David Brooks Spoke on Sarah Palin and “Elitism,” and the Peasants Grabbed Their Pitchforks

How can anyone take David Brooks on Sarah Palin seriously? Parallel Sidewalk does a good job of fisking a particularly disastrous Palin eruption, and you should read. Now.

I simply cannot let this pass:

People who’ve never been in a Wal-Mart think [Sarah Palin] is parochial because she has never summered in Tuscany. – David Brooks.

David! Dah-ling! Speaking as someone who has never been to Tuscany (but still wants to go; a thought-crime, perhaps?), and pretty much decorated her entire post-college apartment with Wal-Mart house couture, I have to say:

You’re full of crap.

It’s not even the ridiculous false dichotomy you attempt to set up here, it’s just the sheer, absurd lie that you are propagating.

Do you really think that Sarah Palin fished those Kawasaki 704 glasses, the ones that cost at least $375, out of a discount bin at Wal-Mart?

I’ve got no problem with splurging here and there on fashion, what I do have a problem with is the demented insistence that Sarah Palin is some noble Regular Jane who’s going to save the failing economy and fix the disastrous foreign policy through pluck and folksiness and small-town charm. Not to mention the other idea being floated here – that those of us who do not support her are saber-toothed snobs who sustain themselves on lattes and the tears of impoverished widows, spending the better part of our days receiving Dom Perignon enemas from our indentured servants.

Grow up, David Brooks!

Sarah Palin not an elitist? From where I stand, she’s as elite as they come. The fact that she hasn’t used her privilege to learn something about the rest of the world is not a compliment to her. I have seen Alabama housewives who scrimped and saved for a trip abroad with their kids pause in front of a Da Vinci in sheer wonder – are you telling me that Sarah Palin is better than they are?

There are things to be said in favour of Sarah Palin – the simple fact that she has managed to juggle a political career with having five kids, all this in a day and age where childcare is still considered to be the primary responsibility of the woman, is terrific.

What you can’t compliment Sarah Palin on is her profound lack of depth wherein national and international politics are concerned. You can’t sugarcoat that with “well, at least she’ll be at home in Applebee’s” rhetoric. THE WHITE HOUSE IS NOT AN APPLEBEE’S. Why does anyone even need to point this out?

And please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t tell me that Sarah Palin is “just like us” while anyone who opposes her is “not like us.” What does that even mean?

Hey David Brooks, you want to take a look at my student debt? You want to hear about how I couldn’t even get a job that would allow me to make payments on my loans when I first graduated? You want to see the pictures of my bloody and painful dental surgery, the one I ended up needing because I could not afford preventative care? You want to discuss me having to take a job abroad because opportunities for both me and my boyfriend simply did not exist in the United States? You want to chat about how I walked other people’s dogs and edited their vampire sex novels after work just so I could have gas money? Or how I had to ask my friends to bail my ass out when I ran into problems with my auto loan, the one I had to take because public transportation in most American cities is a joke, and got by on the sheer generosity and kindheartedness of said friends? You want to ask my old boss about how I cried in his office after Sallie Mae tried to screw me out of a deferral on my loan?

Oh, but I’m the evil elitist who can’t talk about what is happening to our country? Sure, I have a diploma from Duke University. I’m proud of it too. I worked for that. My parents worked for that. I have the student debt to repay for that – but hey, at least I stuck it through, even when it got really tough, my junior year especially. I did what was right for me: I took my education seriously – and gosh darn it, that is just wrong! We don’t celebrate academic achievement in this country, there’s no room for that high falutin’ intellectual curiosity pinko commie islamofascist satanist mumbo jumbo!

Can place Pakistan on a map? You’re just one of them liberal elites then, shut up and know your place.

And all of this, of course, is coming from David Brooks, mind you. THE David Brooks. The same David Brooks who actually taught courses at my very own Duke University. Right after I had graduated, when my boyfriend and I got stuck eating Nutella off a spoon for breakfast on more occasions than I’d like to recall, he was at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, getting wined and dined at the WaDuke and Magnolia Grill by our academics.

This is the same David Brooks who gets to lecture people like me on elitism, apparently.

You know, I’ve organized plenty of faculty dinners in my time. When I was doing it, I was mostly thinking about the one thing that I agree on with Camille Paglia: my disdain for those academics who can vehemently attack the comforts of capitalism when they are enjoyed by your regular Joe, then sit down to a nice faculty dinner with a visiting professor, eat lobster on the university’s dime and pretend that they’re more enlightened than some “corporate puppet” like me, while it’s my overblown student loans that pay for the lobster in the first place.

But neither do I like the flip-side of that – the phony concern for your “average hard-working American,” the deliberate dumbing-down of our national discourse, the idiotic riff on Lenin’s suggestion that every cook should be able to run a government (hey you guys! You’ve appropriated Lenin! You’re all scary commie KGB’ers! Bwahaha!).

Why doesn’t David Brooks just admit it? These attacks on “the elite” are mere power plays that are meant to disguise the fact that John McCain, a politician I had some respect for, made a disastrous error in choosing Sarah Palin, the same Sarah Palin who apparently deserves a medal for not falling to pieces during the debate.

You know, having parlayed my own fancy Duke connections into a job in a country where I can at least afford dental care for now, and watching this entire drama play out in the United States on satellite television, I am feeling a genuine chill travel up my spine:

We are in a crisis. We have an enormous budget deficit. Our national debt is getting bought up by China. Our people can’t afford healthcare, they can’t afford to keep their homes, and they are losing their jobs. In light of all this, voting for the Big Oil/Bomb Everything club is not an option.

Where does it stop? We are one of the richest nations in the world, yet in Alaska, a state with particularly depressing rape statistics, Wasilla’s mayor, Sarah Palin, allowed for rape victims to be billed for their own rape kits. Sarah Palin, friend to women. Sarah Palin, not a friend of the “elites,” the one who wouldn’t sully the city budget with something as base as addressing the needs of rape victims.

Perhaps rape is an “elite” concern as well? Do enlighten me, Mr. Brooks.

10 thoughts on “David Brooks Spoke on Sarah Palin and “Elitism,” and the Peasants Grabbed Their Pitchforks

  1. Great post.

    I had a very similar reaction after reading Brooks’ column. It’s a pity, really, because most of the stuff he writes is actually pretty good. This time, though, it’s like he has stepped over the “intellectual honesty” line.

    He has a reputation to preserve — he is a respected conservative columnist. Is this his way of re-enforcing his conservative credentials? Is this what the conservative ideology has become — forcing otherwise smart people to choose between intellectual honesty and blind support for someone who seems to espouse some vague “conservative ideas”?

    I really hope that’s not the case. The conservative movement has some good ideas — ideas that have been corrupted by the current administration, John McCain, and the Palin debacle. David Brooks is a throwback to that “golden age”… I just hope he doesn’t throw it all away by seriously buying into this kind of bullshit.

  2. I’m a rape survivor/person who struggled damn hard to get that good education, and I can’t stand this crap coming from David Brooks. Alex is right – he ought to know better.

  3. Ironically, under Barack Hussein Obama’s tax plan Sarah Palin would be considered Middle Class since she makes less than $250k a year. Her Husband is just a union worker.

    I’m SORRY that Sarah Palin is not a rich and famous elite celebrity who is friends with powerful people in control of Hollywood and the Media, like Oprah, who try to control what we know and how we think.

  4. Thanks for the link. Incidentally, remember saying you were eating steak at an obnoxious peta supporter? Tonight I ate Indian food and drank a good imported beer at Brooks. Oh, wait, he probably did too.

  5. Oh, Sammy, I KNOW. I just weep for Sarah Palin. I mean, why won’t people leave her to ban books in peace?! It’s OK for her to do it, she isn’t some fancy-schmancy expert on literaturrr!

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