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Apr. 10 2010 - 2:43 pm | 67,130 views | 24 recommendations | 221 comments

Brooks: Let Them Eat Work

Unlike 90 percent of America, I was rooting for Duke last night. This was widely cast as a class conflict — the upper crust Dukies against the humble Midwestern farm boys. If this had been a movie, Butler’s last second heave would have gone in instead of clanging off the rim, and the country would still be weeping with joy.

But this is why life is not a movie. 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.

via Redefining What It Means to Work Hard – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com.

I know, I know, I was supposed to lay off David Brooks for a while. But how can this latest gem of his possibly be ignored? I’m beginning to absolutely love this guy — for sheer comedy value, he really doesn’t have any peers at this point, especially with Thomas Friedman seeming more subdued and gloomy than ever. In fact I’m beginning to worry that Friedman might take himself out of the comedy game for good by shaving his porno mustache, thereby eliminating the Boogie Nights factor from his work and leaving Brooks the runaway clubhouse leader.

Anyway Brooks in the above column — a sort of running conversation he has with Gail Collins — manages to take the experience of watching the recent Duke-Butler NCAA championship game and turn his impressions into the missing last chapter of Atlas Shrugged. He starts with the above observation that the reviled Dukies, who are often painted as college basketball’s spoiled children of privilege, won because they simply worked harder than those poor mid-major farm boys from Butler. Then he has a remarkably funny exchange with Collins in which he expands this observation to the rest of society. The whole passage reads as follows:

David Brooks: A few hours after that atrocity of opening day, Duke went on to beat Butler the national championship. You should know that Duke is one of my alma maters. I am very generous in my definition of alma maters. I claim that affiliation with any school I went to, taught at, lived near (Villanova and St. Johns) or parked at.

Unlike 90 percent of America, I was rooting for Duke last night. This was widely cast as a class conflict — the upper crust Dukies against the humble Midwestern farm boys. If this had been a movie, Butler’s last second heave would have gone in instead of clanging off the rim, and the country would still be weeping with joy.

But this is why life is not a movie. 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.

Gail Collins: I’m sorry, when the difference is one weensy basket, I’d say Duke won neither by privilege nor hard work but by sheer luck. But don’t let me interrupt your thought here. I detect the subtle and skillful transition to a larger non-sport point.

David Brooks: Yes. I was going to say that 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 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.

Brooks is right that most of the people in that 5% bracket log heavy hours, but where he’s wrong is in failing to recognize that most of us have enough shame to know that what we do for a living isn’t really working. I pull absolutely insane hours in my current profession, to the point of having almost no social life at all, but I know better than to call what I do for a living work. I was on a demolition crew when I was much younger, the kind of job where you have to wear a dust mask all day long, carry buckets full of concrete, and then spend all night picking fiberglass shards out of your forearms from ripping insulation out of the wall.

If I had to do even five hours of that work today I’d bawl my fucking eyes out for a month straight. I’m not complaining about my current good luck at all, but I would wet myself with shame if I ever heard it said that I work even half as hard as the average diner waitress.

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.

But it strikes me that David Brooks actually enjoys his chosen profession. In fact, he strikes me as the kind of person who even in his spare time would pay a Leona Helmsley lookalike a thousand dollars to take a shit on his back. And here he is saying that the reason the poor and the middle classes are struggling is because they don’t work hard enough. Is this guy the best, or what? Does it get any better than this?


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  1. collapse expand

    Brooks is an idiot. His supposed scholarship is so easily disproved. The NY Times is wasting their money as I and many others have noted before.

    http://www.realitywindow.com/archives/2008/02/david-brooks-a-waste-of-my-tim.html

  2. collapse expand

    Matt,
    I could not agree with you more. I’m a college-educated white guy who was raised by a single mom from about age 10. We relied on welfare and low-wage income to get by. I’m fortunate enough to have reached middle class, and I realize more than ever how random events can determine a large portion of our lives. Most conservatives I know just don’t see the world this way. They seem to think that people get exactly what they deserve and luck plays no factor whatsoever.

  3. collapse expand

    People of Brooks’ ilk really do think they are special snowflake “achievers,” just naturally smarter, more-capable and harder-working than the rest of us. Nevermind that there are plenty of brilliant, hard-working people who just happen to not make a lot of money and that there are plenty of privileged fucks who lucked their way into good schools and good jobs.

    Take my husband, for example. We are not rich. Not by a long shot. But he put himself through college and keeps making rank (in the Air Force) below the zone (much faster than most). Along the way, he has earned two Master’s Degrees and won numerous awards. Some rather high-profile. Which has allowed him to support me. I don’t work outside the home. I never graduated from college. But here’s what I did do:

    In 2007, I decided I wanted to be digital artist. So I worked my ass off teaching myself photomanipulation and digital painting. In 3 short years, my works have been recognized by the net’s biggest online art community, my works have been featured in “Layers” magazine and I have been interviewed in “Adobe Photoshop.” Oh, and I did all this by being completely self-taught. Granted, I hardly make any money at it, but fucking still… But…oh well…I’m not a millionaire. So I guess I’m not an “achiever.”

    Hey. Glenn Beck is worth tens of millions of dollars and he is both functionally insane AND retarded. This world is no fucking true meritocracy.

  4. collapse expand

    I guess Brooks saving a few other diddies for future columns:

    “The rich are smarter than middle class or poor people.”

    “The rich are more inventive than middle class or poor people.”

    “The rich are more genetically gifted than middle class or poor people.”

    And of course, what the rich really like to hear:

    “God loves the rich more than he loves middle class or poor people.”

    I think we need an online pool for predictions of when these arrive.

  5. collapse expand

    Matt – thought you might appreciate seeing Brooks’ page on dickipedia (the wiki of dicks).

    You’re welcome, man.

  6. collapse expand

    My best guess is that Brooks got his factoid from a Dalton Conley op-ed in the New York Times in September 2008. In that column, Conley references a study done by Peter Kuhn and Fernando Lozano.

    I found the study on the web. The authors used information from “two decades of CPS data.” I had no luck finding that information; I wish I had, as I was curious how much overtime was reported on the “honor system.” (Guys on the clock are going to precisely know their hours; salaried people are likely to pad theirs.)

    For some reason, the study included only men. It also pointed out the increase in hours worked was among “highly educated, high-wage, salaried, and older men.” I found the “older men” part pretty interesting, although Brooks and Conley focused only on the high-wage part.

    Anyway, the study was grouped by quintiles of wage earners. WAGE EARNERS. So Brooks equates “the rich” with the top 20 percent of wage earners. I know that “the rich” means different things to different people, but by that definition *I* was “rich.” Which I most assuredly am NOT.

    In fact, I think of “the rich” as people who often don’t earn wages, but live off of investments. Even with a broader definition, I think of the rich as the guys who make several million dollars in a decade, not guys making 100K a year. When I am angry at “the rich,” I’m thinking of the oligarchy which slides between government appointments and corporate boards of directors, not truck drivers who bust their butts to meet payments on their rigs.

    A retired and very rich Jack Welch would not be included in the study as one of “the rich.” A medical student in residence with a six-figure student loan would be.

    • collapse expand

      It dawns on me that I don’t know what the hell a medical student in residence makes; I just sort of assumed they made good money. The point is a top quintile salary for any given year does not necessarily, or even usually, equate to “the rich.”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    Its good I guess that you took soome thing as a ball game, and brought the issue of class and low paying jobs into it.It would be better if we just look into ENDIng Poverty, by shaming the owners who work 5 hours, for XXX millions a year.
    I will be sending this article to the New Hampshire Homeless list Serv.
    Jan

  8. collapse expand

    Now just one durn minute here, Mr. Taibbi!

    Are you saying that Alan Greenspan, who looked like absolute f**ks**t during his testimony before that utterly bogus Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (also known as the adjunct office to the American Enterprise Institute of super-rich weenies) looks that way because he doesn’t work super haaard?

    Well now, all those champaigne and cavier brunches he attends are a s**tload of work, son!

    Yup, so I’ve heard….never actually attended one, and when I worked cleaning up their tables as a busboy, the wait staff kept complaining that they were piss-poor tippers.

    But then, the super rich criminal class usually are….

  9. collapse expand

    So true, so true. When I read Brooks’ columns, it always seems like he’s justifying a point of view — using facts randomly to support his ideology. As opposed to figuring out what’s really happening and writing about that — without worrying whether it fits his world view. Krugman does this. Rich does this. So does Moyers. Why can’t guys like Brooks do it? Why is their ideological point of view more important than getting at the truth?

    And, by the way, Gail Collins is full of shit too. I root for Duke because I like Duke basketball. Am I now supposed to give up my liberal credentials ’cause I rah rah for a private school? Bullshit.

  10. collapse expand

    Everything everyone is saying in these comments is obviously true: the ruling class promotes the idea that with hard work anyone can succeed, thus downplaying structural inequality and laying the blame on individuals (calling them lazy, for e.g.). However, isn’t there a subversive core in what Brooks is saying? As we’re starting to realize, the problem today is NOT that of the working class who are exploited. The problem is unemployment itself. On a global level, Brooks is correct that the ruling class works harder than poor people because truly poor people don’t have work. The elimination of work on a grand scale is a problem that the American Left doesn’t know how to deal with, as is only too clear from these comments. The romantic notion of the proletariat is totally outdated because today the worker is not only alienated from the means of production – he/she is alienated from work itself. Until people realize this – and I mean good meaning people like those writing in this forum – there’s not going to be any social progress. So come on people what if Brooks is right? Poor people DON’T work hard anymore, but not because they don’t want to, but because there isn’t any work for them and they can’t.

    • collapse expand

      I’ve thought about that, too. To me, it makes a strong case for shorter work weeks. A lot of economists, however, think work is unlimited and would dismiss my idea for shorter weeks, saying I had fallen into the “lump-of-labor fallacy.” Other economists consider the lump-of-labor fallacy itself to be fallacious.

      I don’t really know much about this. I just remembered a discussion on Brad DeLong’s blog last year.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  11. collapse expand

    Reinhold Niebuhr: Since inequalities of privilege are greater than could possibly be defended rationally, the intelligence of privileged groups is usually applied to the task of inventing specious proofs for the theory that universal values spring from, and that general interests are served by, the special privileges which they hold.

  12. collapse expand

    Mr. Taibbi,

    You’re so right so often, I finally decided I ought to sign up and respond.

    Or maybe I should say: I agree with what you say so often that I finally decided to sign up and respond.

    A couple of thoughts:
    1. When scum Bill Kristol was a columnist for the NYTimes online, I wrote to the Times to say they should either edit out his lies or add a blurb at the bottom of every column pointing out the lies. That’d be real journalism. I stopped reading him completely.
    ..– Later they canned him, not because of me, of course.
    ..– And then Brooks. I don’t read him, either.

    But I guess we need a good guy like you to critique such media figures, hopefully to steer people away from them.

    2. I’ve done a lot of research during the past year, since Obama’s complete betrayal sent me on a mission to understand what’s going on. Your big article on Goldman Sachs et al was a great help. Thank you.
    ..– But you don’t go high enough for me. I had to go higher on my own and with the help of a few brave websites out there. I followed the money — and the power. I followed corporate board members’ connections, where they came from, and I followed some top stock owners and who they really work for.

    I got to the top. Why don’t you go any higher than U.S. banking?

    When we see who was in control of western international banking as the young USA grew up, and as we find who was behind the Federal Reserve system’s creation in 1913, we find the true top of the money pyramid.

    It’s not a secret, but no journalists I know of are finding and printing (or blogging) that truth. (Yes, I know, it’s dangerous.)

    We have to know who we’re really fighting against. Aiming at the wrong enemy will waste our efforts. That’s what’s happening, and that’s what has been happening in our country for my entire lifetime.

    I offer the results of my research. I was a newspaper journalist. Now, I’m a teacher, and I’m a journalist again because on my new website I’m telling the truth as I find it.

    http://www.EqualPartyUSA.org

    Yes, I’m also offering a SOLUTION.

    Please, Matt, check it out.
    Everyone is welcome.

    Sincerely,
    James Laffrey

  13. collapse expand

    “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.”

    Taibbi,

    You will receive an email bill from my chiropractor.

    I laughed so damn hard at your above statement that I think I threw my back out.

    Superb!

    We have to realize that Mr. Brooks has had a difficult life, all of those years he spent working for Irv Kristol’s kid at The Sub Standard and now groveling with Charley “Avigdor Lieberman’s PR Man” Rose and David “Karl Rove’s Dance Partner” Gregory.

    Life just ain’t fair for Mr. Brooks.

  14. collapse expand

    dear matt taibbi:

    just read this post. I’m too painfully tired to be coherent, so let me just be frank: i fucking love you. all your columns. but this one just saved my morning.

    thanks,
    d

  15. collapse expand

    Refreshing (imposed) thoughts during a Second Depression: Horatio Alger lives! Social Darwinism rules! Bootstraps are back in vogue!

    Continuing realities during a Second Depression: Wall Street is bailed out. The common people are left out (with forced health insurance from private corporations – as a new bill). Since 1990, the cost of living relatively increased at least 150%. Since 1990, wages/rewards for the upper-crust increased at least 200%. During the same span, wages for the lower-levels possibly elevated 13%. Thus, in this environment of “opportunities,” it’s only the serfs’ fault if they can no longer afford rent (much less a mortgage). Quit bitching, moaning, and crying. Instead, just focus on working harder and harder and harder, and longer and longer and longer. Your rewards will also eventually come (if they are predestined).

  16. collapse expand

    matt, i am your single mother and you have done me proud, son†

  17. collapse expand

    But…but…the soviet union fell, that means that it has to be this way! The same way that Democracy failed in Greece and Feudalism will work for us the same way it did during the dark ages.

  18. collapse expand

    …on the other side of the same hand, just because reproductive Licenses were a bad idea in the hands of racists, doesn’t mean throwing money at people conditioned to be fruitful will make society productive rather than populated.

  19. collapse expand

    So where’s he getting his numbers? Is he drawing from people actually working? Or do his stats include the vast hordes who can’t find jobs in this godforsaken land?

    If you’re an employee of the average retail outlet, fast food restaurant, or big box chain store, it doesn’t matter how much you might want more hours, how desperately you might need them, you’re not going to get them.

    Keeping people at subsistence wages and just below the cutoff where the company would be obligated to provide some kind of insurance, some kind of benefits package, well that’s the name of the game in union-hating America these days.

    And it’s all in the interest of preserving the profits of people like Brooks. Or at least the profits of the folks he’s tonguing on a thrice weekly basis.

    So he and his ilk can kick back, prop their feet up on their desks, and congratulate themselves on their great success in life. After all, they’re just getting the rewards they’ve earned as superior human beings.

    The most astonishing ~ and terrifying ~ thing to occur in the last 25-30 years in this country is the profound brainwashing of the working class. I’d never have believed that millions of American wage workers would ever imagine that their interests are aligned with those of the masters of the universe.

    That is possibly the greatest success (and the most destructive one) of Reagan and those who followed him.

    God help us. As for you, Matt Taibbi. Gotta love a rich bastard who recognizes his good fortune. That’s all I really want from these fuckers: Just admit that you’re fortunate. It isn’t just that you’re special, or even that you are. Sometimes it’s sheer, dumb luck. (Not you, of course, young Matt ;-)

  20. collapse expand

    It is incredible that people supposedly so smart ie; David Brooks,Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. do not realize they are sowing the seeds of revolution in our country. I am not talking about a faux revolution like the Tea Party. I am talking a violent class revolution.

    They are dividing this country so badly and deeply it will be hard to stop. That the economic divide is not enough the State governments are decimating public education. The education system now is private, secular and public. Or in 0ther words money, religion and poverty. Teachers in the public sector are being furloughed and required to teach 45 or more students in a classroom. The playing field for the poor and most of the middle class is far from level. In the end we all lose.

  21. collapse expand

    For all of you connoisseurs of the “oeuvre” of Friedman, check out the last sentence, in particular, of this article.

  22. collapse expand

    Another topic, just love this stuff…

    In an annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman Sachs for the first time listed bad publicity and regulatory scrutiny among its risk factors that could “have a negative impact on our reputation and on the morale and performance of our employees, which could adversely affect our businesses and results of operations.”

  23. collapse expand

    Last year, around Mother’s Day, my aunt and uncle, who are in their late 60s and early 70s, came up to visit from Florida. I was driving all over DC Metro area picking them up, taking them to dinner, etc. My brother, who also lives here, also did a fair amount of driving that day. He’s an Army officer and I’m a doctoral student and was a part-time office worker. It was getting to be late, about 11 p.m. and I knew I had another two hours of driving before I could get to bed. My mom, who also was there, told my uncle that we should go because “Kim and (brother) have to work tomorrow.”
    Uncle: “Work? What work? It’s not like they’re working on the railroad or something.”
    I laughed so hard I cried. Because it’s true!

  24. collapse expand

    Matt, I always thought you were the real deal…when I read the part about your “fiberglass” experience I understood right then and there that you are one of us (in spirit). Brother, I have to do the “picking/soaking of the fiberglass” from my wrists and forearms everynight after sometimes working 10-15 hours days in one of the nastiest places on earth…in the attic of rich people’s homes. Trust me, no rich guy works harder than I do each day! So DB and his latest assessment on the rich & poor can E.A.D!

  25. collapse expand

    Your point seems to be that people who work for less money work harder than people who have made a lot of money. That doesn’t jibe with my experience at all. I worked through most of my 20s in jobs like ditch digging, landscaping, waiting on tables and so on. I worked double shifts and long hours, and so did most of the people I worked with. I went to a state college on scholarship. Then I put myself through law school. Then I spent years working in law firms. Then I started my own business from nothing and built it into a decent little company that employs about 300 people.

    I worked far, far harder in law and in building a business than I ever did in “working peoples” jobs. If you don’t believe that, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t know what it takes. But that isn’t my main point. My main point is that every person I have ever known who has made (not inherited, a different thing entirely, but made) a lot of money has worked like an absolute fiend to make it. Nights, weekends, sacrificing most other things in life. For decades. I am not glorifying that life choice or recommending it. But it is what it is. Yeah, maybe there are some Wall Street traders who put in long hours for 10 years and make an obscene amount of money. But most are like me. They put in decades of heartbreaking work to make their money. It doesn’t make me feel good to hear political shysters talking about “working families,” as if all rich people were some landed idle gentry exploiting the tenant farmers growing potatoes on their land. I know one thing: I work a hell of a lot harder than anyone who uses the term “working families.”

    The people who make $250,000/year, maybe $500,000 (who are affluent anyway, not “rich”) generally do so later in their lives, after many long years of hard work and crummy pay. Te only people who want to punish them are the ignorant, the envious, the greedy, the easily manipulated. And of course, those who seek the votes of those people. Your single mother waitress may work hard. She may have a hard lot. But she doesn’t work harder than I have my whole life, or most people in my position. Am I lucky that I have been able to find work that pays more than waitressing? Yeah. But I also didn’t have kids until my late 30s, so I wouldn’t enslave myself to crummy jobs. Ad I never expected anyone else to feel sorry for me or take money from someone else and give it to me. I was in the bottom 20% of income earners, and now I am in the top 20% most of a lifetime later. I earned it.

    For the record, I think Brooks is a lightweight and largely worthless.

    • collapse expand

      “Your single mother waitress may work hard. She may have a hard lot. But she doesn’t work harder than I have my whole life, or most people in my position.”

      “But she DOESN’T work harder than I have my whole life, or most people in my position.”

      I am assuming that you were once a single mother waitress yourself, to have made such a definitive statement as the one above. But then again, if you had been a single mother waitress yourself, you wouldn’t have made the mistake of saying “MAY work hard” because you would know darn well that you had. Having been a single mother AND a waitress and all. Well, I’M baffled.

      “Nights, weekends, sacrificing most other things in life. For decades. I am not glorifying that life choice or recommending it. But it is what it is.” Yes, that sounds like a good description of single motherhood, never mind the waitressing.

      Also, I wonder what constitutes “punishment of the affluent”. Taxes, by any chance?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Dude… you need to get on the phone and call the first woman listed in your phone book and apologize to her.

      Your line about not having kids until your 30s so you wouldn’t enslave yourself to crappy jobs — I don’t even know what to say to that. Most single mothers are single mothers not because they chose to put themselves in a hole, but because their deadbeat husbands welched on their responsibilities and left their wives suddenly doing two full-time jobs, caring for a kid and paying his bills.

      There isn’t any job on earth harder than being a single parent. If you get fired from your law job, big deal. A mother who loses her job will be up all night frightened to death about where the next meal comes from. That’s life-or-death stuff. You’re talking about how hard it is to make it through your self-actualizing law career. Congratulations, you made it. You’re big-time now. But it doesn’t compare to being abandoned and forced to care for another human being at a young age.

      And for what it’s worth, I do know what it takes to build a business. I’ve run two. I did a lousy job of it, but I did it. I’ve worked insane hours to get where I am. I make a lot of money now and I’m not ashamed of it. But I also know I never had to do anything half as difficult as any single mother has to deal with on a daily basis. That’s also something I know from personal experience. You ought to be ashamed to say what you said.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Oh, and by the way, I’ve been a diner waitress, too. Literally. I worked in a diner where all the servers were supposed to be women, and we all had to wear shirts that said “Diner Girls” on the back. And that, my friend, is backbreaking work. On your feet all day long, people screaming at you constantly, eating shit from impatient jerks for $1.50 tips (if you’re lucky). I made about $90 a day in tips doing that and when I got a ticket on the way home one day — for rolling through a stop sign in an uninhabited area with no cars around for miles — I ended up -$10 for the day and nearly cried.

      I don’t know how you can even compare that kind of work with intellectual work. I’d need a lot of bong hits before I got there.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Nobody defends single mothers more vehemently than a man who was raised by one. I should know; I have one. I read your reply to this lawyer fellow while waiting for my son at school yesterday, and smiled until I got off work just shy of midnight. (Well, first I cried and then I smiled.)

        And you’re right, single motherhood isn’t something most of us decided to try ’cause we thought it would be really neat-o. Sometimes people let you down and you just have to go with it.

        Anyway, thank you, Matt Taibbi.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        You didn’t pay for that traffic your mommy did.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  26. collapse expand

    I’d also like to add the only reason why “The Rich” are where they are is because everyone under them help rise them to the top. You cannot have a successful company without the success of your employees. When we think of a doctor we assume they do all the hard work but in fact its the nurse who does all the leg work which in actuality is the hard work and then the doctor comes in to finish the job. Its the same with an executive and his/her assistant. The assistant always works harder to make sure everything goes smoothly for their boss.

    The reason why conservatives don’t have any remorse for the poor is because they all think their rich or will become rich one day. NEWS FLASH if you don’t make seven figure salaries your not rich!! And if were gonna get into the but “what if” I become rich one day? my answer is your not rich today so you won’t be rich tomorrow but when you become rich we could have that conversation. Until, then understand what the agenda is of the Republican party so you can understand if your own priorities lay the same.

  27. collapse expand

    Victor, you blow me away.

    (((Yeah, maybe there are some Wall Street traders who put in long hours for 10 years and make an obscene amount of money. But most are like me. They put in decades of heartbreaking work to make their money. It doesn’t make me feel good to hear political shysters talking about “working families,” as if all rich people were some landed idle gentry exploiting the tenant farmers growing potatoes on their land. I know one thing: I work a hell of a lot harder than anyone who uses the term “working families.”)) So screamingly out of touch, so lacking in empathy. Almost laughable if not so infuriating and arrogant…Wall Streeters, a LARGE portion of them, are workoholics because they 1) want oodles of money and 2) don’t care to pitch in with the hard work of raising their kids, which they slough off to the wife. You say they engage in “HEARTBREAKING WORK.” LOL. Long hours, sure. But heartbreaking. Dude…you should keep your ignorance to yourself, rather than display it and parade it here, where the likes of Mr T can tear you up. But I doubt you’d ever gain enough insight to change, so just keep on keeping on…what a prized douchebag you are.

  28. collapse expand

    Yeah, something something. Rich kids should be commended for working hard as the planet their parents command burns to a crisp. Maybe they aren’t dickheads like pops – maybe they’ll just use that offshore trust fund account to start something significant.
    Of course, more than likely, they will insulate, and sequester themselves and their bazillions, hiding from the rest of the toasty, overpopulated Earth.

  29. collapse expand

    Taibbi – I love your work.

    What’s most amazing is your ability to actually hold the nonsense of people like Brooks in mind long enough to sort out the crap and then name it, unpack it and condemn it coherently.

    The nonsense has become so pervasive and so non-sensical that such clear-headedness and faith – that a readership with an attention span sufficient to grasp your unraveling exists – are remarkable.

    Just looking at the knots the loons in charge tie themselves into makes so many otherwise smart and analytical people go cross-eyed in despair at the time-wasting prospect of trying to unravel it all only to find the shit in the middle: hardly an appealing goal.

    Anyway, thanks for doing it, and setting an example for other writers to maybe consider the possibility that finding the shit in the middle of the muddle may be part of cleaning it up.

  30. collapse expand

    I don’t think it’s too tricky to expose Brooks as a shill.
    But I’d love to see a member of the progressive media explore their own contribution to learned helplessness.
    I reckon the liberal media is only allowed to exist because it’s esoteric, complex, zero attention span, tsunami of criminality exposing nature is the most effective means at the status quos disposal of preventing that section of Western Society, who understand that their shit really stinks, from believing that they can achieve even a modicum of change.

  31. collapse expand

    i have a lot to say about hard work, but first i’ll say thanks to matt for being the wonder he is. i signed up to comment here specifically because i needed to say that. would that we had a hundred more like him in the news business today. he deserves a pulitzer.

    brooks is an idiot and always has been.

  32. collapse expand

    i would hardly call Butler humble. Tuition is 14k per semester for undergraduates. what i don’t understand is the continued willingness of big sport college athletes to sacrifice and perform for the paltry price of a college scholarship while everyone else associated with the sport rakes in enormous amounts of cash.

  33. collapse expand

    (old joke) Q: How do you know if someone went to Duke?
    A: It’s the first damn thing they tell you.

  34. collapse expand

    Are you kidding,you had to wear a shirt that said….”Diner Girls”.Man life must of been hard for you,im sorry.You really dont have a clue Matt, so please stop trying to make yourself look good, or Maybe you just like to hear yourself talk.

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    About Me

    I'm a political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, a sports columnist for Men's Journal, and I also write books for a Random House imprint called Spiegel and Grau.

    For Media Inquiries: taibbipress@rollingstone.com

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