IN the aftermath of the Imus flap, the Meet the Press forum took up the issue with good boy conservative columnist David Brooks on the panel. Imus was most interesting to Brooks as an example of what he called a rise in cruelty as entertainment. Here's the best example of his argument:
- MR. BROOKS: But what I’m saying is there is a culture that has risen, risen, risen where this sort of stuff—and again, I think it’s more about cruelty and shockingness than about racial prejudice. So I don’t know Don Imus’ soul is any better than the others. But I think that culture has risen, and I think the blame that some of us have who appeared on the show was that we got acclimated to that culture. And this sort of exposed it. But it does merit a broader discussion about it, and it, it hit home to me that—I quoted a colleague of your’s, a Ruth Marcus...
MR. ROBINSON: Mm-hmm.
MR. BROOKS: ...a very fine columnist. And he savaged her. I thought it was a great column she’d written about John Edwards, and he savaged her. And that was a level of cruelty. It wasn’t about race, it wasn’t about anything, it was just about, boom, she doesn’t deserve to live. And, and there’s that element of the, of the culture that does build ratings because it fills the air. It’s exciting, and I think a lot of us, you know, have been, in some way, accomplices of that.
It seemed that would make a decent post, but would take some work to dig up examples of Limbaugh outrageousness for which I had no time.
Well, one need only wait and Rush will bring it to you. "Barak the Magic Negro." Classy.
I remember when the conservatives I grew up reading -- Will, Buckley, Kilpatrick -- emphasized the importance of prudence, decorum and civility and to the core of conservative belief. That was the old, and I think true, conservatism, not the bastard child of Ted Nugent and The Church Lady that now passes for the right. Now we have conservatives whining that the government won't officially use the word "imbecile" anymore. The old, true conservatism may have been less entertaining, but it was more intellectually coherent and therefore harder to argue against.