Tuesday, April 19

The Times Paywall Is Not Nearly High Enough

David Brooks, "Why Trump Soars". April 18

LET'S start with Brooks' answer to the #1 question on everyone's mind--Why (O Why?) does Donald Trump soar?--and y'all can be on your way.
in every society, there are a few rare souls who rise above subservience, insecurity and concern. Each morning they take their own abrasive urges out for parade. They are so impressed by their achievements, so often reminded of their own obvious rightness, that every stray thought and synaptic ripple comes bursting out of their mouth fortified by impregnable certitude. When they have achieved this status they have entered the realm of Upper Blowhardia.

These supremely accomplished blowhards offend some but also arouse intense loyalty in others. Their followers enjoy the brassiness of it all. They live vicariously through their hero’s assertiveness. They delight in hearing those obnoxious things that others are only permitted to think.

This immediately puts the Op-Ed window peeper in mind of a couple things. One, due to proximity more than anything, is Brooks' co-weasel Ross Douthat's insistence yesterday that the average American family of four earns $94,000 per annum. The other, just because he will wear it like a Kick Me sign, forever, is Brooks' familiarity with the Red Lobster price list and Appleby's salad bar selections.

Because I don't know who these guys are talking about. I don't even know who they imagine they're talking about. But if Brooks really thinks that your average middle-American/ Republican/ FOX viewer and Trump idolater is too reticent to say those sorts of things himself he's clearly never had a seat at your average Middle Western Thanksgiving dinner.

So instead let's re-title this one "How I Manage To Ignore the Treatment of Veal and Details of the Sausage-Making Process and Still Enjoy a Steady Diet of Gelbwurst".

Because, look: is there anything else at work here besides another episode of Mr. Brooks Explains Away His Party (To His Own Satisfaction) ? Donald Trump is leading the Republican race for President. Donald Fucking Trump. By spouting Birther nonsense, along with all other sorts of nonsense. It's not "Donald Fucking Trump is getting undeserved media attention by saying stupid shit." He's leading goddam Republican Presidential polls. The issue isn't why some clown on teevee attracts a following. He's leading goddam Republican Presidential polls. Explain that. I don't give a shit why people venerate Snooki.
Thus, there has always been a fan base for the abrasive rich man. There has always been a market for books by people like George Steinbrenner, Ross Perot, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Bobby Knight, Howard Stern and

Oh, Jesus. Wait for it. As if you weren't already:
George Soros.

George Soros. Of course. You'll have to forgive me, but I'm not a Democrat, so I don't get my marching orders from George Soros. Is he abrasive, or just located to Brooks' left?
There has always been a large clump of voters who believe that America could reverse its decline if only a straight-talking, obnoxious blowhard would take control.

Always? Large clump? Maybe. But if you…

Wait. Let's address this another way; I can't ignore the stupid little writer's trick there that readers of the New York Times are presumed to be idiotic enough to fall for. Book sales? I can want to read a book about an asshole without voting for him for President. Book sales makes an appearance there because David Brooks found himself in a familiar quandary, certainly familiar for David Brooks. He needed to say "Liberals do it too" but he'd already committed to that "rich man" trope, for some reason, and, really, how many liberal blowhards are there who are rich? How many have a public following that doesn't look puny next to Rush's, or O'Reilly's? So he hit on…books, which have nothing really to do with it beyond giving him some way to avoid admitting that in American politics in the last half-century Wildly Popular Blowhard means Republican, or, occasionally, Republican Who Becomes An Independent Because The Party Backs Some Vanilla Wingnut Instead.

George Steinbrenner? Rich blowhard, but who emulated him, aside from other rich blowhards? I've never heard any local ever wish that Steinbrenner would've bought the Colts, or the Pacers. Ross Perot? Okay, but I seem to remember him being accused of costing George Herbert Walker Germanicus Bush an election. O'Reilly and Limbaugh are Republican entertainers. Bob Knight has certainly been a public asshole, on more than one occasion, and is sometimes blowhard-ish, but he is, to my and Amazon's knowledge, the author of an autobiography (with the fine Indiana sportswriter Bob Hammel) , and a contributor to several books on basketball, which he is acknowledged to know a thing or two about. Knight also imagines himself a student of military history, yet thus far has successfully avoided publishing The Napoleonic Way to Wealth! or Pattonize! A public asshole who avoids cashing in on his assholery is, in all likelihood, a man to be celebrated in these times. Howard Stern is an entertainer, distinguishable from the two Republican entertainers above in that he's honest about the link between his career and sexual perversion. Soros, of course, is just there because Brooks wrote the column.

Really, if we would like to stick to what makes Trump a bigger public jerk than he was six months ago, it's his inserting himself into politics. Which he's free to do, as an American, and free to claim membership in either major or any minor party, without that fact impugning them. But what's he saying, and where's his support coming from? The same Republican base which celebrates Michelle Bachman (referenced here) and Sarah Palin (not)? The same Republican base that loved George W. Bush precisely because he is inarticulate? Which hates The Elites, The Academics, and The French? Which celebrates greenhouse gasses and oil spills? The one that worships Ronald Wilson "Trees Cause Pollution" Reagan? We don't need an explanation for Trump's popularity.

C'mon, Dave. If you want to write a column worth reading, try explaining why someone as thoughtful as yourself is still a Republican if mass stupidity offends you so.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The other, just because he will wear it like a Kick Me sign, forever...

And deservedly so.

Kathy said...

Repugs have been pushing unqualified morons since Regan; Bush II was their biggest success, if Palin had become VP She'd have been the epitome of Repug Presidential Blowhard Idiots.

Now their acting -and maybe they're genuinely- amazed that an Outsider Idiot Blowhard is taking advantage of their decades of careful preparations. Trump has swooped in and grabbed their specially-built stage.

ErgoDan said...

"...could reverse its decline if only a straight-talking, obnoxious blowhard would take control."

Maybe we should ask the Germans how well that worked out for them.

whetstone said...

George Soros? Aw, hell, I probably don't make a tenth of what Bobo does, and even I know Michael Moore is the 8 to that 2, 4, 6.

Awhile back Brooks's alma mater (and mine) mag published one of his "humor" columns from the student paper, in which he made fun of the faculty and grad students for being loser academics (ie "thanks for the degree, assholes!"). He's not the worst thing that's come out of the U of C--get in line behind Chalabi, Wolfowitz, Strauss, Friedman, Ashcroft, at least--but he's damn close.

Brooks actually came to speak to my college paper. One of my friends asked him "so how much money do you make?" I couldn't have been more proud, because it's really the only relevant question Brooks is qualified to answer.

M. Krebs said...

I kinda sorta get the main point Brooksie begins with, but the inclusion of SOROS! in his little list of obnoxious boys is laughably transparent bullshit. It's as if someone's desperation is exceeding its normal bounds.

Mr. Ziffel said...

If you want to write a column worth reading, try explaining why someone as thoughtful as yourself is still a Republican if mass stupidity offends you so.

On a recent episode of Real Time, Maher asked Brooks to explain just that, and Brooks replied that he wasn't a Republican, he was a conservative.

Yeah, I know.

freq flag said...

...he wasn't a Republican, he was a conservative.

Otter: Take it easy, I'm pre-med.
Boon: I thought you were pre-law.
Otter: What's the difference?

Julia Grey said...

George Soros wrote a wildly popular book?


I can't recall the title. Little help?

Sator Arepo said...

"C'mon, Dave. If you want to write a column worth reading..."

Gosh; "reading" is a funny word for "getting paid for"!