Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taibbi on Brooks

I'm pretty ambivalent on David Brooks these days.  I like that fact that he draws from actual social science research once in a while, and his columns are rarely dull.  But this latest bit about Duke winning the men's NCAA basketball playoffs was monstrous:
The rich are not always spoiled. Their success does not always derive from privilege. The Duke players — to the extent that they are paragons of privilege, which I dispute — won through hard work on defense. ...For the first time in human history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people. How do you construct a rich versus poor narrative when the rich are more industrious?
I could go off on this for hours, but Matt Taibbi beat me to it:
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.
Meanwhile, with regards to the NCAA series, does anyone have a sense of how Duke-Butler rooting broke down by party ID?  I found myself instinctively rooting for Butler, despite a) knowing nothing about the school; b) having never been to Indiana; c) having several friends on faculty at Duke; and d) caring very little about March Madness.  Is this a liberal preference for the underdog?


Lori said...

Nope, you don't get to claim liberal ownership of the underdog this time...first of all, didn't Obama pick them all the way from the beginning? :-) Secondly, nearly everyone I know, of every political and economic stripe, was rooting AGAINST Duke...not saying they were rooting FOR Butler, necessarily, but definitely NOT for Duke. Personally, I started with option (d) of your multiple choices and never moved beyond it this year.

Seth said...

Well, we clearly need numbers on this. Surely somebody was rooting for Duke who wasn't an alum. Who were these people? Were they the same sort of people who rooted for West Dillon High in the Season 4 finale of "Friday Night Lights"? Or who rooted for the humans in "Avatar"?