Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Disappointing David Brooks Parts 516 & 517


OMG you guys, I'm worried about David Brooks, a little, kinda. Either Brooks has been suitably smacked down after a recent column where he wondered whether the current national conversation about sexual harassment (sexual harassment: it's probably wrong) might also have something to do with Donald Trump; it featured David Brooks writing the sentence "Girl I want your body." Or it was a song title: "Girl I Want Your Body."

Girl, David Brooks wants your body. Spoiler alert: your name is Taylor Swift and you are too young.

Or the computer program that wrote that column is continuing to generate confusing and non-disappointed columns on David Brooks's behalf.

How else can you explain a column that begins with this: "Not long ago, tech was the coolest industry. Everybody wanted to work at Google, Facebook and Apple. But over the past year the mood has shifted." The coolest industry. Jeepers.

The column's title--"How Evil is Tech?"--is more a statement about David Brooks's affection for Friends (he sees himself as a Chandler but really he's a Ross) than pronouncement about the Tech industry (rhetorical or not).

David Brooks loved Friends. It reflects the New York City that David Brooks loves: all white people with lots of free time, living in insanely large apartments in Manhattan, and everyone worked together, never once trying to upend the status quo.

The column maps to every good junior high school's teachings on how to write an effective term paper. There's the clear thesis statement: the tech sector is evil and on the verge of becoming social pariahs. There are exactly 3 supporting points: tech is destroying the youth of America; tech is doing it on purpose; and the biggest tech companies are basically monopolies. And then he concludes with a conclusion: the tech industry needs to stop being so bad.

The lack of disappointment from David Brooks is, well, disappointing.

And if it's a computer program then they need to check for updates.

At least with "America: The Redeemer Nation" we get the usual uniter-not-a-divider David Brooks who disdains tribalism and loves nationalism (which is not tribalism at a macro level because, reasons).

David Brooks continues to be disappointed that some Americans think about aspects of America with cultural identities or with historical perspective that David Brooks does not use as his, David Brooks's, primary point of view. Can't we all just get along? And while we're at it, can't we all just have a nice Thanksgiving? One where we think of Thanksgiving as [white male affluent] Americans, respecting its myth of pilgrims and native Americans coming together for a big meal with lots of carbs and football and sales, and no arguing about petty politics.

It's true, bad things, all vaguely referred to, may have been alluded to, but really we're Americans and Americans love a fresh start. David Brooks is disappointed that we're not starting over: no harm, no foul.

At least not to David Brooks. 

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