Everyone loves the parties thrown at the home of New York Times columnist David Brooks. Having downsized from an opulent house to an opulent apartment in the Cleveland Park neighborhood in Washington, DC, Brooks delights in inviting over only the most intelligent of the intellgentsia, only the most cognizant of the cogniscenti, all of whom must have degrees Ivy League and careers as thinking thinkers. Then he has the caterers serve dinner, a menu he has chosen to his particular purposes: a vegetarian meal, sometimes South Asian, sometimes East African, exotic sections of exotic continents, lentils and kale and broccoli and apricots and brown rice, rich in sauces that are filled with yogurts and creams, and only champagne to drink.
Once the meal is complete, Brooks looks from face to face around the table, seeing the growing intestinal discomfort in his guests, and then, Brooks farts, loudly, elegantly, even, a rotund, bassoonish sound. He closes his eyes and smells the air, using his hand like a conductor to waft the odors towards his nose. At first, people look at him oddly. Brooks knows the answer to their questioning faces. "Everything that emanates from you is worthier than that which emanates from others," he declares grandly. "Allow yourself to fart. Your farts are, indeed, more valuable than the finest perfumes. They are sublime for they are considered and educated farts."
Slowly, one guest accepts this obvious truth and farts, laughing, tickled by this liberation. Others follow suit until all around the table wealthy people in fine garments are making a flatulent symphony. Their smells commingle, creating new and never-before-sniffed fragrances. "Yes, yes, fart more," Brooks, the master of the moment, commands among the anal oboes and rectal trombones and a chorus of inhalations and moans. More than anyone, he is delirious, as if the musky clouds have formed a magic carpet that allows him to float away.
Once, only once, a waiter on the side, watching this exhibition, shrugged his shoulders and let out a fart that was immediately heard as a flat note in the orchestra. Brooks turned and fired him on the spot for allowing his pedestrian gas to dare to rise with the redolence of the respectable. Luckily, the party wasn't ruined for guests moved quickly to the spot and farted prodigiously in order to dilute the invading scent.
Today, in his "column" (if by "column," you mean "word farts"), Brooks uses the murder of the cartoonists at the French publication Charlie Hebdo to delineate what separates "us" (the Brooksites) from the "them" (the twaddling satirists) in what are two of the most smugly elitist paragraphs you're gonna read:
"In most societies, there’s the adults’ table and there’s the kids’ table. The people who read Le Monde or the establishment organs are at the adults’ table. The jesters, the holy fools and people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are at the kids’ table. They’re not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.
"Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect. Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct."
Yes, ahh, the delightful tang of the farts of your equals, those are all that should be smelled. Dare not breathe in the farts of the fools for they can only eat cotton candy and popcorn. They are just one level above racists.
We let the "wise and considerate scholars" who Brooks supports lead this country for a long, long time, using their "establishment organs" to penetrate our politics and economy. They are far more foolish, far more ignorant, far less connected to reality than the satirists and the crude humorists who have to work in practice, not just theory. And let's remember that, for years, Brooks's party took its marching orders from Rush Limbaugh, who is not generally noted for either his wisdom, his consideration, or his scholarship. Also, his farts smell like cigars and Dominican boy semen.
What Brooks sets up is a world where those who get to be part of the discourse of power have to be approved by those who are already part of the discourse. What are the chances of that group allowing their air to be poisoned by the farts of the outsiders? It's an ideological daisy chain that most of us just get to watch. You can spend your time wondering where you can fit in or you can say, "Fuck that" and walk away.
One huge thing that Brooks misses is that it's often the "jesters" who are the initiators of change. See, you can build towers with your peas and potatoes at the kids' table. You have freedom to play.