-- David Brooks, New York Times
Meanwhile, those of us who consider David Brooks a useless son of a bitch are forced to confront the reality that the New York Times is still paying him $300,000 a year to annoy us with idiotic self-promoting drivel like this:
Those of us in the moderate tradition -- the Hamiltonian tradition that believes in limited but energetic government -- thus find ourselves facing a void. We moderates are going to have to assert ourselves. We're going to have to take a centrist tendency that has been politically feckless and intellectually vapid and turn it into an influential force.Smitty, Dave and an army of Internet commenters can fisk Brooks point-by-point. I'm just pissed off that I got up this morning with the idea of blogging some real news and instead found myself confronted by another David Brooks column. Eight hundred and fourteen words, exhibiting no apparent effort at reporting. Let the reader calculate the cost-per-word of Brooks's annual output. Compare and contrast.
The first task will be to block the excesses of unchecked liberalism. In the past weeks, Democrats have legislated provisions to dilute welfare reform, restrict the inflow of skilled immigrants and gut a voucher program designed for poor students. It will be up to moderates to raise the alarms against these ideological outrages.
With American newspapers in meltdown mode -- my old boss at the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, Pierre-Rene Noth, was recently put out to the pasture of semi-retirement -- why is Brooks still on the NYT payroll?
Because he's a stylish writer? Stylish writers are a dime a dozen. Because he brings to bear incisive reporting? Make me laugh. Given access to the resources and awesome prestige of one of the world's most important news-gathering organizations -- please don't accuse me of succumbing to Tucker Carlson Syndrome -- Brooks adamantly refuses to gather any news, opting instead for the posture of the Platonic archon, deciding which "noble lies" are acceptable for utterance by those who aspire to lead the ignorant masses.
The New York Times continues to pay Brooks to produce his elaborate nonsense, and the idiot (he is not even a useful idiot) doesn't realize that there are people among the readership who remember his past idiocies and are capable of doing a quick compare-and-contrast that exposes him for the posturing sham he is. Ladies and gentlemen, liberal blogger John Cole:
Moderate? What happened to worshiping Edmund Burke and Hayek and Oakeshott and all those other guys? What happened to kicking it in Gstaad with William F. Buckley?If there is one thing that the blogosphere has accomplished, or will eventually accomplish, it is to expose the likes of David Brooks as vestiges of the golden age of journalistic excess, a Darwinian remnant of an obsolute appendage, a luxury that newspapers could arguably afford when ad revenues were growing and newsrooms were crowded.
What concerns me most is the very real possibility that Brooks will now dig up some long forgotten hero of moderation and begin quoting him as if we all were supposed to know who he was. Are there any moderate intellectual writers I should start boning up on right now?
Those days are over, and now ad revenue losses are requiring news organizations to excise the bone and sinew of their core news-gathering operations. Lean-and-mean will be the newsroom of the future, and the day is soon coming -- not soon enough, but nevertheless soon -- when the city editor of the New York Times will be told he'll have to lay off another reporter. And there will be an angry shouting match in someone's office at 620 Eighth Avenue:
Hell, no! Why the f--- should I lay off a reporter when that g--d--- piece of s--- David Brooks is collecting $300,000 a year to produce two columns of nothingness a week? You can fire me if you want to, or I'll just quit right here and now, because I'll be g--d----d if I'll lay off one more reporter as long as that useless motherf----r David Brook is on the payroll!It is possible to argue that Brooks never should have been hired for that job in the first place. He is the Chauncey Gardner of American journalism, a man elevated by circumstance to a position beyond his aptitude or capacity.
Brooks reminds me very much of a couple of staff writers I encountered in 1987 after I was hired as sports editor of the Douglas County (Ga.) Neighbor. One spring afternoon, in transit from an afternoon track meet to a night baseball game, I stopped by the office to get film for my camera (I did most of my own photography) and overheard these two guys talking amongst themselves. One of them was overjoyed that the local amateur theatre outfit had agreed to produce his one-act play, which prompted congratulations from the other writer, who complained that his latest poem had been rejected by whatever literary magazine he'd sent it to.
That overheard conversation has stuck in my mind for more than two decades. As I hopped back in my '84 Chevette that afternoon, I cussed a storm and peeled out of the parking lot. Here I was, wearing out my tires and clutch en route from one event to another, working the phones late at night to get complete results for events I couldn't cover in person, writing into the wee hours, doing my own photography, layout and paste-up. And there were those two useless sons of bitches, required to contribute a mere eight bylines a week, and using their ample leisure to write poems and plays.
"F--- them," I said to myself. Oh, I had my own original ambitions, but the rock-star thing wasn't working out, so I was happy to get a job as a sports editor, even if it did take everything I had to keep up with the pace, as I was required to produce not only the sports pages of the Douglas County Neighbor, but also the geographically adjacent Paulding County Neighbor.
I vowed that day never to become one of those useless sons of bitches. Wherever I worked, I'd work -- I would produce, over and above the minimum requirements -- and when I finally got pissed off enough to walk out the door, my absence would be felt. Curious minds may inquire of Pierre-Rene Noth if I made good on that ancient vow, and if my talents were missed after the day in 1997 I left the Rome News-Tribune.
Yesterday, a blog reader sent me an e-mail alleging shady doings at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The e-mail, including transcripts of testimony before a congressional committee, ran to 10 pages. I was too brain-fogged from Post-CPAC Syndrome to make heads or tales of what it was the tipster was alleging, and I got up this morning at 6:30 with the intent of finding out, or at least trying to blog about some actual news.
Instead, I found myself noticing (via Memeorandum, Rule 3) this ridiculous ode to moderation by David Brooks. So I've wasted time telling my few hundred regular readers what they already know, that David Brooks is a useless son of a bitch. And in recompense for my labors, I pray for only one thing: That someone will call this to the attention of the city editor of the New York Times, so as to hasten that angry shouting match at 620 Eighth Avenue.
ADDENDUM: OK, so I lied. Additional recompense is always welcome, if anyone wants to hit the tip jar. It's a long way from the occasional Google Adsense check to $300,000 a year, and every $20 helps.
UPDATE: I would be remiss if I failed to link Russ Smith's farewell to the Rocky Mountain News. When venerable newspapers like the Rocky are going belly-up and hard-working journalists everywhere are dreading the next round of newsroom pink slips, the continued employment of a useless SOB like David Brooks reeks to high heaven as an insult to the profession.
If you're one of the New York Times employees reading this via the electronic water cooler (SiteMeter sees all), allow me to offer a suggestion: Somebody compose a small note, with four words in red 72-point Arial Bold:
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!Let these notes begin to appear inconspicuously in your newsroom cubicles, so that you will know who your comrades are. John Galt. Tyler Durden. You get the idea.
UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin:
What an unbelievable waste of time and real estate is David Brooks. It’s profane. Which is why Robert Stacy McCain’s expletive-filled smackdown is the only appropriate and satisfying response.Glad you enjoyed it, ma'am. I always aim to please.