Monday, April 03, 2006

Brooks still not gettin' enough

In today’s Tapped, Ezra Klein takes a rip at David Brooks’s weekend New York Times Op-Ed column (it’s “select,” so you know I’m not linking to it!). It’s a piece where Brooks takes some advance team prep documents for the likes of Cheney and Kerry and tortures out a metaphor about how the successful pols have sacrificed the finer, funner things in life in order to pursue their ambitions.

As Klein sums up:

It's all very gracefully written and the column is, in places, piercingly funny. The only problem is the premise: It's simply not true. . . .

In this way, the story is classic Brooks. The thesis is flawed from the start, but the column built upon that cracked foundation is so gracefully constructed, so wonderfully compatible with our own internal biases, that you hardly notice the basement crashing in. The intellectual set that Brooks writes for is, deep down, certain that they could do Kerry or Cheney's job better, and not at all certain why they didn't rise to the same elevated position as the soporific senator or sneering grand vizier. So Brooks gives them a reason: They live too good, love too much, eat too well. Their erogenous zones are bigger than a pea. But even such fully developed pleasure centers are dwarfed by the vast territories devoted to schadenfreude, and this is the territory that David Brooks seeks to conquer.

Oh, so true. Klein’s take backs up an opinion I have had of DB for a long time: he didn’t get invited to the right parties in the ‘60’s (you know, the ones with all that fabled “free love”), and he’s still pissed about it. Every time Brooks opens his mouth or sets pen to paper, the bitterness, insecurity, and defensive rationalizations just come spilling out. It’s so obvious, it’s almost sad.

I say “almost,” because, alas, Brooks has, in his oh-so-BoBo way, gotten his revenge. He gets to dine on his whining practically every day.


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