It's been a bad week for David Brooks. The guy he made into Patio Man isn't returning his calls, his last column got widely mocked, and, to top it all off, F'in Deep Throat was revealed. Just once, it would've been nice if the right could've acted like rational human beings, given the guy a pat on the back, a book contract, and let the whole thing die. It's not as if Nixon is running for reelection. But nooooo, they had to trot out every slime bucket Felt sent on a perp walk to tar the 90-year old stroke victim. And now he, David Brooks, was somehow responsible for advancing the ball on this Watergate backlash. Oy.
But David prides himself on finding alleyways, shortcuts, sidepaths that let him hold the party line without appearing a mouth-breathing troglodyte. But it was usually easier than this. Taxes, terrorism, even Terry Schiavo, those all had easy ways out. But W. Mark Felt? The guy's senile! Whatever David wrote the bloggers were going to--wait a second.
Inspiration hits. It's not Felt, it's Woodward. Woodward's the weak link. After all, didn't he just admit to suffering from anomie and anxiety when he came to Washington? Didn't he meet Felt while trying to find a mentor, a direction, a connection, a break? Wasn't he networking like a madman, desperately striving to reach a higher level? Wasn't he, in the end, acting like an irritating overachiever? And thus, wasn't Watergate just the senior thesis of a desperately ambitious nerd?
Hmmm...here was something. It's still rough though, readers still think Woodward was right. So it can't be about Woodward...
Bloggers. It'll be about bloggers. David hates them anyway. He'll just connect Bob Woodward's time in the ambitious wilderness to all those annoying, incessant, overconfident pricks writing websites. And -- this is the genius part -- he'll turn the spotlight away from both Woodward and bloggers, he'll serve them glancing blows but pretend the whole column is another sociological masterpiece offering insight into the mind of the young and affluent. It's brilliant -- no one will notice. Inspiration hits, David starts writing:
Entering the world of the Higher Shamelessness, they begin networking like mad, cultivating the fine art of false modesty and calculated friendships. The most nakedly ambitious - the blogging Junior Lippmanns - rarely win in the long run, but that doesn't mean you can't mass e-mail your essays for obscure online sites with little "Thought you might be interested" notes.
Never mind that you can't confidently say what happens in the long-run to a medium that's less than five years old. Never mind that blogging offers a path upwards that's not reliant on networking, that doesn't hinge on friendship. It's not important. What is important is that David Brooks has done it again. He's diminished Watergate by making its protagonist nothing more than an ankle-biting blogger. He's diminished bloggers by painting them as networking strivers. And he's done it all from within the persona of David the cultural sociologist, avoiding not only partisan politics, but politics in general. Bravo, Brooks, bravo.