We’re already one twelfth of the way through Trump’s first term, and what a memorable four months it’s been! The assaults on our rights, dignity, sanity and basic survival have been unrelenting, and while left-leaning Americans have been passionate in our desire to resist, we can’t do it alone. We need an authoritative voice—a trustworthy leader to rally around, and to keep the fires of dissent burning. Over and over, the Times has promised to be that voice. In a series of ads, the paper of record positioned itself as a lone defender of truth, an entity which is “hard,” yet “more important now than ever.” And their editorial board has called on Americans to fight “a reckless, unqualified leader” through “activism.”
But what exactly does that involve? How would the Paper of Record have us manifest our outrage and passion for justice? Below, some suggestions culled from its pages. Continue reading “How to Resist Trump”→
Weeks away from the election, anxiety stalks the land. Americans are broke, worried about their futures, deluged on an hourly basis with bizarre and surreal news items. How to cope with this national mood is a tricky question for a newspaper: When your mission statement calls for remaining sober and rational, how do you respond to outrage and hysteria? Can the Times interpret events in a way that connects with today’s cynical, weary readers? Let’s find out by looking at some examples. Below is the opening salvo from a recent op/ed attempting to articulate what it all means:
Over decades of writing about politics, I’ve crossed paths with many candidates and office holders who impressed me, but few who blew me away. Chris Christie blew me away.
Yes, that’s Frank Bruni, at one of whose columns you could throw a dart from 50 paces and hit a passage this dumb, and no, they’re not really trying. Below, I examine two closely related lines of argument with which Times writers evade the task of coming up with substantive takes on our current historical moment: It’s Not Fair to the Nice Republicans and It’s All the Democrats’ Fault for Not Being Centrist Enough.
Everyone always makes such a big deal about search engine optimization, but I don’t see anything impressive about it. Search engine optimization is easy. For instance, let’s say you’re a blogger, and you have a target audience who is interested in a variety of topics, such as “David Brooks idiot,” “David Brooks stupid,” “David Brooks hack,” “David Brooks asshole,” “David Brooks dickhead,” “David Brooks imbecile,” “David Brooks sucks,” “David Brooks wack,” “worst David Brooks,” “David Brooks waste of organic matter,” and “fire David Brooks.” Just create blog posts about those topics, using those words, and internet success will be yours! Continue reading “The Two Stupid Faces of David Brooks: David Brooks Is an Idiot, Part III”→
American culture abounds with knee-jerk displays of patriotism. Fourth of July fireworks, Presidents’ Day, elections, baseball games, football games, gun shows, the Country Music Awards, pep rallies, NRA conventions, even the state fair — all come with flag-waving, anthem-singing, and the implicit belief that America is the best because we have the most “freedom.” But does this assumption comport with facts, or is it a reductive, even jingoistic oversimplification? The naïve citizen would claim that freedom means the ability to choose the direction your life will take, or a lack of undue burdens like oppression and bigotry. These definitions create a false binary, putting freedom in the “good” category while consigning so-called “evils” like slavery, totalitarianism, unjust laws, bigotry, poverty and lack of opportunity to the “bad” category. That kind of black-and-white thinking might fly in kindergarten, but it simply won’t do for the sophisticated readers of the Paper of Record! They demand nuanced, rigorous thought.