Still in the throes of a nervous breakdown, David Brooks returns to the NYT op-ed page to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken:
I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable. But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years. We all have some responsibility to do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country.
In which Brooks admits to being a bobo with parasites. But he’s got something called an “act of will” bought in Target as part of his vow to spend less time in bourgeois strata. Two AA batteries required, David. Also: months and years! You’re so optimistic about your continued employment with the paper that Henry Jarvis Raymond built.
We’ll probably need a new national story. Up until now, America’s story has been some version of the rags-to-riches story, the lone individual who rises from the bottom through pluck and work. But that story isn’t working for people anymore, especially for people who think the system is rigged.
“I’m going to come up with another tissue of well wrought lies about how Americans live that I’ll pimp on book tours in college towns.”
I don’t know what the new national story will be, but maybe it will be less individualistic and more redemptive. Maybe it will be a story about communities that heal those who suffer from addiction, broken homes, trauma, prison and loss, a story of those who triumph over the isolation, social instability and dislocation so common today.
His eagle eye focused on word count, Brooks repeats “new national story.” Maybe it’s a mantra.
We’ll probably need a new definition of masculinity, too.
“I have gay friends who watch college basketball.”
There are many groups in society who have lost an empire but not yet found a role.
Okay, I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.
Men are the largest of those groups. The traditional masculine ideal isn’t working anymore.
*Eagle eye steals glance at word count again*
It leads to high dropout rates, high incarceration rates, low labor force participation rates. This is an economy that rewards emotional connection and verbal expressiveness. Everywhere you see men imprisoned by the old reticent, stoical ideal.
“I have gay and lesbian friends who’ve laughed at me for years.”
Trump will have his gruesome moment. The time is best spent elsewhere, meeting the neighbors who have become strangers, and listening to what they have to say.
I imagine Brooks knocking doors, a box of Entenmann’s pound cake in his hands, hoping he gets invited to a Game of Thrones watch party.