Brooks And Dumb

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Memo to David Brooks: YOU ARE DUMB.

The only thing more annoying than an extremist is an extremist who tries to seem like a moderate. Especially when it's done as a Stupid Pundit Trick, like what David Brooks pulled last Friday in his syndicated newspaper column.

You may remember Friday as the last day anyone gave a shit about the Newsweek thing. It was the last day anyone gave a shit about the Newsweek thing because, well, the powers that be have gotten their full mileage out of bashing the magazine, and can now just store it away as a cheap-shot reference for rallies to get a Stepford laugh out fo the faithful.

But on Friday, we still gave a shit about Newsweek. And David Brooks gave such a shit about Newsweek that he devoted his entire column to pretending he didn't care about Newsweek. Attempting to position himself as a common-folk moderate, Brooks proceeded to detail why both the right and the left were wrong about Newsweek. Which seems reasonable, but the asshole is in the details.

Now, I understand the value of the strawman. I'm not even above using them... on occasion. As shorthand. Sometimes showing the work that gets you from Point A to Point B is long and dull, so you make the jump and hope people follow along. But it needs to be sparing, it needs to be mostly accurate, and most importantly, it shouldn't be completely fucking blatant. If it stands out like a Borg in Amish country, you're doing it wrong. David Brooks was doing it wrong.

He starts off by saying the right was wrong to say Newsweek did what it did because it was "liberal". And he then quotes two right-wing bloggers who specifically say that Newsweek is evil and liberal. And then he turns to the left. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Meanwhile, the left side of the blogosphere has erupted with fury over the possibility that American interrogators might not have flushed a Quran down the toilet. The Nation and leftish Web sites are in a frenzy to prove that the story is probably true even if Newsweek is retracting it. This, too, is unhinged. Would it be illegal for more people on the left to actually be happy that a story slurring Americans may turn out to be unproven? Could there be a few more liberals willing to admit that prisoners routinely lie about their treatment?"

If you look carefully, you can spot the actual point at which the dick merges with the head to form DICKHEAD MEGAZORD. No actual quotes. No actual points addressed. Blatant characterization ("In a frenzy!") creating the left's position out of whole cloth. We liberals desperately want AMERICA to be wrong. We can't be happy that AMERICA hasn't been slurred. Not the interregators that engaged in the abuse. Not the government that paved the way for the abuse. We're mad at America, you see. We're the blame America first crowd, after all. Fuck that noise. I'm part of the "blame the fuckups when they fuck up, regardless of their citizenship" crowd.

And then he twisted the knife, doing exactly what I said a week ago these fuckers would do with the Newsweek story. Use it to generally discredit ALL the stories of abuse, which, in Brooks' world, come from lying prisoners. And in foul, bitter irony, Brooks published his bullshit the same day the news got out that in Afghanistan, our troops pulverized an innocent Afghani cab driver's legs and hung him from the ceiling until he died. Another prisoner had died six days earlier. It's taken two years to even charge anyone in the deaths, and the track record on convictions and punishment in these cases has not been stellar.

But none of this matters to Brooks, who knows the real reason why the Afghan people are angry.

"Newsweek's little item was seized and exploited by America's enemies in a way that was characteristically cynical, delusional and fascistic... they believe everything that could be alleged about America and more. They've spent so many years inhabiting a delusional mental landscape filled with conspiracy theories and paranoia that you could drill deep into their minds without ever touching reality."

According to Brooks, then, the left and the right need to stop bickering about Newsweek, and focus on the enemy that really matters - the crazy brown people who are only enraged because they've been whipped into a psychotic frenzy of hate by their manipulative, lying leaders.

So, you know. If we can get past that color thing, maybe we can find common ground with them after all.