Subscribe via RSS Feed

Also You Can Punch David Brooks in the Face

[ 187 ] January 24, 2017 |


The women’s marches were a phenomenal success and an important cultural moment. Most everybody came back uplifted and empowered. Many said they felt hopeful for the first time since Election Day. But these marches can never be an effective opposition to Donald Trump.

In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues.

I don’t have words.


Comments (187)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Can we add David Brooks to the “Backpfeifengesicht” list from the previous thread? We can, can’t we?

  2. Rob in CT says:

    On the contrary. I find that entirely believable.

    David Brooks is scum.

    • There are a few go-to columns you can link to undermine these assholes to your friend.

      There’s the correction to Thomas Friedman’s column that clarifies that Turkey (the subject of the column) “is to the east of Europe, not the west of Europe as was originally stated.” It’s really the whole Friedman in one correction.

      For Brooks, it’s the “say what you will about the wildly anti-Semitic 19th C. protestant leadership of the U.S., they sure knew how to get things done” column.

  3. MPAVictoria says:

    David Brooks is fucking awful. I never got what Obama saw in his work.

    • Warren Terra says:

      I am rather tired of hearing this complaint. Brooks is a tool, but he’s a tool with a column on the New York Times opinion page and regular appearances on NPR and PBS. His schtick is to be the voice of Moderate Conservatives, an audience that his media appearances gives him strong access to and one that few others in our polarized world purport to represent, or even acknowledge exists. To the extent it does exist, this is an audience Obama very much wanted to court; it’s certainly an audience far closer ideologically and temperamentally to Obama and the median Democrat than it is to today’s radicalized Tea Party controlled Republicans. So, Obama courted Brooks. It would have been odd if he hadn’t.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Playing politics. As one does in the White House.

  4. Abbey Bartlet says:

    I can’t wait for the concern trolls.

    • MPAVictoria says:

      “If you bunch David Brooks you are just as bad as Nazis for some reason I cannot intelligently describe.”

      /There hopefully they will read that and move on.

    • Philip says:

      Which is ironic since Brooks himself is like an alchemical distillation of concern troll.

      The biggest problem with identity politics is that its categories don’t explain what is going on now. Trump carried a majority of white women. He won the votes of a shocking number of Hispanics.

      The central challenge today is not how to celebrate difference. The central threat is not the patriarchy. The central challenge is to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea.

      I loathed Trump’s inaugural: It offered a zero-sum, ethnically pure, backward-looking brutalistic nationalism. But it was a coherent vision, and he is rallying a true and fervent love of our home.

      If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.

      The march didn’t come close. Hint: The musical “Hamilton” is a lot closer.

      Christ, what an asshole.

      • j_doc says:

        The biggest problem with identity politics is that its categories don’t explain what is going on now.

        I loathed Trump’s inaugural: It offered a zero-sum, ethnically pure, backward-looking brutalistic nationalism.

        Does he even read his own words?

        • Junipermo says:

          Nope, he doesn’t. This is one of the most brain-dead, tone-deaf things I’ve ever read in my life.

          What is going on now, David Brooks, is that millions of women, people of color, LGBT folks, Muslims, and others are being threatened by the elevation of Trump and his hatreds to the White House. The fact that millions of people marched to take a stand against these things and for equality, justice, anti-racism, etc., very clearly explains what’s going on now. What you’re bitching about, Brooks, is that your priorities aren’t being given the deference and attention you think they deserve.

          The stupid, it burns.

          • It is also worth mentioning that millions of people voted for Clinton. I expect that the Venn Diagram of those voters and those who marched have a substantial overlap; indeed, everyone I know who marched fits into that overlap. To me what this suggests is that the election failed to account for the will of the majority of the voting population, and that the outcome of the election is purely a result of an 18th Century political compromise which has next to no ongoing purpose today. I’m preaching to the choir here, I know, but we have to keep saying this.

            Also, David Brooks’ head is stuffed with straw

      • Buggy Ding Dong says:

        And the way to rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea clearly is to cut taxes, eliminate abortion, privatize everything, slash entitlements and roll back health care options.

        Hey David, there is a group of people who already do that. They just don’t have to march to be heard and slobbered on by human sharts such as yourself.

      • David,

        building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism


        with biblical morality

        Nope again.
        Keep your savage ‘winner takes all’ vision of economics and cram it up your ass with your bronze age superstitions that you’re using instead of ethics and morality.

        • Tehanu says:

          If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.

          You CAN’T “balance the dynamism of capitalism” with biblical morality, and I’m not talking about the Bronze Age superstitious stuff that got into the Bible. I’m talking about the endless righteous rants of the prophets, including Jesus, about justice and charity and caring for the poor, the hungry and helpless, the widow and orphan, the stranger at your door, the prisoner. Capitalism doesn’t give a damn about any of that unless you force capitalists to do so. That’s what laws and regulations are about, and if I hear any goddam libertarians talking about how immoral laws and regulations are, because they depend on guns and punishment, I will personally exercise my 2nd Amendment rights on them. They’d all applaud that, wouldn’t they?

          BTW Fred Clark at slacktivist is much better on this than I am, so go over there if you want this put eloquently.

          • JMP says:

            The meaning of “biblical morality” is that all of us atheists, Muslims, Jewish people, Hindus, Buddhist, pagans and other non-Christians must bow down before the Christians and admit that we are inferior and not fully human.

          • ColBatGuano says:

            By balancing, Brooks meant not doing anything to restrain capitalism.

          • bender says:

            The Biblical Kingdom of Israel, when it was an independent country, had a rudimentary social safety net: widows and orphans had the right to glean in any field after the harvest, and farmers were forbidden to harvest so thoroughly that nothing was left for the poor to glean. The prophets advocated labor legislation in the form of a requirement that day laborers be paid at the end of the day’s work so they would have the means to buy food for themselves and their families. There was a year of debt cancellation on a regular basis to prevent families from being sold into debt slavery. The Hebrew prophets also called for land reform. They even had a concern for animal rights: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth the corn.”

        • Origami Isopod says:

          cram it up your ass with your bronze age superstitions

          Nobody had a fainting spell at this? Most of our concern trolls must have had to take today off, poor dears, having chafed themselves to the point of blood loss yesterday.

        • Jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

          My feeling exactly. Two things we will have to rid the world of if humans are to survive.

      • eclare says:

        If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality

        In other words, you must actively endorse my preferred philosophies, even though many of you actually reject them outright.

        I’ll say this much for David Brooks: people on both the left and right find him smug, obtuse, and condescending. He’s a uniter!

    • efgoldman says:

      I can’t wait for the concern trolls.

      I’m concerned, but I lost my lease under the bridge.

  5. Can we just turn this into a regular feature like “This Day in Labor History” or “Erik Visits an American Grave?”

    I suggest, “bspencer punches an American face.”

  6. wjts says:

    the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues.

    For once, I think Brooks has a point. I didn’t see a single sign saying, “Start Making the Kind of Socks wjts Likes Again”.

  7. tsam says:

    More NYT shots fired!

    Spicer affirms that Trump believes the lie of illegal voters

    Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, confirmed on Tuesday that President Trump has long believed that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 election, furthering a false claim from the podium of the West Wing briefing room and refusing to rule out an investigation down the road.

    If this is where the Times is going, I’ll follow them there.

  8. PotemkinMetropolitanRegion says:

    These are all important matters, and they tend to be voting issues for many upper-middle-class voters in university towns and coastal cities.

    To be fair, no woman outside of Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, or New York City has ever needed birth control at any point in their lives.

  9. Jay B says:

    If only Brooks had some kind of platform to lay out the issues he finds important! Then maybe he could get people to coalesce around these IMPORTANT ISSUES. But he doesn’t. Such a pity.

    [I know this is wrong, but I want to kick him in the balls]

  10. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Any Jonathan Chait can write that identity politics will doom the march before it happens.

    It takes a David Brooks to make the same argument after the march.

  11. solidcitizen says:

    “All the big things that were once taken for granted are now under assault: globalization, capitalism, adherence to the Constitution, the American-led global order. If you’re not engaging these issues first, you’re not going to be in the main arena of national life.”

    Right, we should have been marching to protect capitalism. Or globalization. Or the American-led global order. Well, to tell the truth, I had made a “NATO NOW!” sign, but ended up shelving it.

    It’s almost like Brooks thinks the things he stands for are the things everyone should be standing for.

    • solidcitizen says:

      It gets worse, “If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.”

      Christ, what an asshole.

    • bizarroMike says:

      To be fair, no women’s movement has ever been told to go to the back of the line while the more important issues are sorted out. Nope. Never in all of history and forever.

  12. celticdragonchick says:

    Rod Dreher has been tightening the cilice er scourging himself uh concern trolling everybody that all those wimminz at the marches are libertine hussy sluts and that punching a Nazi makes all liberals Nazis.

    Yeah, he went there.

  13. Buggy Ding Dong says:

    Because David Brooks is THE authority on both protest movements and constructing a winning policy agenda.

    @Jay B: no, it is not wrong. He and people like Chris Cizzilla are a big reason we are in this sad state of affairs. Hacks of the highest order who contribute nothing real to the public discourse and never, ever offer real solutions or ideas.

    They suck and deserve both a punch in the face and a knee to the balls as ridicule and shaming has not worked a whit with these two fucksticks.

    • ΧΤΠΔ says:

      Same goes for Jack Shafer and Dick Lowry, AKA “Allen and VandeHei’s spiritual successors” (who, not at all incidentally, also deserve to be dickpunched to death).

  14. Lizzy L says:

    Because women don’t know anything about politics and they really, really need the help of a wise man (me) to tell them what to do. That’s all right, girls, you can thank me later.

    I wonder if Brooks has ever encountered the term “mansplaining.” I would guess not.

    I don’t even have the energy to get irritated. I mean, who reads David Brooks?

  15. twointimeofwar says:

    It’s significant that as marching and movements have risen, the actual power of the parties has collapsed.

    Assuming this is true, is it at all possible that this might be a good thing? Breaking down the power of these particular parties (Dems & Repubs in their current iteration) could lead to changes in their platforms to attract some of these useless marchers?

    there was too big a gap between Saturday’s marches and the Democratic and Republican Parties

    Again, this is sort of the point, right? “Hey, fuckers, listen to us” is sort of the point of any march…?

    Well, if marching isn’t going to do it, I guess we will sit back and what for the right (of course, white and male) leader to bestow on us the things we want.

    As regards every whiny ass criticism of Saturday’s march, I have been consistently chanting, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

  16. DrDick says:

    Funny how Brooks never finds progressive issues to be right ones.

  17. Shakezula says:

    I wonder if Brooks wants to be punched in the face. Like, he gets all tingly while he’s writing this crap because he’s convinced THIS will be the one that causes someone to give him alt-five right on the chin.

    • West says:

      I think you’re close. I think he gets off on knowing that people want to punch him, and also wanting them to want to punch him, but also being pretty confident that he’s got himself cloistered into his upscale lifestyle well enough that it’s pretty damn unlikely to happen.

      Note to self: consult with German wife this evening, there must be a word in German for this particular brand of smugness (and cowardice). Backpfeifengesicht comes close but it’s a bit distinct from that.

    • Mellano says:

      I’m certain this is the case. The only question is whether it’s psychological or financial (because he seems constitutionally unable to write any other way, now, if he ever did in the past).

      It’s the simplest way to come up with his columns: “What could I say about [X] that is so scolding, fallacious, and obvious, while looking superficially like an outreach across partisan lines, that right-thinking people want to jump into their cars, hit the gas, and not stop until they’re outside the D.C. bureau parking lot, where they will wait for me to emerge so they can ball up their fists and sock me in the face?</em."

      McArdle's similar – didn't they both write at the Atlantic? I can't remember, I've boycotted both of them for years.

  18. libarbarian says:

    If you punch David Brooks you are just as bad as Gargamel.

  19. Peterr says:

    I don’t have words.

    Ashley Judd had a few, that she borrowed (with permission) from a young woman in Tennessee:

    I am a nasty woman.

    Not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust,
    a man whose words are a dis to America,
    Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech contaminating this national anthem . . .

    Yeah I’m nasty
    like the struggle of women still beating equality into the world,
    because our rights have been beaten out of us for too long.
    And our fight will continue to embody our nastiness.
    I’m nasty like red, white, and blue bruises.
    Nasty like Elizabeth, Amelia, Rosa, Eleanor, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle.
    Our mothers, our sisters, us sisters are all nasty like history
    And our pussies
    ain’t for grabbing
    They’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be.
    They’re for birthing new generations of
    Nasty women.
    So if you a nasty woman
    say hell yeah.

    I have a hunch you could borrow these yourself.

  20. Docrailgun says:

    So, instead of racially-based fascism, we should have a Christian capitalist fascism?
    Sign me up!

    “If the anti-Trump forces are to have a chance, they have to offer a better nationalism, with diversity cohering around a central mission, building a nation that balances the dynamism of capitalism with biblical morality.”

  21. Lord Jesus Perm says:

    Wanting to punch David Brooks in the face is why Trump won.

  22. sam says:

    I’ll repeat something I noted on the twitters (but with more words because you can do that here!). I particularly liked* the part where he cited Lilla’s idiotic column on identity politics and used as a metric of its rightness the fact that it was read a lot:

    Soon after the Trump victory, Prof. Mark Lilla of Columbia wrote a piece on how identity politics was dooming progressive politics. Times readers loved that piece and it vaulted to the top of the most-read charts.

    as I noted in response to this genius**, “most-read” and “liked” are not the same thing. After all, I read Brook’s column and I think he’s a moron.

    **not genius

  23. […] punching David Brooks in the face: you could do that, or you could read Timothy Burke accomplishing the same thing with words. Or you […]

  24. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    what, Brooks aged out of swirlys and wedgies and the like? He’ll be so *proud*

  25. Philip says:

    The brave doomed soul who was tweeting about climate change from the Badlands National Park twitter account got purged.

  26. kped says:

    It’s good that you have no words Beth, because unfortunately, they would be the wrong words. David Brooks told me so. ;)

  27. JMP says:

    There’s amazing irony and projection in this statement which Brooks approvingly quotes:

    “The fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life.”

    Liberals and progressives need to stop caring about diversity, so they can pay attention to conditions outside of their own groups. This is all part of one single self-contradictory thought. It makes no logical sense whatsoever.

  28. 4jkb4ia says:

    I wasn’t there because I was not going to break my neck to get to the 7:30 hashkama minyan in order to make a 9:00 march which was outside the eruv anyhow. However, the Jewish Light did report that NCJW had an action fair afterwards where the ACLU was present, which I would have been delighted to go to as I have been desperate to volunteer with the ACLU since 2010. They never have anything for me to do. But by the time I knew about it it was all over. So one organization in one city was thinking about mobilizing people on large-scale issues.

    (The Forward reported that some other people would have difficulty getting a hotel in DC where you could walk to the march, but encouraged attendance at local marches for this reason)

    (I am glad the “What do we want? [Science] When do we want it? [After peer review]” sign went viral.)

    I’ll agree that that column was not David Brooks’s finest hour. When he wrote that these issues may move people in university towns and coastal cities that was worth an entire groan because it shows he has learned nothing since 2005 in some ways.

  29. 4jkb4ia says:

    Also the day before I made an actual cake. I am too lazy to link to the recipe but it was the apple-persimmon cake from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. No sugar at all.

  30. BiloSagdiyev says:

    I just stumbled across/was reminded of this quote by Frederick Douglass.

    If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

    Perhaps somebody could carve that on a coconut and gently tap it up Bobo’s rectum.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.