David &%#@$! Brooks

Ta Nehisi Coates’ new book “Between the World and Me” has just been released. It is an intensely personal look at the hazards of growing up black in the USA. I haven’t read the book myself, (Once the public library gets it, I will check it out) however I am moderately familiar with Ta Nehisi Coates’ work, especially his very important article last year in the Atlantic last year “The Case for Reparations” if you missed it, read it now http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/ and if you only have a limited amount of time today, read that instead of the rest of this blog entry. But, now that you’ve read it, you know that Mr Coates’ work is personal, very well researched, and very well supported by actual history. So when I read David Brooks talk about Mr Coates’ work I get a stabbing pain behind my eyes.

Because David Brooks… …is a pundit. He’s a goooooooood pundit. He wrote this in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/17/opinion/listening-to-ta-nehisi-coates-while-white.html?_r=0 The Grey Lady. The first draft of history. The newspaper of record. The ol’ fishwrap. The canary cage liner. The toilet paper of last resort. Don’t they have a single editor there who doesn’t show up to work already drunk? Isn’t there someone there who could take a red pen to David Brooks? Or worse yet, what if they already did? What if they trimmed out the worst and quotes like the one below made the cut?

I think you distort American history. This country, like each person in it, is a mixture of glory and shame. There’s a Lincoln for every Jefferson Davis and a Harlem Children’s Zone for every K.K.K. — and usually vastly more than one. Violence is embedded in America, but it is not close to the totality of America.

Just what is he trying to say? That Lincoln freeing the slaves makes up for the fact that African Americans were enslaved in the first place? What kind of Stockholm syndrome bullshit is that? You know what’s better than being rescued from slavery? Not being enslaved in the first place. You know what makes up for slavery? Tell me. I’m all ears. Because I suspect it’s “not a goddamn thing”.

“And a Harlem Children’s Zone for every KKK”? What kind of insulting horseshit is this? Does the Harlem Children’s Zone have a time machine and a resurrect-o-tron and go on merry adventures throughout history and unlynching black people and unburning their houses, farms and businesses? Cause if they don’t, it may just be that this is a candidate for most mendacious false equivalence of the year.

Look, I get it. David Brooks has no idea how to solve a problem. I was going to say “if the Aspen Ideas Festival or a TED talk can’t fix it” but I realize that’s an unnecessary qualifier. David Brooks is a champion of the kind of thinking that says American ingenuity, American good will and American love of justice can solve any problem. For example:

This dream is a secular faith that has unified people across every known divide. It has unleashed ennobling energies and mobilized heroic social reform movements. By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism, you trap generations in the past and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future.

And maybe the American dream got David Brooks where he is today. But his version of “the American Dream” is a license, even a mandate, to forget and ignore the injustices that continue to kill and impoverish people today. Ask a Native American what they think of manifest destiny. Ask a an undocumented immigrant working in a slaughterhouse for less than minimum wage for 12+ hours a day what they think of American capitalism. Ask an African American in New York City what they think of “Stop and Frisk” or the “war on drugs”. Because Ta Nehisi Coates got where he is, by fighting the American Dream every step of the way.


Comments: 40


By now, most of the country knows that Brooks has all the literary acumen of a toaster and the veracity of Joe Isuzu.

The only ones who haven’t figured it out, apparently, are the owners of The New York Times.


Very nice post, HM. White people thank you for taking time out to slap Brooks upside the head! Didn’t realize you were blogging here. I’ll put it back on the rotation!


“…excessive realism…”

What an odd turn of phrase. Be real, but not too real, I guess, or you harsh Davie’s mellow.


David Brooks delenda est


Man, that’s some solid writing. David Brooks should be made to read it. He could a learn a thing or two about the craft.


Well, what about all the people anti-murdered by the Harlem Children’s Zone? Why, there must be thousands of lynchings they retroactively prevented, in order for David Brooks not to have his head up his fucking ass.


Well, Damien that is the burden of having a time machine and a resurrect-o-tron. No one ever notices all of the lynchings that you prevent, because after you do it, they never happened. looking at history, clearly we owe a tremendous debt to all of the time travelers who daily protect us from horrors like World Wars III through XXVI.



David Brooks trusts that *somebody else’s* American ingenuity, American good will and American love of justice can solve any problem. He doesn’t expect or intend to contribute to that personally, of course. Unfortunately, there are millions of others who feel the same way, and darn few who actually pitch in. In a way, that is Brooks’s role. He’s the voice for those complacent millions, all with boundless faith that Somebody Else will make everything better. Any minute now.

Pupienus Maximus

What. The. Fuck.

This dream is a secular faith that has unified people across every known divide.

It has? When did that happen? And how did I miss it?

By dissolving the dream under the acid of an excessive realism,

I’m just… I don’t … I can’t even… “Don’t harsh my mellow with reality! ” That Bobo prefers that we not pay too much attention to reality should not surprise me, I guess, seeing as how he has been avoiding reality for … well since forever.

trap generations in the past

It would surely be better if we didn’t burden generations with awareness of what came before. We can ensure a better future by ignoring the past!

and destroy the guiding star that points to a better future.

Bobo’s guiding star shines the blazing light of denial.


“Oh, my. You’re distorting American history. There’s bad AND good.”

So, of course, when Brooks sees an article that highlights only the good parts of America… even going so far as to, for example, call it a Shining City On A Hill, the Last Best Hope For Mankind, or preaching a thing called American Exceptionalism… he immediately does the exact same thing and reminds the enthusiast “I think you’re exaggerating. American history has good AND bad.” Right? I mean, he’s just trying to set the record straight. This certainly isn’t just something he applies to one side? Right? Right?


Good post, my platypus friend.

Made the Memeoranda so expect to be busy cleaning up a lot of extra troll scat.

When I saw the title of the article, and that it was by David Brooks, I did a peremptory facepalm. Let’s hope this one gets him vilified enough that the NYT begins to have second thoughts about his employability.

Heading over to Pierce’s corner of Esquire to see what he’s got to say. Haven’t visited since the site redesign… way too script heavy and looks like crap.


David Brooks is a troll of the worst sort – the faux-moderate conservative apologist who dismisses any sort of hard criticism of conservatives or the GOP as “extremist”.

I’ve wondered a long time if he’s actually irrational or rationalizing. I think it’s the latter. But the arguments he puts forth are so awful, it can make it hard call.

My sympathies to the author for going through the pain of reading a single sentence of his mealy-mouthed William-F.Buckley-with-a-layer-of-Thomas-Kinkade dreck.


“excessive realism” – you mean reality you fucker?

Yikes – that’s some 1984 shit right there. “You really shouldn’t talk about how things were and are – that makes us sad!”


Kee-rist, what an asshole.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

Why let harsh reality get in the way of your sunny lies?

The Dark Avenger

I though Excessive Realism used to open for the Aztec Vipers…….


Nice work, HM, and much better paragraphing.

“Hey, black folks, why dwell on ‘real’ reality, when there’s GOP alternate reality?”


I’ve wondered a long time if he’s actually irrational or rationalizing. I think it’s the latter. But the arguments he puts forth are so awful, it can make it hard call.

Brooks always struck me as just the archetypical Official Washingtonian, repeating what’s conventional wisdom in the demographics he hangs out with, and trying to enforce a patrician consensus on what is and isn’t Very Serious in the face of rabble-rousers like TNC.

Not sure whether that makes him “irrational” or “rationalizing” (can’t it be both?) I think he says whatever he has to to convince himself that he’s on the right side, because the alternative is that he’s been wrong all these years (also he loses all his Official Washingtonian friends), and who wants that? Which sounds like “rationalizing,” but just as much “irrational,” though it’s the kind of irrationality that’s very common among people.


Excessive Realism is getting too real, folks.

I would like to inform Mr. Brooks of several things:
1) He does not speak for white people.
2) He does not have a well-researched view of American History otherwise he’d have a better understanding of such things as Rosewood, the Tulsa White Riots, Sand Creek Massacre, the Japanese internments, the anti-Chinese pogroms of the West Coast during the 1800s, lynching postcards, the Trail of Tears, the 3/5th rule WRITTEN INTO OUR OWN CONSTITUTION FOR 80-PLUS YEARS, and of course our modern history of piling up bodies of unarmed Blacks.


And yet, he’s still a columnist in a major newspaper and regularly appears on news shows and gets to voice his stupid opinions without repercussions.


When I try to imagine just who David Brooks’s audience is, I … can’t. Who the fuck are these people?


Who the fuck are these people?
Squares, for lack of a more defining word?

Hoping that who/whatever they are, they are a dying breed.


Wow! If I were Bill Frist, MD, and had the ability to diagnose people’s neurological state remotely, I’d say that Bobo has the worst case of Wernicke’s aphasia we’ve seen in a public figure since Sarah Palin. Of course, ee cummings captured the ramblings of Bobo and his ilk and made poetry out of them.


The last year has not been an education for white people, damnit. It’s been an education for the same ignorant white people who pretend racism ended sometime way back, but that’s not all of us. I don’t know when or where white people elected David Brooks as speaker to the Others, but Jesus, I want a do over.


And the horse he rode into town on.

Big Bad Bald Bastard

When I try to imagine just who David Brooks’s audience is, I … can’t. Who the fuck are these people?

Brooks comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.


Brooks comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.

Indeed, and tries to provide socially acceptable memes for racists to deny racism… “These blahs just don’t believe in the AMERICAN DREAM”

With the hope that his lies will become the kind of zombie lies that define American conservatism…

Pupienus Maximus

Teh food pr0n obsessed ex-Emperor of Portland is VINDICATED!


Brooks comforts the comfortable and afflictsblames the afflicted, for their affliction.


Thanks Helmut, excellent takedown, and one less thing for me to have to deal with…


you can certainly have an excellent political career in the Republican Party despite never having seen combat. Think Mitt Romney, think George W. Bush and Dick Cheney — hell, think Dan Quayle, or Ronald Reagan for that matter.


Interesting article


The failure of Brownback’s experiment may provide an effective rhetorical tool liberals can use against conservatives in economic debates, but it won’t actually change any conservatives’ thinking. The reason is that their belief in tax cuts doesn’t rest on the practical effects. That’s an argument that’s meant to appeal to everyone, since it concerns something (growth) that just about everyone thinks is good.

But the real source of the conservative support for tax cuts is moral, not practical. They believe that taxes are inherently immoral — the government stealing from you the fruits of your labor (or inheritance or wise investments, as the case may be) to enact its nefarious schemes. Taxes should therefore be as low as possible. Conservatives also tend to believe that progressive taxation is doubly immoral, since it takes more from the most virtuous among us.

Pupienus Maximus

The Human Events spam usually goes to my spam folder so I don’t see it but today this headline was in my inbox: Terrorists Killing Americans: Another Reason to Remember Ted Kennedy

Want to place a bet on whether it was about the white terrorist killing black Americans or the muslimy mooslem terrorist killing soldiers? Nah, I didn’t think so.

No, I did not and will not click through to see just how they link Ted Kennedy CHAPPAQUIDDICK! to the incident.


Oh Jebus fuck. WP told to slow down. So I went about my day and came back five or six hours later. What does WP say? Yah, posting too fast. FYWP with a 14″ ion powered ice auger.

Pupienus Maximus

The reason is that their belief in tax cuts doesn’t rest on the practical effects

The reason is that “conservatism” has become religion. It’s ideology and facts don’t matter. Not only does citing counter factual evidence do nothing to move them, as with all delusionals it only reinforces their already firmly held delusion. It’s called the backfire effect.


Y’know, I never get “posting too fast” except when I haven’t for a while.


It must do a check that truncates the time stamp in such a way that if it doesn’t have a matching older time stamp, it barfs.

I haven’t watched the furor at Netroots Nation, but I could’ve predicted O’Malley would be this tone-deaf. It was a chance for Sanders to differentiate himself… But it’s early yet.

Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t has predicted that some group would come and yell – that’s a lefty thing. It happens. Code Pink, for instance. The candidates either have to answer the questions decisively or take control of the mic.

But being tone deaf ‘all lives matter’ is just glossing over that there’s a problem at all.


you can certainly have an excellent political career in the Republican Party despite never having seen combat. … Ronald Reagan for that matter.

Reagan served by making a highly regarded series of STD training films –
Syphillis in Sicily
The Crabs Of Iwo Jima, and
Cold Sores Over Colditz
to name a few. These also partially explain his famous swagger, as rubbing his thighs together was dreadfully painful. These also fully explain the shine on the brown cordovan shoe that Peggers Nooningborough stole from the casket that currently fill her gin-fueled dusty dreams. These also somewhat explain Nancy hopping on the Sinatra saddle, as she didn’t want to spend her time in the White House in President William Howard Taft’s oversized tub, filled to the gunwales with penicillin syrup.

I’d go on, but I had a tuna salad sammich for lunch.


David Brooks? Isn’t he that guy that teaches humility at Yale?


The cops said the video was so bad that they were preparing for riots. And the video was bad – the police story was clearly a fairy tale, completely made up. There is no threat to the officer. The victim’s hands were up when he was shot point blank in the face. For not having tags on the front of his car.

But there was no rioting.

This is pretty clearly because a murder charge was handed down. And quite quickly, as the video evidence warrants.

The state treated the murder of a black man by police as an actual crime. It was not just another unfortunate incident where all procedures were followed correctly. This was all it took to avoid widespread civil disobedience and extensive property damage.

There’s still plenty of opportunity for things to do go wrong. The charges can still be changed to a misdemeanour or something ridiculous, maybe on a plea deal that keeps him out of jail. The follow up on the officers who participated in the cover up might end with no charges or even reprimands. The police lobby is strong and they are no doubt applying pressure even now. But maybe there might be a realization that treating your citizens as expendable, that circling the wagons around racist murderers, that this is the road to car fires and curfews. That it fosters a community-police relationship that makes everybody’s lives a lot worse off.

And let’s also not forget – Samuel DeBose was killed for driving while black.


Seriously the Gray Lady actually paid David Brooks to write this?! David Brooks received actual money for writing what is basically a column-length version of #notallwhitepeople?!

I’d say that Brooks is better than Kristol but only marginally.


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