Trashing David Brooks While Gentile

This is a guest post by Quizblorg

On Friday Jezebel published a parody of NYT columnist David Brooks’ response to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book. Brooks’ column was called “Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White”;  the parody is called  “Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates Whilst Snuggled Deep Within My Butthole”, and is every bit as scatological as that title suggests – and then some. There’s reference after reference to “rectal cavities”, “ trapped shit”, “overenthusiastic rounds of digital stimulation” or “gently falling turds”; while some of that is no doubt down to the author’s joy in literalizing an over-familiar metaphor, its excessiveness is clearly also motivated by a feeling of genuine rage and/or contempt towards Brooks – it’s basically the writerly equivalent of flinging shit at him. What lies behind all this vitriol is that Brooks is perceived to be downplaying the grievances and fears of African-Americans in his piece.

I’m not going to comment here on the relative merits of either Coates’ or Brooks’ arguments, or those of Brooks’ critics. I want to focus on something different, and quite specific. Towards the end of the Jezebel piece, in a sentence that – characteristically – begins with a reference to splattering the toilet bowl, there is a link to another David Brooks column. That column has the title “How to Fight Anti-Semitism”. The link is behind the words “advocate for bombing Iran”.

The piece summed up that way by Jezebel doesn’t mention a military attack on Iran. It focuses on the rise of antisemitism around the world, and tries to analyze the different forms  it takes in the Middle East, Europe, and the US. It also stresses the importance of  not underestimating antisemitism’s virulence, and, in that context, expresses deep skepticism toward the US making a deal with Iran (which was then still being negotiated) – a skepticism that, by the way, is shared by > 74% of the Israeli population. (I haven’t seen any data on the attitude of Jews outside of Israel, but those 74% alone already constitute about a third of the world’s Jews).

So, in a piece that heaps vitriol on David Brooks for downplaying African-American fears, the author  doesn’t just downplay Jewish fears, but dismisses them in the most off-hand and casual way imaginable. Not only that, but she also turns these very fears (which, to reiterate, are not just Brooks’, but those of at the very least a third of all Jews) into a charge of warmongering (which also happens to be a rather classic antisemitic trope in itself).

This combination of hypervigilance towards most kinds of racism on the one hand with nearly complete blindness  or indifference to antisemitism on the other hand seems to be chronic  for the SJW/”intersectionalist”  branch of the contemporary left that Jezebel is part of.