In today's episode of David Brooks Explains Everything For You in the Most Elitist, Pandering, Smug Way Possible While Pretending to Be One of the Proles is all about the "Ebola crisis." If you're talking about west Africa, well, yeah, it is a crisis. If you're talking about the United States, it ain't a crisis. It's a minor annoyance combined with hysterical screaming, like a particularly hairy spider that wanders into the tween girl slumber party. Mom can come into the room, tell everyone to calm the fuck down, and get rid of the goddamn spider. Now who wants hot chocolate? ("Get out of my room, Mom. We're watching Shailene Woodley in something or other.")
But, hell, if a New York Times columnist says it's a crisis, motherfuckers, let's just go with it.
Why does Brooks think we've gone bugfuck insane about Ebola? Because we're so isolated. No, really. Let's kick out the dime store anthropology: "In the first place, we’re living in a segmented society. Over the past few decades we’ve seen a pervasive increase in the gaps between different social classes. People are much less likely to marry across social class, or to join a club and befriend people across social class.That means there are many more people who feel completely alienated from the leadership class of this country, whether it’s the political, cultural or scientific leadership. They don’t know people in authority. They perceive a vast status gap between themselves and people in authority." The Rude Pundit knows what you're going to say, but, like an ejaculation you want to be especially explosive, deny yourself the immediate pleasure.
There's other stuff that's making us lose our collective minds when it comes to the big, bad nipple bleeder: "[Y]ou get the rise of the anti-vaccine parents, who simply distrust the cloud of experts telling them that vaccines are safe for their children. You get the rise of the anti-science folks, who distrust the realm of far-off studies and prefer anecdotes from friends to data about populations." No, not yet. Put a clothespin on it.
"Second, you’ve got a large group of people who are bone-deep suspicious of globalization, what it does to their jobs and their communities," Brooks tells us. "Third, you’ve got the culture of instant news. It’s a weird phenomenon of the media age that, except in extreme circumstances, it is a lot scarier to follow an event on TV than it is to actually be there covering it. When you’re watching on TV, you only see the death and mayhem." Okay, now you can let it spray.
Who the fuck made the nation this way? Who the fuck spent the better part of the last few decades in a concerted effort to divide us so we could be conquered? Who the fuck spread mistrust of science like it was a badge of honor to be stupid? Who the fuck exploited globalization to the extent that our factories moved across the border and overseas? Who the fuck invented the media that exists only to scare people into isolation and suspicion? Yeah, fuckin' David Brooks and all the fuckin' people who are supposedly on his side of the political street. (We'll leave out the anti-vaccine nuts. They're from Park Slope or Mars or somewhere.)
It's like Brooks has a wooden paddle with Reagan's face carved into
it, and he just loves lining people up to spank their bare asses,
leaving Reagan-shaped welts on their skin.
We are isolated. We are misinformed. We are ill-educated. And that's thanks to conservative policies and Fox "news." Conservatives believe in getting people to disengage from the civic square; they want the populace to huddle in their houses, with their guns, and watch madmen and madwomen blather on about the things they should fear. Jesus, all the evidence you need is found in the passage of voter i.d. laws. They exist just to ensure that very few people take part in our "democracy." Or we could throw in the utter refusal of Republicans to get money out of politics, thus causing those with more money to have more speech.
Brooks starts to conclude, "The Ebola crisis has aroused its own flavor of fear. It’s not the heart-pounding fear you might feel if you were running away from a bear or some distinct threat. It’s a sour, existential fear. It’s a fear you feel when the whole environment seems hostile, when the things that are supposed to keep you safe, like national borders and national authorities, seem porous and ineffective, when some menace is hard to understand." And then he offers, "In these circumstances, skepticism about authority turns into corrosive cynicism." So mission accomplished, right?
Fuck Ebola. We should fear rich dandies who attempt to theorize their way out of their own complicity in making us afraid.