Shame on David Brooks, Ad Nauseum

David Brooks’ column in today’s NYTimes titled “Let’s All Feel Superior” begins with the following twaddle: 

“First came the atrocity, then came the vanity. The atrocity is what Jerry Sandusky has been accused of doing at Penn State. The vanity is the outraged reaction of a zillion commentators over the past week, whose indignation is based on the assumption that if they had been in Joe Paterno’s shoes, or assistant coach Mike McQueary’s shoes, they would have behaved better. They would have taken action and stopped any sexual assaults.Unfortunately, none of us can safely make that assumption.”

And twaddle it is. 

I know hundreds of people, hundreds, who, seeing what Mike McQueary saw, would have called the cops. 

I’ve long suspected David Brooks of possessing the kind of smug, neo-con world view that only a tiny fraction of the human population is capable of judgment–a Hamiltonian position certainly, and one that trickles down the legs of conservatives everywhere. What a sad column he has written. How vainglorious and shallow. Twaddle that stinks.






Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Shame on David Brooks, Ad Nauseum”

  1. First time I’ll say this about a neocon, but he’s right. There are brave people who report sexual abuse, no matter the cost to themselves, and that’s the standard we should expect from everyone. But it’s not what happens. Abusers are highly skilled at manipulating the people and systems around them to keep abusing kids, and we live in a rape culture where people would rather belive that their friend is a nice person than their friend is a rapist. Look at the number of children abused compared to the number of prosecutions; look at the number of people raped compared to the number of prosecutions, let alone successful ones.
    People make the world safe for people like Sandusky – the odds are that some of those “hundreds” of people you know have been abused and their families have ignored it; the odds are that many of those hundreds have made rape jokes, or turned a blind eye to someone too drunk to consent, or ignored a child nervous about a relative, or have taken a woman’s claims less seriously because she was young/drunk/out late/alone/dressed “wrongly”.


  2. Here’s an Op-Ed by a Pennsylvanian-Californian (God help her) on the “cult” of Penn State that illuminates my argument nicely.
    I especially like the part about the eye rolling — so very Californian. I recently attended a meeting. When I left the house that morning, I told my husband that under no circumstances was I going to eye-roll, not once — not politically acceptable. I’d already done my eye rolling and my ranting, the cows had left the barn anyway, and I was just going to wait until they were all doing the watusi in the meadow at 3 a.m. Some people prefer reality checks to conceptualized ranting. Toward the end of the meeting, a co-worker sitting next to me suddenly nudged me in the arm with his elbow. When I looked over at him, he just rolled his eyes. Best laugh I’d had all week.


  3. Your indignation about Mr. Brooks remarks reminded me of a horrible sex abuse joke that I heard about 25 years ago. Is it peculiarly American to joke about the most morbid horrors? A driver at an agency where I worked walked into my office, and said in a very concerned voice to the guy that I worked with, “Do you mind if I ask you a very personal question?” The guy stopped what he was doing, and said no. Driver says, “If you went on a camping trip with a friend, and in the middle of the night he suddenly jumped on you and raped you, do you think you’d be able to tell anyone?” The question took the guy aback, and he stammered, “I’m not sure. I might not; it would be really difficult for me to talk about something like that.” Then the driver said, “So, do you want go camping?” Those guys were both quite over-the-top kidders; God help ’em. Of course, times have changed a bit in 25 years; society is somewhat more open with regards to sex abuse issues. But the joke would still raise nervous laughter in many of us because sex abuse is still something that is not easy to disclose even today. People tend to want to cover it up, and pretend it didn’t happen.


  4. David Brooks has a very firm understanding of the immense power and sway of groupthink. He is absolutely, 100% right on target. Thus spake me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s