Tuesday, January 24, 2017

- Slate's Argument: "Then... Blah!"

"Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake." I've read that this was incorrectly attributed to Napolean someplace, but whoever said it, it's an axiom you can't help think of when you read this amazing piece from Slate:

New York Times columnist David Brooks, who is to genuine intellectual inquiry as Flintstones vitamins are to the polio vaccine, filed a column Tuesday about the weekend's spectacularly well-attended anti-Trump women's marches. And there must have been some sort of mistake at Times HQ, because they put his column in the newspaper even though it belongs at the bottom of a well.

Really. How compelling. What exactly did Mr. Brooks say that got the author (with a male name, but naturally I'm dubious) so incredibly fired up? Here David Brooks is quoted:

In the first place, this movement focuses on the wrong issues. Of course, many marchers came with broad anti-Trump agendas, but they were marching under the conventional structure in which the central issues were clear. As The Washington Post reported, they were “reproductive rights, equal pay, affordable health care, action on climate change.”

These are all important matters, and they tend to be voting issues for many upper-middle-class voters in university towns and coastal cities. But this is 2017. Ethnic populism is rising around the world. The crucial problems today concern the way technology and globalization are decimating jobs and tearing the social fabric; the way migration is redefining nation-states; the way the post-World War II order is increasingly being rejected as a means to keep the peace.

But the author (of non-specific gender) has a reaction that sets new heights in literary pricelessness:

If you can't understand how a protest against Donald Trump's presidency and for affordable health care, action on climate change, and the protection of Roe v. Wade (which has been threatened by the unprecedented refusal to confirm Merrick Garland) is not "engaging" with "globalization," "capitalism," and "adherence to the Constitution," then ... bleh.

Bleh indeed! Ok Mr/Ms/Xs Liberal. Your lucid and colorful onomatopoeia almost has me persuaded. If only we had some higher authority that could offer its endorsement of your view:

Finally, Brooks writes that the "central challenge" of the progressive movement shouldn't be to "celebrate difference" or seek social justice for the disadvantaged (which he sees more or less as large-scale efforts to give everyone their own preschool-style special snowflake sticker) but to "rebind a functioning polity and to modernize a binding American idea"—a slogan that is sure to resonate with everyday heartland Americans. Brooks concludes astoundingly—in a column that, to reiterate, denigrates the idea of affordable health care as the silly hobby of foo-foo rosé-quaffers—that the ideal model for a lasting anti-Trump political movement is in fact presented by Hamilton. The Broadway musical that costs one jillion dollars to see.

What's that? Both a reference to Liberals all time favorite broadway musical and a complaint about it's ticket prices all in a single sentence? OK! you got me. Sign me up. Just tell me where to report for my white guilt classes, and to pick up the appropriate list of gender identifiers to use when addressing people as I decry my white privilege.

This is someone who, in theory, writes for a living, and believes every word of the Liberal dogma. And even he/se/xe/fse can't express it any more clearly than saying "Blah". What's worse, Slate, which has access to publish virtually every word that liberals write, decided that this was more than argument enough, and published it anyway.

As I said the other day, easy times make soft men. And if this is what we're facing for opposition, times are going to be getting awfully easy for us. But if I ever get this soft, I hope someone puts me out of my misery.

3 comments:

Stephen Paul Foster said...

David Brooks is, perhaps, the most loathsome of the NYT scribblers. I say, "perhaps" because he has a lot of competition. Amazingly, he is touted as the NYT "conservative" which says everything you need to know.

See;http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2016/12/nicholas-kristof-away-with-hitler.html

TimH said...

Yeah, but Slate makes him look like a genius by comparison...

Tom said...

The way I see it, the authors at Slate are more or less just guilty of the things they accuse other of. In that regard they tend to be consistent and make their rhetorical arguments in a structured way. Black authors say that all of life's evils are because of racism. Female authors see it as the "patriarchy". It's nonsense, but it's argued in way that is effective for their zealot audience.



But this isn't just the abandonment of logic and reason which you can get from any Slate author, this is an abandonment of rhetoric, and syntax. It isn't even bad spoken word poetry. It's just a raw expression of frustration. A new low for them if you ask me.