THE OP-ED DOJO. Wandering through the nation's op-ed pages is like ambling through a dojo. Each writer has his own particular style, technique, finishing move. There's Tom Friedman, who rushes in with the Implausible Conversational Anecdote, links it to an Off-Topic Invocation Of World Travels, and finishes you with a Confusing Metaphor From Above. Or there's Maureen Dowd, who deploys Unfounded Personal Speculation mixed with Confusing Allegories till she's set up her killing blow: Insinuation of Character Defect. It's impressive stuff.
The deadliest op-ed columnist, however, is unquestionably David Brooks. He's the drunken boxer of the opinion page, luring you into a false sense of security with Banal Observations that comfort through Faux Bipartisanship until you're ready for the Illogical Conservative Conclusion. Today's column is an archetypal example of the master at work: a series of cogent critiques of Hillary Clinton's college aid proposals that effortlessly glide through research demonstrating their uselessness, a couple lavish compliments to Clinton and her team, and finally a conclusion that explains the only way to increase college attendance is to encourage two-parent homes, fundamentally reform schools, and increase church-sponsored mentoring programs. Funny thing -- this is exactly the rightwing's agenda! And yet it comes wrapped in such warm bipartisanship and elevated chin stroking that you'd never notice Newt Gingrich silently mouthing along in the background.
jeebus. we're in july 2006, ezra. pointing out the obvious in david brooks is kinda like poking holes in a judy miller article about aluminium tubes. are we really still so screwed up that we need to explain the obvious bollox in a david brooks column? i fucking hope not!The 'root cause' of everything that spills out of brooks' mouth is that he is a talking point shill - you can literally watch him on lehrer on a friday night reading his talking points. you can watch brithume or the BeltwayBoys and they do exactly the same thing.