Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I really wish I could make myself stop deconstructing David Brooks. I really wish I hadn't written that sentence. I've realized what it is at long last. It isn't simply my need to get angry twice a week, nor is it to make reading Krugman that much sweeter. No it's far more embarrassing than either of those reasons.

I believe I've convinced myself that there must be something more to him.

This is what happens when a piece of writing achieves such a high level of banal craptitude that the reader is left with no other conclusion than it must an exercise of some sort. I must be missing something. It can't really suck as much as it does for no reason

Take this week.
Now dominating the table, the pundit should indulge in the sort of storytelling beloved by swing-state-travel braggarts. He should speak in counties, about his trips through Cuyahoga, Macomb, Muscatine and Broward. If somebody mentions she has an aunt living in Ridgeville just south of Dayton, he should fondly recall the exceptional Waffle House there.

Donning the false modesty worn by Those Who Talk to Voters, he should describe how he humbly listens to the volk, while making it clear that only someone as brilliant as himself could discern national trends from 13 conversations.

What the fuck??

On the one hand, Brooks appears to be poking fun of himself in all his Bobo self-aggrandisement. Which is pretty sad. A week before the election and you write this? C'mon Dave. On the other, this alleged Brooks doppleganger is--well--much smarter than the original.
While others quiver with pre-election anxiety, their mood rising and collapsing with the merest flicker of the polls, he alone radiates certainty. He alone can read the internals, cross-tabs and trends, can parse Gallup and Zogby and emerge with clear answers. He alone can captivate a gathering, while men hang eagerly on his words and women undress him with their eyes.

If you saw Brooks' debate-parody piece, you know that parody is not something he does well. Self-parody isn't much better. In fact David, for the love of all that is literary, stop writing. Anything.

But there still remains that nagging suspicion that Brooks has an agenda in torturing us. Is he using the pseudo-self of the piece as a round-about way of making the point about election predictions that ends up condemning "him"? Or is it what it appears to be, a critique of making predictions at this late date?

The genius (dear Lord) of the piece is that its very suckiness allows Brooks to have it both ways. He can hide behind the weak parody self, say that stupid line about "too close to call," and still criticize all the analysis.

I know.

At any rate, one thing Brooks has been extremely successful at, is taking up space in my brain and on my blog. One would think I would have something more substantial to write a week before the election. And I do. But you'll forgive me for purging my brain to make room for the real thoughts.

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