Monday, December 08, 2003

David Brooks: Brother From Another Planet

For a month now I have been reading David Brooks' Op Ed column for the New York Times, trying for the life of me to get his angle. Now, I belive I have.
David is the Brother From Another Planet ... a Conservative soul brother, to be sure (hereafter The Corsair will call him Brooks Brother), giving us the lowdown on his sometimes humerous encounters with those wacky liberals.

It is not so much that David is an alien being to the eastern seaboard media-- he is not: he just writes in a manner that calls to attention his cultural differences with the Upper West Side of Manhattan, like in his December 6th letter to Tom deLay on the conditions of this third rock from the sun:

"Dear Tom:

"This week I read that you have abandoned plans to house Republicans safely on a cruise ship off the island of Manhattan during the G.O.P. convention in New York this summer. Have you paused to consider what this will mean?

"It will mean that instead of spending time in a secure environment offshore, kind, decent Republicans will be wandering innocently among packs of inflamed New York liberals. They'll be subjected to long harangues that rely heavily on the words 'multilateral,' 'Kyoto' and 'John Ashcroft.' They'll get condescending looks when they go into a deli and order a strawberry and chocolate chip bagel with pineapple cream cheese ? a perfectly acceptable bagel option in most suburbs. They will na?vely pick up The Village Voice, thinking it contains small-town news.

"When the Utah delegation pauses to say grace before dinner at Elaine's, the cultural dissonance will be so great it will be measurable on the Richter scale.

"Tom, New York is not a place where Republicans can feel at home. New York has Central Park, which is a large pastoral area without a single putting green. It is a city with nearly eight million people, none of whom own riding mowers. "

Very funny, Brooks Brother, but also an interesting expression via irony of the sociological differences between the Bush red states and the Gore blue states.

Our man from the planet Conservative, in the Evangelica star system, goes further:

"New Yorkers suffer from liberal anhedonia, which is the inability to derive pleasure from grossly oversized pieces of machinery. So when a Republican starts a perfectly normal conversation about the glories of his powerboat, snowmobile, combine or hemi, the liberal is likely to screech out something about the ozone layer.

"New York is a city of strange rituals. The people live in these vertical gated communities they call apartment buildings, but they don't seem to have normal family structures. If a Martian landed in a Manhattan playground, he would conclude that human beings start out small and white, and grow up to become middle-aged Jamaican women. In Manhattan, when an oldest child turns 12, entire families disappear overnight."

The Corsair likes the part about the Jamaican nannies, which is a deadly accurate spitoon, just dropped out of the side of the mouth as if it were an aside, rolled down the 92nd Street Y, and taking out a phalanx of pink-shirted NPR-listening yuppies like bowling pins. The Jamaican Nannies are a staple of the Upper West Side, like Balducci's, and PBS tote bags, and are just as appreciated.

Also the idea that children going off to boarding schools at 12, which is fairly odd in other parts of the country, is also
a keen Brooksian observation.

The Corsair likes David Brooks' offbeat but culturally significant columns
on the experience of an offworlder in Upper Manhattan.

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