David Brooks allows a made-up reader to address him as “Mr. Kierkegaard” today in his column. Here is what “Existential in Exeter” asks Søren Kierkegaard, who is David Brooks, about Culture: “All my life I’ve been a successful pseudo-intellectual, sprinkling quotations from Kafka, Epictetus and Derrida into my conversations, impressing dates and making my friends feel mentally inferior. But over the last few years, it’s stopped working. People just look at me blankly. My artificially inflated self-esteem is on the wane. What happened?” David Brooks gets high and then answers — oh man, does he ANSWER — this question (which he actually wrote to himself after getting high, too).

  • “You must remember that there have been three epochs of intellectual affectation. The first, lasting from approximately 1400 to 1965, was the great age of snobbery. Cultural artifacts existed in a hierarchy, with opera and fine art at the top, and stripping at the bottom. The social climbing pseud merely had to familiarize himself with the forms at the top of the hierarchy and febrile acolytes would perch at his feet.” And by “perch at his feet,” does he mean “kill them in guillotines and have Communism”?
  • “In 1960, for example, he merely had to follow the code of high modernism. He would master some impenetrably difficult work of art from T.S. Eliot or Ezra Pound and then brood contemplatively at parties about Lionel Trilling’s misinterpretation of it. A successful date might consist of going to a reading of ‘The Waste Land,’ contemplating the hollowness of the human condition and then going home to drink Russian vodka and suck on the gas pipe.” Damn that elitist Russian vodka. Also, what is this about sucking cock?
  • “But on or about June 29, 2007, human character changed. That, of course, was the release date of the first iPhone.” Oh Jesus. We forgot that everyone owns and/or cares about a new kind of telephone that plays music.
  • “This transition has produced some new status rules. In the first place, prestige has shifted from the producer of art to the aggregator and the appraiser. Inventors, artists and writers come and go, but buzz is forever. Maximum status goes to the Gladwellian heroes who occupy the convergence points of the Internet infosystem — Web sites like Pitchfork for music, Gizmodo for gadgets, Bookforum for ideas, etc.” People still read Pitchfork?
  • “When you first come across some obscure cultural artifact — an unknown indie band, organic skate sneakers or wireless headphones from Finland — you will want to erupt with ecstatic enthusiasm. This will highlight the importance of your cultural discovery, the fineness of your discerning taste, and your early adopter insiderness for having found it before anyone else.” KILL ME.

Why are folks like David Brooks and Richard Cohen so transfixed on the idea that there cannot be any intelligent young people in our world who read books and aren’t, generally speaking, complete douchebags?

Lord of the Memes [New York Times]

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  1. Could the American Apparel ads get any more NSFW? I’m holding out for the one with two dudes having a meat-sword fight while wearing shirts you shouldn’t dry.

  2. “Maximum status goes to the Gladwellian heroes who occupy the convergence points of the Internet infosystem ”

    I’m a Gladwellian Hero? Scary enough, I’m so illiterate that I had to look it up.

    Sorry, Davey. The problem isn’t that critics are the new celebrities, but rather pompous blowhard assholes peddling bullshit isn’t working as much anymore thanks to the tubes.

  3. ‘Waaaa! Why mean peepulz so less willing now 2 pretind I iz a siris intelekshul ‘jes ‘cuz I write buncha crap? O NOEZ ISSA INTERNET FALT!!! And I-fone! I not stoopidd, issat internet & stuff!’

  4. “Why are folks like David Brooks and Richard Cohen so transfixed on the idea that there cannot be any intelligent young people in our world who read books and aren’t, generally speaking, complete douchebags?”

    Because, on this issue, Brooks and Cohen are right.

  5. Why are folks like David Brooks and Richard Cohen so transfixed on the idea that there cannot be any intelligent young people in our world who read books and aren’t, generally speaking, complete douchebags?

    Because the only young people they known are Ben Johnson and Shawn Summers?

  6. “It was useful to decorate one’s living room with African or Thai religious totems — any religion so long as it was one you could not conceivably believe in.”

    Oooh, he’s seen the madonna and child painting in my bathroom.

  7. Did anyone else learn about the “great age of snobbery?” This fuck stick represents the slander of sooo many modern intellectuals, Kafka should come back and kill him. As someone who was happily forced to actually umm, READ in college, I will now write an essay misquoting and misinterpreting many things.

    “When Marc Foley wrote ‘Lolita,’ there were many atrocities surrounding the intellectual movement. For instance, it was the age of assfucking, where Jesus was struggling with “Thus spake Zarathustra” and Moses was almost complete with his series on Czar Apologists. It was a critical moment; one where T.S. Eliot was rolling in his grave because fuckers named David Brooks, who probably fucks apples and has a hernia in his brain, causing him to eat the young and run over old people.”

    Also: WONKETTE ES STILL EATING TEH WHEATIES!!!!1! Very much awesome.

  8. It sounds like Brooks is trying to explain why he never got laid in college (during the “second epoch”) by hypothesizing on why he can’t get laid now.

  9. Is David Brooks a social satirist or just social satire?

    And also — why the fuck is he posing as Soren Kierkegaard for this? Because Brooks reminds me of Kierkegaard in exactly the same way that Naomi Campbell reminds me of Shel Silverstein.

  10. thanks jim…

    i peruse the nyt every day, but avoid [like the plague] brooks and the
    other significant douchbags…

    thanks to my faith in wonkette, i read your post assuming it was a goof.
    it wasn’t a goof, not intentionally, anyway…

    but i read it. now, i’m unable to read my book.
    all the words seem jumbled. thanks.

  11. If it weren’t for the reference to Derrida much of this column could have been written in the 1950s about the “Beatniks” who played the “bongo drums” in their “coffee houses”.

  12. [re=55305]Inadequate Blackmail[/re]: [re=55320]SayItWithWookies[/re]: well i still can’t reply to wonkette from my PDA…. and what the hell is auto sync!?!

  13. It’s kinda funny when, referring to pre-2007, he says “record,” cuz I mean who has records anymore? They pre-date even CDs. Ya goofed, Dave.

  14. i have to admit tho…. it is kinda nice to have intelligent conversation with people again. Hopey has made it cool to be moderately informed.

  15. People who create things are always going to be the real cool kids, no matter what David Brooks and the recyclers have to say about packaging and trends.

  16. [re=55339]4tehlulz[/re]: I believe in Two Americas. One in which I’m married to my wonderful wife Elizabeth, and another one in which I run around in big well-known hotels filled with journalists thinking that no one’s going to notice my late night affair visits.

    Apparently we’re not yet ready for One America.

  17. On the one hand, there is a cogent point to be made about the effects of overfocusing on Web 2.0 technologies, rather than the creative works that these technologies enables, especially as pertains to that ultra-minority of hipsters that subscribe to such ways of thinking and their disproportionate share of media voice in post-millennial America.

    On the other hand, David Brooks is a sad schmuck whose world is entirely composed of candy-colored canisters of easy-to-reach stereotypes and tropes, generously supplied to him by a ridiculous media engine, and rewarding him for being a complete fucking idiot 100% of the time, forever.

    If David Brooks didn’t exist, he would spontaneously generate in a corner office of the New York Times building, column in hand.

  18. Wait, I thought it was those damn liberals who were all a bunch of intellectual snobby elites who are out of touch with the good ole fashioned folks in the Heartland. Next thing you’ll be telling me is that liberals are born to people who are on welfare and get into Ivy League schools through hard work and student loans and not the one’s who get into Ivy League schools through family connections.

  19. A lot of times when I read David Brooks, I go “this guy is way too reasonable to have ever written for the National Review.” And then he writes bullshit like this and I’m like “oh, right.”

  20. David Brooks and Bill Kristol in the same paper. Might as well rehabilitate Judy Miller too. WTF is the Times trying to do–prove it isn’t the flagship of the liberal MSM?

  21. [re=55313]SayItWithWookies[/re]: Is he trying to begin another epoch of intellectual mastur, uh, affection? Cause otherwise I don’t get this column at all, other than “young people are stoopid.”

  22. Superdavebrooks never made any money
    For saving the world from Solomon Grundy
    And sometimes I despair the world will never see
    Another man like him

    Still, Tarzan was king of the jungle and Lord over all the magnificent apes…

  23. [re=55341]valobama[/re]: yeah, that struck me as sort of unnecessary. You say, yes, I did, no the kid is not mine, end of questions. The I did not love her bit seemed somewhat nasty.

  24. [re=55292]ManchuCandidate[/re]: Thank you for this interpretation of Brooks. I did not think that it
    was possible, but you succeeded.

    [re=55335]valobama[/re]: Brooks proves Obamas point, it is like they are proud of being ignorant sometimes (all the time).

  25. I can sympathize with Brooks’ desperation during a slow news period, but I am sick and tired of the unwarranted criticism of douche bags. In certain medically prescribed circumstances, they provide a service much more valuable than any David Brooks column, which at their very zenith are a stick of mental chewing gum.

    If our young people are douche bags, they are accomplishing a lot more than this old hippie did at that age as he marched and marched to change a world that was changing far faster and more subtly than anything his feeble young brain could have imagined — sort of Young Homer Simpson in jeans and a flannel shirt, in retrospect. Douche bag would have been a big step up on the utilitarian scale.

    Douche bag hostility: maybe a sign of where you’d really like to be?

  26. Let’s see. If you cross a Shawn Republitard with “Existential in Exeter” (high school, right?), what will…

    Wait! Why are there two posts in a row about teen boys?

  27. i like it when Brooks gets all antropologist/sociologist but i freakin’ LOVE it when he gets all
    anti-elite, anti-education red-statey. i’m imagining him crowd-surfing in Sturgis.

  28. [re=55292]ManchuCandidate[/re]:
    1. Brand of plastic trash bag.
    2. Nineteenth Century British prime minister.
    3. Minor character in the “Harry Potter” series who is known for masturbating dwarves. Sometime called Gladhand by the students.
    4. Female singer who fronts for the Pips.
    5. Obscure reference makes Brooks an illustration of the point of his own article.

  29. Is this like how my spouse was trying to explain to me that normal people (even English majors) don’t know about Aarne-Thompson (or, nowadays, the ATU system) tale-types? I’m pretty sure that Brooks fits into 1145-1154 (Ogre Frightened by Man) or possibly 1675-1724 (The Stupid Man).

    I mean, that’s something we all know, right?

  30. No smart person has time to get through a whole book. I’m reading “Gravity’s Rainbow” for fun right now and it is literally a bigger waste of time than TV because, unlike “The Wire”, I don’t understand it and I can’t really pause or skip around.

  31. lets hope this isnt the beginning of a regular series of ‘Dear Soren’ columns…

    [re=55313]SayItWithWookies[/re]: im wondering the same thing, why Kierkegaard?…..and isnt that the crux of Kierkegaards own existential struggle?……indeed, Why Kierkegaard?…

    perhaps Brooks has put his finger on the major problem with using post-structuralist analysis as a means to understanding life as ‘sickness unto death'(TM)????

    beyond that, do you think this means that Brooks acknowledges that Hiedeggers conception of ‘dasein’ has lasting implications concerning the modern condition vis a vis the iPhone…..with its obvious mirroring of the innate ‘human telephone’???…

    or maybe hes just one of those idiots who strikes a condescending pseudo-intellectual/anti-intellectual pose simply because hes unable to understand anything other than re-runs of Murder She Wrote…and is incapable of appreciating what that might mean????

    after all, one does have ones intellectual pride…and the view through a ‘glass darkly’ is, by definition…very dim…

    as Nietzsche once mused….”Is there one amongst you who is not a blind asshat?”…

  32. [re=55362]nietzscheprojectile[/re]: [re=55522]anabellum[/re]: I’m coming to the conclusion that Brooks is congenitally unable to speak to his readers as equals, and so reaches for a name he thinks will strike the huddled masses as loftily obscure but not unreachable. In which sense, of course, he is contributing to the superficiality that he complains about.

  33. “Why are folks like David Brooks and Richard Cohen so transfixed on the idea that there cannot be any intelligent young people in our world who read books and aren’t, generally speaking, complete douchebags?”

    Have you been on Facebook lately?

  34. [re=55361]V572625694[/re]: I know. Why not give up and just run Gail Collins and Frank Rich all the time? Either that or just splash douche all over the op-ed page four days a week so I’ll know when to say fuck it and do the crossword puzzle instead.

  35. [re=55522]anabellum[/re]: Reading this column reminded me of a line from Schopenhauer, another noted asshat, who said that one day when he was five years old his parents returned from a walk to find him in deep despair. Now there was a guy who badly needed a double mojito with a paper umbrella and a blowjob.

  36. Whoa! I thought y’all were doing a Shorter David Brooks.

    He’s treading on thin ground. Putting on the dorky hat of Kierkegaard is serious business in Lutheran circles.

    Other than the whole “Who would fuck him? thing, they have nothing in common.

    [re=55425]lawrenceofthedesert[/re]: No, dear, douchebags are not useful. They’re a tool of The Man to convince women that their pussies are nasty and smelly and should smell like strawberries.

  37. [re=55361]V572625694[/re]: David Brooks, Bill Kristol, Bob Novak, Judy Miller… You must have noticed that the op-ed departments of the mighty print media organs, dedicated to providing us our constitutional right to a free press, are in fact welfare systems for loser wingnut “intellectuals” who have been solidly and consistently wrong about everything, forever.

    Which is why I get all my news from Wonkette and The Daily Show. Sad, really — I’m 58 years old, for heaven’s sake…

  38. [re=55522]anabellum[/re]: Actually one of my favorite Nietzsche lines was: Adventavit asinus pulcher et fortissimus. The ass arrived beautiful and most brave. I think that sums up the column nicely.

  39. “Why are folks like David Brooks and Richard Cohen people in our world who read books and are, generally speaking, complete douchebags?”

    They are people?

    I thought David Brooks at least was some kind of Mollusc with a mask…eh?

    Learn something new every day.

  40. [re=55350]King of Pants[/re]:
    Oh my gawd, King of Pants, this is the best description of David Brooks ever. I hate hate hate him with every ounce of my being. So very well said!

    And, forgive me everyone for being so shallow, but if he insists on darkening news shows with his presence, why doesn’t the douchebag get his teeth fixed? I swear he must be constantly spitting on the NewsHour table with his endless stammering through his non-arguments; leaving it covered in his sticky greasy ooze. Of course, everything about him is sticky greasy ooze…hmmm…

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