So tomorrow is Rice University commencement, and David Brooks will be speaking. I’ve already commented on Brooks’ past commencement speeches, and how they would be rather inappropriate for Rice. Given his history, I’m curious just how much he is going to change for a unique campus like Rice.
I’d love to mock him again, but someone has already done a way better job than I could in this rush of a morning, preparing to hop an Amtrak to Philadelphia to see my sister’s graduation at Bryn Mawr. (Perhaps as a senior gift, her class could give the school some much needed vowels.)
The Final Edition’s David Brooks column is a thorough takedown of Brooks’ habit of ignoring the facts in front of his face to create some overarching theme. Usually it all takes the form of Republican apologetics. Here is a clip, but you should read the whole thing.
I’ve interviewed dozens of political leaders. Most of them feel some obligation, whether out of sincere belief or simple professionalism, to pay lip service to objective reality. It’s what sociologists call the “bias toward consensus.” I’ll validate your world if you validate mine. And, for most people, it serves a real purpose. It makes meaningful discourse possible, and provides a basis for mutually-comprehended cultural norms and relationships.
Bachmann sees things differently. She is perhaps the most visible of the societal type known as the New Solipsists, or Newso’s. You can tell Newso’s by their various characteristic behaviors and patterns of consumption.
If Newso’s feel like going to Circuit City to buy DuMont televisions and watch the latest broadcasts of Lost and The Shield, they do. They fly business class on Pan American to New York City, where they stay at the Biltmore and eat at La Caravelle. Every two years they trade in their car for another top-of-the-line Oldsmobile.
“I’m concerned because Obama is the first Communist Martian we’ve ever had a heartbeat away from the White Office,” she says, unprompted. “If you look at the Founding Fathers, none of them were Martians, except maybe Benjamin Franklin. But he wasn’t married, so he couldn’t be a father. Centipedes from South America will destroy us all until Jesus Christ returns.”
Reading this, I knew what Brian Wilson must have felt when he first heard Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is even better than Shakespeare’s Sister’s outline of how to write a David Brooks column.
5. Make the very same fucking point your “liberal friends” were making. (“This doesn’t mean that the Tea Party influence will be positive for Republicans over the long haul. The movement carries viruses that may infect the G.O.P. in the years ahead.”)
6. Claim it’s an entirely different point by virtue of irrelevant caveat. (“But that damage is all in the future.”)
But I will keep going with my Smile, nonetheless.
Anyways, I won’t get to be at the David Brooks’ fest, or Maureen Dowd’s follow-up speech in Valhalla. Instead, I will get to hear the Bryn Mawr commencement speaker, Judith Jamison. I have never heard of her, though Wikipedia says she is some sort of dancer. That’s neat, though I doubt she’ll be able to tap dance around the issues like Brooks does.
Not much time to be snarky, but just one short rant about his column today:
Brooks talks about the debt ceiling, and how Republicans don’t want to raise it despite the massive threat it would do to our economy, and the fact that the Republican leadership knows that they have to. So basically the GOP wants to hold our economy hostage for spending cuts. But hey, maybe if we didn’t have all that spending in Iraq and on the unnecessary upper crust tax cuts, we wouldn’t have to raise the debt ceiling in the first place. Too bad Brooks doesn’t talk about why the deficit is so high in the first place.