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December 21, 2013

crying at your desk

About to embark on the holiday driving, but yesterday the Awl published something I wrote about crying at your desk.

Not exactly a holiday topic, but I think there's some not-so-gloomy stuff in there.

There's also a bunch of crying in there, so go get yourself some feels.

Did I cry while I wrote it?  You bet your bippy.

Thank you for your continued support.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:30 AM

December 20, 2013

dingbats on the march

I know that the New York Times is devoted to giving voice to all sorts of perspectives in their op-ed pages, but I suspect that the decision to allow this to be published was based at least partly in mischief.  It's written by Jenny Lee Martin, who is described as a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.&nbps; I presume that's one o' them Tea Party organizations?  The essay is entitled, "John Boehner's Betrayal."  Let's read.  The lede:
There'S a political axiom that says if nobody is upset with what you're doing, you're not doing your job. We've seen this proved time and again in the liberal attacks on conservatives like Sarah Palin and Dr. Benjamin Carson, who provide principled examples to women and minorities and are savaged by the left for doing that job so well.

There's only one interest group worried about principled examples to women and minorities and it sure ain't women or minorities.  Though I don't want to call anyone sexist or racist, because that is somehow an abridgement of their First Amendment rights?  Still trying to figure that out.

Make no mistake: The deal is a betrayal of the conservatives who fueled the Republicans' 2010 midterm shellacking of Democrats.

You know, my foursome won a charity golf tournament, oh, fifteen years ago?  We were accused of inflating our handicaps.  But whatever.  I'm still a champion in my heart, just like the Tea Party.

Oh, then there's a five or six paragraph sidebar on how bad a Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is.  It reads like, "As I was saying about the Speaker, he has OH LOOK SHINY THING ON THE GROUND."

And there's all sorts of other tortured reasoning and clumsy rhetoric and fevered victimhood, but the real kicker is this:

But after this budget vote, our job expands to include informing Americans about who keeps their word in Congress and who does not.

The cold war tearing the Republican Party apart from the inside is proceeding as anticipated.  Hug somebody.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:54 AM

December 19, 2013


I'm going to try to find a hot minute to produce some actual content over here ("manufacture whimsy," as I like to think of it), but I'm in the middle of a deadline and actual jobby stuff and I think there's some holiday coming soon that I'm supposed to prepping for?

But in the meantime, let me make an unpopular suggestion.  At some point in the next six days, you are going to watch a holiday movie.  At least one.  Don't ask me how I know this.  We are all familiar with the old favorites ("Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street", "It's A Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Story"), and you might have noticed that some of the newer films are becoming favorites as well.  "Elf", deservedly so, and "Love Actually", which, well, go with it, sure.

But none of these are the holiday film that you should watch.  The holiday film that you should be watching this year, and every year after, is "Scrooged".

"Because, Bill Murray," is what you'd expect to type next, and I certainly wouldn't argue with that.  But I say because, Richard Donner.  Holiday films do not need auteurs.  They need hacks, elegant hacks.  And Donner is as elegant a hack this side of Blake Edwards.

So go have some "Scrooged".

(And the counter-argument to this is not "Love Actually"; it is "Die Hard".)

Posted by mrbrent at 10:21 AM

December 17, 2013

emo david brooks

Allegedly, when David Brooks took his hiatus from the NYT, he was working on a book or some such thing.  I am not necessarily convinced this is the case.

Since he returned, starting with this consideration of the emotional attachment to hysterical politics, something's different, something's off.  The dopey beige earnestness is still there, as is the practice of picking a scientific study at random and building a column around it, but what's missing is habit of passing off fan fic as political wisdom.  Like, did David Brooks start doing TM?

And then there is this, today's contribution, in which he describes the life of a "Thought Leader," which seems to be an attempt at parody/comedy but instead comes off as tepid and probably accurate.  Is David Brooks talking about David Brooks?  Is David Brooks talking about a rival of David Brooks?  Is David Brooks so solopsistic as to imagine that there is such a thing as a rival of David Brooks?

And then there is this line (describing the Thought Leader, obviously a dude):

Within a few years, though, his mood has shifted from smarm to snark.

At which point the Internet knitted its brow.

Did David Brooks start listening to a lot of Kitaro?  Better yet: what is David Brooks smoking?

Posted by mrbrent at 10:20 AM