Let Them Eat Work

Matt Taibbi on David Brooks:

I had to read this thing twice before it registered that Brooks was actually saying that he was rooting for the rich against the poor. If he keeps this up, he’s going to make his way into the Guinness Book for having extended his tongue at least a foot and a half farther up the ass of the Times’s Upper East Side readership than any previous pundit in journalistic history. But then you come to this last line of his, in which he claims that “for the first time in history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people,” and you find yourself almost speechless.

I would give just about anything to sit David Brooks down in front of some single mother somewhere who’s pulling two shitty minimum-wage jobs just to be able to afford a pair of $19 Mossimo sneakers at Target for her kid, and have him tell her, with a straight face, that her main problem is that she doesn’t work as hard as Jamie Dimon.

Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this. There is, of course, a huge difference between working 80 hours a week in a profession that you love and which promises you vast financial rewards, and working 80 hours a week digging ditches for a septic-tank company, or listening to impatient assholes scream at you at some airport ticket counter all day long, or even teaching disinterested, uncontrollable kids in some crappy school district with metal detectors on every door.

Most of the work in this world completely sucks balls and the only reward most people get for their work is just barely enough money to survive, if that. The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers.

[…] Then again, maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong perspective. Would I rather clean army latrines with my tongue, or would I rather do what Brooks does for a living, working as a professional groveler and flatterer who three times a week has to come up with new ways to elucidate for his rich readers how cosmically just their lifestyles are? If sucking up to upper-crust yabos was my actual job and I had to do it to keep the electricity on in my house, then yes, I might look at that as work.

5 thoughts on “Let Them Eat Work

  1. I’m just getting to be an old fart, but I wish he would tone down the vulgar language. For all the truth in the piece, I can’t link this to my Facebook page.

  2. Already an old fart, I am not offended by Matt’s language. What I do question, however, is his choice of topics. Who really cares what David Brooks says? We have plenty of worthier targets; after all, compared to Europe, our closest alike, most individuals in the US are semi-slaves of an oligarchy. Brooks is just half a penny in the trillions dollar system.

  3. I wouldn’t call myself an old fart, but I guess I qualify. That said, I think Taibbi takes it too easy on Brooks. This ‘take it easy on the poor, thankless rich’ bullshit has gotten widespread in the media. It’s the entire reason behind the teabagger imbroglio, abortion, racism, militias, every fucking Rethug talking point. “Look over here, shiny keys!” memes designed to keep working Americans from realizing that they have been fucked to the wall by the conservative agenda. Avedon Carol points to a great piece by Philip Agre
    “What Conservatism is and What is Wrong with It”
    Conservatism is the champion of “the domination of society by an aristocracy,” and “is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general.” Calling Brooks an insufferable dick weed is nothing. I’m continually surprised that their isn’t a plutocrat hanging from every lamppost on Wall Street.

  4. One of my first impressions of the US was the realization of _how_ _much_ the system is designed to keep poor people poor and in desperate wage slavery, all the while telling them that it’s their own fault.
    On one of my first visits I chatted with a cashier lady at a grocery store, who was on her _third_ job of the day, just to pay the bills. She was working 12 hours a day. She was actually quite cheerful, as if it was a normal situation, which I simply couldn’t accept. And she wasn’t an exception.

    For poor people somehow everything is their own fault, when the rich get a pass if they make a mistake. The worst part is that people have been inundated with propaganda so much, whenever such a story comes up, the automatic response is:”It’s her own fault for not knowing or doing “; even from people in similar circumstances.

  5. David Brooks is insidious.
    Our Miss Brooks was funnier.
    Mel Brooks makes more sense.
    And Louise Brooks was better looking.

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