Thursday, October 03, 2019


"I said I might have to run all the way/Because the bus might be slow today."
Props to a brother who knew what it was like.

At my newsletter (SUBSCRIBE! CHEAP! ™) I sometimes do these little White House dialogues, and in so doing I employ to the best of my limited abilities skills I learned in school, and over years as a practicing artist, and over decades as a professional writer, to make the characters sound like distinct, individualized human beings whose plight may be interesting to audiences. So let me tell you that when I see David Brooks create a dialogue between "Urban Guy" and "Flyover Man," I'm not just derisive and contemptuous, which is the default reaction of any intelligent person to David Brooks, I'm also embarrassed as a craftsman.
F.M.: ...Listen, do you remember those months just after the election when people like you were briefly curious about people like me? You sent your reporters out on wild safaris into the hinterlands to interview Trump voters. You read “Hillbilly Elegy.” Back then it was fashionable to say that Trump is just a symptom of real problems in America. He’s the wrong answer to the right question. 
It didn’t take you long to lose interest in all that. Now we’re just a block of concrete you call “his base.” Now, all you care about is Trump, not his supporters or the issues driving us. Your whole media is Trump-O-Centric 
You might say this feller's pretty eloquent for a Trumpkin, but actually he's not eloquent at all -- merely stiff. "Now, all you care about is Trump, not his supporters or the issues driving us," ugh. What's the point of being Flyover Man if you have to talk in clumsy complex sentences like a New York Times columnist? I thought them fellers all sounded like (consults Book of Boomer Cool) Matthew McConaughey.
U.G.: We became Trump-O-Centric because his daily outrages undermine norms, spread xenophobia, degrade public morality. 
F.M.: You think that because you have the kind of jobs that allow you to follow Twitter all day. I don’t have that luxury. So all that passing nonsense seems far away. I have to deal with the actual realities of life. 
Really? You don't "have the kind of job that allows you to follow Twitter all day"? Because you sound like a Heritage Foundation intern. What does Brooks think this guy does for a living? I like to imagine him scribbling a little checklist -- "Supervises operations where men sweat/ Sometimes breaks up fights on the 'shop floor,' but not by violence, rather he uses homespun wisdom and Christian values/ After the factory whistle blows, enjoys a hearty lambic with the 'boys' but always comes home on time to his younger second wife."
One, mass immigration is changing my town, region and state...
ARRRGH why not "my greater metropolitan area"?

Doesn't Brooks realize that "Flyover Man" and "Urban Guy" sound like the exactly the same person, except one has been hired to misapprehend Trump voters and the other to misapprehend Democrats? Here is perhaps the worst section:
F.M... Let’s face it: Bashing Trump is the media’s business model. That’s what drives eyeballs and profit. 
U.G.: We can’t have a productive conversation with Trump around. He lies with abandon. He slanders and insults. He pollutes the water near and far. 
On my honor as an Urban Guy and an impudent snob, I have never heard anyone talk like this. Not even at a "cocktail party"!
F.M.: We can’t have productive conversations if every time I open my mouth you call me a bigot...
For a second I thought this was Brooks being ironic -- because in fact "U.G." had not called "F.M." a bigot -- and maybe in his psychologically crippled way Brooks was alluding to it with this follow-up:
U.G.: O.K. I get it. You’re not the first person to spin the right-wing victim narrative in front of me.
But Urban Guy neither gets not asks for an answer, and instead asks:
Why don’t we focus on impeachment? On rule of law. 
 Again: Who the fuck are these people, and why are they having a conversation, unless it's because they're on some cable talk show where the liberal is supposed to take a dive?
F.M.: Fine. Bottom line: I would be open to impeachment if you cared about my problems...
Neither you nor I have all day, so bottom line: Flyover Man never says anything like "I suppose you think you're somethin' better than me, you Jew faggot bastard," and Urban Guy never says anything like, "Why don't you stop fucking your cousin long enough to notice Trump is fucking you in the ass, you stupid redneck peckerwood," so it ain't interesting.

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