The world is running down

I sincerely hope that this David Brooks column signals the beginning of the apocalypse:

But at this year’s TED conference, which was held here in Vancouver, British Columbia, the rock star Sting got onstage and gave a presentation that had a different feel. He talked about his rise to stardom and then about a period in middle age when he was unable to write any new songs. The muse abandoned him, he said — for days, then weeks, then months, then years.

But then he went back and started thinking about his childhood in the north of England. He’d lived on a street that led down to a shipyard where some of the world’s largest ocean-going vessels were built.

Most of us have an urge, maybe more as we age, to circle back to the past and touch the places and things of childhood. When Sting did this, his creativity was reborn. Songs exploded from his head.

Maybe there’s a way for the NSA to hack into the all the internets and destroy this article so that future historians never get a chance to see it. I still have some pride, some attachment to what humans have accomplished in this so-called civilization. I don’t want us to be remembered for this.

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59 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Don’t make me do the work to find the Onion thing where “Sting” talked about when he once was cool.

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I almost think it’s too kind to him.

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Outlandos was really, really good. Slack should be given.

  4. 4
    Alison says:

    I’d love it if the Muse of Mealy-Mouthed Bullshit (I’m calling her Euderpe) would abandon Brooks for, oh say, the rest of his life. No shame in retiring, David. And hey, it may be the one thing he *shouldn’t* be ashamed of.

  5. 5
    Funkula says:

    David Brooks writing about Sting is a functional description of Hell.

  6. 6
    RaflW says:

    All David Brooks columns are secretly coded messages that are guiding a huge-ass asteroid directly towards his $3 million mansionette.

    Its so secret, he doesn’t even know he’s typing in the coordinates, over and over, in some very elaborate code.

  7. 7
    sven says:

    I’m curious exactly when Sting believes he entered middle age.

    He would have turned 40 around the time that Soul Cages came out.

    Just sayin’

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Am not going to click and peruse, as really, really don’t want to chance reading about the poster of Feyd Rautha plastered on Brooks’ bedroom wall.

  9. 9
    Karen in GA says:

    Songs exploded from his head.

    I don’t have a comment, I just needed to see it again to be sure. Yep, he really did string those words together in that order.

    Dafuq?

  10. 10
    NotMax says:

    @NotMax

    Aw, crap. Bad linky. Corrected:

    the poster of Feyd Rautha

  11. 11
    🍀 Martin says:

    TED: When 140 characters just isn’t enough.

  12. 12
    Redshirt says:

    I was hanging out with a “to not be named” millionaire international rock star and he he illuminated me to the fact of growing cheap labor issues in borderline first world countries.

    Made me re-consider my international portfolio. And listen to “Dream of the Blue Turtle” again.

  13. 13
    Laertes says:

    There’s this scene in Starting out in the Evening where the young groupie tells the aging writer that his latest work is as good as the great work of his youth.

    He reaches gently toward her face, seemingly moved to an affectionate gesture like caressing her…then the gesture abruptly turns into a brisk slap. As if to say “You’re either patronizing me or you’re a fool. Either way, knock it the hell off.”

    I like to imagine Sting doing the same if Brooks had the nerve to make a remark like that to his face. The man wrote towering works of genius in his youth, one after the other, and he made it look easy. I’ll bet you he’d be the first to tell you that, however good his later work may be, it isn’t a patch on any of the first dozen Police songs that spring readily to mind.

  14. 14
    Alison says:

    @Karen in GA: Sounds like it was related to all that tantric sex he was having.

    STING NOT BROOKS OMG GROSS BROOKS HAVING SEX EW.

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Alison:

    the Muse of Mealy-Mouthed Bullshit (I’m calling her Euderpe)

    Classic.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Outlandos d’Amour. I loved that damned album.

  17. 17
    M.C. Simon Milligan says:

    BELLBOY!

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OK, Brooks thinks he’s been profoundly philosophical here, or something, but of course he is, for the umpteenth to the nth time, profoundly mistaken.

    He’s simply being profoundly jejune.

  19. 19
    max says:

    I sincerely hope that this David Brooks column signals the beginning of the apocalypse:

    Ah. Brooks has given up on actual politics and has moved on to 60 Minutes-style celebrity profiles. OK. That’s actually a fairly harmless mutation, given his neo-conism. Unfortunately next: he turns into Andy Rooney.

    max
    [‘What in God’s name has happened to the gefilte fish???!?!’]

  20. 20
  21. 21
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Alison: You can only suggest those things if you’ve brought enough brain bleach for the whole class. Yikes.

  22. 22
    YellowJournalism says:

    I still love Ten Summoner’s Tales, though.

  23. 23
    Violet says:

    Most of us have an urge, maybe more as we age, to circle back to the past and touch the places and things of childhood

    Projection. Bobo’s feeling old.

  24. 24
    Punchy says:

    Anyone find That Damn Airplane yet?

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Having said what I said, I adored all five Police albums. It’s really too bad Gordon and Andy couldn’t get along, but I can understand where Andy was coming from with all this “Sting and the Police” shit that was going on.

  26. 26
    J.Ty says:

    If it helps you feel better, DougJ, when the excrement really hits the air conditioning, the archivists aren’t exactly going to be fighting over who gets to preserve the David Brooks compendia.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    cokane says:

    its actually not the worst brooks column. pretty meh, but nothing offensive or factually incorrect in it.

  29. 29
    Alison says:

    @YellowJournalism: I apologize. I’ll punish myself by reading the whole Brooks column.

    No I won;t.

  30. 30
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    To me, Sting’s best musical work was in “Quadrophenia.”

  31. 31
    J.Ty says:

    I’m just sitting here playing Broken Age, if anybody wants to chat about point-and-clicks.

  32. 32
    Ian says:

    @NotMax:
    Brooks is a Harkonnen! That makes a lot of sense, actually.

  33. 33
    Mandalay says:

    Sting gets surgically skewered about his own carbon footprint in the last 3 minutes of this video.

    “Do you ever feel uncomfortable traveling between your various homes in various continents at enormous carbon cost?….”.

    Sting seethes, but avoids a meltdown.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    John Cole says:

    I absolutely adore the Police, in that incarnation before Sting became a black hole of pretentiousness whose mass could only be mildly rebuffed by Bob Geldof or Bono, all while the sheer brilliance of Knopfler was given far less consideration than he deserved, but I do have to say that when I think of the Police these days, I think of this, with Robert Downey, Jr.:

  36. 36
    Jewish Steel says:

    @M.C. Simon Milligan: He was a great Face.

  37. 37
    Dream On says:

    “Sting exploded from his head.”

    Talk about a lousy curveball right over home plate…

  38. 38
    ottercliff says:

    Sting is at the TED conference plugging his new musical about ships. One more time, what is the life lesson in this?

  39. 39
    NonyNony says:

    Maybe there’s a way for the NSA to hack into the all the internets and destroy this article so that future historians never get a chance to see it. I still have some pride, some attachment to what humans have accomplished in this so-called civilization. I don’t want us to be remembered for this.

    No worries. Thanks to modern document preservation techniques and Sturgeon’s Law, future historians will have to wade through a whole lotta crap to reach this gem.

    And if they do find it they’ll probably find that it’s improbable that it was actually written by a human being. “Hmm. This archive of ‘David Brooks’ columns look of those automatically generated postings that were written by those things the ancients called ‘spambots’. And not a very sophisticated one either – this one’s just word salad. Almost as bad as that archive of ‘Tom Friedman’ bot postings…”

    I do pity the poor future History PhD candidate that will have to wade through the archives classifying these things for his/her adviser though…

  40. 40
    Ramalama says:

    David Brooks seriously missed his calling to be vice-principal at Downers Grove North high school.

  41. 41
    Geeno says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I would’ve gone for Derpsichore, but that’s me.

  42. 42
    Betsy says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: new tag?

  43. 43
    C.V. Danes says:

    I still have some pride, some attachment to what humans have accomplished in this so-called civilization. I don’t want us to be remembered for this.

    Sorry, but when the Google robots take over, the only thing humans will be remembered for is how well they can polish robotic boots.

  44. 44
    Citizen_X says:

    Sting, David Brooks and a TED conference? This is like the Anti-Conan’s description of What Is Worst in Life?

  45. 45
    Betsy says:

    @Violet: you nailed it

  46. 46
    Davo says:

    Im pretty young I guess.. Why do we hate Sting exactly?

  47. 47
    Rex Everything says:

    @Davo: One of silly white people’s favorite methods of bonding is to circle jerk on the theme “Sting’s post-Police music is horrible.”

    Someday they’ll figure out they were wrong. But it’ll be awhile.

  48. 48
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Post-Police Sting is awful. Truly, nightmarishly horrible. I don’t know what he thinks he “rediscovered” but the ability to write good music and/or lyrics was not it.

  49. 49
    Davo says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Not arguing or saying Im a huge fan or anything, but I thought his soundtrack for Leaving Las Vegas was a rather great compliment to a rather brilliant movie.

    I can certainly understand the fun in holding this guy up for ridicule…. but I dont know… So many better targets to hate, mock and ridicule out there… arent there? I mean, sure, he’s probably every bit the pretensious douchemuffin everyone thinks he is, but at the end of the day, he’s on our side. Voting for our people and giving money and time to causes we support. Right?

    Im not saying the above is true. Thats just what I had thought and I’d be happy to be corrected here.

  50. 50
    DougJ says:

    @Rex Everything:

    I don’t even dislike the music that much, I just find him absurd and pretentious.

  51. 51
    russell says:

    Robert Frost’s famous poem about the two paths diverging in the woods isn’t only about the two paths.

    crap. now he tells me.

  52. 52
    Joel says:

    @Rex Everything: I think Sting’s later career music kind of sucks, but it’s not like he’s an exceptional example. Pretty much every old rock star sucks; nostalgia keeps them alive.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ramalama: Those poor kids. Oh, wait…those fortunate kids to not have to suffer under Brook’s tutelage.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: There are a few good things. I like “Fortress Around Your Heart” and “Fields of Gold”. But overall, yeah, not the sort of output of nothing but great that characterized his time with the Police.

  55. 55
    Random Cab Driver says:

    Sting actually was fantastic at TED. I was there and fully prepared to be overwhelmed by pretension, but the ship song has earwormed my and Message in a Bottle on acoustic guitar was fantastic. Granted my expectations were sub basement, but he gave an amazing performance.

  56. 56
    Random Cabbie says:

    Sting actually was fantastic at TED. I was there, fully prepared to be overwhelmed by pretension, but the ship song has earwormed me and Message in a Bottle on acoustic guitar was fantastic. Granted my expectations were sub basement, but he gave an amazing performance. It’s too bad that Brooks described the performance in his usual silly style. Brooks should stick to making up stories about Applebees.

  57. 57
    Judge Crater says:

    Why doesn’t the Times just replace Brooks with the diary entries of a 15 year-old girl?

  58. 58
    Anna in PDX says:

    @russell: seriously, that was in the brooks article? Seriously? My god.

  59. 59
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Rex Everything: I actually agree and love solo Sting and I used to own the Soul Cages but my kids listened to it so much that I can’t listen to those songs anymore. I loved Fields of Gold and I like pretentious people like Sting and Bono… although yes they are certainly egotistical but that is true of most artists. ( I also enjoy things that mock them, I think they need some mockery to keep them honest, so to speak.)

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