Friday, July 24, 2020


Hey, who finally told me abut The Beths?
I want to thank them.

•  David Brooks blubbers again! This week it's about how the mean elitist liberals oppress ruff-tuff conservative he-men such as himself and his buddies.

First, to get it out of the way fast so no one can say he ignored it:
Like other realms, American intellectual life has been marked by a series of exclusions. The oldest and vastest was the exclusion of people of color from the commanding institutions of our culture.
[To be heard in an extremely bored voice and Brooks doing the jerk-off motion.]
Today, there’s the exclusion of conservatives from academic life. Then there’s the exclusion of working-class voices from mainstream media.
Brooks always conflates conservatives with the working class because he came up in an era in which hardhat-and-lunchbucket Joes loved pampered movie star Ronald Reagan, and he thinks it's the natural order of things. (Donald Trump even more preposterously pulling the same hardhat bullshit seems not to have enlightened him as to this racket.) Hence, Brooks' comical 2018 dialogue between "Urban Guy," who sounded like David Brooks pretending to be a snooty liberal, and "Flyover Man," who sounded like David Brooks after a few cocktails and a Glenn Ford movie.
Our profession didn’t used to be all coastal yuppies, but now it mostly is. Then there’s the marginalization of those with radical critiques — from say, the Marxist left and the theological right.
Tell me with a straight face Brooks is sad there are no Marxists on the editorial pages of the Times or the Washington Post. (As for the "theological right," there is no point in running editorials for people who only read the Holy Bible and Chick tracts and think compound sentences are tools of the Devil.) In a truly diverse editorial environment, Brooks would have been crushed into gravel like a five-year-old blundering into a rugby scrum.

And here we get to the real crime in Brooks' eyes: Because they were denied their rightful place in the cultural firmament, conservatives decided they would rather reign in Hell than be cancelled in Heaven:
Conservatives were told their voices didn’t matter, and many reacted in a childish way that seemed to justify that exclusion. A corrosive spirit of resentment and victimhood spread across the American right — an intellectual inferiority complex combined with a moral superiority complex.
For many on the right the purpose of thinking changed. Thinking was no longer for understanding. Thinking was for belonging. Right-wing talk radio is the endless repetition off familiar mantras to reassure listeners that they are all on the same team. Thinking was for conquest: Those liberals think they’re better than us, but we own the libs.
I feel like crying, really -- how could we do this to poor, neglected Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh? They must be rehabilitated with even more attention and riches!

Coddled liberals, on the other hand, are in Brooks' view "blindsided by reality" -- LOL Trump won get over it libs! -- and are all about "fragility," "conformity," and "predictability." Shoot a few rounds of tear gas at middle-aged female protesters and they all act like it's some big thing! [Eyeroll] So expected.

Everyone's focused on this howler:
Christopher Hitchens was one of the great essayists in America. He would be unemployable today because there was no set of priors he wasn’t willing to offend.
Hitchens of course was promoted from Very Limited Use Mortifier of Rightwing Idiots to Major Media Sensation when he decided Bush was right and the wogs needed a damned sound thrashing. That's what made him Mr, Contrarian! I guarantee you that, if Trump announces an October Surprise War on Iran, some other climber will get that same gig. I hear Brooks has been rehearsing his Flyover Man voice in quarantine! (I warn you now, if Thomas Chatterton Williams gets the role expect a lot of Brooks columns on affirmative action.)

But the really funny stuff, to me, is, number one, his examples of brave intellectuals on Substack -- he ignores me, naturally, as well as the actual great journalists like Judd Legum and Luke O'Neil on Substack and focuses on rightwing journos who are bringing their followings to the platform, including Andrew Sullivan and, get this, Jonah Goldberg. (Oh, and he throws in Matt Taibbi for roughage. Maybe he can be the new Hitchens!) And there's this truly extraordinary button:
I’m hoping the definition of a pundit changes — not a foot soldier out for power, but a person who argues in order to come closer to understanding.
This would be funny coming from anyone but from a Times conservative legacy hire who got his job in the interests of perceived bothsider "balance" it's fucking hilarious.

•  And as long as we're talking about the newsletter, here's some access for non-subscribers to a few recent editions: This one about why conservatives are so committed to making everything worse, and this one depicting a meeting of America's top cancel-cultists. Enjoy!

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