Monday, July 31

Do Tell

David Brooks, "Cease-Fire To Nowhere", July 30

We haven't chatted about David Brooks in a while, coinciding exactly with the backdoor entrance to Times Select being discovered and padlocked. The neighbor still tosses him over the backyard fence every Sunday, but the thought of actually typing out a string of Boboisms puts me off my feed.

I don't know if Brooks is the worst poker player among the punditocracy or not. I'm strictly a family-game, dealer's choice, penny-ante, Sunday nights around my Uncle Floyd's kitchen table guy (they let me join in when I turned 12), where Baseball and Night Baseball were favored games and bluffing was considered somewhat unChristian. I never learned the art of reading other players or making myself opaque. To this day I rely on sunglasses and the I Claudius defense.

But, sheesh, Brooks is so transparent you have to unfold the Op-Ed section completely and lay it out on a white background just to read him. The tell is often in the freakin' headline. even though someone else wrote it (and no, I don't mean the subject, but whatever trick he happens to be reaching for).

It takes three paragraphs this week, unless you stop reading at that headline, but only because Brooks is quoting someone else for the first two:
There are victory markers strewn across southern Lebanon commemorating the last time Israel withdrew from that land. While reporting a piece for The New Yorker a few years ago, Jeffrey Goldberg would come upon them by the roads. It was like seeing the battle markers at Gettysburg or Antietam, he wrote.

One brightly colored sign, written in both Arabic and (rough) English, marked the spot where “On Oct. 19, 1988 at 1:25 p.m. a martyr car that was body trapped with 500 kilograms of highly exploding materials transformed two Israeli troops into masses of fire and limbs.”

Busloads of tourists would take victory tours and stop at the prominent sights. Before the current war, there were gift shops and, in at least one place, a poster showing a Hezbollah fighter lifting a severed Israeli head. It all testified to the magnetism of a successful idea: that Muslim greatness can be restored through terrorism.

Restored through terrorism! It was worth all that retyping, I think. Lebanese killing Israeli soldiers inside Lebanon are engaging in terrorism (presumably because they don't do so from US-supplied bombers nor do they march out to face the enemy in Frederick the Great's infantry squares). Small wonder our peace efforts always fail.


Anonymous said...

Brooks is so transparent you have to unfold the Op-Ed section completely and lay it out on a white background just to read him

That's almost pretty enough to make me forgive you for making me think about David Brooks.

Anonymous said...

And in the Revolutionary War? Those tree-hidin', non-redcoat-wearing so-called soldiers? Terrorists, I tell ya.