Tuesday, January 11, 2011

David Brooks's Anosognosia

In his column today, David Brooks diagnoses Jared Lee Loughner:

He appeared to have a poor sense of his own illness (part of a condition known as anosognosia). He had increasingly frequent run-ins with the police. In short, the evidence before us suggests that Loughner was locked in a world far removed from politics as we normally understand it.

Maybe so... but, Mr. Brooks, maybe you do, too... 'have a poor sense' of your own 'illness,' that is.

Parading oneself constantly as above the fray, as the adult in the room, as one of the few (in this case, you group yourself with Howard Kurtz, James Fallows, and Jonathan Chait) who really understands... this is nothing if not a sign that you, too, suffer from the divisive political illness of our time.

Claiming that:

contemporary punditry lives in the world of superficial tactics and interests. It is unprepared when an event opens the door to a deeper realm of disorder, cruelty and horror.

you assume that you, yourself, could never be considered superficial, could never be called 'unprepared.' But you are. You just try to hide your disease under a cloak of reference—to a psychiatrist, in this case. But that does not change the fact: you are taking advantage of the Tucson killings for your own political advantage as much as anyone else.

To make your point, you twist things, even in this article, talking about 'suppressed evidence,' for example:

the early coverage and commentary of the Tucson massacre suppressed this evidence.

Your choice of words belies your pretense to 'objectivity': there was no suppression, and you know it. There was, instead, lack of information... and shock.

You claim:

The Huffington Post erupted

what is it, Mount Vesuvius?

After listing a few who have commented that the killings have arrived within a milieu of unparalleled violent rhetoric, you claim that Keith Olbermann, Markos Moulitsas and others are arguing that the killings are the fault of 'political actors.' You write:

These accusations... are extremely grave.... They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.

'Vicious charges'? With those words, rather than encouraging the type of debate and discussion you claim to want, you cut it off, characterizing what others have said unfairly and simplistically.

Trying to divert discussion from the great cultural problem that Giffords' shooting exemplifies (whether or not the shooter acted out of direct political motive, he and his action are still part of it), you write that:

We have a news media that is psychologically ill informed but politically inflamed, so it naturally leans toward political explanations.

Yet you, David Brooks, are part of that same news media, and suffer from that same illness—though your own anosognosia doesn't allow you to see it.

Update: Want to see how a real adult responds? Look at the column next to yours today, the one by Bob Herbert.

No comments: