As you know, many of the columns extruded by Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times over the past few years have been barely-sublimated shudders of dread and rage at being dumped by his wife, which the deeply repressed Mr. Brooks tarts up to try to look like broad (and ridiculous) social and political commentary on Our Parlous Modern Times.
- Humbert Humberting over the young ladies in a dance studio near where Mr. Brooks buys his Slim Jims and Lottos.
- Maybe my mistake was caring too damn much, Sarah!
- Isn't is sad how sad and lonely Donald Trump is? Sad!
- I am not finally biting the bullet and buying a bachelor pad. I'm engaging in a Consequential Moral Interaction with the real estate market that touches us all at Many Deeply Emotional and Spiritual Levels.
- My Ok Cupid profile is really top-notch.
- Hanging out in high-end hotel lobbies is fun!
- Did I say Ok Cupid? I meant Christian Mingle.
Of course these columns are the weird, lurid refractions of the effects of Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times being dumped by his wife, but what about the causes of of those effects?
Well, thanks to evidence presented today by none other than Mr. David Brooks himself it seems we have isolated at least one of those causes, which is best explained by this 41 second clip from The Simpsons:
In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues...
-- and suddenly all becomes clear. Have your little march and throw your little tantrum, hippies, because, yeah, sure, your little, lady-parts issues are real important:
Of course, many marchers came with broad anti-Trump agendas, but they were marching under the conventional structure in which the central issues were clear. As The Washington Post reported, they were “reproductive rights, equal pay, affordable health care, action on climate change.”
But after your hysterics have died down I, David f**king Brooks of The New York Times will explain to you what really matters:
That is exactly what you see in the writings of the peace camp generally--not only in Chomsky's work but also in the writings of people who are actually tethered to reality. Their supposed demons--Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Donald Rumsfeld, and company--occupy their entire field of vision, so that there is no room for analysis of anything beyond, such as what is happening in the world. For the peace camp, all foreign affairs is local; contempt for and opposition to Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, et al. is the driving passion. When they write about these figures it is with a burning zeal. But on the rare occasions when they write about Saddam, suddenly all passion drains away. Saddam is boring, but Wolfowitz tears at their soul. You begin to realize that they are not arguing about Iraq. They are not arguing at all. They are just repeating the hatreds they cultivated in the 1960s, and during the Reagan years, and during the Florida imbroglio after the last presidential election. They are playing culture war, and they are disguising their eruptions as position-taking on Iraq, a country about which they haven't even taken the trouble to inform themselves.
Oh, Jeez, just look what I've done! I've gone and ruined a perfectly good post by accidentally pasting in an excerpt from Mr. David Brooks' reaction the last time the Left held widespread protests against a feckless and dangerous Republican president. Back when Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times was Mr. David Brooks of The Weekly Standard ("The Fog of Peace").
Lord, the junk that lurks in my computer's clipboard, I tell you.
Let's give it another shot:
My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.
Holy crap, it happened again! ("The Collapse of the Dream Palaces").
Look, kids, I am really sorry about this. All I can tell you is that it was my administration's sincere intention to tamp down my flu long enough to write another short and perfectly forgettable column about how Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times' failed marriage has become a leitmotif for way, way too much of the tripe he now churns out. And completely unbidden, my cranky, half-dead laptop keeps urping up stuff about how Mr. David Brooks of The Weekly Standard dismissed the entire Bush-era anti-war protest movement as whiny, indulgent, re-heated 1960s culture war politics.
And now my poor, flu-befogged hippie-brain -- which knows is should be focusing on my Topic Sentence and not going on a feverish ramble though the Forgotten Past -- just cannot help hauling me back to a moment on a crisp October evening in 2010, at the Hammerschmidt Auditorium in Elmhurst Illinois. Back to the time when Bush's Excellent Iraqi Adventure had finally been litigated by history as an unmitigated clusterf**k and it turned out the whiny, indulgent anti-war Lefties had been right all along. Back when, rather than sack up and face the music when presented with his own f**king words, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times chose instead to flatly deny observable reality and lie about what he had written back when he was Mr. David Brooks of The Weekly Standard.
Hey, you know who else does that?
Anyway, it's time to suck it up and march back from the Bad Old Days of 2003 when Mr. David Brooks of The Weekly Standard used to write incredibly condescending claptrap scolding Liberal protesters for being frivolous, self-involved narcissists who were completely missing history's moment...
...to the present day, where we find Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times scolding Liberal protesters for being frivolous, self-involved narcissists who are completely missing history's moment (with emphasis added):
After the Women’s March
All the big things that were once taken for granted are now under assault: globalization, capitalism, adherence to the Constitution, the American-led global order. If you’re not engaging these issues first, you’re not going to be in the main arena of national life...
Without the discipline of party politics, social movements devolve into mere feeling, especially in our age of expressive individualism. People march and feel good and think they have accomplished something. They have a social experience with a lot of people and fool themselves into thinking they are members of a coherent and demanding community. Such movements descend to the language of mass therapy....
...identity politics is too small for this moment. On Friday, Trump offered a version of unabashed populist nationalism. On Saturday, the anti-Trump forces could have offered a red, white and blue alternative patriotism, a modern, forward-looking patriotism based on pluralism, dynamism, growth, racial and gender equality and global engagement.
Instead, the marches offered the pink hats, an anti-Trump movement built, oddly, around Planned Parenthood, and lots of signs with the word “pussy” in them...
...now progressives seem intent on doubling down on exactly what has doomed them so often. Lilla pointed out that identity politics isolates progressives from the wider country: “The fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life.”...
The central threat is not the patriarchy. The central challenge is to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea...
If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality...
Shorter David Brooks: Don't you dare screw with my tax cuts, hippies.
Other Shorter David Brooks: Did somebody say screw? I will never have a chance ever ever again....
excerpted from Driftglass (Original post not work safe. Content modified with permission from the author.)