Let us now praise famous men

I see John’s Broder and I raise him a Bobo. This is so shrill it could have been written by someone in pajamas. He does everything but call people bedwetters. It is genuinely good.

This is from my iPhone so apologies if it is even more screwed up than usual.






119 replies
  1. 1
    burnspbesq says:

    My theory continues to be that there is some unknown alien life force that periodically takes over Bobo’s brain and causes these bizarre outbursts of reasonable thought. No other explanation makes more sense.

    Happy New Year from the alien life force.

  2. 2

    Many people seem to be in the middle of a religious crisis of faith. All the gods they believe in — technology, technocracy, centralized government control — have failed them in this instance.

    I’d have guessed that these are scarcely the gods of the hysterical critics, more their demons. He can’t help himself, can he?

  3. 3

    Smudge. Let’s get back to battling over the Leach firing! :) (note: this is the first time i’ve got her to stand still during the day for a photo, so it’s a little more clear.)

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    @burnspbesq: Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    In all honesty one of the things that shocks me about Bobo is his massive inconsistency. He’ll go from reasonable to pure wingnut sometimes even in the space of a single column. It’s like there’s his true rational thoughts then his need to feel relevant to what has become the true right wing in this country. It’d feel a bit more honest if he’d stop feeling the need to punch hippies just to get street cred.

  5. 5

    I suspect Brooks flies regularly so this will directly effect his quality of life, hence the outrage at all the bedwetting sissies crying for Moar Sekeeriteh!

    Here is an interesting compilation of all commercial airline bombings.

  6. 6
    Jody says:

    If Bobo is making any sense, then it is by default “more screwed up than usual”.

  7. 7
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    She is the cutest little thing! Thanks for sharing.

  8. 8
    AhabTRuler says:

    It’s frustrating that “the citizens foiled this plot” meme is so firmly entrenched. All they could do was act after the fact, as is often the case.

  9. 9
    ChristianPinko says:

    This isn’t such a great column. Props for recognizing that Underpants Bomber shouldn’t trigger a nationwide freakout, but he’s just using this as a hook for some usual conservative grumbling that in the good old days, people were self-reliant, dadgummit.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: KITTEH!! She looks like she just got away with something there.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @ChristianPinko: Yea I did get the undertone about the nanny state bashing. Like I said he can’t help himself. Gotta get those hippie punches in when he can.

  12. 12
    henqiguai says:

    Bah. “Officially” on my own time, so my holiday is over. Bah.

    On that noise in Brook’s column. I can tell him why the American public has become such cry babies with respect to technology and our institutions, and why they seem to be failing. Education, and the lack thereof. We don’t teach critical thinking, logical thinking, history, the arts, the sciences. Don’t get me started on (the complete disdain for) civics. That all costs money, and why the hell would we want to pay a bunch of undereducated baby-sitters a decent wage ? Ethics ? No, not that silly assed morality-based-upon-my-ignorant-“understanding”-of-*my*-religious-biasesbeliefs.

    Hmmm; low blood sugar driven rant ? Someone did mention dinner.

  13. 13
    DougJ says:

    ChristianPinko

    I see your point but it is still so rare to see criticism of hysteria that I give him props.

  14. 14
    demkat620 says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Oh my! She is too cute for words.

    OT but South won’t be happy.

    We are! Penn State! We are! Penn State!

  15. 15
    Yutsano says:

    @demkat620: We’ll treat her to some jambalaya and some good beer and all will be right with the world.

  16. 16
    Lyle4 says:

    That was good I guess, but it needs to be directed at only certain people in the Village. 97% of the country doesn’t even care about Crotch Bomber.

  17. 17
    eastriver says:

    Broder and Brooks are getting their New Years’ resolutions out of the way Day One. Tomorrow we can expect them to go back to carrying the GOP’s water, one column-inch at a time.

    And the Crotch Bomber, due to his holiday timing, is hereby dubbed Bomb Crotchit. Spread the word.

  18. 18
    mcd410x says:

    Did someone dose the pundit water supply?

  19. 19
    licensed to kill time says:

    OT, but has this been posted yet? Senate candidate scrubs racist comments from Twitter

    The Sheriff is a Ni-! erm, Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man, doncha know.

  20. 20
    cleek says:

    That mature attitude seems to have largely vanished. Now we seem to expect perfection from government and then throw temper tantrums when it is not achieved. We seem to be in the position of young adolescents — who believe mommy and daddy can take care of everything, and then grow angry and cynical when it becomes clear they can’t.

    this is so misguided it hurts.

    no, we don’t expect perfection from government. and we’re not less mature and cynical as a people. rather, our political machines, aided by a know-nothing media, have decided that screaming when government fails to be perfect is a simple way to manufacture outrage among the loud partisans, who in turn generate headlines by screaming louder. partisans aim to control the 24-7 news cycle, and the 24-7 media is desperate for ready-to-run content.

    if the media was unwilling to run ready-made controversy, we’d see a lot less of it. if the media was willing to say “no, this congressman is obviously trying to demonize his opponents, and here’s why”, rather than playing stenographers for spinners, we’d see a lot less silly shallow panicking among partisans. if the media was willing to dig deeper than RNC/DNC press releases, we might not careen from one manufactured outrage to another.

    Brooks wants to blame our culture because that’s what he always does. but the problem could be fixed entirely by a change of attitude in the 24-7 no-questions-asked media.

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    @eastriver:
    Heh. That’s kind of funny. Bomb Crotchit. I like it.

    In other news, Rush Limbaugh has left the hospital. They don’t know what caused his chest pains.

  22. 22
    Comrade Jake says:

    This is really beside the point, but let’s look at this passage:

    As with the shoe bomber, as with the plane that went down in Shanksville, Pa., it was decentralized citizen action. The plot was foiled by nonexpert civilians who had the advantage of the concrete information right in front of them — and the spirit to take the initiative.

    Was the plot really “foiled” here? I’ve always had the impression that the bomb/device was simply defective. A slightly better trigger/design and boom, no more plane. Or am I wrong?

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @Violet: They probably just needed to free up another bariatric bed. Plus mystery heart pains don’t make doctors happy. I bet he goes back to his Florida cardiologist and gets drugged up even heavier than before.

  24. 24
    Molly says:

    BTW, all of you ‘Bama fans, if y’all don’t beat Texas, your entire state is dead to me.

    That is all.

  25. 25
    eemom says:

    c’mon you guys, don’t you get the larger picture here? Bobo and Broder both write semi-sensible columns on the same day…..and it’s the first day of the new year!!

    Maybe — together with the New Year’s Eve misfortune of a certain obese drug-addled purveyor of filth — this is a sign of good things to come in this new year and decade. The silencing of blowhards! The awakening of reason in the somnolent brains of Villagers! Who knows what other happy things may yet befall us…..!

    Meh. Or not. [Crosses “Optimism” off list of New Year’s Resolutions]

  26. 26
    Molly says:

    @Violet:

    Heh. That’s kind of funny. Bomb Crotchit. I like it.

    I’ve been calling him The Testicular Terrorist.

  27. 27
    Yutsano says:

    @Molly: Yeah, gonna go with a ROLL TIDE there too.

  28. 28
    Michael D. says:

    @burnspbesq:

    My theory continues to be that there is some unknown alien life force that periodically takes over Bobo’s brain and causes these bizarre outbursts of reasonable thought. No other explanation makes more sense.

    I’ve always thought that people on the left and right have a strange definition of “reasonable.” More often than not, “reasonable” and “agrees with everything I agree with” are interchangeable.

    I’ve always thought of David Brooks as quite a reasonable person. I listen to him every week on NPR, and I’ve never had a reaction to him that made me think he was a wingnut. Of course, I’ve thought, “Wow. He’s wrong there.” I’ve probably disagreed with him more often than I have agreed with him – especially in the past 4-5 years. But that doesn’t make him unreasonable. I think he comes by his opinions and writes his columns using reason that you might not agree with on many occasions. In other words, I think he always tries to write an honest column.

    I’m often wrong, and I think of myself as a pretty reasonable guy. Before I state an opinion, I don’t, for example, say to myself, “I like Obama, and I tend to like Democrats at the moment. What do I need to say, and how do I need to spin it, to make them look good?”

    I don’t think Brooks does that either.

    Rush Limbaugh is unreasonable.
    Sean Hannity is unreasonable.
    Most of the people on Fox News are unreasonable – Shep Smith excluded, on occasion.

    These people say what they need to say to get ratings. Do any of you from Atlanta remember when Sean Hannity was a local Atlanta talk show host on 750 WSB Radio? I loved listening to him. He was terrific and fun. When he talked politics, I sometimes tuned out. But otherwise, he was great. As soon as he realized that spouting right wing rhetoric could make him millions, then he became a nut.

    That’s what is unreasonable.

    Neal Boortz, 5-10 years ago, was an entertaining, reasonable person. He has always been anti-government, and I can respect that opinion even if I don’t agree with it as extremely as he does. Today, Neal has realized that people are passing him by. He’s seen Rush’s contracts, and he’s seen Sean Hannity move past him and make millions more. You may not have agreed with Boortz even five years ago, but he was very reasonable.

    He’s now “all in” on wingnut Texas Hold ’em.

    My point, and I have one, is that you can be wrong and still come by your opinions honestly – and you shouldn’t villanize people because they are wrong. You should villanize people who support an opinion or policy – even though they know the consequences will be horrific – because they want ratings, readership, or to support Barack Obama or George W. Bush at all cost.

    Whenever I write anything here or elsewhere, I try to be honest. Sometimes I don’t think things through clearly enough and I am wrong. So be it – and maybe this is one of those times! But it’s better to tell me I am wrong and explain why than it is to tell me I am a lunatic and I’m only right when I have moments of rationality.

  29. 29
    ellaesther says:

    You see, this is the thing with David Brooks (as with Broder): You have to actually read them, because they don’t, in fact, fit neatly into the little boxes we have created for ourselves and those who talk about who we are. I can’t hate him, and in fact, I kind of like him. He’s often very wrong (said the liberal about the conservative), but he’s fighting the good fight, and is often willing to be honest when it’s painful — and for that I give him credit. He’s someone I could actually have a conversation with, and how rare is that as we look across our various national divides?

    Having said that: I wonder what the newspaper editorial pages looked like at various crisis (or it-looked-like-a-crisis) points during, say, the Depression, or WW II. I recently learned on NPR, for instance, that when FDR tried to move the date of Thanksgiving, Americans collectively lost their shit — Roosevelt was compared to Hitler! And it should perhaps be noted that in 1939, people had a slightly better notion of just who Hitler was.

    So, I’m just wondering if people seem to have been more even-keeled back then because we see them through the vaseline-smeared lens of decades of history.

    And having said that: He’s right, of course. We need to fucking grow up.

  30. 30
    KCinDC says:

    @AhabTRuler, it is annoying, but given that the detonation failed, passengers did keep the situation from getting worse. A fire on a plane is a bad thing.

    Also, even if an explosion had occurred, that’s not necessarily the same as loss of the plane, and passenger behavior might have affected how many people survived.

  31. 31
    Michael D. says:

    @ellaesther: You are more succinct than I am! :-)

  32. 32
    ellaesther says:

    @Michael D.: Yes. Oui. Si.

    This!

    Etc.

  33. 33
    ellaesther says:

    @Michael D.: But you said more of what sometimes needs saying!

  34. 34
    KCinDC says:

    And it should perhaps be noted that in 1939, people had a slightly better notion of just who Hitler was.

    Did they? Wasn’t he just yet another power-mad European dictator to the average American in 1939? Now if you were talking about a few years later…

  35. 35
    MattR says:

    @Comrade Jake: I think by “foiled” Brooks means that someone put out the fire in the guy’s crotch before it spread to engulf the whole plane in flames.

  36. 36
    RSA says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Overall, I like the tone of Brooks’s piece, but like Chuck I thought he was missing something here:

    Many people seem to be in the middle of a religious crisis of faith. All the gods they believe in — technology, technocracy, centralized government control — have failed them in this instance.

    Brooks is kinda forgetting about more conventional gods. They fail all the time, and very few people are willing to ask why they let bad things happen.

  37. 37
    Demo Woman says:

    @Michael D.: Years ago Neal was on a rant about how bad the medical care was in France. He would spout how much easier it was to get a hip replacement here. When someone pointed out that was because of Medicare, a government program, he changed his rant to knee replacements. lol

  38. 38
    eemom says:

    @Michael D.:

    These are good points, and I do think Brooks comes across that way. However, what I find frustrating about him is what I guess I could describe as the abuse of reason. I believe he does have inherent biases that most often lead to him the wrong conclusion, when he seems to be smart enough to do better.

    Or perhaps I should say, conclusions more in line with right wing dogma to which I do not subscribe.

  39. 39
    Comrade Jake says:

    @MattR:

    I don’t think so. I think many people believe that this guy would have been successful given more time, when I don’t think that’s the case at all. The device simply failed to ignite into an explosive, and mostly resulted in a small fire instead.

  40. 40
    Michael D. says:

    @Demo Woman: LOL! I remember that!!!

  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    @Molly: Ha!
    Nah gah happen.

  42. 42
    Violet says:

    So, I’m just wondering if people seem to have been more even-keeled back then because we see them through the vaseline-smeared lens of decades of history.

    There is no need to wonder. People were in no way more even-keeled back then than they are now. And news organizations were not exactly bastions of objectivity back in the day. In fact, most were founded and funded people rich people with a certain set of opinions they wanted spouted.

    History definitely glosses over the crazy and just the main highlights emerge. As do the images we want to remember.

  43. 43
    Molly says:

    @Corner Stone: With all of the hype Alabama is getting, I’m afraid you’re right. But, a girl can dream, can’t she?

  44. 44
    Michael D. says:

    @Demo Woman: And by the way, I am a member of an organization called Couchsurfing. Basically, we host people from all over the world. I’ve had 85 people stay at my house since May of this year – several from France.

    If you told them they had terrible health care, they would look at you like you were nuts. The French have AWESOME health care. They would give up their families before they would give up their national health care cards.

    Also, Canada, too.

  45. 45
    MattR says:

    @Comrade Jake: I’m with ya. Left the snark tag off my initial comment.

  46. 46
    Mike G says:

    Shorter Bobo:
    All the shit I was praising when Bush was doing it, is now bad.

  47. 47

    @Michael D.:

    I think he always tries to write an honest column.

    Then go ahead and explain this @Chuck Butcher: to me. I suppose that if you start out with horseshit then producing horseshit is reasonable. A failure to even acknowledge the very public stance of most critics in your world view leads to utter stupidity as a position.

    Go back to the stuff you disagree with and check the information used as a starting point and the logic train followed. He’s a partisan hack who gets published as “opinion.”

  48. 48
    Michael D. says:

    @Chuck Butcher: I agree with him. Therefore it is reasonable. :-)

  49. 49
    CalD says:

    I’ve found myself wishing several times that Napolitano had said, “The system worked as designed.” That was what I took to be her meaning — although that interpretation may have been partly based on the fact that I don’t think she’s an idiot. And of course others were bound to be less charitable.

  50. 50
    Michael D. says:

    DougJ, you should be using a Motorola Droid. Awesome phone.

    Just needed to say that!

  51. 51
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    ne of the things that shocks me about Bobo is his massive inconsistency. He’ll go from reasonable to pure wingnut sometimes

  52. 52
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    one of the things that shocks me about Bobo is his massive inconsistency. He’ll go from reasonable to pure wingnut

    Screw Brooks. There are enough people out there who are always reasonable that I feel no compulsion to praise someone who is only sometimes an idiot .

  53. 53

    @Michael D.:
    Facts are uncomfortable things when trying to support a position that is contrary to them and I don’t care that he got to a conclusion I happen to share, he’s an ass and proved it in the process of “agreeing” with me.

    The fact that Sarah Palin and I both think this HCR sucks doesn’t mean we agree on shit or get there in anything like the same reasoning. (in her case “reasoning” is pretty strong)

  54. 54
    Kyle says:

    The French have AWESOME health care.

    World Health Organization ranking of national health care systems:

    France #1
    USA #37

    Wingnut response:
    “Yeah, but they’re all commies and soshulists and HitlerBirthCertificateDeathPanels9/11TaxCutsMorans! USA! USA!”

  55. 55

    @Yutsano:
    She had just gotten away with the string. ;)

  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    Broder and Brooks are getting their New Years’ resolutions out of the way Day One. Tomorrow we can expect them to go back to carrying the GOP’s water, one column-inch at a time.

    Yup. Once all the Village Idiots sleep off their hangovers, it’ll be back to business as usual. Just wait until Monday.

  57. 57
    JPK says:

    I gave up on Brooks when he started casually yapping about the salad bar at Applebee’s. No matter how reasonable he may or may not be, that shows a level of laziness that is only going to mean trouble over and over.

  58. 58
    Cat Lady says:

    Bobo is just doing what he always does when confronted with an ugly truth about his beloved Republicans – he dances around the central point then pulls his punches, just in case they get back into power, just like Tim Russert did all the time. I know he’s talking to his fellow Villagers because he doesn’t call out the bedwetters like King and Demint and Hoekstra by name. Cheney’s safe to name because he’s a fucking sick asshole, but Specter? and Kit Bond?

    Yes, he makes a good point, but fer cryin out loud the point is so frickin’ obvious to everyone but the Villagers, yet again, the fact that he doesn’t punch a hippie to make it doesn’t make him a hippie.

  59. 59
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Kyle: Cogent argument they have there, eh?

    My Canadian ancestors popped into my consciousness there for a minnum!

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    @Kyle: The proper U.S. response to all these damn European countries having better health statistics than us is to make them sicker and die more frequently, as it’s more fun and non-soshallist. We don’t have to make our statistics better — we just have to make theirs worse.

  61. 61
    aimai says:

    I’ve got to agree with Chuck Butcher on this one–sorry Michael D and eemom and ellasther. Brooks is the very definition of a hack–he’s “reasonable” only if you confuse “polite” or “mild mannered” with “reasonable.” They are actually very different things, just as reason itself is quite different from civility. You can be right and uncivil, and right and unreasonable, while you can be “reasonable” and “civil” and a polite white guy in a tie and still be utterly wrong. What’s worst about Brooks isn’t that he’s wrong–plenty of people are wrong for the right reasons, or wrong because they are misinformed. Brooks *makes a living* lying for money–his columns, generally speaking, are masterpieces of disingenous fakery. I don’t say that because I don’t like him–seems like a nice enough guy to me–or even because I dislike his positions. He doesn’t have the actual courage of any of his positions. Like Frum, destroyed years ago in this Holbo column Brooks can’t possibly mean most of the things he argues–he either argued against them last week, or is leaving out some important idea, or is just plain wrong.

    Sasha Issenberg’s famous take down tells you all you need to know about Brooks as a sociologist and as an apologist–he sucks at both. But my own experience of Brooks is primarily through his weekly apology for the Republican party. I despise him for that not because he’s a true believer but because he’s just such a hideously bad thinker and he’s so clearly paid by some kind of strict plan. All through the Bush years brooks’ job was to perform the function of the centrist, serious, nice guy. Every single column would start with a touching sociological observation, or seeming agreement with some imagined liberal shibboleth, and then around the second paragraph Brooks begins undermining his liberal interloctor/imagined reader and in the end tells you exactly what yesterday or tomorrow’s RNC memo would: conservative values rule/liberals drool. That was his whole shtick. For a while I used to amuse myself by guessing, at the first sentence, which liberal belief, person, theory, or historical fact would be undermined by the last paragraph. This was actually amusing because Brooks was a master at starting out with a counterintuitive or wandering point and then making a jump to the right unexpectedly. He was bucking for being a mini Steve Gould of the right. Too bad he didn’t have either the wit or the intellectual depth to do it. Still, he gave it the old eight hundred word try. And it seems to have paid off for him.

    aimai

  62. 62

    Wow, two threads in a row featuring smart things said by pundits.

    Could this be a trend in this new year? Is 2010 to be the Year of Reason?

    Okay, I’m joking. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  63. 63
    Michael D. says:

    @JPK:

    I gave up on Brooks when he started casually yapping about the salad bar at Applebee’s. No matter how reasonable he may or may not be, that shows a level of laziness that is only going to mean trouble over and over.

    That actually makes YOU lazy, not Brooks. What he was saying was “salad bar at [insert American chain restaurant here]” The fact that he used Applebee’s, a restaurant that doesn’t have a salad bar, makes it funny, sure.

    It doesn’t make his opinion irrational.

    But I always thought of the people who latched onto the whole “Ha! David Brooks is wrong about everything because Applebee’s doesn’t have a salad bar,” gig to be kind of unreasonable people themselves.

    While I didn’t agree with his column, it wasn’t because he used Applebee’s as an example. And because you quit Brooks because he used Applebee’s “Salad Bar” as an example is kind of pathetic.

    I don’t mean to insult you. I just mean, well, you’re normal.

  64. 64
    Darryl says:

    Holy shit, that’s actually a really good column. Could have been written by Bruce Schneier.

    (BTW if you don’t read Schneier’s blog you’re missing some of the smartest commentary on the intarweb)

  65. 65
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @El Cid: That’s the Republican/Right wing way-it’s not enough that we win, others must lose.

    The interesting thing about all of this is that we helped Europe re-build and defend itself, so they wound up better off than we are, and the powers that be sold the American public on the idea that we should be able to do all that stuff for ourselves. Never give a sucker an even break-there’s a slogan for them.

  66. 66
    aimai says:

    Michael D,
    I recommend you read the Isserman piece I linked to up above. The point about the “applebees error” is that Brooks manufactured the suburban universe he marketed as real. He faked his sociological perceptions muffed a brand name issue. If you are going to make a living making a microcosm/macrocosm style argument–and people do–you need to at least try to get your facts right because your conclusions depend on them. Brooks puts his conclusions first and then makes up sociological data to support them. He’s lying to his readers because its more convincing to pretend to advert to facts than to simply admit to making shit up.

    aimai

  67. 67
    JPK says:

    @Michael D.: Thanks for calling me normal, I guess. But I’m not the lazy one here. If Brooks is going to talk about Applebee’s he should at least know what he’s talking about. Obviously, he didn’t, which undermines his whole point. You can call that reasonable. Fine with me. But I don’t.

  68. 68
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    The Enlightened man learns from the Greeks that he is to remove himself and his own personal interests from his cognition. The thought process then proceeds:

    1. Do not seek facts to match your ideas.
    2. Match instead your ideas to the facts you encounter, through your Five Senses, as processed through the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.

    For some reason the staff of the New York Times has a lot of trouble with this. Or they must pretty much all be on some type of mind-altering drug. Perhaps Prozac.

    Tony Soprano was on Prozac in Season One, and the show portrayed his perception as being all fuzzy. But I do not think David Chase was on Prozac, as The Sopranos itself was very well done, and matched closely life data-points that I have encountered. Completely unlike the New York Times.

  69. 69

    But I always thought of the people who latched onto the whole “Ha! David Brooks is wrong about everything because Applebee’s doesn’t have a salad bar,” gig to be kind of unreasonable people themselves.

    Irony-ness. Here you have information access that is beyond the wildest dreams of people just a couple of decades ago, being used to spread false versions of stories even faster and wider than false versions could ever have spread before.

    Not even “Al Gore said he invented the Internet” could spread so fast …. or be so dead wrong.

    Is BJ now going to become the steadfast guardian of precision and accuracy in reporting and recounting popular information?

    Heh.

    I don’t know. Is John Cole going to continue to always pick on gays? I think you get my meaning.

  70. 70

    @Leelee for Obama:
    I forget the actual number but in the early 70s a majority of US manufacturing facilities were pre-WWII. The conversions to war footing during the war were largely useless to peacetime manufacturing. There certainly is something to be said for starting at zero with massive governmental spending by another government.

    This shouldn’t be taken as an appology for American greed and short term thinking.

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @aimai:

    The point about the “applebees error” is that Brooks manufactured the suburban universe he marketed as real.

    Everyone but Michael D understands this.
    It isn’t a simple muff. It’s a carefully strung out lie. It’s used to serve a purpose. It’s not a stand-in for another chain, or a misnomer.

  72. 72
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ@ Top:

    I see John’s Broder and I raise him a Bobo. … It is genuinely good.

    I suspect that, with the start of the new decade, word has finally gone out that liberal is the new center. Or at least that GOPer craziness is not.

    .

  73. 73

    @Michael D.:

    That actually makes YOU lazy, not Brooks. What he was saying was “salad bar at [insert American chain restaurant here]” The fact that he used Applebee’s, a restaurant that doesn’t have a salad bar, makes it funny, sure.
    __
    It doesn’t make his opinion irrational.
    __
    But I always thought of the people who latched onto the whole “Ha! David Brooks is wrong about everything because Applebee’s doesn’t have a salad bar,” gig to be kind of unreasonable people themselves.

    Look, if he had actually said “salad bar at [insert American chain restaurant here]” that would have been … funny, cogent, interesting, even.

    The justification “What he was saying …” is weak sauce. If that’s “what he was saying,” then maybe he should have said it himself the first time.

    Instead, he picked a name out of a hat, showing he didn’t eat at [insert American chain restaurant here], and that his opinion was not irrational but at least highly suspect, and obviously not first-hand.

    Nobody said his opinions were “irrational,” but most said they were to be taken with a high grain of salt because of his factual transgression.

  74. 74
    Gravenstone says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Every time you give us the Smudge, I am transported back to about age 12 when we got the first of our eventually horde of white with grey top knot kittehs.

  75. 75
    aimai says:

    Brooks is a *propagandist* who poses as a *sociologist*–that’s what you have to grasp to read his columns. His function, at least in Bobos in Paradise and in his early work in the last nine years, is to celebrate and apologize for an imaginary “good” suburban/rural conservative voter and to oppose that person to an imaginary blue state elitist. An occasional good column–and by that I mean one that diligently attempts to discuss some public issue in an honest way–is nothing more than the kind of loss leader that a con man or a supermarket chain throws to one or two rubes to entice the others into further losses. Think of it as the first game of three card monte, the lowest level of a carney skeet shoot, or the cheap milk sale at the high priced local grocery store.

    aimai

  76. 76
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Here I will provide an example of how goofy the New York Times is.

    Here is Peter Orszag’s CBO testimony that bailing out Fannie-Freddie would probably cost nothing, and maybe $25 billion through the end of 2010 (that is this year). This is from like eighteen months ago.

    Then here is Bloomberg today: American taxpayers out $400 billion.

    Then consider that at The Facility, if we were to steal more than I think $200 worth of stuff (I don’t steal), that we would be prosecuted as Felons and do jail time.

    So perhaps the New York Times might want to look into Pete’s accounting, as the rest of people looking at this problem eighteen months ago knew that you could not bail out Fannie-Freddie for no money, or maybe $25 billion through the end of 2010. I actually think the number will end up being around a trillion dollars.

    Instead we get these articles from Bobo.

  77. 77
    JGabriel says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I’ve always had the impression that the bomb/device was simply defective. A slightly better trigger/design and boom, no more plane. Or am I wrong?

    Well, I expect that no matter what the trigger design, it’s gonna prove defective and short out in the presence of all that crotch sweat — which ya gotta figure is gonna increase by twelvefold when you know you’re gonna blow off your own nuts.

    Maybe if they used Pampers(tm)…

    .

  78. 78
    Violet says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Instead, he picked a name out of a hat, showing he didn’t eat at [insert American chain restaurant here], and that his opinion was not irrational but at least highly suspect, and obviously not first-hand.

    It was hugely lazy of him. It’s so easy to check stuff like “Does Applebee’s have a salad bar?” That kind of laziness – the kind that the average person can check – throws all of his work into question. If he’s this lazy about fact-checking easy stuff that we can prove wrong, how lazy is he in fact-checking stuff we can’t check very easily?

  79. 79
    Michael D. says:

    @aimai:

    The point about the “applebees error” is that Brooks manufactured the suburban universe he marketed as real.

    Did you know that Apple Pie is not American? It’s probably British. The point about the “apple pie” myth is that Americans manufactured the “As American as Apple Pie” shtick and marketed it as real.

    Everyone who says X is “as American as Apple Pie” is now discredited!

  80. 80
    Michael D. says:

    You know who sucks?

    Cleek, that’s who!! Because I am still seeing BOB’s posts!

  81. 81
    aimai says:

    Michael D,
    Again, I recommend you actually *read the Isserman* piece. Really, you are coming across as not just an apologist for Brooks but incredibly lazy and dishonest yourself. Brooks was not using a cliche, or a frozen form of speech, or even making some kind of joke or pun. This is one example, and only one, in a series of *statements of fact* about a particular region–including the assertion that, contrary to fact, in the “blue states” we have “illegal immigrants” to do our work while in the “red states” we use “machines” like power mowers.

    In Bobos in Paradise and in countless essays, public speeches, and columns Brooks *manufactures* facts, images, stories, and “insights” about a totally fictional cultural divide between “us” and “them”, blue states and red states, unvirtuous and virtuous, unreal americans and real ones. All the “facts” he offers are meant to burnish his credibility as an observer, and thus to prop up his political and cultural conclusions. I’m not saying “false in one false in all”–the Applebees example is just one of an astonishing stream of falsehoods, misstatements, and errors all of which were patently interested, not accidental or disinterested. Again–he gets paid to do this. He gets paid to act as a propagandist for a fairly blatant form of culture warring. And clearly, as far as readers like you are concerned, he’s a damned good buy. You seem absurdly ready to accept outright lies, lazy research, and poor reasoning as not only acceptable (give the kid a d + and let him go home) but even enjoyable and reasonable. Sorry, its poor scholarship, and worse logic. To me that’s not either interesting or reasonable, by any definition.

    aimai

    aimai

  82. 82
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Chuck Butcher: Perhaps it’s time for us to re-watch “The Mouse That Roared”? If we could get some other country to do for us what we did for Europe, we could have Universal Health Care, strong labor unions, 6 weeks of vacation and good retirements. Who do we need to let defeat us? Any ideas?

  83. 83
    JGabriel says:

    Brick Oven Bill:

    Here I will provide an example of how goofy the New York Times is.

    Irony must be sleeping again.

    Brick Oven Bill:

    … perhaps the New York Times might want to look into Pete’s accounting, as the rest of people looking at this problem eighteen months ago knew that you could not bail out Fannie-Freddie for no money, or maybe $25 billion through the end of 2010.

    Jeepers, BOB, you really don’t understand jackshit about economics or recent history, do you? The problem is not the government takeover of Fannie/Freddie (which you seem to forget happened on Bush’s watch), but that Fanny/Freddie was originally a government program and should NEVER have been made into a semi-private enterprise with implicit gov’t backing.

    Once they new they could take tons of risk with the gov’t to bail them out if they lost — i.e., once the profits were privatized, and losses socialized — inappropriate risk-taking leading to an eventual bailout was inevitable.

    So not only was the gov’t correct to take over Fannie/Freddie, but they should never let it go private again.

    .

  84. 84
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Michael D: Oh heck, I remember when Neal Boortz had a daily show on the *old* WGST, long before he headed down the street to Welcome South Brother and certainly before he went syndicated/national. And yes, I remember listening to Sean Hannity on local Atlanta radio in the early ’90s, and while I almost always disagreed with his conclusions, I usually found him both “reasonable” (in the sense we’ve been discussing it here) and entertaining. There was very little mean-spiritedness in those days. Same with Boortz back then. It does seem that the obscenely big bucks and a national platform combine to create a race to the wingnuttiest over-the-top. And also, of course, what happened corporately with Clear Channel. I don’t even listen to ‘GST for traffic updates any more (used to love Keith Kalland, RIP) and haven’t since the owners started messing with format and firing a lot of good talent and producers (remember HolyCrapIt’sGolfSnakeDavis. The Kimmer. Even solid-as-Gibralter Denis O’Hayer.)

    /radiohead

  85. 85
    kay says:

    It’s great that David Brooks finally got there, but I think it’s arrogant of him to assume that their were only pro-anti camps in the US on risk.

    I never believed an attack could be prevented with technology or layers of security.

    And I think there are a lot of people like me, with a realistic appreciation of the trade-off between risk and security. A majority, I’m willing to bet. We just got drowned out by all the screeching and hysterics and blatant politicizing on the Right.

    But, welcome to the grown-club, Mr. Brooks. It’s a big club. The vast majority of Americans were and are in it, and that might have become clear earlier had certain people not used fear as a political bludgeon for eight years.

    Still, better late than never, I guess.

    It kills me that having finally faced the obvious, 7 years later than most people, he’s now going to lecture on it.

  86. 86
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    “The astonishing election of 2008 is over. Whatever else the future holds, the unchallenged domination of American national government by big business and the political right has been broken.”
    -Francis

    When the New York Times questions who got those $400 billion (probably $1 trillion) taxpayer dollars, do you think that they will delve into the conflict of interest that Rahm was on the Fannie-Freddie board of directors, and the Rahm promoted Pete, who bailed out Rahm?

    Rahm also cleared $16 million from that AT&T deal with the new guy in charge of GM, that Rahm put in charge of GM.

    Francis Fox Piven is a very stupid woman, or is perhaps an agent of the moneyed. Did her husband Cloward have a very small thingy that made both of these people cranky? All Cheney received was deferred $200k/yr compensation from his time running an infrastructure company, honest work for the most part. Axlerod is cashing $3 million checks for selling the word ‘astroturf’, this money is not for purchasing political influence, you see.

    Francis lives in the same neighborhood as many of the writers of the New York Times. Perhaps there is a bad water system.

  87. 87
    aimai says:

    This. With italics added and a few stars that you can’t see:

    But, welcome to the grown-club, Mr. Brooks. It’s a big club. The vast majority of Americans were and are in it, and that might have become clear earlier had certain people not used fear as a political bludgeon for eight years.__
    Still, better late than never, I guess.__
    It kills me that having finally faced the obvious, 7 years later than most people, he’s now going to lecture on it.

    –aimai

  88. 88
  89. 89

    Hey, wait, how did Michael D. get YouTube Powers?

  90. 90
    Michael D. says:

    LOL! It’s now powers. Anyone can do it. Just copy the embed code and paste it in the comment.

    Done.

  91. 91
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Violet:

    “This kind of laziness . . . throws all of his work into question.”

    You have just stated beautifully a point that I’ve been attempting to make for at least 20 years. Part of my job is evaluating grant proposals from academics in a range of disciplines, and make recommendations on funding (i.e. whether to fund in the first place and if so, at what level).

    Applicants might be shocked at the number of proposals I’ve heaved directly into the Do Not Fund pile because they were riddled with sloppy typos, grammatical and syntactical errors, superfluous apostrophes, and egregious misspellings (I have no problem with the occasional slip; I’m talking about patterns).

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @aimai:

    I’m grateful. I’m enormously relieved.

    I watched the hysteria building (being built) and I was hoping Americans were further along than the pundits, 8 years later, and I think they are.

    I was wondering if conservatives could kill the rational security-risk debate again, by pulling the same nonsense. But, maybe individuals had the debate without them, and reached their own sensible conclusions, so they weren’t as vulnerable this time.

    While Brooks was sitting on his ass feeling all cuddly and secure and smug, the rest of us were gradually facing reality.

    It’s a shame that we wasted all that time on all that bullshit, but-onward!

    I’m glad he’s finally onboard. I don’t know how we would have managed without him :)

  93. 93
    AhabTRuler says:

    Anyone can do it. Just copy the embed code and paste it in the comment.

    Negatory.

  94. 94

    Test

    ETA: Test 2:

    ETA 2: Nope, not working for me.

  95. 95
    Michael D. says:

    I promise you. I don’t have any special comment powers here.

    This is the code I put in. I’ve added spaces before and after brackets so it will show up as code here.

    That’s it.

    < object width="425" height="344" >< param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/t73M2Lysv18&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" >< /param >< param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" >< /param >< param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" >< /param >< embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/t73M2Lysv18&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344" >< /embed >< /object >

  96. 96
    gbear says:

    @Violet:

    In other news, Rush Limbaugh has left the hospital. They don’t know what caused his chest pains.

    karma

  97. 97
    JGabriel says:

    Michael D.:

    LOL! It’s now powers.

    Apparently it’s former front-pager powers instead.

    .

  98. 98

    Here we are trying again:

    ETA: Nothing.

  99. 99
    Michael D. says:

    Sorry, if I have special powers, it’s not because I asked or anything. :-(

    In that respect though, I’ll post your YouTubes.

  100. 100
    henqiguai says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Sorry, if I have special powers, it’s not because I asked or anything.

    With greatspecial powers come greatspecial responsibilities.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  101. 101
    Jody says:

    @gbear:

    No, that woulda been Parkinson’s.

  102. 102
    Cat Lady says:

    @Jody:

    Win.

  103. 103
    SIA says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: She is a very lovely young lady-kitty…(er-gentleman-kitty?).

  104. 104
    Texas Dem says:

    Not to sound callous, but they could subject all air travelers to body cavity searches and it would’t affect me one iota. I don’t fly. Period. But journalists and charter members of the Village spend a lot of time in airports. Perhaps Brooks (and Broder for that matter) are simply reflecting that fact that they are going to be inconvenienced by the “Security Theater” at our airports, as opposed to non-travelers like me, who will use the highways or just stay at home.

  105. 105
    SIA says:

    @henqiguai: Blood sugar are not, you are absolutely cor-rect.

  106. 106
    gbear says:

    @Jody: true that.

  107. 107
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Michael D.:

    But I always thought of the people who latched onto the whole “Ha! David Brooks is wrong about everything because Applebee’s doesn’t have a salad bar,” gig to be kind of unreasonable people themselves.
    __
    While I didn’t agree with his column, it wasn’t because he used Applebee’s as an example. And because you quit Brooks because he used Applebee’s “Salad Bar” as an example is kind of pathetic.

    I put David Brooks in my personal “Moral Criminal” file after the cover story in the Atlantic in the early 1990s where he assured us readers that Heartland Americans(tm) didn’t want good food or quality consumer products. Having more choices than offered at Walmart and Red Lobster — which he name-checked — would only confuse and anger the Redstaters! And therefore, the fact that the purchasing power of the minimum wage kept dropping, and the way decent jobs kept disappearing as the MBA Generation broke the unions by shipping manufacturing jobs overseas, was actually good for the happy serfs of the Midwest! America, fvck yeah!

    (Wish I could find that article online, but either it’s behind the subscription wall or my google-fu is not strong enough. That article was when I decided to let my Atlantic subscription lapse. I still buy the magazine on the stands sometimes, but I ask the clerk to put it in a plain wrapper.)

    Brooks has made himself a very nice high-pay, low-effort niche assuring the “right” people that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. The seekers after such sinecures haven’t changed since Voltaire’s time, and neither has the level of derision they deserve.

  108. 108
    SIA says:

    @Violet: I think that is true. My SO, who reads biographies by the boatload, is always telling me things are just like they were in the —- administration (pick one). The change that I sense is that in past generations, education was seen as a worthy goal and achievement. Now, in the mainstream, lowest common denominator media, education means one is a librul elite soshulist etc etc and is scorned and ridiculed. It just seems in terms of national character, we peaked sometime in the middle of the last century and it’s been a slow decline ever since. Hope I’m wrong.

  109. 109
    SIA says:

    @SIA: Substitute “or” for “are”.

  110. 110
    SIA says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: We had Mike Malloy for a while. What happened to him? Now it’s all wingnut, all the time.

  111. 111
  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @Anne Laurie: Damn. We’ve got “sinecure” in this thread and “synecdoche” in the next one.
    My weekend cup runneth over.

  113. 113
    jrosen says:

    Bomb Crotchit?

    Not bad.

    How about “Great Balls of Fire”?

  114. 114
    noncarborundum says:

    @Molly:
    AKA the ‘Nad Bomber. Was it here that I read that? I still think it’s the best.

  115. 115
    JGabriel says:

    Anne Laurie:

    The seekers after such sinecures haven’t changed since Voltaire’s time, and neither has the level of derision they deserve.

    Actually, they have: they’re much worse. Voltaire based Pangloss upon Liebniz, who at least had the merit of being a great mathematician.

    Bobo, on the other hand, not so much merit.

    .

  116. 116
    slag says:

    Let us now praise famous men

    Well done!

    @aimai:

    An occasional good column—and by that I mean one that diligently attempts to discuss some public issue in an honest way—is nothing more than the kind of loss leader that a con man or a supermarket chain throws to one or two rubes to entice the others into further losses.

    So very true! Brooks is similar to Faux News in this respect.

  117. 117
    Mister Colorful Analogy says:

    @Michael D.:

    Are you going to respond in any serious form to aimai and the others here who are attempting to engage you in a substantive discussion? Or are you going to go with somewhat dickish responses that ignore the refutations of your statements?

    Just my opinion.

    Mr. CA

  118. 118
    mutt says:

    ‘That mature attitude seems to have largely vanished. Now we seem to expect perfection from government and then throw temper tantrums when it is not achieved. We seem to be in the position of young adolescents — who believe mommy and daddy can take care of everything, and then grow angry and cynical when it becomes clear they can’t.’

    yeah. Im pissed because I cant get perfection.
    what n asswipe…..

  119. 119
    4jkb4ia says:

    No respect! Did I not comment about this very column the post before?

Comments are closed.