Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A pipsqueak toady for Michael Kinsley named David Plotz took the opportunity to pitch in with a "yeah, what he said!" on the subject of David Brooks, on the general occasion of Brooks' new book, On Paradise Drive. I finished reading this book a few weeks ago, and thought it was a decent, optimistic little social book. It wasn't the sort of thing that sets the world on fire, but hey - how would you like to live in a bonfire? It was a constructive book, a book about building the "many mansions" promised in the better moments of religion and prophesy. Plotz is clearly in a destructive mood, and his rancid little tantrum is a song in the key of hate. Brooks isn't angry enough. Brooks isn't a fighter. Brooks doesn't seek out conflict.

Well fuck you, Plotz. There's enough rage in the world to destroy it ten times over again. Blood and fury wash the news pages from the front page to the sports section and back again. What exactly is the harm in optimism, in a forward-thinking, happy-think columnist?

Every political question, it sometimes seems, is a beggar with out-stretched tin cup in hand. The liberal theme for the 2004 elections is pessimism. Everything falls apart. Fuck the centre, and if that bitch looks like holding, drop a mortar stonk on her pointy, optimistic head.

The name of the game, my friends, is Time on Target pessimism. Fire first from the monthlies, then a burst three weeks later from the weeklies, then a hammering by the short-range dailies snug behind the political front. Carefully coordinated, shells from batteries throughout the depth of the theatre, converging as one over the chosen target in a horrific concentrated barrage, obliterating everything on the chosen coordinates in a single instant. Time on Target: that most American of innovations. It's why nobody in their right mind ever makes a massed frontal assault on a supported American position. Entire counterattacking German battalions and regiments were obliterated by Time on Target stonks. Conservatives beware! The pessimists have laid their wire, and have your position marked, coordinates scribbled in greasepencil squiggles on a folded map.

What does it say about the "liberal" mindset that the best metaphor for their behavior is the overwhelming firepower of mid-century American armies? Reactive, swarming, brute-force mechanical fury. What was Brooks' offense again? Being constructive and optimistic. Fair warning, optimists - you're standing on Michael Kinsley's artillery range. Have a slit trench dug before you open your yap.

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