was slowly circling the drain:

The Left’s Intensifying War On Liberalism 

To say I stood up and cheered as I finished reading Jon Chait’s new essay on the resurgence of a toxic political correctness on the left would be an understatement...

There are dozens more.  Maybe hundreds. Mona Charen goes there frequently.  Bret "Bug" Stephens of The New York Times makes it a regular side-dish. And, at the top of the list, David Fucking Brooks.

So, let's head back to June 6, 2024 for a light skim through brackish nonsense that A.G. Sulzberger still pays Mr. Brooks to produce.  

 When I was young, I was a man on the left. In the early 1980s

Nobody cares about your failed attempts to hook up with hippie chicks at the University of Chicago, and how deeply tat warped you for the rest of your life.

By now we’re used to the fact that the elite universities are places that attract and produce progressives...

Today, we’re used to the fact that elite places are shifting further and further to the left. Writing for The Harvard Crimson, Julien Berman used A.I...

...used A.I... to do Brooks' job for him.  Spared him the agony of talking to humans about things.

Today, we’re used to the fact that students at elite universities...

Wait.  What's with this "we" business?  Who exactly is the "we" that knows or cares shit-all about a few students at elite universities?

I went to an elite university and have taught at them. I find them wonderful in most ways and deeply screwed up in a few ways. But over the decades and especially recently, I’ve found the elite, educated-class progressivism a lot less attractive than the working-class progressivism...

David Brooks parsing "progressivism" never fails to crack me up.  

Like a lot of people, I’ve looked on with a kind of dismay as elite university dynamics have spread...

Again, who exactly are these "a lot of people" who are looking on with dismay?   I have two step-kids at pretty elite universities right now.  Their schools are wonderful, supportive places where they encounter all kinds of ideas from all over the spectrum, and all over the world.  One is spending this summer working at a public defender internship and the other teaching kids to ride bikes safely.   

The first is false consciousness...

I cannot quantify how much I love seeing American's Dopiest True Conservative appropriating a term first coined by Friedrich Engels in 1893, and then made famous in the writings of Karl Marx.  

This is the contradiction of the educated class. Virtue is defined by being anti-elite. But today’s educated class constitutes the elite...

And now we're off.  Brooks inventing a definition of "virtue" out of whole cloth that he can then use to make a stupid point that he conjures from...

Imagine you’re a social justice-oriented student or a radical sociologist, but you attend or work at a university with a $50 billion endowment...

...his imagination.  

Imagine you graduated from a prestigious liberal arts college with a degree in history and you get a job as a teacher at an elite Manhattan private school...

Imagine you're a Conservative hack who has had a make-work job pooping out terrible columns full of bad ideas slathered in pseudo-intellectual glop for 20 years 

This sort of cognitive dissonance often has a radicalizing effect...

Prove it.  Prove both the existence of rampant cognitive dissonance and prove any radicalizing effect therefrom.  Y'know, actual journalism.

This also explains, I think, the leftward drift of the haute bourgeoisie...

Clearly David Brooks is so infatuated with Marxist terminology that I am moved to wonder if he'd dump his wife for it?  Time will tell.

Progressivism has practically become an entry ticket into the elite...

Again and again, Brooks just invents or asserts half-assed claptrap as fact and moves on.  Who is this chimeral "elite"?  Be specific.  Name names.  Show your work.  Because when I think of elites with actual power, it is the titans of finance, the beasts of Silicon Valley and the masters of the media  who come immediately to mind.  And do you know what word I absolutely do not associate with any of them?  "Progressive".

Progressives have created places where they never have to encounter beliefs other than their own. At Harvard, 82 percent of progressives say that all or almost all of their close friends share their political beliefs...

Here, Brooks has taken the entire universe of "progressives" -- all, what, 30 million of us?  40 million?  More? -- and crammed us all into the Procrustean bed of 82% of however many "progressives" there are in the Harvard student body.

And by the way, I for one do not take it as a sign of the End Times that many progressives at Harvard say that most of their close friends share their political beliefs any more than I would consider it to be a failure of democratic values to learn that 99.999% of all the Allied soldiers who took the beaches at Normandy thought that democracy was worth defending, that Nazis we the bad guys, and were as one with this sentiment expressed by George C. Scott in the movie Patton:

Brooks continues:

A lot of us in the center left or the center right don’t want to live amid this much conformity. We don’t see history as a zero-sum war between oppressor and oppressed...

I was unaware that Brooks lived at Harvard.  I'd always assumed he lived in some sort of gilded, life-sized HabiTrail at the offices of the New York Times, safe from being afflicted by the real problems of the real world.

The second socially harmful dynamic is what you might call the cultural consequences of elite overproduction...

At this point Brooks disappeared so far up his own ass that I could no longer track him using currently available technology:

This was accompanied by a sharp shift to the left in their political views. The spread of cancel culture, as well as support for decriminalizing illegal immigration and “defunding the police” were among the quintessential luxury beliefs that seemed out of touch to people in less privileged parts of society...

I would love to hear more about the elite overproduction of cultural whatever and horrors of Liberal Cancel Culture, but first I gotta take quick break to watch this thing from 2007.  Y'know, back when Brooks was making a handsome living slagging progressives as America-hating, terrorist-loving idiots.

I swear, it'll just take a couple of minutes.  

Liberal cancel culture has never, ever been the bogie man that Conservatives like Brooks made it out to be, because if it had been, Conservatives like Brooks would have long ago been relegated to upselling hot apple pies at McDonalds, instead of being paid by the elite media to hark up this slurry of garbage.

As to "decriminalizing illegal immigration", that reductionist smirk of words doesn't deserve the dignity of a response.  And as for defunding the police, no one except Republicans like Speaker Mike Johnson have ever seriously proposed doing such a thing.  For more on this story,  hey, lookie!  It's Mr. Brooks' own employer, The New York Times:

Speaker Mike Johnson on Tuesday announced a “three-pronged approach” for how Republicans on Capitol Hill would push back against the prosecutions of the former president...

“We’re looking at various approaches to what can be done here,” Mr. Johnson said at a news conference, “through the appropriations process, through the legislative process, through bills that will be advancing through our committees and put it on the floor for passage, and also through oversight. All those things will be happening vigorously, because we have to do that because the stakes are too high.”

Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, laid out some of the proposed cuts in a letter to the Appropriations Committee, which determines spending levels.

Mr. Jordan recommended prohibiting taxpayer funding for any new F.B.I. headquarters facility; eliminating any federal grants for those prosecuting Mr. Trump, including Alvin Bragg in Manhattan, Fani Willis in Atlanta and Attorney General Letitia James of New York; and cutting all funding for the special counsel Jack Smith’s office.

“We have rogue prosecutors around the country that have drug President Trump through this process because of who he is,” Mr. Johnson said. “Everybody knows if it wasn’t him, the charges in Manhattan would never have been brought.”

Mr. Jordan also pushed for cuts to federal law enforcement last year, including some of the same ones he is proposing now...

The relentlessness with which Conservatives media has conjured these non-issues, the hysteria with which they have been embraced by the bigots and imbeciles of the GOP base, and the endless concern trolling of these issues by Very Serious Pundits like Brooks does not, in fact, point to a sinister progressive overproduction of elite anything.  

Quite the opposite.  It points to the scope and the ruthless efficiency of the Conservative Propaganda machine, which has a megaphone a billion times bigger and better funded than any progressive could ever dream of.  

Which, in turn, points to the gargantuan elephant in the room which Brooks is assiduously avoiding.  

In Brooks' telling, the Republican party does not exist.  Go looking for it in this column and you will not find it.  Also, Trump does not exist.  Fox News does not exist.  40 years of escalating Conservative depravity and madness does not exist.  There are only those damn progressive elites acting weird in the vacuum of their progressive elite bubbles.  They are the reason the Right felt righteously provoked into flinging themselves into the arms of lying, racist, rapist monster.

Bad progressives!  See what you made the entire Republican party do!

And then, right near the middle of this sea of illusion and banality, comes the inevitable razor in the apple.  The invocation of Brooks' favorite lie.  You know the one.  

Ready?  All together now!

As a nonprogressive member of the educated class, I’d say that elite overproduction induces people on the left and the right to form their political views around their own sense of personal grievance and alienation...

So, you ask, what other bad things are progressives secretly responsible for?

Funny you should ask.

The third dynamic is the inflammation of the discourse...

Yes, he really wrote that.  Brooks just breezes right on past the rise of Gingrich-style slash-and-burn political rhetoric in the Republican party, which Brooks' own paper warned against back in 1990.  

Brooks also breezes right on past the rise of Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Hate Radio in late 1980s, and which  Brooks' own paper cited as the reason for Republican victories in 1994.  

And Brooks just breezes right on past the slanderous, gloves-off, no-holds-barred attacks on the anti-Iraq War Left in which David Fucking Brooks eagerly participated.  Past Fox News.  Past Karl Rove and Lee Atwater.  Past Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and on and on and on.

He breezes right on past the eight-year-long, unhinged racist primal scream that was his party's reaction to the election of Barack Obama.

He skips over all of that and arrives here.  At another exercise in rancid Both Siderism, in which Both Sides are once again counterposed as equally terrible and the real victims are the almost entirely imaginary Silent Center:

The inflammation of the discourse serves the psychic and social self-interests of the combatants, but it polarizes society by rendering a lot of people in the center silent, causing them to keep their heads down in order to survive...

Fellow Brooksologists and longtime readers might recognize this shopworn and heavily oxidized myth of the Noble Center pinioned between the Extremes on Both Sides from Brooks' earliest days at The New York Times.

Specifically, from that day in August of 2006 when Brooks' very good friend and fellow Iraq War Pimp, the late Joe Lieberman, was defeated in a free and fair Democratic primary in Connecticut.  

And Brooks Lost.  His.  Shit.

Suddenly, the entire two-party system was completely corrupted and fucked into a cocked hat because, in this one case, it did not yield the results Brooks wanted.  Also, frankly, the nomination of anti-Iraq War candidate Ned Lamont probably scared the crap out of a hack like Brooks, who, at that time, hadn't been at the Times for more than a minute.  Lamont was a big, flashing, red warning light about what may lay ahead for pundits like Brooks who had unreservedly hyped the war and used their positions in the media to relentlessly slander those of us who opposed it.  

It was all there in his "Party No. 3" column from August 10, 2006.  

The two parties were now the "Sunni" and "Shiite" parties of American politics "whose emotional attachment to their party is so all-consuming it becomes a form of tribalism, and who believe the only way to get American voters to respond is through aggression and stridency." 

The political world was now divided between the crazies.  Between "[Tom] DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party..."

Brooks then went on for 500 words extolling the virtues of an imaginary McCain-Lieberman 3rd party which would be a sanctuary for the Silent, Sensible Centrists far away from "the flamers in the established parties..."

I should conclude with something shallow that sounds profound like, "It took 18 years, but the David Brooks of 2024 has finally circled all the way back to the contemptible hack that was David Brooks of 2006" but that would not be true.

The truth is, the contemptible hack that was David Brooks of 2006 never left.

I Am The Liberal Media


Just another boomer said...

To get the zeitgeist, Brooks is launching a nation-wide tour of Applebee's salad bars.

He's actually more fun when found in an airport bar after a double Scotch.

DocPhysics said...

One of your best. Keep up the Fight!

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good afternoon, Mr. Glass.

Read his entire, long-ass column.

1. Maybe the reason universities are getting so liberal is that mainstream conservatism is magnetically attracted to the wrong answer to every question.

2. "I can tell a story in which those of us in the educated class, progressive or not, come to address the social, political and economic divides we have unwittingly created. In this reality..."

Uh, boy. He's making another stop in Willoughby again.

Best to you and your loved ones.

Pagan in repose said...

Yes, the Billionaire hippies are the current problem with progressives in Brook's hand full of mumbles and pocket full of lint brain. Bugs Bunny says "What a maroon."

Watching that codpiece Bush with his back flap hanging down, again after all these years, brought tears to my eyes. Tears of rage and sorrow for all the useless carnage and lives lost. Tears of laughter at the sight of that little, little man and his Big Man On Campus charade, with his gasbag puffed up chest.

Happy as ever to read your words eviscerating little man Brooks. Hard enough, this old word is, without little man brooks playing with his own shit and having us smell it every weak-ass week by the New York times show it in public. There ought to be a law.

Great work today and through the years.

Also my best to you and Blue Gal and your family.

Anonymous said...

I won’t put links here. Just read the Wiki bios of Bill Buckley and David Books, then come back. It’s crucial here to understand this high Catholic fascism because it’s endemic among our serious thinkers. Lest we forget Hitler was baptized and Confirmed as a Catholic. God skeptic he surely was but the overall culture of an overarching authority infused him and so many others down to this day, and forever more too I suppose.

What puzzles me is why David hasn't converted to Catholicism yet. To square the circle and go home to William F Buckley's high Roman Catholic boy fascism. Well there was Bill’s very unAmerican royalism but let that pass for now. If only David could have run off with Bill, the love of his life, we could have been saved from all this, but no. We are left with a Catholic boys inchoate longing for order. Except he isn’t a Catholic, he’s still a Jewish boy. It is nuts at this point not to convert. It would be a beautiful gesture in a way. And hell, they let Newt in. (To this day the thought of Newt as Vatican guy was like spreading poop on the walls)

So the schtick, inchoate longing for order, is the paycheck and he can’t give that up. Nor the modest fame. What he thinks, well we can’t know at this point. I think he'd go full Nazi but maybe I'm wrong. You know that old essay, Who Will Go Nazi I think it's called. I think most of the Roman Catholic Boy Fascists will throw in with the barbarians as a last resort. The Supreme Court boys, the Bill Barr's and so on. Hopefully we will be lucky and won’t have to find out.

Jon Sitzman said...


BuT dEmOcRaTs ArE bAd FoR bUsInEsS!!!

Now returning you to your regularly scheduled (and eminently deserved) Brooks bashing.

Thanks for all you do.

Robt said...

Brooks is not the only right tinker tinker that doesn't care to put any effort into The reality of the world. Instead wishes to lament on what his conservatism is supposed to be like. Just never produces the outcomes they preach and are too busy to rectify harm and damage done because that would mean admitting failure of a failed ideology which means he (conservatives) live in awe of failures.
Sort of like Some of our SCOTUS justices. They will never do anything that would effect themselves in a harsh way that their religion in their minds would call for. It is always those other Pagans and heathens that require finding and obeying God.
As would occur at a Trump rally with these justices attending and chanting about the "Good Samaritan
The Good Samaritan, LOCK HIM UP!

Anonymous said...

An instructive look at the before times, during the before times, about the before times.

Anonymous said...

Who goes Nazi.

It's 68% of people who call themselves white. i deduced this number when in the early 70's that same percentage supported the Kent State National Guard and William Calley. Why it took 100 years to actually arrive at a semi functional majority was the churches. Now they have gone Nazi, so here we are.

Mr XD said...

As a working class progressive, with a college degree, I have long suspected that the "failed attempts to hook up with hippie chicks at the
University" is a significant cause of a lot of the bitterness and downright meanness that we see from our right wing brethren.

Outstanding article, even by your high standards. Keep on doing what you're doing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who counts on you for a healthy dose of reality seasoned with industrial grade snark.

Johnuw93 said...

Great column. Right on the mark.

One small point. Marx died in 1883, so the term false consciousness would have been employed in Marxist writings, not those of Marx himself. However, he had elaborated the same idea in such works as The German Ideology, if I recall correctly.