David Brooks Lectures Us, The Boy King And Palin On The Art Of Being Weird

At least Fosse’s Cabaret had Joel Grey as MC. How very Splenda. For 2008 we must endure David Brooks’ faux earnestness to tell us:

. . . For candidates, the lesson is: Weirdness Wins . . .

Last winter, Barack Obama succeeded by running a weird campaign. He wasn’t just a normal politician aiming for office, he was going to cleanse the country of the baby-boom culture war mentality . . . But over the course of the spring, Obama’s campaign got less weird . . . [b]ut by campaigning in this traditional way, Obama ceded the weirdness edge to McCain.

The old warrior jumped right in. Think about how weird last week was. The Republican convention was one long protest against the way the Republicans themselves have run Washington. McCain’s convention speech barely mentioned his own party. His vice-presidential nominee came out of the blue and seems totally unlike the regular crowd of former eighth-grade class presidents who normally dominate public life. McCain’s campaign ideology, exemplified in a new ad released on Monday, is not familiar conservatism. It’s maverickism — against the entrenched powers and party orthodoxies.

If I were advising the candidates, I’d tell them to double down on weirdness . . .The candidates probably won’t take this kind of advice. But remember: Weirdness wins. Surprise me most.

That’s it. His finely honed analysis – ‘weird, man.’

Weird that the Warlord is at historic low approval ratings? Weird that Americans desperately want an end to eight years of *incompetent* Christian Socialist Authoritarianism? Weird that almost 80% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track? Weird that we feel all around us the gleeful destruction of the middle class by plutocratic socialism?

Weird that McCain picked someone who was under the national radar but an established superstar within the Movement base? Weird that Americans in early September desperately do want change? Weird that many independent Americans are still unsure of the Boy King’s preparedness to make decisions ‘above his pay grade’? But like 1980 are teetering between uncomfortableness with the inexperienced ‘upstart’ and resigned acceptance of the familiar old warhorse?

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Why faux earnestness? Brooks since his earliest career demonstrated a profound facility for (addiction to?) creating proxy images of himself in the media multiverse. Initially he tried to blend his real Neocon persona with that gosh darn, hush puppy ‘reasonableness’ — you know, the nice neighbor inviting you over to watch Field of Dreams in his comfy home theater room. All the more poisonous because of its camouflaged vapors. Getting denounced by El Rushbo for being a weakling only confirms the validity of his posturing.

Here, we see him simply lurch on to a lazy pop culture meme. It’s not even Dowd-esque because she plays to her level. Sure he will get general buzz in law firm lobbies, media green rooms and the like. But should he backtrack and claim ‘sarcasm’, it rings trite and false. Doubly false.

To cut through all his posing, one must realize truly in a Brooksian Bizarro Universe, what precisely is normalcy. Oddly, for example, if he truly meant to focus on the weird, he omitted the one almost universally acknowledged eruption this campaign: the MSNBC-Dynasty-Catfighting. Which proves Hunter’s old adage — ‘When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.’ And Brooks proves yet again his true amateur status.

Henry