Does anybody have the slightest damn idea what point David Brooks thinks he’s trying to make?
The news that being a geek is cool has apparently not permeated either junior high schools or the Republican Party. George Bush plays an interesting role in the tale of nerd ascent. With his professed disdain for intellectual things, he’s energized and alienated the entire geek cohort, and with it most college-educated Americans under 30. Newly militant, geeks are more coherent and active than they might otherwise be.
Barack Obama has become the Prince Caspian of the iPhone hordes. They honor him with videos and posters that combine aesthetic mastery with unabashed hero-worship. People in the 1950s used to earnestly debate the role of the intellectual in modern politics. But the Lionel Trilling authority-figure has been displaced by the mass class of blog-writing culture producers.
It’s like a bizarre under-40 free-association exercise, as if by simply shouting Larry LESSIG! iPhone! C. S. Lewis [?] ! at the right pitch, he can shape argument out of incoherence. After focusing most of a column on the most trivial surface currents of nerd culture*, he can’t resist throwing in his now bog-standard “Obama-worship-cultists” ** line, only now with the added bizarrity of making a head-fake to “the role of the intellectual in modern politics.”
How do you even try take this crap on the merits?
* Seriously, he actually wrote this: “They can visit eclectic sites like Kottke.org and Cool Hunting, experiment with fonts, admire Stewart Brand and Lawrence Lessig and join social-networking communities with ironical names.”
** And let’s entirely leave aside the fact that the young, energized, “newly militant” cohort of voters now destined to inherit the earth because the Republicans aren’t hip enough is exactly what Brooks has relentlessly mocked for being Sierra Nevada-drinking dimwits lulled into dimwitted political consciousness by an aesthete.
*** Unassociated endnote produced solely because I like Drek so much.