Friday, January 16, 2009

A 'mental event'

"A recession is a mental event, and every recession has its own unique spirit."
-- David Brooks
Stupidity is a mental event, and David Brooks has his own unique stupidity.

Is it possible that the American Conservative Union could file a lawsuit to force him to call himself something other than "conservative"? Perhaps, while the suit was making its way through court, an interim restraining order would prevent his abuse for at least a few weeks, which would be a tremendous relief. I understand the New York Times is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, but I'm getting tired of waiting for them to realize they've got a surplus of asshole columnists and can't afford to keep paying Brooks to do as a "conservative" what Paul Krugman does equally well without the phony label. 

It's as if Pinch Sulzberger feels a civic duty to inflict Brooks on us.

UPDATE: Tom's comment got me thinking, "What is it about this Brooks column that bugs me so?" -- that is to say, not merely because it's a Brooks column, which is aggravation enough. But look, for example, at this sentence:
The crisis has delivered a blow to classical economics and taken a body of psychological work that was at the edge of public policy thought and brought it front and center.
See? Expert insight of which mere plebians are unaware -- something subtle, nuanced, and complex -- is the true explanation. If you protest that this is really no explanation at all, that Brooks obscures rather than enlightens, well, this only proves how feeble are your powers to grasp the multilayered reality. 

Brooks is engaged in a pretense of expertise that is, in reality, a sort of make-work project, a WPA for the hypercerebral, digging one intellectual hole in the morning, then filling it up in the afternoon, the entire point of the exercise being to keep him busy with the shovel. Brooks could have saved himself the trouble of writing a 794-world column because the whole of its meaning can be summed up in four words: You don't understand economics. If he felt compelled to add another five words, he might have added: Leave it to Tim Geithner

In this, as in everything, Brooks is saying: Don't try to think for yourselves, you stupid plebes! You will never qualify for the mystic initiation into the esoteric truths of the Platonic archons, who alone understand the transcendent gnosis and yet are forbidden to convey this secret knowledge to the xeno

That Brooks has made a career of this kind of scam is one of the great mysteries of our age, right up there with, "Why did anyone ever think Joy Behar was funny?"


  1. I'm not sure that I have a problem with the quoted text. A recession is not just a mental event, but investor psychology plays a part, as does consumer psychology.

    As to his larger point... oh wait. He doesn't really have one.

  2. THIS recession came about not because of psychic phenomenons triggered by the relative position of Venus/Mars/the Moon.

    It came about because spending was done for a while. Done. Over. Finis'.

    And that happened largely due to overvalued personal property getting re-valued toward the mean.

    Econ 101: EVERYTHING returns to the mean.

  3. This crisis represents a flaw in the classical economic model and its belief in efficient markets.

    That is such complete and utter bullshit. His beloved government created this crisis, and are now preventing a proper market correction, which will only serve to make it much much worse.

    And Brooks is going to give me a "mental event."

    Is it possible that the American Conservative Union could file a lawsuit to force him to call himself something other than "conservative"?

    Yes, please! Make it stop!

  4. Mr. Brooks is incoherent. This reminds me of his columns during the Olympics praising China, more or less saying that they've proven that collectivism works (some conservative!). The luxury of Brooks' position is that, in dealing only in esoterica, he can ignore the obvious.