Ah, gee whilikers, Bobo, you’re going to ruin your reputation at the Applebee’s Salad Bar with this one.
Bobo* Brooks, the Motherfucking New York Times:
The Follower Problem
If there’s anything that has defined the right-wing, not just in our current age of paint-huffing and crying to mommy, but for all time, it is that they are drop to their knees, boot-licking authoritarians.
And that’s not a joke, it’s definitional. As you get more right-wing you get more authoritarian, worshipping power for its own sake, and thinking entirely in hierarchies, downward power struggles, and received wisdom from singular sources.
In fact, much of the comedy of the right-wing is when they take their IT’S ALWAYS PROJECTION styles of writing and try and understand the actions of anti-authoritarians. Biology entirely rests on what one 19th century Brit thought, right? Wanting to give people equal rights is just code right to shifting the pre-existing hierarchy to put your peeps on top? Obviously liberals never criticize their leaders despite the reams of liberals criticizing their leaders we’re simultaneously using to prove that liberal leaders are having their support collapse from underneath them.
But I’ll give wingnuts one thing. They generally try and hide their authoritarian natures. By which I mean they don’t write posts just openly declaring themselves authoritarian and whining about how we don’t grovel in the dust in front of our God-Kings anymore.
Every fiber of my being is rejecting this as I type it, but… w-w-… wingnuts are smarter than that. Ugh.
But as this long-winded intro suggests, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an overpaid hack getting more per article than I’ll ever earn in my life willing to demonstrate an awareness beneath even the most deranged of Birther.
Enter Bobo* Brooks.
Shorter (or the last port before Jungle):
- All our problems are caused by the fact that the miserable peons don’t worship their leaders as Gods anymore.
Oh yeah, there be some fine shit mangos on our cruise tonight!
If you go to the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials in Washington, you are invited to look up in admiration. Lincoln and Jefferson are presented as the embodiments of just authority. They are strong and powerful but also humanized.
I’m not sure it’s possible to be more turned on by one’s subservience to power without actually being in a D&S scene.
On that note, I think Brooks needs to just go to a play party, find himself a leather daddy, and leave the rest of us out of his fetishes from now on. Cause, ew.
Jefferson is a graceful aristocratic democrat. Lincoln is sober and enduring.
Jefferson was sexy and only wanted the vote to go to rich, white, men and talked about fictional freedom while owning slaves. Lincoln extended citizenship to black impoverished slaves, but he’s a “Great Person”, so I’ll include him as well but make the contrast in turn-on so stark people can see my white hood through the internet.
Both used power in the service of higher ideas, which are engraved nearby on the walls.
Yeah, blah blah blah, power in service to ideals, whatever, the point of the matter is the power. Oh god, yes, the power! You can tell because I don’t even care what the ideals are. What ideals did they fight for? Who cares?!? As long as you have some rubbish for the rubes, it doesn’t matter, cause as we all know all that matters is how much more powerful and therefore more important they were than us.
So yeah, we’re one paragraph in and he’s supporting such a steel hard incher for authority that he’s in danger of punching through his iPad as he writes this.
The monuments that get built these days are mostly duds. That’s because they say nothing about just authority.
You can tell that his editor, rising up from a drunk stupor caused by having to edit faux-centrist op-eds from shit-stains like this, took one look at this orgasmic worship of authority and search and replaced all mentions of authority with “just authority” in the desperate attempt to cover up his paper’s allegiances.
You can tell this, because at no point does Bobo* even think about trying to make an argument that authority needs to be just to be good.
The World War II memorial is a nullity. It tells you nothing about the war or why American power was mobilized to fight it.
Possibly because having a memorial to “we deliberately ignored the current greatest example of pure evil as he conquered most of Europe, only entering the war when his allies attacked us, then went on a racist war against all Japanese people, only entering on the ‘heroic side’ when it looked like those dirty commies were in danger of becoming Europe’s greatest heroes” would have been a bad thing.
Better to just leave it as a “great heroes making great sacrifices” thing and call it a day, really.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial brutally simplifies its subject’s nuanced and biblical understanding of power.
You mean his complete rejection of your definition of power and his subversive attempt to replace it with a synonym for effort and struggle?
But hey, in Bobo’s world, as long as we’re forced to pretend some nigger matters, then their anti-authoritarian protest against unthinking authority is just a celebration of the All-Sainted Bootheel, praised be its name.
It gives him an imperious and self-enclosed character completely out of keeping with his complex nature.
Also, great job showing that you aren’t just about worshiping white mythology. What with your rejection of the statue looking too militant compared with the white fantasy that MLK was all about hugging out the differences between white and black people against those mean Black Panthers and their angry Mandingos led by Malcolm X.
Really shows that this rant has nothing to do with the cracks in the hierarchy starting to spread along the tightly clenched fist of the 1%.
As Michael J. Lewis of Williams College has noted, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial transforms a jaunty cavalier into a “differently abled and rather prim nonsmoker.” Instead of a crafty wielder of supreme power, Roosevelt is a kindly grandpa you would want to put your arm around for a vacation photo.
I want to frame this paragraph on my refrigerator, it is that perfect a reveal.
I urge you to read it again. Go on, I’ll wait… (We’re the cowboys from He~ll)… Back? All right then.
Yeah, that’s right, he’s actually complaining that a memorial acknowledged the totally bad-ass fact that FDR did all his awesome genuine leadership while being a disabled person (which in his time might as well have made him a nigger or an Eye-talian).
Wah wah, bu-but in his fantasy, you can’t be a God-King unless you can stand rock rigid hard up into the sky. This memorial makes him look… flaccid. Couldn’t they have just ignored the reality and made him an able-bodied macho man with iron pecs and a flamethrower so that closeted pervs like me can rub against it while we’re in the park…admiring the statues?
I could stop this post right here, because this says it all. The complete inability to accept any authority outside expected views of authority, the inability to reconcile being “down on the hierarchy” with his desire to fellate our invented royalty and his pants-creaming desire for real authority for his lick-spittle authoritarian mind to pant over.
But sadly, we’re only half-way through this Hindenberg.
The proposed Eisenhower memorial shifts attention from his moments of power to his moments of innocent boyhood. The design has been widely criticized, and last week the commission in charge agreed to push back the approval hearing until September.
Is that so? Hmm. One side seems to be him as a general, another has him as president. Not seeing the pedobear segment that made Brooks feel all catholic.
And I love how he assumes any critique that would arise to any of these structures is entirely in agreement with his worry that they don’t suck off power enough rather than because they look like lazy piles of crap designed and built by the lowest bidder.
Uh, Bobo*, I know you spend your days breaking into CEO washrooms to kneel naked in the stalls, but that’s not everyone’s normal.
Even the more successful recent monuments evade the thorny subjects of strength and power. The Vietnam memorial is about tragedy. The Korean memorial is about vulnerability.
The Vietnam war was about strength and power… The Vietnam war was about strength and power…
Okay, yeah, of course, in a whole Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky sense… and okay, yeah, technically.
But somehow I think a monument that was literally to the fact that a bunch of assholes spent thousands of lives all in service to prolonging a longer fail erection in front of the Russians so we wouldn’t look “weak” would be even less acceptable to Dummkopf Brooks.
And with his whining response to the War Memorials honoring the dead, I’m wondering if the only acceptable war memorial to him would have been a giant cock missile penetrating the anus shaped compounds of our wheelchair bound enemies.
Why can’t today’s memorial designers think straight about just authority?
I want my cock missile statue, damn you!!! Why won’t you give it to me-e-e-e-e!!!
Some of the reasons are well-known. We live in a culture that finds it easier to assign moral status to victims of power than to those who wield power. Most of the stories we tell ourselves are about victims who have endured oppression, racism and cruelty.
Well, yes, because the people who have “wielded power” tended to be assholes like you who made life miserable for those with less power. Maybe if those God-kings really did spend more of their time giving everyone free rainbows and riding unicorns instead of using their power to rape everyone’s wife and take all the food, then we wouldn’t be viewing them today like the trumped-up asshole exploiters they were.
Sorry if actions had consequences and that’s affecting your ability to get it up. I guess you’ll just have to complain to history.
Then there is our fervent devotion to equality, to the notion that all people are equal and deserve equal recognition and respect.
He views this as a bad thing. He is disgusted by this.
Sure, that’s par for the course for conservatives and is indeed what conservatives have fought against since the first asshole decided he wasn’t going to be in this tribe unless he could send everyone to bring home some meat while he fucked whoever was left behind.
But still, they aren’t usually this fucking blatant about it.
Hey, with all the voter suppression efforts, why bother pretending anymore? Fuck Equality, that poxied whore! And fuck her sapphic sister Empathy too!
It’s hard in this frame of mind to define and celebrate greatness, to hold up others who are immeasurably superior to ourselves.
Not really. Triumph over adversary, those who fight on when none would join them in their time, not to mention those that are able to remain calm while resisting oppression. There are many heroes and heroines.
But see, that ending is what gave you away. It isn’t so much that we’re not celebrating “greatness” that has your ass puckering into your esophagus. It’s that we aren’t overly worshipping our aristocrats because they are richer, whiter, and healthier than we are.
You know, if you need a bootheel against your neck that badly, there are men in San Francisco who are more than willing to fulfill that for very reasonable rates.
But the main problem is our inability to think properly about how power should be used to bind and build. Legitimate power is built on a series of paradoxes: that leaders have to wield power while knowing they are corrupted by it; that great leaders are superior to their followers while also being of them; that the higher they rise, the more they feel like instruments in larger designs. The Lincoln and Jefferson memorials are about how to navigate those paradoxes.
Blah blah, psuedo-intellectual blather to disguise the fact that I spent the last 8 paragraphs stroking myself to how awesome it would be if we were medieval Europe.
But given that it’s caloric intake is zero, what with it being nothing but hot air, feel free to take your own comedic spin on it in the comment thread.
These days many Americans seem incapable of thinking about these paradoxes. Those “Question Authority” bumper stickers no longer symbolize an attempt to distinguish just and unjust authority. They symbolize an attitude of opposing authority.
It’s almost like liberals, instead of being authoritarians towards different darker Gods, are actually anti-authoritarians and thus are heavily suspicious of authority and power and always want to check that its just and good before claiming it as so.
Bu-But that can’t be!
Fuck, I want to introduce him to a real anarchist just to see his head explode. If “Question Authority” gives him vapors, I want to see his reaction to “No Gods, No Masters!”
The old adversary culture of the intellectuals has turned into a mass adversarial cynicism. The common assumption is that elites are always hiding something. Public servants are in it for themselves. Those people at the top are nowhere near as smart or as wonderful as pure and all-knowing Me.
I smell a set-up for a both-sides do it false equivalence.
Hmm, liberals turn against certain braindead “elites” who have been caught trying to bring the country to its knees? Let’s just jam it into the “I durn like dem egghead scientists what think dey better dan me” culture of my fellow authoritarians of the lower strata.
You end up with movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Parties that try to dispense with authority altogether. They reject hierarchies and leaders because they don’t believe in the concepts. The whole world should be like the Internet — a disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king.
Both sides do it! Where apparently both sides are anarchy. Cause a critique of financial abuses and the aching gap between rich and poor and how that effects our society is exactly the same as a manufactured puppet show by said “elites” designed to delay the legitimate protest by dominating the air waves with KKK members wearing different hats.
Maybe before we can build great monuments to leaders we have to relearn the art of following.
You know, it’s not every day you see someone literally say the problem of these kids today is that they aren’t groveling peons kneeling in fear of their king.
I also love the trade-off.
Okay, in exchange for your complete subservience and a guilt complex about not being enough of a worthless unthinking slave for your glorious masters, we will give to you… slightly better statues to ourselves.
Fuck, even Satan has better deals than that shit.
Democratic followership is also built on a series of paradoxes: that we are all created equal but that we also elevate those who are extraordinary; that we choose our leaders but also have to defer to them and trust their discretion; that we’re proud individuals but only really thrive as a group, organized and led by just authority.
An invented paradox consists of paradoxes?
You don’t say!
Also, yeah, if it wasn’t clear enough that our current “elites” really want to restart that whole “democracy debate” by now…
Yeah, turns out racist, sexist, authoritarian rich assholes don’t really like democracy very much. Who knew?
I don’t know if America has a leadership problem; it certainly has a followership problem.
The problem isn’t that the people supposed to be leading the country, creating jobs, or working in our best interests have repeatedly abandoned those tasks in favor of working entirely on behalf of a few dozen rich assholes, it’s that you rube fuckers are starting to clue into the con.
So stop that! Good followers don’t notice when they are being screwed, they just learn how to arch their backs and call that micropenis flailing wildly into them the best ride of their life.
At least, they do if they want enough food to survive the night.
Vast majorities of Americans don’t trust their institutions.
Which institutions? Financial? Political? Social? EROTIC?!?
Ha! Why would we bother getting specific when we’re trying to argue that conservative anti-government knee-jerk reactions are the same as liberal critiques of abuses of power?
That’d be a rookie mistake, right there.
That’s not mostly because our institutions perform much worse than they did in 1925 and 1955, when they were widely trusted.
Said “institutions” rewarded said trust by completely collapsing in 1929 revealing that the past few decades of lies about conservative financial models were nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
And someone forgot that they worship 1955 for the Ozzy and Harriet delusions rather than the economic policy, seeing as how 1955 saw our nation with about as leftist of an economy as we ever allowed ourselves to get. Turned out to be the middle of a nearly 3 decade sustainable boom until we started fiddling with the nobs because “eek, the wimmins and the brown people think they are real human beings”.
It’s mostly because more people are cynical and like to pretend that they are better than everything else around them. Vanity has more to do with rising distrust than anything else.
Yeah, you filthy peons going around thinking you are real people who deserve basic human respect. If there was ever a greater example of trumped up vanity than that, I don’t know what it is!
I mean, can’t you see that you are naught but worthless slaves compared to the fine sculpted features of our lords and masters. Hold me in those bony arms, daddy, yes!
Yeah, Bobo* is Smithers. No joke.
In his memoir, “At Ease,” Eisenhower delivered the following advice: “Always try to associate yourself with and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.” Ike slowly mastered the art of leadership by becoming a superb apprentice.
Ike is despised by current conservatives for being a… (one sec, let me get out the list) tax-raising nigger-lover who used federal troops! in a simple case of state rights that the South totally would have resolved on its own if the federal government had butted out (end scene)… So yeah, there’s that.
Also, your hard-on for the last Republican president that was legitimately praise-worthy aside, what does that quote have to do with anything?
I mean, you’ve basically spent your entire post whining about how the slovenly masses don’t lick enough boots and aren’t cringing at their own worthlessness.
But then, here you quote someone who thinks everyone should strive to improve. That we shouldn’t wait for some “great person” to ride in on their white horse, Fabio hair blowing in the wind, and sweep us away from all this. But that we should find those even better at something than us and learn from them and grow.
I guess you stopped reading at “better than you” because you needed to attend to some business in your bunk, Jayne style.
To have good leaders you have to have good followers — able to recognize just authority, admire it, be grateful for it and emulate it. Those skills are required for good monument building, too.
It’s worth repeating.
The deal he’s offering is for everyone to abandon their free will and become as slaves for the self-appointed aristocrats in exchange for slightly better statues.
I don’t think we’ll be accepting that deal. Guess you’re stuck with the revolution. Don’t worry, you’re still first against the wall (/Obligatory Hitchhiker Guide’s Reference).
‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. Over-referencing cult pop-culture references in your work is invented by Generation X, but used in this post by me. We are aware of all Internet traditions.™
*There is a law requiring that all references to David Brooks use his earned name “Bobo” and that all references to him must cite this definitive piece on all things Bobo. And that’s my civil obligation dispensed with. Back to the roast.