Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Catching my attention

Tip of the hat to CN Reviews, whose "The Online Evisceration of David Brooks, A Cautionary Tale" said everything I wanted to, and more.

John Pomfret on China, the Olympics and David Brooks:

But as to the big-think on the meaning of the Beijing Olympics, my basic take is this: the Games are to the punditocracy what a hanging curveball is to an aging home-run hitter. Slamming China is the simplest way out and if you whiff, well, at least that's better than trying to beat out a grounder. Context, nuance, background, depth of reporting, all that kind of stuff really messes up the prevailing narrative which is this - China is a systemic challenge to our way of life and these Olympics prove it.

James Fallows on David Brooks:

This is the kind of thing you can say only if you have not the slightest inkling of how completely different a billion-plus people can be from one another.

David Brooks.

David Brooks again:

When I asked about the psychological effects of such a shock, Qi emphasized the positive. The government had provided free medical care. Within nine days, he had been resettled in a one-room apartment in a temporary housing camp. He’d lived through China’s dark days, and this apartment was nicer than any place he’d lived in the 1960s.

Moreover, the government had given him everything he now owns. “The government wants us to look on the positive side,” he said.

This, as Brooks fashioned it, is supposed to be viewed negatively, implying the government, portending a future visit by Western journalists, gave away aid to keep them quiet. Not because, say, they really cared. Can you blame Brooks for thinking this way? He lived through New Orleans and Katrina, after all, and the U.S. government's great response there.

POSTSCRIPT: This is hilarious and very smart, as good as anything the Daily Show did in its peak years.

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