Saturday, October 5, 2019

Voyage into the Heart of Whiteness, Revisited

The death of Cleopatra, by Domenico Riccio, via Daily Beast.
An imagined conversation with Flyover Man.
Opinion Columnist
Honest to god, and then he gets offended when people make fun of him for offering an argument-by-fiction.
That's only 3.5 states per week so far, sorry. And last week you only went to three.

It's not so much the quantity of contact as the quality, my dear David. You may talk to all kinds of people, but you show few signs of having listened to them. And then when it's time to write it up you give us an "imagined conversation", as your dek text puts it, instead of a real interview, and answer your question by making it up.

It's not in fact a conversation with a fictional person but between two fictional persons, the "Flyover Man" and an "Urban Guy", for men live in the country and guys inhabit town, and Urban Guy is actually the more subtly drawn, something of a stand-in for Brooks himself, but more emotionally repelled by Trump; he opens the conversation in a characteristically Brooksian way, taking no interest in what the Trump voter thinks but immediately starting to hector him: Have you done the reading yet? Have you learned my interpretation? Are you too dumb to see what's going on?
Urban Guy: I hope you read the rough transcript of that Trump phone call with the Ukrainian president. Trump clearly used public power to ask a foreign leader to dig up dirt on his political opponent. This is impeachable. I don’t see how you can deny the facts in front of your face.
Flyover Man doesn't take offense, but isn't apologetic either:
Flyover Man: I haven’t really had time to look into it. There’s always some fight between Trump and the East Coast media. I guess I just try to stay focused on the big picture.
The big picture is this: We knew this guy was a snake when we signed up. But he was the only one who saw us. He was the only one who saw that the America we love is being transformed in front of our eyes. Good jobs for hard-working people were gone. Our communities in tatters. Our kids in trouble. I had one shot at change, so I made a deal with the devil, and you’d have made it, too.
Nothing in this impeachment mess makes me rethink this bargain. If people like you are unable to acknowledge my dignity and see my problems, I’ll stay with Trump.
That reference to the 1968 Al Wilson Snake poem is very interesting. Is he saying he expected to die envenomed so he's not going to complain about it now that it's happening? Other than that, Flyover Man doesn't seem to want anything from the Leader but understanding, his dignity acknowledged and his problems recognized, though he also thought he was voting for change to combat all this transformation. But since Trump acknowledged his dignity better than Hillary Clinton did (presumably by saying, "I'm the real elite, I have a better apartment than they do and a better boat" while she merely came up with all these boring plans to solve their problems), it's a bargain.

So David Brooks has utter contempt for this person, whoever he is, but keeps filling him up with his own stupid ideas, with no regard to coherence:
One, mass immigration is changing my town, region and state. Two, the cultural liberalism you preach but don’t practice is leading to the breakdown of families up and down my block. Children out of wedlock. Young men with no dad when they’re young and no wife in their life when they’re grown. Third, an Ivy League elite running government and the economy for itself and shutting out those of us who actually make things with our hands. Fourth, China is replacing us.
That's very precise: cultural liberalism is kind of like racism, where the person with the disease isn't the one who suffers, only it works by magic. My being in favor of unrestricted abortion has no effect on my family, but wrecks Flyover Man's family.

And both sides are to blame, but one of them is worse:
I would be open to impeachment if you cared about my problems. I’d be open if all those silent Republican dissenters in the Senate had given me some G.O.P. alternative candidate who speaks our language and addresses our issues. I’d be open if there was a moderate Democratic Party that I thought deserved a shot. But I only see Democrats who’d make everything worse: Open the border! Socialism! More power to Washington!
Obviously I don't believe in this person at all in any case. Mr. Brooks is not cut out for the writing of fiction, I fear. I also continue to wonder why I should care about attracting voters who prefer snakebite to universal heath care. Positive we have a majority without them, as we did in 2016. Enough!

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