Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘David Brooks

Wednesday Links

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DAVID BROOKS: Okay, so our act starts with us inflating a giant internet bubble. Then that collapses, taking the country’s economy with it, just as we massively cut taxes on millionaires because, we say, if we don’t the government will have too much money. Right after that we blow off warnings about terrorism and let 3,000 Americans get slaughtered. We use that as a chance to lie the U.S. into invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack, killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions into refugees. In the middle of all that we borrow torture techniques from the Inquisition and use them on people in secret sites around the planet. Then we make billions off another financial bubble, the biggest in human history, and do nothing as it collapses, plunging the world into the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. To fix that we open up the national bank vault and shovel out money as fast as possible to all the criminals who made it happen in the first place. Then—as the amazing finale—we refuse to prosecute anyone for that, for the war, or for torture, and we start killing U.S. citizens with flying death robots.

[LONG PAUSE]

AGENT: …That’s a hell of an act. What do you call it?

DAVID BROOKS: The Aristocrats!

* Male privilege watch: For anyone who’s unfamiliar with her plight, Sarkeesian wanted to start a project to cover a subject that’s not exactly radical: the portrayal of women in video games. Her YouTube account, in which she explains the project, was flooded with comments equating her to the KKK, calling her a “fucking hypocrite slut,” comparing the project to an act of war, and flagging the video as promoting hatred or violence. Her Wikipedia page was vandalized, her picture replaced with pornographic images, and people tried to get the Kickstarter proposal Sarkeesian was using to raise money to support the project shut down. More from MeFi.

* To whit.

“The ability to see him as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “He literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building him up and just when he gets confident, we break him down again.”

In the new Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones will suffer. His best friend will be kidnapped. He’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape him.

“He is literally turned into a cornered animal,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a huge step in his evolution: he’s forced to either fight back or die.”

Patent for a wristwatch that tells you how much longer you could expect to live.

Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises. Inconceivable!

* Wes Anderson: genius! Wes Anderson: fraud!

* People say M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” is an impossible space, but nothing is impossible with LEGO.

* North Dakotan communists rename racist mascots, endorse the existence of property tax.

* First as farce, then as…?: Romney Touts Presidential Salary Plan That Was Literally A Saturday Night Live Skit.

Goodfellas‘s famously ambiguous ending finally resolves: Henry Hill has died.

* And the kids are all right: Belief In God Plummets Among Youth. Update: Or not.

You Are Everything That’s Wrong With Everything

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David Brooks: Unlike 90 percent of America, I was rooting for Duke last night. This was widely cast as a class conflict — the upper crust Dukies against the humble Midwestern farm boys. If this had been a movie, Butler’s last second heave would have gone in instead of clanging off the rim, and the country would still be weeping with joy.

But this is why life is not a movie. The rich are not always spoiled. Their success does not always derive from privilege. The Duke players — to the extent that they are paragons of privilege, which I dispute — won through hard work on defense. Via Taibbi, who brings us quickly to the highlight:

Gail Collins: I’m sorry, when the difference is one weensy basket, I’d say Duke won neither by privilege nor hard work but by sheer luck. But don’t let me interrupt your thought here. I detect the subtle and skillful transition to a larger non-sport point.

David Brooks: Yes. I was going to say that for the first time in human history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people. How do you construct a rich versus poor narrative when the rich are more industrious?

3/16

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* News that a Mississippi high school has canceled prom rather than allow a lesbian couple to attend has caused a “lesbian prom pictures” meme to ripple across the Internets.

* Inside Higher Ed has an article concerning (another) recent spate of suicides at Cornell.

* Saudi Arabia may not worry about Peak Oil, but they’re definitely nervous about Peak Demand.

* If David Brooks had a point, he might have a point. More from Taibbi and Chait.

* More Congressional procedure! Just because “deem and pass” happens all the time doesn’t mean it’s not tyranny when Nancy Pelosi does it. Ezra Klein is right when he says we should simplify Congressional procedure, but I think our friends in the GOP would be the first to tell us we can’t just unilaterally disarm.

* Avatar will be rereleased with an additional forty minutes à la Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, bringing its total running time to three days.

* But what the world needs most, of course, is another Battlestar Galactica sequel. I’ve fallen off watching Caprica, but from what I hear it’s at least good enough to Netflix—but I’m really not sure what’s left for a third series, except (perhaps) something pre-apocalpytic set on contemporary Earth using the BSG mythology as its starting point. Still, and it’s just a crazy idea: why not something new?

Eliminationism Update and Sarah-Palin-as-Cancer

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Nick Beaudrot at Cogitamus has an eliminationism reality check: as bad as McCain/Palin have been the last few days, they haven’t quite reached the fever-swamp heights of the Republican Party of the 1990s. That’s…comforting. I guess.

The good news is the McCain camp really does seem to be pulling back from the brink on this, with news today that Sarah Palin’s stump speech is now Ayers-less. Perhaps this is partly a result of heightened media attention on their rallies; Biden and Obama spokesman Bill Burton were both asked about the rabid crowds on TV today.

In other Sarah Palin news, via Washington Monthly, David Brooks has called the vice-presidential candidate “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party,” echoing my statement earlier today that if Republicans have any sense they’ll put Palin permanently out to pasture on November 5:

[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he’d rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn’t think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I’m afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 8, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Politics

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Unexpectedly busy day today, but I do have a few links.

* Anti-Obama racism comes to Roxbury, just one town over from my beloved Randolph.

* The Paulon bailout continues to take pretty heavy fire; you can find details and good analysis at Krugman’s blog, where he is taking a pretty hard line on the demand for a taxpayer equity stake in the companies we’ll be bailing out.

* And Glenn Greenwald takes the Brooksian dream of the Wise Old Men of Washington back out to the woodshed.

* Given that he is the Scourge of Lobbyists, it’s ironic that the person tapped to run McCain’s transition team lobbied for Freddie Mac just a few months ago.

* And given his well-known penchant for Straight Talk it’s odd that McCain hasn’t given a press conference in 40 days.

* FiveThirtyEight has polling data showing that the debates may not move the polls very much after all. There’s also a new poll out showing Obama with a two-point lead in Florida, which has got to be an outlier.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2008 at 5:46 pm

David Brooks on the Culture of Debt

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The United States has been an affluent nation since its founding. But the country was, by and large, not corrupted by wealth. For centuries, it remained industrious, ambitious and frugal.

Over the past 30 years, much of that has been shredded. The social norms and institutions that encouraged frugality and spending what you earn have been undermined. The institutions that encourage debt and living for the moment have been strengthened. The country’s moral guardians are forever looking for decadence out of Hollywood and reality TV. But the most rampant decadence today is financial decadence, the trampling of decent norms about how to use and harness money.

I don’t usually agree with David Brooks, and like Kevin Drum I think it’s pretty likely that he and I wouldn’t agree at all on the solutions—but I have to say I think he’s mostly right about identifying a huge problem in the culture of debt in post-Fordist America. Still more, and charts!, from Ezra Klein.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 12, 2008 at 2:36 am