CONSISTENCY gets horrible Press, thank you Mr. Emerson, and undeservedly. Without consistency there's no meringue, no concrete, and no pancakes, though personally I pretty much equate the last two. Without consistency watercolor is spackle and spackle is all over the floor. Given that "Tiny" is the most popular size in Minds anyway, is it too much to ask that Consistency's many virtues come in for the occasional extolment?
Just to give you one example: if the New York Times had placed its daily columnist listing where it always goes, instead of selling the right half of the page to Lowe's--for that matter, if Lowe's itself concentrated on running a retail chain instead of reminding me that Spring is when grass starts to grow and barbecue grills to smolder, and spent some of that ad money hiring and retaining cashiers who could put in a full three minutes work without stopping to take personal calls on their cellphones--then I could have avoided Brooks' column like I'd planned and would be outdoors this very minute screwing up the lap joint cuts for the sagging half of my garden gate, necessitating the purchase of more lumber at...Lowe's. Chaos theory, dudes.
I ran into the link in the middle of the page, and I clicked on it, and I'm sorry.
For one thing, of the various stratagems and personal tics (pop sociologist, Professor of Applied Burkanomics, Former Liberal, Reformulator of Red Meat Republican Talking Points for Sensitive Stomachs) Brooks has developed over the years in an effort to save his lunch money, Passive-Aggressive Brooks is the one I find most infuriating, I think because the literacy level required to read his stuff precludes, at least in theory, falling for this sort of thing over and over:
In times like these, you’d expect prudent leaders to prepare for the worst. After all, the pessimists have recently been vindicated by events. But that’s apparently too painful to think about. In normal times, leaders like to focus on the short term at the expense of the long term. But now the short term is really confusing, so leaders take refuge in projects that are years or decades away.
The president of the United States has decided to address this crisis while simultaneously tackling the four most complicated problems facing the nation: health care, energy, immigration and education. Why he has not also decided to spend his evenings mastering quantum mechanics and discovering the origins of consciousness is beyond me.
So he ought to leave those things for a later administration, one that, say, looks more like that American political supermajority that is centered somewhere near David Brooks' transverse colon?
Aren't every one of those 'tangents' actually integral to future economic health? Didn't the previous administration--the one that so resembled Brooks' colon at the time--address education, immigration, and energy policy (we think that's what Cheney was up to) in its opening months in office? Okay, so their only health care initiative was deciding who got the Cipro, and "Cut Taxes!" doesn't really take a whole lot of calculation time, but, what? they get points for not doin' shit, and doin' what shit they did wrong, and having time left over, because they didn't have to waste any effort cleaning up the Sewer of Despond, because they were only just then creating it? Jesus Christ, Dave, just because you've got a two-day workweek.
And y'know what? Our fucking Presidential campaigns are two years in length now, even longer if you're Sarah Palin. Candidate Obama had a position on all of those issues, and a whole shitload more, as we say in Indiana; I know because I read 'em all, the better to explain his positions to his supporters during the primaries. Th' fuck do you want? Blue-ribbon Commissions? He's the President, and these colossal messes, generally agreed to be so, are the result of a thirty-year plan to increase the wealth of the wealthy by encouraging the mass transference of paper wealth and the abrogation of regulation and anti-trust policies which kept things reasonably honest. Public education is a fifty-year-old political football kept in play so your party could appeal to racists while retaining what it felt was enough deniability to refute the charge. Immigration? Always been an issue; owes its present prominence to your party looking for new avenues of crypto-racist appeal.
Is this sort of shit supposed to pass for concern? It doesn't. It doesn't pass for anything much, except a prominent "thinker" caging political talking points in spasms of Faux Concern. When the President's initiatives have failed due to over-reaching, then you'll have a point. And then, of course, is when you'll write it up as Your Opinion All Along, not hide it under a bowl of mush.
But we were talking about Consistency. How 'bout trying some sometime?
The Washington political class has spent the past week going into made-for-TV hysterics over $165 million in A.I.G. bonuses. We’re in the middle of a multitrillion-dollar crisis, and our political masters — always willing to throw themselves into any issue that is understandable on cable television — have decided to risk destroying the entire bank-rescue plan because of bonuses that account for 0.001 percent of the annual G.D.P.
Christ, y'know, I really don't remember, back when you were washing the wishy over the enormously unfair cost of GM's labor obligations, you ever converting it into percent of GDP, let alone comparing it to the cost of doing nothing. Hundreds of millions of tax dollars going to a few dozen employees doesn't count, because the US economy is so large. Th' fuck does that have to do with anything? Billions loaned to US automakers, though, is controversial because some of the money will go to thousands of workers who would otherwise be unemployed, devastating whole communities. Yeah, I see where your principles come into play there.
Sideshow? Some might say undercard; some might consider the vast number of people who've been left to fend for themselves the past thirty years with ketchup as their only vegetable. You'll forgive me for calling you a liar again, Mr. Brooks, a liar so profound he now imagines that great American landscape, whether carefully manicured and sprayed with enough 2,4-D to defoliate Southeast Asia, or fadishly gone to Bohemian seed, cares one whit about how "miniscule" a $4 million bonus seems when compared to the age of the Solar System.