Divorced From Reality

It’s finally happened:  somebody’s managed to penetrate David Brooks’s neutronium denial shield and impress upon him that the American economy isn’t so hot for the proles at the Applebee’s salad bar, and all that manages to come tumbling out is that Both Sides Do It.

Democrats claim America is threatened by the financial elite, who hog society’s resources. But that’s a distraction. The real social gap is between the top 20 percent and the lower 30 percent. The liberal members of the upper tribe latch onto this top 1 percent narrative because it excuses them from the central role they themselves are playing in driving inequality and unfairness.

It’s wrong to describe an America in which the salt of the earth common people are preyed upon by this or that nefarious elite. It’s wrong to tell the familiar underdog morality tale in which the problems of the masses are caused by the elites.

The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive. They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict codes to regulate their kids.

Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from traditional bourgeois norms. They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive.

I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

If we could jam the tribes together, we’d have a better elite and a better mass.

It’s like Brooks is some sort of Sisyphean device that has one purpose:  to take any possible social paradigm observation, smash it with a sledgehammer, and reconstruct the bits in order to fit his god-awful worldview of bipartisanship, even if the pieces don’t fit and had nothing to do with the original observation in the first place, and he has to repeat that until the end of time.  There are people that just don’t get it, people that don’t get it on purpose as satire, and then there’s David Brooks (who should be regularly harvested for the rich oil of contempt for anyone who makes less than six figures that he drips with) who somehow manages to make “not getting it” into an exciting new field of scientific endeavor.  I’ve got a fiver that says if Brooks was jammed together with any actual American middle-class salt-of-the-earth family for more than 3 hours, there would be blood all over the carport and a Garden Weasel shoved in a very uncomfortable place upon his person.

And he would not get invited to Applebee’s.  No sir.  No riblets for him.

[UPDATE]  Seriously, is this blame the victims week at the Village or what?

[UPDATE THE SECONDCharles Pierce in the center square for the win.

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262 replies
  1. 1
    General Stuck says:

    I’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.

    So it figures the entire book excludes all minorities and only uses stats for the experiences of white people. Wish i could say these white supremacists ‘shocked’ me, but they only head further down the well traveled nativistic rabbit hole searching for white wonderland.

  2. 2
    jacy says:

    Great googly creeping god – could Brooks be any more horrifyingly insufferable and patently obtuse? I think not. That’s just an insane mess of…something. Trying to parse out any actual sense from Brooks is a fool’s errand.

    eta: I haz edit function. Huzzah!

  3. 3
    Mike Goetz says:

    “disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods”

    What in Satan’s gooch does that even mean?

    I would have achieved more, but Derrida destabilized the meaning of my apartment block.

  4. 4
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    Eugene Robinson, on the other hand, at least asks a
    relevant question

  5. 5
    RossInDetroit says:

    I saw this on the NYT Opinion pages this morning, read it and wondered how long before Bobo would be getting barbecued here on BJ.
    You never disappoint.

  6. 6
    RossInDetroit says:

    Bobo says that if we could only mash together the upper crust and the bottom of the barrel it would improve both. But he has cited not one single positive thing about the Lower Tribe that they could contribute to the Upper Tribe.

  7. 7
    bago says:

    Democrats claim America is threatened by the financial elite, who hog society’s resources.

    What, the responsible people who get paid the big bucks because their judgement allows us to avoid financial catastrophes like that thing in the two-thousandies?

  8. 8
    Violet says:

    Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from traditional bourgeois norms. They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive.

    WTF is this crap? Your neighborhood makes you less self-disciplined and productive? Oh, how sad we can’t all live in a Park Avenue penthouse or summer at the Hamptons.

    Has anyone checked the dictionary lately? Does the word “Condescension” have Bobo’s picture by it? Or is it the word “Clueless”? Or both?

  9. 9
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    I would have achieved more, but Derrida destabilized the meaning of my apartment block.

    Well played sir. That should be a one line retort to Brooks for this column in his email, once a day, every day, forever.

  10. 10
    negative 1 says:

    For the record, David Brooks is now endorsing the work of known racists (Charles Murray, from The Bell Curve aka Why Slaveowners Were Totally Right). Please join me in writing to the New York Times ombudsman, at least if such a thing exists and isn’t really just the dead letter office.
    Plus “man of the people” Brooks thinks that you would’ve been the financial elite, if only you sinful people wouldn’t get divorced. Not that poverty puts a strain on a marriage, not that it’s tough to stay together for the kids when you can’t feed them, not that having to move in with in-laws destroys intimacy, nope, none of that. It’s that you had sexytime without thinking of your 401K. Real man of the people, that David Brooks. I hope when this republic is collapsing that someone at least remembers Brooks enough to stop by his house among the flames and say hi.

  11. 11
    RossInDetroit says:

    The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive a shit pot of money, and that makes them Important. They may mimic bohemian manners pretend to be slobs, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices are actually highly reactionary. They have low divorce rates a lot to lose in a divorce court, arduous work ethics spend a lot of time away from home and strict codes to regulate their kids make sure the cops look the other way when junior’s cutting up.

    Fix’d

  12. 12
    Bullsmith says:

    If there’s any one person in the media who desperately needs to be soundly slapped around, it’s David Brooks.

  13. 13
    scav says:

    The lower tribe habit of trophy wives is a well known social phenomenon, as is the inevitably lower tribe status of homosexual pairings judged vis-a-vis other pairings. Reality is suing the Brooks for child support at this point.

  14. 14
    bago says:

    The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive

    And what did they produce? You know, beyond the greatest financial catastrophe in 79 years and the evaporation of trillions of dollars of wealth.

  15. 15
    Bulworth says:

    @Mike Goetz: It’s goobledygook for “liberals suck”.

  16. 16
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict codes to regulate their kids.

    Ok Brooks eats Applebees but does he really know any rich people to write a line as ludicrous as this? Know as beyond, his face in some rich guy lap kind of way.

    Most of the rich I know are the biggest stoners you ever meet. The difference between the rich and the poor is the rich get their recreational drugs from a doctor. If they don’t have a high divorce rate its because of their open marriages. As for their children,.. dear gods.

  17. 17
    lacp says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    “disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods”

    What in Satan’s gooch does that even mean?

    Negroes. You’re welcome.

  18. 18
    Bulworth says:

    And what did they produce?

    Yeah I was wondering that too. I guess our media class is really “productive” but what are they producing, exactly?

  19. 19
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Bullsmith: I just don’t understand why is so well regarded among the people, DougJ likes to call totebaggers. He is a shill for the Republican Party not much better than Bill Kristol or any other right wing hack.

  20. 20
    Bulworth says:

    Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big

    So they work hard, but they don’t succeed? Why not?

  21. 21
    Alesis says:

    Someone should mark this moment for its historical value. On January 30, 2012 David Brooks authored a newspaper column that will be known throughout time as:

    The Stupidest Thing Ever Articulated in the English Language

    I know this can’t be Peak Wingnut, but perhaps its time to introduce a limiting concept. This is the birth of the Wingnut Uncertainty Principle.

    In theory you could be dumber but we lack the capacity to measure it.

  22. 22
    RossInDetroit says:

    People in the lower tribe are much less likely to get married, less likely to go to church

    Oh, really? Who has the highest church attendance, Bobo? That would n’t be African Americans and Hispanics, would it?

  23. 23
    slag says:

    There are people that just don’t get it, people that don’t get it on purpose as satire, and then there’s David Brooks…who somehow manages to make “not getting it” into an exciting new field of scientific endeavor.

    Nicely put!

  24. 24
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    You sound shocked, shocked I say to see Bobo write “both sides do it” for the eleventy billionth time.

    It’s what he does. The fact NPR has him on once a week is yet another reason why NPR will never see a dime of my money.

    The instant he stops doing that, that will be noteworthy.

  25. 25
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Alesis:

    The amount of brains that went into that column has shrunk to an intellectual Planck Length, so tiny that nothing below it can be measured.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    BoBo is beyond useless, and totally predictable.

    No fine Corinthian leather for his tumbrel. Bare wood, with splinters.

  27. 27
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Alesis:

    I know this can’t be Peak Wingnut, but perhaps its time to introduce a limiting concept. This is the birth of the Wingnut Uncertainty Principle.In theory you could be dumber but we lack the capacity to measure it.

    Your right, this is what the Right looks like in a Wingnut singularity.

  28. 28
    Bulworth says:

    @RossInDetroit: Since the book he’s talking about is about White people perhaps he means that the lower “tribe” of Whites don’t go to church as much. But that still contradicts the whole Heartland of America meme about how much more Godly our fly-over bretheran are about God and faith and all that. Is Bobo turning against his Appleby comrades?

  29. 29
    Ben Cisco says:

    I got tricked into reading this first thing this morning. I now know first hand exactly Brooks is despised by all sentient beings.
    __
    That said, I would have been quite content to continue taking you guys/gals at your word. Really I would’ve.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    As for their children,.. dear gods.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present….Luke Russert!

  31. 31
    Elizabelle says:

    Bobo:

    We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    David Brooks. How dare you go home tonight to your Bethesda/Chevy Chase neighborhood that most of the top 20% cannot afford.

    If there’s ever a man who is begging to move in with a less worthy “tribe”, it be you.

    Destiny calls you.

    Go be their role model. Now.

  32. 32
    dmsilev says:

    @Bullsmith:

    If there’s any one person in the media who desperately needs to be soundly slapped around, it’s David Brooks.

    I watched the State of the Union speech on PBS, and it took all of about 2 minutes of the pre-speech coverage for me to begin wishing that someone would walk onto the set and slap David Brooks in the face with a large wet fish.

    It might not do him a lot of good, but the rest of us would surely enjoy watching.

  33. 33
    Quarks says:

    You know, I think you’re being a bit harsh here — Brooks does admit that the elites are embracing 1950s values and practices. You know, the ones that included segregation and limited opportunities for minorities and women. I feel his openness in admitting to this is an important step.

    On the other hand, I can see where the “postmodern neighborhood” phrase would have confused you, since…yeah, I have nothing for that.

  34. 34
    Violet says:

    I wish someone much more talented than me would create a visual image of David Brooks’ world. In the current update, all homes would be designed by Phillip Johnson or other post-modern architects. The only restaurant available would be an Applebees, with a salad bar, of course. I’d love to see a visual representation of this odd world that Bobo considers so ideal.

  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    PS Zandar: thank you for the extended Boboprose excerpt.

    It’s as much as I’ll read of his essay, but might cruise the NYTimes reader comments later for laffs.

  36. 36
    John Weiss says:

    David Brooks.

    Unfortunately I’ve the internet so I hear about him from time to time. What a prickmeister!

    Happily, here in my mountain fastness, I can’t see him from here. That’s something!

  37. 37
    JGabriel says:

    David Brooks:

    Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from traditional bourgeois norms. They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods …

    For FSM’s sake, and all that is good and green and holy in the world, what the hell is a fucking goddamn postmodern neighborhood?

    Is it a place where the bookstore stocks Foucault and Derrida? ‘Cause I don’t see that being a money making venture in the realm of the “lower tribes”.

    .

  38. 38
    scav says:

    Has anyone ever seen the long-form marriage certificate indicating Brooks and reality were ever married? Any photographic evidence they were ever even slightly acquainted?

  39. 39
    chopper says:

    somewhere Broder’s burning, tortured soul is croaking out ‘so…the student has become the masterrrrrrrrr…..”

  40. 40
    maya says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    But he has cited not one single positive thing about the Lower Tribe that they could contribute to the Upper Tribe.

    Yeah. He could have easily mentioned that the LT could teach the UT how to jump higher, cook okra, and, perhaps, impart to them a better sense of rhythm.
    He may have had second thoughts.

  41. 41
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    @Alesis: It’s kind of like the concept of pi. Mathematicians will be able to make a name for themselves by assigning just SLIGHTLY more precision to the value of Wingnut Stupid, but the actual termination of the value does not exist.

  42. 42
    artem1s says:

    @Alesis:

    This is the birth of the Wingnut Uncertainty Principle. In theory you could be dumber but we lack the capacity to measure it.

    FTW. I am totally stealing this. :D

  43. 43
    bemused says:

    Republicans are sledgehammer reconstructionists on everything, from life and death matters to petty stuff and nonsense. It’s how they roll.

  44. 44
    JGabriel says:

    @Alesis:

    I know this can’t be Peak Wingnut, but perhaps its time to introduce a limiting concept. This is the birth of the Wingnut Uncertainty Principle.

    Perhaps we could call it the Chandrasekhar Limit of Stupidity, where the dumb collapses into a Wingularity.

    .

  45. 45
    Bob2 says:

    Probably got caught in the spam filter, but the ad to the left about mutually beneficial arrangements in a post about David Brooks is making me laugh.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    @Elizabelle:

    We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    Sounds like a clear call for The Draft to me.

    ETA: So long as their Pre-modern barracks, it goes without saying. (which is why I added it).

  47. 47
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    It’s approximate value is 0.27 of a whole, but the digits just go on forever.

  48. 48
    Amir Khalid says:

    @scav:

    Reality is suing the Brooks for child support at this point.

    You’re assuming that Bobo was once on intimate terms with reality. Not sure if there’s evidence for that.

  49. 49
    Egg Berry says:

    @Alesis:

    Someone should mark this moment for its historical value. On January 30, 2012 David Brooks authored a newspaper column that will be known throughout time as:
    __
    The Stupidest Thing Ever Articulated in the English Language

    There’s always next week!

  50. 50
    GregB says:

    Meanwhile, in the good news department.

    Watermelon Dan Burton is rumored to be retiring.

    Seems like a lot of GOP-ers are bailing out these days.

    TPM.

  51. 51
    General Stuck says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    But he has cited not one single positive thing about the Lower Tribe that they could contribute to the Upper Tribe

    When the Chablis runs out, the lower tribe can furnish an inexhaustible supply of Thunderbird. I’m guessing Brooks was too embarrassed to mention it.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @scav:

    Yup, my thought exactly. BTW, the members of the upper tribe don’t get to be officers. They can be enlisted swine and clean latrines for a while. Teach them some humility.

    To his credit, Steve Forbes served as a cook. Didn’t help him that much, but others might benefit from learning to SERVE rather than BE SERVED.

  53. 53
    Sly says:

    We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    If only there was a Federal program that gave low-income citizens access to institutions that have a primary mission of social and economic empowerment.

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I just don’t understand why is so well regarded among the people, DougJ likes to call totebaggers. He is a shill for the Republican Party not much better than Bill Kristol or any other right wing hack.

    David Brooks is a dumb liberal’s idea of what a smart conservative sounds like.

  54. 54
    scav says:

    @Amir Khalid: Funny, I caught up with you by 38. If I’m very very lucky, I’ll grow up to be you.

  55. 55
    JGabriel says:

    @RossInDetroit: I think Bobo’s talking about poor people in general, and “white trash” in the specific, rather than Hispanics and African Americans.

    That’s not to defend Bobo or say he doesn’t blow racist dogwhistles, it’s just to say he’s (probably) not doing it this time.

    .

  56. 56
    cmorenc says:

    Brooks method is to seize upon some unremarkably true social premise whose truth lies in significant part in being so vague and superficial underneath the psycho-socio-econo-speak that it is in fact comprised in large part of weakly related examples. In general, yes in the U.S. there tends to more often be a “social gap” between people in the top 20% and the bottom 30% than in say, a less socio-economically stratified country like Denmark. Brooks second step is to seize on some allegedly key categorical distinction in his premise (“social gap”) which is so broad and undifferentiated as to include whatever meaning is convenient to the soft-conservative ideological point Brooks is trying to harness it to. The third step is to then say: “LOOK what profoundly remarkable socio-ideological point I just proved!” The final step in Brooks’ methodology is to point to some 60% – 40% soft conservative/soft progressive resolution direction both sides should agree upon, in the interests of bipartisanship (60-40 because Brooks will of course come down a bit more favorably to the conservative side).

    Someone should write a lampoon of Brooks by writing similar drivel 60-40 from the progressive side. OH, WAIT! THERE’S SOMEONE WHO DOES EXACTLY THAT! Well, not exactly, since Thomas Friedman aka the “great mustache of understanding” actually takes himself dead-seriously, though perhaps we could take his work as unintentional parody of both himself and Brooks.

  57. 57
    different-church-lady says:

    Yup, you’ve put your finger on it. In fact, you’ve pretty much put your fist on it. But I’ll offer this one little refinement — a bit of what makes Brooks so infuriating is that he frequently starts off with a legitimate, insightful observation like…

    The real social gap is between the top 20 percent and the lower 30 percent.

    …which then immediately gets followed with…

    The liberal members of the upper tribe…

    …and before you’ve even hit the end of the sentence the sledgehammer has sent everything spinning into the guardrail. Yup, he’s done it again: drew you in to his tarpit of big-thinking, only to find out you’re being hopelessly sucked down into the stupid. Other pundits you can just ignore, but Brooks actually manages to engage your mind before destroying it.

    Also, too:

    If we could jam the tribes together, we’d have a better elite and a better mass.

    So says the man who hasn’t been in the same room with a “mass” in thirty years.

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I know all of those words, but that column doesn’t make any sense.

    / Lisa Simpson

  59. 59
    The Moar You Know says:

    I’d like to beat him like a pinata and see what comes out. I bet it’s not candy, sadly.

  60. 60

    […] “It’s like Brooks is some sort of Sisyphean device that has one purpose:  to take any possi… Ever want to hug a run-on sentence for being awesome, despite itself? […]

  61. 61
    RossInDetroit says:

    Scanning the first few dozen NYT comments on Bobo’s drivel I see 2 things popping up a lot:

    national service.
    public education.

    The first will never happen absent a war. The second will never be improved as long as the elites can manage to keep the lower orders out of the good schools.

  62. 62
    different-church-lady says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I just don’t understand why is so well regarded among the people, DougJ likes to call totebaggers.

    Because NPR keeps putting him on their TVs.

  63. 63
    jurassicpork says:

    The last time a guy prematurely crowned himself, we called him Napoleon.

  64. 64
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Alesis:

    I know this can’t be Peak Wingnut

    Perhaps we should consider it as a lesser achivement, but one which is nonetheless worth noting: Peak Totebagger.

  65. 65
    harlana says:

    why doesn’t he just vomit all over his column and save himself and everybody else the time and effort

  66. 66
    scav says:

    @JGabriel: Indeed. The Peasants are not only revolting in an adjectival sense, they’re moving toward verb, active, ongoing. The Villagers need to get the idealized heartland back under control, so into the gated communities it goes. Admire your betters, voters!

  67. 67
    GregB says:

    I hear the lower tribe make a delicious flavor of Soylent Green.

  68. 68
    Violet says:

    Bobo must use a Totebagger-Soothing Word Salad Generator to write these columns. I don’t think he even knows what’s in them. Just presses the button on the word salad generator and out comes drivel like “They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive.” And totegaggers nod along approvingly.

  69. 69
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Elizabelle:

    We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    We use to have something like this. I call it “Eisenhower Era top marginal taxation rates”.

  70. 70
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @RossInDetroit: Yes, but Brooks doesn’t think about the lesser people. Only whites exist in this country.

  71. 71
    Emma says:

    @JGabriel: I vote for this one.

  72. 72
    harlana says:

    i see, all that work i did to help make rich people make more money is “unproductive” because i do not live in a gated community like they do

    got it

  73. 73
    RossInDetroit says:

    @JGabriel:

    I think Bobo’s talking about poor people in general, and “white trash” in the specific, rather than Hispanics and African Americans.

    That appears to be the case. This is just about white people. So it’s narrowed down to the point of irrelevance.
    Nice work, Brooksie. Next, let’s have a discussion of health insurance that excludes women, children and the elderly. It’d be about this meaningful.

  74. 74
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    Derrida destabilized the meaning of my apartment block.

    Genius.

    Dear Mr. Cole,

    This needs to be a tag.

  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Moar You Know: Don’t try it — it’ll probably just be another dozen columns.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    negative 1 says:

    To give you faith in your fellow man-

    The comments on Brooks piece are now closed. If you read through them he is now being absolutely trashed.

  78. 78
    Yevgraf says:

    Those fuckers at the NYT closed off the comments.

    They couldn’t even handle polite criticism.

    Somebody above mentioned wishing that somebody slapped him in the face with a wet fish, but that’s way too kind. I prefer to imagine Robert DeNiro with the baseball bat, hitting Brooks mouth first.

  79. 79
    harlana says:

    I’ve got a fiver that says if Brooks was jammed together with any actual American middle-class salt-of-the-earth family for more than 3 hours, there would be blood all over the carport and a Garden Weasel shoved in a very uncomfortable place upon his person.

    GOLD!

  80. 80
    negative 1 says:

    @JGabriel: So his defense is “I’m not racist — I hate white trash as much as the browns!”

  81. 81
    The Moar You Know says:

    The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive. They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict codes to regulate their kids.

    This makes me want to shit my pants with despair. I have lived and worked with these “upper tribe” jackoffs ALL MY FUCKING LIFE. My part of the world has the most heavy concentration of actual one percenters in this country. It sucks.

    1. “traditionalist values and practices.” MY ASS.
    2. “low divorce rates” Sure. Dad’s out banging secretaries, and mom’s out playing hide the salami with the poolboy. Why divorce? Everyone’s getting what they want. See #1.
    3. “arduous work ethics”. Oh fuck, this is a goddamn laugh riot. Nobody works less than this group of parasites. You want to know who has an “arduous work ethic”? My fucking gardener. He’s 81 goddamn years old and works seven days a week. That’s a fucking work ethic, Brooks. Not 10-2 on most weekdays, like all the so-called self-styled “members of the upper tribe”. Jesus.
    4. “strict codes to regulate their kids.” Here’s the part that makes me want to cry. My wife teaches these well-regulated servants of Satan. When they’re not out getting high on oxycontin, selling drugs, spraying graffiti, telling cops to fuck off, beating each other senseless, stealing from each other’s homes, or fucking each other in the ass, they’re having their “upper tribe” parents call my wife and threaten her with lawsuits if she doesn’t give little Jimmy or Jane full credit for work they never turned in. She has to, of course. Orders from on high. Quite a few of these little scions of privilege will walk right into a four-year college never having done a lick of work in their entire school careers. And the best part is, the rest of us are paying for that.

    Fuck Brooks. He and his “upper tribe” is what is wrong with America. Nothing else. Just them.

  82. 82
    ChrisNYC says:

    How many times is he going to write the same damn column? It’s one idea and not a very good idea. Enough, David! Enough! We get it. You’re at heart a nerdy, conventional 16 year old who insists that the chaotic and complicated world conform to your simple rules because anything else makes you NERVOUS and WORRIED.

  83. 83
    feebog says:

    Brooks starts with a flawed premise and goes downhill from there:

    The real social gap is between the top 20 percent and the lower 30 percent.

    No. The OWS movement has it exactly right. The real gap is between the 1% and the 99%. I think I posted this on a thread last week but it bears repeating; the six Walton heirs are worth about 15 billion each. That collective 90 billion dollars is equal to the wealth held by the bottom 30% of the country; the same 30% Brooks describes as “the lower tribe”.

    Most of the 1.2 million employees at Walmart make about 20K a year. They live in or near the poverty line. They could have been paid twice that over the last 20 years and each Walton heir would still be worth 7 or 8 Billion. And what it the difference between 7 billion and 15 billion? Nothing. There is literally nothing you can’t buy, lease, rent, or experience with 7 billion dollars, let alone 15 billion.

    What it comes down to is greed. The Waltons would rather have their employees work at poverty level wages so that they can accumulate more money than they and their heirs will ever spend or need.

    The Super rich, people like Mitt Romney, are sucking money out of the economy at astonishing rates. The result is a broken and unfixable lower class, a middle class where more and more members are slipping into poverty, and an upper working class that knows they are one pink slip away from the same fate.

  84. 84
    grandpa john says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    “disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods”

    What in Satan’s gooch does that even mean?

    Slums

  85. 85
    RossInDetroit says:

    @feebog:

    Most of the 1.2 million employees at Walmart make about 20K a year. They live in or near the poverty line. They could have been paid twice that over the last 20 years and each Walton heir would still be worth 7 or 8 Billion. And what it the difference between 7 billion and 15 billion? Nothing.

    Additional point: the difference for the workers getting twice the pay is you’d get better workers, have a more efficient and productive corporation and a better brand. So they would have gotten actual value for the extra money spent.

  86. 86
    JGabriel says:

    negative 1:

    So his defense is “I’m not racist—I hate white trash as much as the browns!”

    Yeppers! That’s what it looks like (this time). Thought it’s less a defense than a distinction. Brooks is still class-bound retrograde Galt-worshiping shit, no matter how you cut it.

    .

  87. 87
    Palli says:

    Without money stress and multiple houses, the even the most incompatible couples can stay “married”. or did someone already say that?

  88. 88
    rlrr says:

    The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive.

    Some members of this “upper tribe” can be described as phenomenally productive. Except for a very few, most of these so called “upper tribe” are there because of their choice of parents (even the productive ones, since they often come from families which can afford to send them to college).

  89. 89
    bemused says:

    Does he get shitfaced drunk before, during or after he writes this bilge? No one with even a tenuous grip on reality could do this sober.

    @ChrisNYC
    :
    Terrific rant. “Well-regulated servants of Satan”, heh.

  90. 90
    bago says:

    @Elizabelle: Don’t forget about the Neiman Marcus at Friendship Heights!

  91. 91
    Comrade Mary says:

    TVO, our provincial educational channel, has a great show called Big Ideas, where smart people from all over give one hour talks. (It’s TED for people with longer attention spans).

    I won’t even try to link to all the good talks I’ve seen on it (FYWP), but two standouts include Margaret Atwood on debt (sorry, no link, but the Big Ideas podcast includes it), Robert Adams on The Elegance of the Hedgehog (a lecturer I never heard about on a book I never heard about that was unexpectedly touching), Richard Wilkinson on income inequality, and Simon Winchester on Joseph Needham, an English chemist who wrote the longest book on China in English.

    But — and I think you can see this coming — they also recently featured Bobo the Fuckwit. No, I’m not going to waste a link on him. Where the fuck does this media respect for this asshole come from?

  92. 92
    Michael says:

    On the update, I thought it’s worth noting that Cilliza’s article actually does not blame Obama for polarization at all; whoever wrote the headline was totally misleading.

  93. 93
    Zach says:

    The driving force behind growing White/White inequality, 1960-2010, is suburbanization. People who could afford to do so left the cities, build suburbs and planned communities or move to new communities in the South, and strong-armed their states into local funding for public schools.

    Brooks thinks that the problem is the inverse… that poor White folks somehow were created when people abandoned the 1950s suburban lifestyle.

  94. 94
    harlana says:

    @Yevgraf: i was thinking along the “baseball bat in an alley” sort of thing, i think we are all on the same page on this one – 3 members of the “lower tribes” ought to do a satisfactory job :)

  95. 95
    WereBear says:

    Ah, the 1950’s. Such a glorious set of morals!

    When lynching rates were low.

    When marital rape was legal.

    When child abuse was still not reported.

    What an unmitigated ass.

  96. 96
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    Is that column a fucking joke? I’m looking at my calendar and it doesn’t say April 1. What gives?

    There are no words.

  97. 97
    KCinDC says:

    @feebog, actually I’d say the OWS “1%” idea, while good for slogans, is a little off. There’s a gigantic gap between people who are right at the 1% line, who at least resemble ordinary people in some ways, and those at, say, 0.01%, who live in a completely alien world and have effects in our economy that no rich doctor making $300k can dream of.

    Naturally Brooks decides to move the number in exactly the wrong direction.

  98. 98
    handsmile says:

    Several days ago in his “Oh stewardess, I speak wingnut” post, the current incarnation of DougJ obliquely referred to “America’s worst columnist.” While he was referring to Kaplan Test Prep Daily’s Richard Cohen, several commenters noted the ferocious competition for that dis-honorific.

    As this latest steaming pile of crapulence demonstrates, that crown deserves to be worn by no one other than Bobo.

    “Tribes”? How it is possible in 2012 for a mainstream newspaper columnist to adopt such a phrase, other than ironically, in distinguishing the lived experience of contemporary American social classes? (Only when the writer knows that his paycheck is in no way threatened, I imagine.) And of course, he assigns positive values only to that “tribe” in which he fancies himself a proud member.

    While Brooks disgraces himself once more, we can at least benefit from the inspiration he provides to the satirical mastery of driftglass and Charles Pierce.

    ETA: (And to be fair, there are a number of commenters here who ain’t no slouches in that department on this subject.)

  99. 99
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    @WereBear: But most importantly, the 50’s were a time when everyone knew their place. I think that gets to the heart of it.

  100. 100
    trollhattan says:

    A Brooks column so bad my snark generator froze and my bile generator is working overtime. I either need Maalox or a beer.

    And yet he’s so soothing Fridays on ATC. Somebody needs to Juan Williams him, stat.

  101. 101
    grandpa john says:

    @RossInDetroit: has anyone EVER seen a supporting link or cite for any of Bobo the Liar’s constant regurgitation of supposed facts and opinions?

  102. 102
    harlana says:

    these comments are packed with some awesome, well-justified, righteous rants – bravo BJ’ers!

  103. 103
    Suffern ACE says:

    The “disorganization is the problem so let’s make the poor hang out with the organized social betters” and fear of “distance” is pulled right from turn of the 20th centurty social work handbook. Whenever these guys want to cut up the safety net, they roll that stuff out. Singing the praises of the 19th Century virtuous middle class. I forget the conservative who was singing its praises in the early 1990s. Orlansky or something like that.

  104. 104
    JPL says:

    @Gust Avrakotos: Yup, at the back of the bus or in the closet.

  105. 105
    Pathman says:

    Here’s the bottom line: Oligarchic wealth protection. The “upper tribe” has pulled out all the stops to steal and stash as much money as they possibly can. They’ve bribed the lawmakers to make sure this continues indefinitely. The “lower tribe” are basically cogs in the wheel of money generation for the super rich. They don’t give a shit how many people get ground up and destroyed in the process. I think that sums it up pretty well.

  106. 106
    bago says:

    @GregB: As long as it isn’t Jake Burton Carpenter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burton_Snowboards

  107. 107
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @KCinDC:

    actually I’d say the OWS “1%” idea, while good for slogans, is a little off. There’s a gigantic gap between people who are right at the 1% line, who at least resemble ordinary people in some ways, and those at, say, 0.01%, who live in a completely alien world and have effects in our economy that no rich doctor making $300k can dream of.

    Pretty much our entire income-distribution curve is a fractal of injustice and insecurity. An inverted Devil’s Staircase, as it were.

  108. 108
    RossInDetroit says:

    @handsmile:

    “Tribes”? How it is possible in 2012 for a mainstream newspaper columnist to adopt such a phrase, other than ironically, in distinguishing the lived experience of contemporary American social classes?

    The idea pops up from time to time that everyone can be assigned to one tribe and conclusions can be drawn between tribes. The idea persists until the first cursory analysis shows it to be utter, useless nonsense. But it always pops up again in the writings of people who prefer easy generalities to careful thought.

  109. 109
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    But he has cited not one single positive thing about the Lower Tribe that they could contribute to the Upper Tribe.

    Waaaaaaaay too easy to do…

    Parking lot attendant at Brooksie’s favorite restaurants and country club…

    Pool cleaner…

    Gardener…

    House painter…

    Waiter…

    Anything menial and low paying, where the ability to show extreme deference to the ruling class is considered a real plus…

  110. 110
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Alesis:

    The Stupidest Thing Ever Articulated in the English Language

    Shamelessly stolen (but for a purpose).

  111. 111
    grandpa john says:

    @JGabriel:

    what the hell is a fucking goddamn postmodern neighborhood?

    Fancy name for a slum where all those other people live mostly segregated from the other tribe

  112. 112
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    It’s like Brooks is some sort of Sisyphean device that has one purpose

    Sisyphean indeed in his eternal stamina – though Procrustes also comes to mind for the forced conformity angle.

  113. 113
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @trollhattan:

    I either need Maalox or a beer.

    Why does it have to be one or the other?

    Why not Maalox AND then a beer?

  114. 114
    harlana says:

    it’s nice the way he sliced it up in terms of upper & lower – what happened to the middle class (“tribe”)? i mean, other than the relentless pressure and effort to completely transform them into serfs over the last 30 years?

    one should disguise such wishful thinking a bit more artfully

  115. 115
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Comrade Mary:
    I looked up the Wikipedia on Bobo, and learned — the horror! — he is younger than I, by three weeks and a bit. (Born August 11, 1961, he is also exactly a week younger than Obama.) Per Wikipedia, his career history:

    He worked as an editorial writer and film reviewer for the Washington Times; a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal; a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception; a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly; and as a commentator on National Public Radio. He is now a columnist for The New York Times and commentator on PBS NewsHour.

    It’s this prestigious CV that gets the respect, I guess; the obtuse dunderhead who writes the NYT column, not so much.

  116. 116
    harlana says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: in the Cape Fear remake, Joe Don Baker just went ahead and mixed his Pepto with whiskey

  117. 117
    RSA says:

    It’s wrong to describe an America in which the salt of the earth common people are preyed upon by this or that nefarious elite. It’s wrong to tell the familiar underdog morality tale in which the problems of the masses are caused by the elites.

    You know what’s also wrong? Describing an America in which people who make a lot of money are described as being “phenomenally productive”, as other commenters have pointed out.

    Further, Brooks doesn’t say anything here (I’m not willing to go to the NYTimes to read the entire column) about other pernicious descriptions of America. We’ve probably all heard the bar stool economics parable, in which one rich guy pays for everyone’s drinks, and when they argue about a partial refund, the poorer guys beat up the rich guy. Yeah, poor-on-rich violence is a big problem in America; I guess we should all talk about economic inequity in quiet rooms.

  118. 118
    scav says:

    Figured out the new Masthead and governing principle of the NYT as exemplified by their Ombudsman (Should we check candidates statements for veracity? Be nuanced.) and BoBo

    Any shit that gets clicks

  119. 119
    Loneoak says:

    Shorter Bobo: “The Poors are stupid, lazy, fat, and riddled with STDs. Let’s send them to Rich camp.”

  120. 120
    Gin & Tonic says:

    We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years.

    The draft.

  121. 121
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @Bob2:

    Probably got caught in the spam filter, but the ad to the left about mutually beneficial arrangements in a post about David Brooks is making me laugh.

    I’ve been seeing that since yesterday.

    Today, over on the right, there’s also an ad for marriage counseling services. So I guess it all evens out.

    And yes, Brooks == Moron. Has the man ever held a real job in his life?

  122. 122
    Maude says:

    @Pathman:
    It started in the 1980’s. All that M and A. Destroyed companies, enriched lawyers and the employees were SOL. Now employees are things, not people.

  123. 123
    Hungry Joe says:

    I confess to experiencing a thrill — a cheap one, but then, most thrills are — upon reading “disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods.” Never did I believe that Brooks would again attain the heights of “Hyekian modesty,” but damn, the man did it, he did it.

    And I’ll stand by “heights,” even though “depths” would seem more appropriate, because this isn’t, say, Palinesque stupidity, which is really just garden-variety dumb, tarted up. No, Brooks’ version has a kind of majesty to it. It can take your breath away. And sometimes your breakfast as well.

  124. 124
    burnspbesq says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The draft.

    You absolutely know what the median response to any call for a draft will be.

    “You can have your draft as soon as my kid is too old to be eligible.”

    A draft is a great idea: it will make it politically impossible for the United States to ever again wage non-defensive war. Moms vote.

    True story: when I was a senior in high school, my mom forced me to apply to McGill, a school in which I had absolutely no interest, so that I would have options if I got a bad lottery number.

  125. 125
    AxelFoley says:

    OT and don’t know if anyone else has commented on it, but am I the only one who noticed the Mutually Beneficial Arrangements ad at the top left? If I was rich, I’d be tempted–as long as the chicks looked like that girl by the car in the ad.

  126. 126
    Mark S. says:

    The other day I saw the Charles Murray quiz (I was too lazy to score it) and it had my all-time favorite conservative gotcha question:

    Who is Jimmie Johnson?

    If you say the football coach, you’re a latte-drinking football fan who vacations at Martha’s Vineyard. If you say the NASCAR driver, you’re a salt-of-the-earth redneck and are married to your cousin. It’s inconceivable that someone might know who both of them are.

  127. 127
    handsmile says:

    And another thing…

    They [Tribe Brooks] have…strict codes to regulate their kids.

    Recall that recently BoBo disclosed that one hero of his 12 year-old son is John Boehner. While shuddering to imagine the “strict codes” enforced in the BoBo household to create such youthful repression, I happily foresee “disorganized, postmodern” teen years awaiting chez Brooks.

    @RossInDetroit: (#107)

    Quite right, the notion “pops up from time to time” in the scribbles of feeble and shameless journalists. And is no less repellent each time. The whiff of its racist anthropological origins is readily apparent.

  128. 128
    Elizabelle says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Trust me, we have all noticed it.

  129. 129
    Elizabelle says:

    @scav:

    Great point about the draft.

    Bobo is glad he’s ineligible for that, because he’d be fracked in a record time.

    As befits someone of his astuteness.

  130. 130
    Downpuppy says:

    @AxelFoley: Everybody’s seen the ad by now. The only question is whether MBA goes into the lexicon or the title rotation.

    Charlie Pierce put Cillizza into a Gobshite roundup yesterday.

  131. 131
    grandpa john says:

    @Violet:

    around where I live I don’t see much postmodern about it, although some of them now have moved up a few notchs and live in modern housing, most of them still live in the same tumble down slumlord housing or public housing, that I have seen them living in for the last 60 someodd years

  132. 132
    tomvox1 says:

    Brooks is an idiot but National Service is an idea with merit. Especially paid national service directly after High School helping poverty stricken neighborhoods with their infrastructure. Sort of a vastly expanded Americorps which would, indeed, breed social consciousness. So for Bobo, even a blind squirrel…

  133. 133
    AxelFoley says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Trust me, we have all noticed it.

    ROFL, I should have known everyone else would.

  134. 134
    AxelFoley says:

    @Downpuppy:

    Everybody’s seen the ad by now. The only question is whether MBA goes into the lexicon or the title rotation.

    This.

    Make it so, Cole.

  135. 135
    patrick II says:

    @Alesis:

    “Wingnut Uncertainty Principle — In theory they could be dumber but we lack the capacity to measure it.”

    Very nice. Should be added to the Lexicon.

  136. 136
    hitchhiker says:

    They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices.

    Would this be a good time to point out that the people who actually lived out those traditionalist values and practices raised a generation of what I’m sure Bobo would despise as tuned out, turned on dropouts?

    Also, Charlie Pierce is all over this.
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....ay-6649112

    Oh, for the magical parenting of yesteryear.

  137. 137
    demz taters says:

    Apparently, they’re going to run with the narrative that the poor lack a work ethic because no one models it for them. Bobo is just making Newt’s ideas more palatable for the mainstream. I expect to hear a lot more prattling about the merits of workhouses National Service going forward.

  138. 138
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Someone far smarter than me, perhaps Will Rogers?… once said that all art is political… and that you can either make fun of the upper classes, and thereby appeal to the poor, or you make fun of the poor and appeal to the rich…

    Let’s just say that Brooks KNOWS who’s expense account HE’LL be dining on tonight and leave it at that…

  139. 139
    bemused says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It’s hard to believe he is only 50. I’m older than he is but when I see him on tv, I think fusty, fussy old-fogey.

  140. 140
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @harlana:

    In the Cape Fear remake, Joe Don Baker just went ahead and mixed his Pepto with whiskey

    There ya go… a precedent has been established…

  141. 141
    Nancy says:

    I haven’t read the comments thread, but it sounds like Our Mr. Brooks has been reading Murray’s new tome.

  142. 142
    Gust Avrakotos says:

    @Sly: There are smart conservatives still around?

  143. 143
    Jager says:

    @Elizabelle: I know of a trailer park in Mandan, North Dakota. It would be perfect for Brooks’ experiment. This neighborhood is filled with folks who work at the stock yards, barmaids, construction and oil workers. It even has a few bikers thrown in for good measure. Poor fella would have to cross the bridge to Bismarck to eat at Applebees, its about a 4 mile drive.

  144. 144
    Elizabelle says:

    @hitchhiker:

    WRT Charlie Pierce’s frequent takedowns of Mr. Brooks: I hate to admit this, but with all the (paid) pundits who respond to his nonsensical columns:

    could our Bobo be a job creator?

    Let’s face it, we are just freelancing here.

    (Although there’s enough material for all of us. Bobo Brooks. The “gift” that keeps giving.)

  145. 145
    gelfling545 says:

    @Bulworth: Well, manure, actually. It could be really useful if the spread it around. Unfortunately they are dumping it all in one place so it stinks.

  146. 146
    grandpa john says:

    @burnspbesq: Even better is what we had during my period of being draft eligible the old ‘ Universal military training” which theoretically said that every one served with few exceptions.

  147. 147
    dogwood says:

    Sounds like Brooks is watching too much Downton Abbey. He might talk about National Service bringing the classes together, but what he’d really like to see is the wealthy adding on some servants’ quarters to their McMansions. He doesn’t care about the economic prospects of the “masses”, he just wishes they had better manners.

  148. 148
    RossInDetroit says:

    Most of my co-workers come from the Lower Tribe. Most of them work 2 jobs to make ends meet and their asses are plumb worked off. Occasionally we have a fallen member of the Upper Tribe apply who needs the hours and medical coverage due to reduced circumstances. If they make it through the interview process and seem sturdy enough for the work we’ll give them a try. Several have just vanished in the middle of the first shift and called in the next day to resign.
    But there’s a big difference: they’ve been trained to use the phone to resign instead of just not showing up. I guess they could teach their social inferiors to do that.

  149. 149
    handsmile says:

    Zandar:

    Refreshing this page, I just noticed your “Update.” I’m confused as to whom you consider to be “the victim” in that Kaplan piece.

    Is it Obama as the victim of the GOP’s precedent-shattering obstructionism?

    Is it the readership of that once-proud and respected newspaper, The Washington Post, that’s now reduced to harboring scoundrels such as Cilizza, Gerson, Lane, Will et al et al?

    Are we all the victims of the Village media, that “whorehouse with 400 player pianos” (Pierce)?

    At the moment, the poll accompanying the article, “Is Obama the Most Polarizing President Ever?”, is running 50%/50%.

  150. 150
    grandpa john says:

    @handsmile: Yeah everyones 12 year old should have a drunk habitual liar for a role model in order to grow into an outstanding citizen.

  151. 151
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Seriously, is this blame the victims week at the Village or what?

    Heh. Have you ever seen someone in the media not blame the victims?

    No, seriously. I want you to think about it. Tell me if you’ve ever read anything about a crime without people taking shots at the victims while the media scribe diligently reports. Think about how many columns about rape include a verbatim quoted accusation of victim sluttiness, how many articles about robberies tell you how bad a part of town or how late at night it was, how many reports on actual verifiable facts are then filled with quotes from the “other side” in the name of “balance”.

    Our media is worthless, and it is worthless because they’re a bunch of immoral, monstrous savages who are emotionally drawn to the suffering of other people. Shit, Krugman is pretty clearly one of the more decent people writing a regular column in a major paper and he’s clearly an asshole, he’s just one who happens to use information to make decisions.

    TL;DR – Same as it ever was, chief. Same as it ever was.

  152. 152
    RossInDetroit says:

    @dogwood:

    A friend from England (1924 – 2004) said that war and Cricket mixed the English social classes. He made a big deal out of teamwork and shared effort as social equalizers. Maybe, but it doesn’t seem to have produced much class mobility.

  153. 153
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @handsmile:

    At the moment, the poll accompanying the article, “Is Obama the Most Polarizing President Ever?”, is running 50%/50%.

    So, more polarizing than Abe Lincoln, huh? Wow, that’s pretty impressive.

  154. 154
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Zandar, the rich feel like they have the right to blame the lower people for their misery. Remember, you’re only poor because of the choices you made, such as the parents you were born to. As the sign says, “It’s only class warfare when the poor do it.” (OK, I’m not sure that’s exactly what the sign says, but close enough.)

  155. 155
    jimmiraybob says:

    “…a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, …”

    I understand that forced relocation to Siberia was once very effective in bringing the upper and lower tribes together into one new supertribe – the state criminal tribe. I’m thinking that Generalisimo Francisco Gingrich might find this concept attractive – especially for disobedient judges and purged liberals. Hey, somebody’s going to have to occupy those moon bases. (Allen West also, too.)

  156. 156
    pragmatism says:

    if someone is pining for how things were in the 1950’s, maybe they should acknowledge what the policies and conditions of the 50’s were.

  157. 157
    dogwood says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Zandar, the rich feel like they have the right to blame the lower people for their misery.

    Actually, most rich people stay away from blaming poor people for their own misery. It’s a non-insignificant number of middle class and working class people who fall for the “blame the poor, black, brown people schtick. Rich Republican politicians feed the ignorant what they want to hear.

  158. 158
    liberal says:

    Here’s Dean Baker’s take on the column.

  159. 159
    different-church-lady says:

    @Gin & Tonic: You’re kidding, right? With 99 ways for the “upper tribe” to get out of it, but serving ain’t one?

  160. 160
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @negative 1: I like how many of the comments are “Fix the public school system.”

  161. 161
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @pragmatism:

    Actually, I’d reckon it’s the 1850’s they’re pining for…

    Slavery still legal…

    Women couldn’t vote…

    And if you saw a large tract of unspoiled, virgin wilderness, all you had to do to claim it was get rid of the farkin’ Indians…

  162. 162
    Mark S. says:

    Moral lecturing from your betters, not food stamps!

  163. 163
    feebog says:

    KCinDC:

    There’s a gigantic gap between people who are right at the 1% line, who at least resemble ordinary people in some ways, and those at, say, 0.01%, who live in a completely alien world and have effects in our economy that no rich doctor making $300k can dream of.

    You are of course correct. My dentist most likely makes 300K a year. And he is a pretty regular guy. Plus he actually employs some people and they make a decent living as well. It is the top 0.01% that have the money and therefore the power to influence the direction this country takes. Instead of the 1% we should be refering to them as the “stinking rich”. Those folks who have more money than they know what to do with, and spend it in obsencely wretchedd ways. People like the Koch brothers, who are each worth about 25 billion dollars, and all they think about is how they are going to accumulate the next billion.

  164. 164
    ruemara says:

    The Coffee Party Movement just flaunts every Brooks column as if it’s the pearls of wisdom. The key reason I refuse to pitch in some bucks for this nonsense.

  165. 165
    Boxer Beater says:

    David Brooks can go fuck himself. http://i.imgur.com/H9WSS.jpg

  166. 166
    Amir Khalid says:

    When you look at how America’s polarization since 2009 came about, it’s clear that the congressional Republican are the perps, and Obama and the Democratic party are the victims. As I understand Zandar’s implication, to call Obama the most polarizing president ever because the Republicans refused every one of his invitations to bipartisanship is indeed blaming the victim.

    But that’s the headline; the post itself has more of a “both sides do it” line, noting that some of the polarization is a carryover from George W Bush’s administration.

    There’s surely some baseline of polarization that exists even when America is at its most bipartisan. I wonder what that is.

  167. 167
    pragmatism says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: either 1850’s or modern day Somalia.

  168. 168
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @dogwood: Yes, I was being a bit melodramatic and too all encompassing. It should read “The rich fuckers who make so much money they can buy politicians…”

  169. 169
    pragmatism says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    There’s surely some baseline of polarization that exists even when America is at its most bipartisan. I wonder what that is.

    27%

  170. 170
    Mark S. says:

    Focusing on the 1% is a distraction. So is race.

  171. 171
    Nylund says:

    we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years.

    Can we start a petition to get Brooks to be the first volunteer? He can go spend a few years living and working among the “lower tribe” while some family from the “lower tribe” lives in his house and goes to his country club?

  172. 172
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @pragmatism:

    if someone is pining for how things were in the 1950’s, maybe they should acknowledge what the policies and conditions of the 50’s were.

    THIS. Really, the modern conservative movement can be described as a group trying to resurrect the successes of the 1950’s (with, magically, none of the drawbacks) by replicating the laws of the ’20’s. Different groups of conservatives will disagree about which century’s ’20’s they want.

  173. 173
    grandpa john says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: If its in the WP , I doubt that many of the participants even know who Lincoln was or why he would be considered “polarizing”

  174. 174
    just me says:

    As a very minor note, “Coming Apart”s full title is “Coming Apart – The State of White America 1960-2010”, so slamming him for only using stats on white people is a bit silly. (After all, it’s not hard to find reasons to slam Charles Murray. )
    And, I must agree with Mr. Brooks on one point – the classes I would describe as ‘darn well off and hardworking but not really rich’ and ‘pretty poor, but surviving’ have gotten farther apart since the 60s. I would certainly need more data to assert this as a certainty, but when I think about the huge range in social/economic class that was present in my neighborhood and my public schools in the 60s/70s and the schools/neighborhoods I see today, there is much more division. I am reminded also of “Bowling Alone” which marks the decline of socialization in general. Back in the day, people got together more often in public groups – some strongly divided by race/class but others not.

  175. 175
    Rosalita says:

    Sorry if this has already been posted, but Charles Pierce’s takedown of this article was some awesome

  176. 176
    RossInDetroit says:

    @just me:

    I am reminded also of “Bowling Alone” which marks the decline of socialization in general. Back in the day, people got together more often in public groups – some strongly divided by race/class but others not.

    One national bowling organization was able to claim in the ’70s that its sport was the most popular in America in terms of participation.
    People with kids in school have more socialization than they can stand. Singles, childless couples and older people have to work at it.

  177. 177
    bemused says:

    @liberal:

    Pierce and Baker. Different styles but both good reads.

  178. 178
    Culture of Truth says:

    This forced mixing of the suburban bobos and riche with the great unwashed would be an interesting proposition if Brooks meant it, but he doesn’t. He only means, as a theoretical proposal, that it would be good to hop out of the Bently thrice yearly to reminds oneself how the poor are doing, and good for the peons to get a little work ethic marriage fidelity dust sprinkled on them from time to time.

  179. 179
    amused says:

    They already had a program where the riches live with the poors, didn’t they? Paris Hilton was in it, as I recall. America got a good laugh at the girls squealing at how milk is “made” and we moved on after a couple seasons.

  180. 180
    The Moar You Know says:

    We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    Hmmm. There was a term for this in China. I believe it was called the “Cultural Revolution”. I heard it was a great time, everyone had a lot of fun and society was quite unified. Just what those unwashed non 1%ers need, some culture! Sounds great!

    Can I haz Brooks’ job now?

  181. 181
    pragmatism says:

    @Culture of Truth: why would bobo start doing it for real? he could just make up his interactions with non-real real ‘murikans and make it a best seller again. providing rhetorical cover for the empathy-chipless is easy and lucrative.

  182. 182
    handsmile says:

    Contrary to what negative 1 wrote above (#77), the NYT comments section on Bobo’s epistle does not appear to be closed, for those who wish to wade into it. (perhaps it had been closed temporarily.)

    As Belafon noted (#158), many of the commenters there are advocating the virtues of public education, dismissing Bobo Baden-Powell’s call for national service camps.

    In his latest evisceration of “Another brandy, please” Brooks, Charles Pierce cites the full title of the book that has BoBo all a-quiver: Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. Funny that BoBo neglected to mention the subtitle in his column. You’d think that would be the most important thing: tribulations of the Real ‘Mericans.

    ETA: I now see that just me (#173) commented on the book’s title. And thanks to liberal (#156) for the link to Dean Baker. Less snark than Pierce, but far better economics.

  183. 183

    […] Buffoon Juice: Divorced From Reality […]

  184. 184
    jibeaux says:

    @The Moar You Know: There are so many things that kill me about columns like this, but one of them is that if you advocate for, say, a basic safety net to keep people out of the worst poverty, paid for in large part by those people’s own contributions during their productive working life, then you are “Social engineering.” If you propose schools that aim for some rough balance of socioeconomic status, you are definitely socially engineering. But propose that random people be forced to live and work at eat at the Applebee’s salad bar together, and you’re just David Fucking Brooks, centrist.

  185. 185
    gex says:

    @cmorenc: David Brooks could be replaced by a very simple shell script.

  186. 186
    lamh35 says:

    Delusions Of Obama The Idiot

    …It’s amazing that the GOP has somehow convinced itself that Obama is some kind of beguiling intellectual lightweight. I fully expect him to take Mitt Romney apart in the debates…

  187. 187
    Yevgraf says:

    Can somebody at some point ask Bobo what he’s ever done outside of making a living at punditry? Some identifiable accomplishment at something where he had to demonstrate skill, doggedness, empathy, commonsense?

    My personal theory is that before anybody ever hires an opinion writer, they should have done something – worked as a warehouseman, served in the military, been an actual firefighter, written stories on the metro crime beat.

    This bullshit of hiring chubby white guys or hot, pliable, double-jointed chicks to be pundits because of either think tank work or a financial reporting/delivering blowjobs to MOTUs stint is destroying journalism, no matter how cheap it is.

  188. 188
    Ed Drone says:

    @dmsilev:

    wishing that someone would walk onto the set and slap David Brooks in the face with a large wet spiny fish.

    Fixed

    Ed

  189. 189
    Scott P. says:

    Shorter David Brooks:

    America’s Lower Tribe is suffering from the blahs. If only we could get them to act less blah, they would not be so unhappy.

  190. 190
    BludgerDB says:

    It’s wrong to hate, but I really, really, really hate Bobo.

  191. 191
    cmorenc says:

    Let’s not be too hard on David Brooks and his intellect. After all, he’s managed to carve out a lucrative, cushy career as a pundit, and we haven’t. Don’t misunderstand me here, this isn’t at all praise for the quality or insight David Brooks brings to public discourse, any more than the fact that Chuck Norris has carved out a lucrative, cushy career as an actor is any sort of testament to the quality or insight in his work. But both of them have managed to carve out a lush, cushy living from being hacks, an accomplishment I’ll have to begrudgingly give both of them.

  192. 192
    just me says:

    Bridge too, was a hugely popular activity that crossed boundaries. It’s cheap to play and relentless in rewarding only good play and good teamwork.
    I think some of the cultural divide is inevitable – with fewer standard two-parent-mom-stays-home households, it’s just harder to socialize in the old ways. People of my parents’ generation knew everyone in the neighborhood in part because it was easy to do so. Folks were around during the day, and women organized social events (like bridge parties) that brought and kept people together. Schools tended (not always, of course) to be more of a mixing ground as well. I would disagree about parents – there is a lot of lugging kids to and fro in the middle/upper classes but that doesn’t always lead to much social interaction.

  193. 193
    The Moar You Know says:

    wishing that someone would walk onto the set and slap David Brooks in the face with a large wet fish.

    @dmsilev: Try a pissed off live moray eel. I’d love to see what that double set of jaws would do to his smug, lipsticked face.

    Link added for bonus terror/pucker factor.

  194. 194
    MCA says:

    Couple thoughts:

    – yes, shame on the Times for publishing something that so credulously refers to anything Charles Murray produces, but the real shame (shocker!) is that the WSJ gave a giant, two page article space to Murray, on the front page of its weekend section a week ago, in order to spew this. The central thesis was as obfuscatory as Brooks’ is – this idea that it’s the top and bottom 20-30% that have some huge gap, when in fact it’s the .1% and everyone else. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! He’d rather try to get the people at the respective 49 yard lines at each other’s throats.

    – Murray takes it further yet than Brooks’s national service idea: he basically tells us that those of us in the successful classes need to stop accepting the lower classes’ laziness and penchant for divorce and shitty parenting and start proselytizing them better and not letting them off the hook (i.e., his real enemy is still that early ’90s bugaboo of “cultural relativism”). I’m not sure whether the logical leaps he takes to reach his conclusions, or the condescension of his answers, is the more offputting. At least Brooks intimates (with no concrete examples, of course) that somehow the rich could learn a thing or two from the poor. Murray basically just plugs into peoples’ sense of superiority and tells them “Your’re right that everyone below you on the socioeconomic scale is lazier than you and doesn’t have a proper belief system.”

    – in Murray’s defense, he presents some numbers, and it does feel, to me at least, as though there is, in fact, an isolation of class and a growing sense of unbreakable strata in our social classes these days. I’m somewhere in the 2%, I’d guess, and I feel like an absolute pauper in my community, where it seems literally everyone else was born into industrial wealth or is in the financial industry and has shit tons more $ than I do. That’s pretty close to zero economic diversity. As Charles Pierce (I think) recently pointed out, we have every bit the stagnant class system and immobility these days that we complain about Britain having, and more; we just haven’t admitted it yet. At least Murray seems to admit to that much – it’s just that his explanations for how we got there, and prescriptions for fixing it, are horrible. Also, if I were Charles Murray coming out with a new book, I’d probably be explicit about saying “I limited my research to white people,” too. Otherwise, no one would even bother to get past Page 1.

    – I, like others above, would LOVE to see someone put the lie to the idea that all the rich, super rich and mega rich are just harder workers and big risk takers who are being rewarded for their decisions to live that sort of economic life. What a bunch of bullshit. That’s precisely one of the points of OWS, isn’t it? To point out that the game is rigged – financial engineers aren’t risking dick, and they come out ahead regardless of what happens. Also, too, the game’s set up so that while they may work their asses off the first 15 years out of college and b-school, they can be functionally unemployed after age 45 while everyone else is still working hard 50+ hours a week to scrape by. I see this every day. The delusional self-congratulatory nature of human beings cannot be underestimated. And the fundamental inaccuracy of the basic premise that hard work is all it takes to “make it” in this country blows up all of conservative economic thought.

  195. 195
    Legalize says:

    @lamh35:
    It gives me a chuckle that wingnuts just prefer to imagine that that clip never happened – that the president cannot pivot and sting his opponent at the right moment for maximum impact. The president even seemed to be aware of the camera position while he was handing out the beatdown to Ol’ Walnuts. McCain looked small and isolated, while the president looked imposing, and surrounded by the audience. They really believe that Newton Leroy or Weird Willard is going to make a fool out of the president in a debate setting.

  196. 196
    Boxer Beater says:

    David Brooks is a festering sore. His existence is near-conclusive proof that God hates us or doesn’t exist.

  197. 197
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gex: Yes he is an empty shell of a man.

  198. 198
    just me says:

    On who attends church the most:

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religi.....x_Data.pdf

  199. 199
    flukebucket says:

    @lamh35:

    That is one of the reasons I want Mitt Romney to win the Republican nomination. If I have heard him say it once I have heard him say it one hundred times. “Obama is in over his head”

    I cannot wait to see him climb into the arena with Obama and get his fucking ass shredded. We will see who is in over whose head you damn typical Republican trust fund baby.

  200. 200
    WereBear says:

    We had a big mix in WWII. Every class had someone in the armed forces, and while Harvard made you more likely to be an officer, and Harlem made you more likely to be a mess boy, there was as least some face to face interaction and some dependency on each other. After the war, the GI Bill gave actual lift to so many people who built the middle class as we know it.

    In reading biographies of accomplishments in the post-war years, it was astonishing how many great ideas and partnerships came from the chance throwing together of people from different backgrounds. Now the financial class doesn’t want to make or produce anything; they only want to be insulated from the effects of their bad decisions.

  201. 201
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    [Brooks:]“disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods” What in Satan’s gooch does that even mean? I would have achieved more, but Derrida destabilized the meaning of my apartment block.

    It doesn’t *mean* anything; it’s bullshit (in the technical sense). That is, it’s emitted (without respect to its meaning) to create impressions that further some other purpose. In this case, the impressions Bobo wants to create are that (1) He knows what he’s talking about because he uses big words; (2) Liberals are bad because Bobo has previously linked them to postmodernism; and (3) Conservatives are good because Bobo has previously said that they’re fighting postmodernism, despite the inconvenient fact that conservatives (including Bobo in this very emission) are the most enthusiastic practitioners of postmodernism.

    The propaganda, it never ends.

  202. 202
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Tonal Crow: Is post modernism, a code for something?

  203. 203
    Tonal Crow says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    @Tonal Crow: Is post modernism, a code for something?

    In Bobo’s world, “postmodernism” seems mostly to be a synonym for “bad”. He sometimes gives it a more specific meaning like “a philosophy of life chiefly marked by a lack of adherence to religion” (my phrase), or “nihilism”.

  204. 204

    I’m surprised that no one has pointed this out:

    There’s a purpose to the ‘20% vs 30%, not 1% vs 99%’ selection he uses. Brooks’s ongoing theme in his columns is that rich people are better than you, and you should admire them. He goes through fascinating contortions to get there. In this case, he arbitrarily picks the top 20% rather than 1% so that A) way more people will feel like he’s telling them they’re the Virtuous Elect, and B) he can magically lump people who are very well paid but had to get a lot of education and work for it in with the people who just inherited everything. That way he can pretend the latter are the former.

    Disclaimer: Even most of the people in that 20% could only do it because they started higher up than everyone else. Still, it’s an economic class that doesn’t let them just coast their whole life.

  205. 205
    Chris says:

    @feebog: I mostly agree with you but there’s a decimal-point error in your calculations: 1.2 million (people) x 20 thousand (dollars) x 20 years = 480 billion dollars, not 48 billion (vs the Waltons’ $90 billion).

    Straight-line calculation thus says you could only pay the 1.2 million people an extra $2k/yr, not an extra $20k/yr. However, due to rising economy helping everyone, you could likely pay them at least $5k more, perhaps as much as $10k more.

  206. 206
    Corbin Dallas Multipass says:

    In regards to the update – I’m confused.

    The headline says:

    “Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever.”

    The Gallup data they cite though says that the largest divide between repub/dem approval ratings was GWB in 04-05 with a 76 point gap, and even as the article says, “Bush had a run between 2004 and 2007 in which the partisan disparity of his job approval was at 70 points or higher.” The highest obama ever achieved was a 68.

    How the hell do you defend that headline in light of the numbers?

    They seem to say that just because Obama’s high numbers (which are still under GWB) came early in his career, that defends the headline? Because the divisive climate surrounding him is guaranteed to persist (ignore that it is)? Not to mention they admit as much that it has little to do with Obama but more with the climate surrounding him. To say he is causing the polarizing is like saying Big Ben causes crappy weather in England.

    I don’t understand the headline. I don’t understand the headline. I really really don’t understand the headline.

  207. 207
    MikeJ says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: To a right winger, post modernism means exactly the same thing communist, soçialist, and marxist do: absolutely nothing. They’re just words you use when you describe something you don’t like.

  208. 208
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Corbin Dallas Multipass:

    I don’t understand the headline. I don’t understand the headline. I really really don’t understand the headline.

    The propaganda won’t catapult itself; what else is there to understand?

    Or if you prefer to translate it into glibBrooksian: The WaPo is a bad neighborhood infested with PoMo MoFo’s

  209. 209
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Is post modernism, a code for something?

    It’s a very old code-word, the usage dating back to at least William F. Buckley and Ayn Rand. Generally used to refer to ‘relativism’, especially moral relativism.

    I haven’t seen it seriously used by conservatives since the 1990s– probably because GWB was our first full-blown, postmodern, “we create our own reality” President.

    Perhaps now that the narrative is “Obama vs. God and Country”, the word is useful to them again.

  210. 210
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Corbin Dallas Multipass:
    I’d guess that the copy editor who wrote that headline is, how shall I put this, inclined to the right. Cillizza and Blake say the gap between Obama’s approval among Democrats and among Republicans is 68 percentage points, the highest ever for a president at the three-year point. But this seems to be an arbitrary reason to say Obama is the most polarizing president. The three most polarized years all belong to George W Bush: his year 4 at a 76-percentage point difference, year 5 at 72, and year 6 at 70. And W has another two places on the list as well. Since it’s W who has the most places in the top 10 list, I’d say the Gallup numbers make him — not Obama — the most polarizing president ever.

    (I note in passing that Cillizza and Blake put up these figures without mentioning the margin of error.)

  211. 211
    Luthe says:

    BoBo does realize that the Murlocks ate the Eloi, right?

  212. 212
    Mark S. says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    There’s a purpose to the ‘20% vs 30%, not 1% vs 99%’ selection he uses.

    When OWS was in the news, nearly every Bobo column was about how OWS didn’t matter, the problem wasn’t the 1%, inequality doesn’t exist, people are poor because they breed like stray animals, etc. His whole purpose in life is to dress up Grover Norquist’s arguments so they will be more palatable to NYT readers.

  213. 213
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: I once came across a wingnut article, which said that Einstein’s theory of relativity was postmodern, you know because it has the word relativity in it. It made no sense to me then, now it does, sorta.

  214. 214
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @different-church-lady: You mean PBS right?

  215. 215
    Legalize says:

    “Postmodern” just means “bad,” or simply “not us – the ‘other’ fella – the fella from Hawaii, wherever the hell that is”. To wingers, the word invokes some kind of feeling of an ivory tower elite, and book-learnin’. People who eat funny lettuce are “postmodern.” Real Americans understand that what’s right, is what’s right, and no east coast, egg-head thug from Chicago is gonna tell them otherwise. Also too, people who live in postmodern apartment complexes are likely near, and/or gay. Probably both.

  216. 216
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    My FSM, Bobo’s writing is pure, unadulterated bullshit. Grind that fucker up into a puree, mix with a binding agent and use the solution to line sewage pipes and they will last forever. Why? Because shit won’t even touch that Bobo-infused lining as it passes through the pipe.

    Even sewage has standards, unlike Bobo.

  217. 217
    Mnemosyne says:

    Is it just me, or does Murray’s book seem like it’s trying to warn the 1% that they’re not going to be able to rely on white solidarity to get everything they want for too much longer? Once working-class white people figure out that their economic interests lie with other working-class people regardless of race, the 1% is pretty much fucked.

    And that’s what Brooks is talking about, too — nice rich white people should go to the trailer parks to try and convince working-class white people that they should continue to identify with rich white people and not other working-class people.

  218. 218
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Well, at least there’s balance on the page:

    Krugman runs the numbers, and gets 0.1%.

    Brooks can’t do even basic mathematics, and gets 20%.

    So both sides are given a hearing, the expert, and the fucking stupid.

  219. 219
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Luthe:

    BoBo does realize that the M[o]rlocks ate the Eloi, right?

    “Shut up, you liberal,” Mr. Brooks carefully explained.

  220. 220
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I also never thought I’d see the day when Brooks promotes a form of Marxian class war, which is exactly what this column does; if it’s 30% vs. 20%, then our system is already collapsing

  221. 221
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Corbin Dallas Multipass:

    What’s really cute is to look at pos/neg on Romney compared to other eventual challenger-party candidates at this point in the cycle

  222. 222
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    There was a time when hardcore Objectivists would reject Einstein’s theories for the same reason. (This was well before most of us in the US had GPS receivers in our pockets).

    Absolutists of all stripes require that Archimedean Point from which to judge and command the rest of us. Any mindset that takes that away from them must be dismissed as heretical.

    Old fights, won long ago. It’s like they’re regressing in the face of failure…

  223. 223
    AA+ Bonds says:

    What I’m reading here is that we should take all of David Brooks’s shit and distribute it to people in Bangladesh

  224. 224
    DanielX says:

    I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    This is totally going to happen, i.e.; someone who makes a seven figure annual income is going to be forced to move in next door to me to live in your basic four bedroom center hall colonial. Alternatively, I will be forced to live in Mr/Ms Seven Figure’s neighborhood, and presumably…what? Subsidized so I can afford to live there? I think that’s what Bobo would call socialism. If this is torture and coercion, baby, chain me to the wall!

    This column is such complete horseshit even I’m surprised it passed the Times’ shit-detectors, and they’re not very sensitive. (See Judy Miller, Jayson Blair, et al.) Reading this gibberish, I am becoming more and more convinced that there are two and only two possible explanations for how this crap is produced.

    1. Brooks has some sort of custom software into which he types a few parameters and key words, then hits a key and custom word salad tailored to Villager sensibilities is produced automatically.

    2. Brooks types a few words on a given topic, then takes some really excellent recreational drugs and waits a half hour. Then he starts typing whatever comes into his addled head that has some vague connection with the previously typed words. His Villager sensibilities automatically produce something semi-coherent.

    Nice work if you can get it.

  225. 225

    The ‘tell’ is early on in the article, “dropped out of the job market.” ‘Forced out,’ might have some accuracy but I sure don’t know who the fuck it is that dropped out, maybe it’s code for “drop out, turn on”…

    The Brooksian method is to look at symptoms and call them the disease.

  226. 226
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: Who are these objectivists you speak of? As some one with a background in science, these philosophical categories go straight over my head. I wonder what wingnuts think of quantum mechanics. Is that also post modern?

  227. 227
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    There was a time when hardcore Objectivists would reject Einstein’s theories for the same reason. (This was well before most of us in the US had GPS receivers in our pockets).

    They also used to reject stochastic processes and thus statistical analysis out of hand. Which is pretty fucking funny if you think about it

  228. 228
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    Old fights, won long ago. It’s like they’re regressing in the face of failure…

    Bullshit (in the technical sense) never loses usefulness, no matter how many times it’s debunked, because its users only want to baffle you into passivity. Whether it’s Bobo with “postmodernism” and “both sides do it” or climate-change deniers with “the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics”, they don’t care what they spew as long as it keeps you from acting against their interests.

  229. 229
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: David Brooks, he has less integrity than a mobster or a drug runner.
    He is truly evil and more dangerous than Limbaugh et al because people are taken in by his reasonable facade and polite manner.

  230. 230
    AA+ Bonds says:

    I also wouldn’t give Brooks the credit of saying that anything in this column really reflects Murray’s ideas; Murray is a decrepit cherry-picking racist but Brooks has yet to transfer anyone’s analysis, flawed or otherwise, into his column

  231. 231
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The point of Brooks’s column is to be decline-and-fall Catullus-rip-off jack-off poetry for the people who are terrified that they’re going to get theirs

  232. 232
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    They also used to reject stochastic processes and thus statistical analysis out of hand. Which is pretty fucking funny if you think about it

    Also scary, when you realize how many of them were (are) engineers.

  233. 233
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I think they’re both dangerous for exactly the same reason, the only difference is which stations carry them

    NPR has no problem with promoting fascism, is what I’m saying

  234. 234
    Tonal Crow says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    They [Objectivists] also used to reject stochastic processes and thus statistical analysis out of hand. Which is pretty fucking funny if you think about it

    You’re pulling my leg. You’ve got to be pulling my leg. As stated. that position is almost too stupid for words. What? Do they all bet their entire fortunes on hitting aqua/91 on the the rou let te wheels at Vegas?

    ETA: Moderation? What is it now? The word “rou let te”?

  235. 235
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    And all of them believe themselves to be economists

  236. 236
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Well at least nobody thinks Limbaugh is a “reasonable centrist”, whereas if someone is not paying close attention, one can mistakenly assume that David Brooks is a reasonable person. A mistake I made before Bush took us to war under false pretenses and all Bobo could muster were some sad excuses.

    Edited for clarity and to fix typos.

  237. 237
    DanielX says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    Certainly.

    ‘Some evidence suggests the earth is round. Opinions vary, and others say there is convincing evidence the earth is flat. Both sides have strongly held opinions.’

    H.L. Mencken is spinning in his grave like a high speed centrifuge.

  238. 238
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I’ll say that I’d probably get along better with Limbaugh in person, for what that’s worth

  239. 239
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Romney’s still down among independents by ~20 points over the last two months so David Brooks is going to endorse Obama anyway, which is why he can pull this National Service Corps crap

  240. 240
  241. 241
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Who are these objectivists you speak of?

    Back in the ancient mists of time, shortly after the Earth’s surface had cooled, there was a place called USENET. It was largely inhabited by Objectivists and their less-bookish cousins, the Libertarians.

    I and a few other damned fools tried our best to take the fight to them, to keep their stupid ideas from metastasizing throughout the rest of the culture… but, alas, we failed. Miserably. (I’m very sorry for that. We did try our best).

    And BTW your intuition is correct: They hated QM even more than SR/GR. As AA+ pointed out, that whole ‘random’ thing drove them nuts. How the hell are you supposed to derive an is from an ought, when you can’t even rely on subatomic particles to obey Ayn Rand’s philosophy?

    Anyway, as my new sub-nym hopefully indicates, I’m more than happy to come out of retirement should they ever want to play philosophy again.

    But hopefully it won’t come to that….

  242. 242
    Corbin Dallas Multipass says:

    @Amir Khalid: But I am tired of Bad copy editors writing crappy headlines and completely changing the tones of articles, if that was the case. And I don’t just rest this on the copy editor, later in the article they link to a “defense” piece from Democratic Aide Jim Manley. It’s consequential because it misleads the public and it’s wrong, and they should know it.

  243. 243
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    Did they even realize they were repeating Hitler’s point of view on the issue

    AND ON USENET

  244. 244
    Corbin Dallas Multipass says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Where do I find that?

  245. 245
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Corbin Dallas Multipass:

    realclearpolitics has a lot of that business up, so does Gallup; it’s candidate by candidate and year by year but Romney looks abysmal compared to most

    Of course I offer the caveat that Clinton in ’92 wasn’t doing great either IIRC, check me on that though

  246. 246
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Corbin Dallas Multipass:

    BTW this was on the fly “analysis” by me based on looking back and forth from Gallup to the primary schedules that year, and as I keep harping on, it’s been something else really for the Republicans since 1980 at least – that is, Romney is now in a unique situation if he takes the nomination because the intraparty backstabbing never really goes past the SC primary

  247. 247
    Mike G says:

    The central thesis was as obfuscatory as Brooks’ is – this idea that it’s the top and bottom 20-30% that have some huge gap, when in fact it’s the .1% and everyone else.

    This is the driver behind the Teatards’ “We are the 53%” — the idea that the goober in Shitkick, Alabama who paid $500 in federal income tax should unite with the Koch Brothers against his neighbor whose low income and deducations allowed him to not pay income tax.

    Authoritarian followers are always keen to beat up on their peers or the weak rather than dare to think the scary thought that the authorities they worship and identify with might be less than perfect.

  248. 248
    pragmatism says:

    postmodern = weird for the sake of weird

    or blah for the sake of blah.

  249. 249
    AA+ Bonds says:

    The cute part is that Gingrich’s campaign was put into a fairly shitty situation assuming that any of them care more about “a Republican” winning than he does (he doesn’t if it’s not him)

    The morning after SC, no matter what the money looked like in FL (and it had to look terrible), they had to go whole hog into destroying the favorables of their party’s likely candidate during a period of the campaign when no Republican since Reagan has faced that from another Republican

    I mean, if by some miracle Gingrich had just dropped out after winning SC, it would look even worse for Romney as the candidate

  250. 250
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: So Objectivists are the guys who like Ayn Rand?
    To me Republican’s anti-science attitude is the biggest turn-off.

  251. 251

    […] saddle, heaping all the snarky contempt on Brooks he richly deserves. I also love this comment from Zandar: It’s like Brooks is some sort of Sisyphean device that has one purpose: to take any possible […]

  252. 252
    Tonal Crow says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    To me Republican’s anti-science attitude is the biggest turn-off.

    To go full circle, it’s worse than that. Republicans have not just an anti-science attitude, but an anti-truth attitude. And not just an anti-truth attitude, but (on issues where they’ve conclusively lost the argument, such as climate change) an anti-we-can-know-the-truth attitude. That’s a form of nihilism, which, in is, in turn, a philosophical stance closely associated with — you guessed it — postmodernism.

    Republican propaganda: it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

  253. 253
    MCA says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Fair enough point re: Clinton, if true, although then again he hadn’t been running for President for 7 years in early 1992, he wasn’t a Mormon, and he did score somewhere beyond the neighborhood of “an office chair” in the “as charismatic as:” test.

  254. 254
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Yep.

    Believe it or not, not too long ago they were organized into a kind of quasi-religion, complete with ‘Institutes’, courses, pamphlets, their own tiny political party, and heated arguments about who represented the One True Objectivism once their Prophet had died. Good Times, as the kidz say.

    I don’t think that their ‘movement’ really exists anymore: The Libertarian wing of the GOP absorbed most of their memes, so there’s probably no more need. Hence our current predicament.

  255. 255
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Tonal Crow: They are Orwellian, they truly are. It seems to me that Bobo has memorized 1984 as a manual.

  256. 256
    Sour Kraut says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    When you swim in the lake
    And an eel bites your leg
    That’s a moray…

  257. 257
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @MCA:

    Instead he had penis problems that year, like pretty much every year – different grab bag than Romney for sure

  258. 258
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @MCA:

    Instead he had p*n*s problems that year, like pretty much every year – different grab bag compared to Romney for sure

  259. 259
    RalfW says:

    I’m very late to this party, but what a freakin’ snob-assed buffoon Bobo is.

    Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from traditional bourgeois norms. They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive.

    “Lower tribe” Huh.
    “removed from bourgeois norms” Really?
    And what the fuck does “disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive” mean, other than slums.

    If he wants to say poor lazy blackity blacks are shiftless and live in slums, dan he just fucking say so?! I suppose the totebaggers would clutch their pearls over such directness, but that’s what I translate this evil psudeo-intelectual nonsense as sayin’

  260. 260
    PIGL says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    If you see a big eel
    and its teeth are like steel
    that’s a Moray.

    Come the revolution, as we used to say. The solution to our national problems are simple.

    The top 0.1% needs to have their assets stripped, their real property confiscated, and their asses shipped to wideley separated parts of Antarctica. And every pathetic wannabe ruling class pundit, yeah down to the lowliest Brietbart, needs to be shipped off with them.

    Yes, there would be injustice in this. Injustice that pales compared to that inflicted every fucking minute by the policies that permit their very existence.

  261. 261

    […] just about everything that’s caught my horror-and-despair sensor in just the last 24 hours.  Brooks’ call for the running dogs of liberalism to take their turn growing turnips in the camps.  A breast […]

  262. 262
    Mike D. says:

    Leaving the gross white-centrism of the Murray effort aside for moment, let’s be clear what this is: this is elite conservatives prosecuting culture war against mainstream American culture (which has evolved in a way they don’t like), claiming the flag, unbidden, of Red America, “Real” America, Redneck America (whatever you want to call it other than “working class America,” the term they are trying to appropriate to exclude minorities and indeed anyone not steeped in the particular cultural), etc., and blaming mainstream culture for it. The culture they want to attack, that of mainstream major-metro-based TV and movies, the NFL, NBA, and NHL, the information labor economy, quality food and beverage production, etc … oh, and FUCKING … is shared up and down the income scale, across race and cultural divides, and in every geographic corner of the country, by people holding every possible kind of job or occupation. They want to try to pretent this isn’t true, because this culture stands against the kinds of values they hold out as superior. So they posit a world in which a couple of smaller sets of cultural preferences and occupations and activities – NASCAR and country music, military service and outdoorsmanship (things, incidentally, that aren’t even in conflict with the rest of mainstream culture) characterize an entirely separate class of “ordinary Americans,” as if in opposition to mainstream, or what they pretend to be “elite” culture. When in fact, these things are not opposed in the least: they are shared broadly if not equally by Americans across the cultural spectrum.

    It’s simply another instance of trying to divide the masses against each other to obscure their submission to the true elite.

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  1. […] just about everything that’s caught my horror-and-despair sensor in just the last 24 hours.  Brooks’ call for the running dogs of liberalism to take their turn growing turnips in the camps.  A breast […]

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