Mirror Mirror

I think if you did a search-and-replace on this David Brooks column, substituting the columnist’s own name every time he mentions Obama, it would be a pretty apt description of Brooks’ calculatedly dishonest approach to commentary.

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6 Responses to Mirror Mirror

  1. Alan Jacobs says:

    Tim, what do you mean by “calculatedly dishonest”? If you had said “inconsistent” or “incoherent” I think I’d know what you mean, but why “dishonest”?

  2. Timothy Burke says:

    Because some people are inconsistent in ways that strike me as sincere or unknowing–either because they’re really trying hard to live up to contradictory principles that demand opposing commitments, or because they’re trying to think their way through problems that pull them in opposite directions–and I don’t think Brooks is inconsistent for those reasons. I think he’s inconsistent on purpose, instrumentally, as a manipulator. Which strikes me as dishonest, and calculatingly so.

  3. Alan Jacobs says:

    Thanks, Tim. I agree that the distinction between kinds of inconsistency is valid and important; I’m just not confident that I can tell the difference.

  4. Bill McNeill says:

    I see something less pernicious and more trite in this particular article: paint by the numbers contrarianism. The common wisdom is that Obama is the second coming of
    Adlai Stevenson, so Brooks starts his column by asserting the opposite and then riffs until his word count is filled.

  5. north says:

    I think he??s inconsistent on purpose, instrumentally, as a manipulator.


  6. Doug says:

    In which, for anyone who hasn’t seen it, David Brooks is carefully filleted over steak and lobster in rural Pennsylvania. Leitmotif: “There’s just one problem: Many of his generalizations are false.”

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