Note to David Brooks: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

by , January 13, 2004
Newsflash: Whoopi Goldberg isn’t Jewish. Neither is Donald Rumsfeld. Whew! Now I can criticize both without being an anti-Semite.

Or maybe not. After all, Ms. Goldberg is part of the Hollywood elite, and by “Hollywood,” I obviously mean Jerusalem. Mr. Rumsfeld may be a goy, but he’s also a neoconservative, by which I mean “Jew.” Got it? Welcome to the new ethnic victimology.

Well, it’s not exactly new. David Frum and Joel Mowbray – the cream of the right-wing smear posse – have been riding this libel for some time now on their scorched-earth campaign against dissent. Even the addled Rush Limbaugh began whipping the neocon-means-Jew horse months ago, surely a sign that the poor beast was in late decay.

Just last week, however, David Brooks decided to take the carcass out for another spin. Hey, I dig writer’s block – but once Limbaugh is on the case, it’s over, move along. There’s nothing to see here anymore. But Brooks must have been tempted to try the smear out on a new focus group, his liberal readers at The New York Times, most of whom ignore National Review, The Weekly Standard, and talk radio. If they were craving ethnic whimpering and tales of far-right lunacy, then Brooks delivered. Here, he sketches the breed of cretins who dare use the n-word:

“The full-mooners fixated on a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, which has a staff of five and issues memos on foreign policy. To hear these people describe it, PNAC is sort of a Yiddish Trilateral Commission, the nexus of the sprawling neocon tentacles.”

Yiddish Trilateral Commission, eh? Oh, David, you’re killing me softly. Enough with the subtlety:

“In truth, the people labeled neocons (con is short for ‘conservative’ and neo is short for ‘Jewish’) travel in widely different circles and don’t actually have much contact with one another. The ones outside government have almost no contact with President Bush. There have been hundreds of references, for example, to Richard Perle’s insidious power over administration policy, but I’ve been told by senior administration officials that he has had no significant meetings with Bush or Cheney since they assumed office. If he’s shaping their decisions, he must be microwaving his ideas into their fillings.”

Touché! That tinfoil hat shtick must knock ‘em dead on The New York Times cocktail party circuit. I’ll bet they also love jokes about Waco, black helicopters, and incestuous Southerners. Nice to see you’re fitting in. But what’s the real point, David?

“[T]here are apparently millions of people who cling to the notion that the world is controlled by well-organized and malevolent forces. And for a subset of these people, Jews are a handy explanation for everything.”

Yes! Yes! Now that you mention it, I have noticed a buncha them Jews makin’ trouble lately: Kinsley, Hentoff, Gottfried, Mercer, Chomsky, HaCohen, Levy, Hass, Shapiro

What’s going on?

“Improvements in information technology have not made public debate more realistic. On the contrary, anti-Semitism is resurgent. Conspiracy theories are prevalent. Partisanship has left many people unhinged.”

Yeah, I hear a lot of kooks yapping about a Jewish Antichrist who’s gonna start Armageddon, or Holocaust II. But Brooks wasn’t talking about those patriotic souls, who are staunch supporters of President Bush and the Israeli government. He was talking about me, and, since you’re reading this, you.

Funny stuff, huh? That’s what the rat squealed when cornered:

“For what its [sic] worth, that neo being short for Jewish was meant as a joke. Nothing more. Most of the people who get labeled as Neocons are Jewish, so I was just sort of playing off that.

“As for me accusing anybody who accuses neocons of being anti-Semitic, there are a few issues here. First, I wasn’t saying anything about people who criticize neocons’ ideas. The column wasn’t about that at all. It was about people who imagine there is a shadowy conspiracy behind Bush policy. Second, I explicitly say that only a subset of the people who talk about the shadow conspiracy find Jewishness a handy explanation for everything. I have no idea how large a subset that is, but judging from my e-mail it is out there.

“So I was careful not to say that Bush or neocon critics are anti-Semitic. I was careful not to say that all conspiracy theorists are anti-Semitic.

“I am still on the learning curve here, and I do realize that mixture of a crack with a serious accusation was incredibly stupid on my part. Please do pass along to readers that I’m aware of how foolish I was to write the column in the way I did.”

Learning curve, my ass. This mental microbe has been a professional writer for how long now? He may have been “careful not to say that Bush or neocon critics are anti-Semitic,” but he implied it with a sledgehammer the whole way through. Then he had the gall to toss off this lawyer’s apology. Bravo, on a truly pathetic performance.

Before he accuses me, I have no knowledge of Brooks’s genealogy. He can be pure Eskimo or Anglo-Saxon for all I care – he’s an SOB regardless of his DNA, just like JonahO’MallyGoldberg. They dragged ethnicity into the discussion. Richard Perle and Douglas Feith? Don’t blame me for knowing what their defenders have announced over and over again. David Frum? This nonentity, this failed Peggy Noonan, is Jewish? Aside from the obvious question – “so what?” – how would anyone have even known had he not thrown on the chain mail of victimhood? His surname? Hardly a glaring clue. His religion? He never mentions it, if he even has one. Then what? As the incorrigible Taki responded to Frum’s allegation that he made an anti-Semitic remark the first time they met, long before anyone had heard of the Canadian, “Was he wearing a yarmulke?

This race- and racist-baiting is best left alone, but if the warmongers want to jump in the muck, then let’s jump in the muck. Let’s splash about in their hatred of Arabs and Muslims. Aren’t those ragheads just the worst? Wouldn’t ya love to vaporize a couple hundred thousand of ‘em, show ‘em who’s boss? How about those Japs? They really had it coming, didn’t they? Ditto for the gooks. Wish I had an ear or two to wear around my neck. Hope those Okinawans are listening, and the Chinamen, too. By God, if they even think about defending themselves, I say lights out on the little yellow devils.

Shall I continue?

The anti-Semite smear has to go. David Brooks is hardly the worst offender, but he has the biggest platform. He has sprayed this toxic nonsense too far and too wide; let’s bump him back down to the minor leagues. If you want to send a message to the smear brigade, please drop The New York Times a line. And don’t feel sorry for Brooks: he’ll get paid plenty to whine on Fox News about media bias.

(Contact info for The New York Times: letters to the editor, ombudsman Daniel Okrent.)

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