Frank Bruni is a man of principle, but unfortunately it is the Peter Principle. You see, Frank used to write about sandwiches. The sandwiches ($12) at this place are wonderful, he would opine; these sandwiches ($14) are not as tasty, his next article would read. He would comment on the haircut of the person who brought him his sandwich and perhaps say something rude about the wallpaper. He performed this work competently, and always handed in his work on time and with a minimum of grammatical errors. He was so good at passing judgement on sandwiches that his bosses at the New York Times had a great idea: he should stop writing about sandwiches and comment on politics and the culture in a bi-weekly column.
To stand out as particularly dimwitted and pointless while surrounded by Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd, and the eternally gullible Ross Douthat is an impressive feat, but Frank pulls it off time and time again, generally while pontificating on The Youth Problem. (He and David Brooks engage in a weekly bout of Indian leg-wrestling to see whose turn it is to malign Millennials.) But, Frank does have his bona fides on the young people; after all, he wrote a book of advice to the kids entitled Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be. It told them to stop worrying so dang much about which college they attended, as it really didn’t matter. (Mr. Bruni went to Columbia.)
These youngsters on their campuses: well, you see, they’re soft. It is not entirely their fault–most academicians are Bolsheviks, we are informed–but these darned youth are the worst darned youth this great country’s ever seen. They need–and you might want to sit down or cut off your legs–safe spaces. They claim to welcome diversity, but are secretly–and you might want to stand up or sew your legs back on for this–the real fascists. Colleges have made no effort to reach out to the real minorities in America: Trump supporters.
Frank Bruni knows who the true bigots are.
“The idea that the only people who voted for Trump have missing front teeth is really so extraordinary, and yet I think that’s largely what people in the academy think,” said Jean Yarbrough, a conservative professor of political science at Bowdoin College who voted for him herself.
Political science is the cheez whiz of sciences, in that it does not contain any of the substance it is named after. Also: no, Jean. No one opposed to the current occupier of the White House thinks his voters are all yokels. We know they’re mostly suburban white people and the elderly. Both the moderately and staggeringly wealthy votes also went to Human Diarrhea, but there’s not that many of them.
And that’s why it’s so frightening, Jean. Not that backwoods snake-handlers backed him, but the couple next door. People who hold jobs, raise families, successfully manage their alcohol problems. John Q. Public and Sally J. Mainstreet. A guy I know called them the volk. These fine citizens, competent in all other walks of life, chose idiocy, corruption, racism, soulless anger, and rank fuckery–all of this was on film, mind you–over four more years of milquetoast centrism and continued foreign wars. And now, almost a year into this embarrassing fiasco, with at least one cock-up a week that would have sunk any decent man (because decent man are held to the standards of decent men), with the CVS receipt of a list of putrid leaches he’s installed into power, with the Twitter fights and the nicknames and the Nazi-lovin’ and the covfefe and the Mooch and the golfing and the lies, all the lies, all the motherfucking lies pouring from his asshole of a mouth like rice-shits from a choleric, even after all that: 30% of the country still thinks he’s doing a spiffy job.
That’s what’s extraordinary, Jean. Go mutter “Gorsuch” to yourself while you masturbate.
I thought you were being shitty to Frank Bruni.
Oh, right. Got sidetracked by that lady I didn’t know existed but hate now.
You’re the voice of our times.
I know. This is how Frank ends the column; it’s not really a conclusion, just the part where he stopped typing.
I’m not suggesting that colleges normalize Trump, validate everyone who backed him or make room for the viciously bigoted sentiments he often stoked. But there’s inquisitive, constructive territory short of that.
And colleges should be places where we learn to persuade people not to take paths that we consider dangerous instead of simply gaping and yelling at them. That requires putting them and their ideas into the mix. Too many schools are flunking that assignment.
Where would that inquisitive, constructive territory be? Is it the territory where John Kelly thinks the North and South should have compromised on slavery?
O, pity the poor and pallid partisan! That red-hatted loner over in the corner. He’s got ideas to contribute, and he wants to be your friend unless you’re black. (He will make an exception if you’re one of the good ones.) Let us visit them in their diners and coffee shops, for they are the Real America and we are not Hearing Them. These bedraggled wrecks with nothing to their names but control of all three branches of government, most of the wealth, and demographic majorities: they’re being oppressed. Let us hear their ideas, which they will tell us as soon as Breitbart tells Fox to tell Trump to tweet at them. We, as liberals, must keep an open mind, but not progress to the next logical step in having an open mind, which is deciding whether the idea that just entered said mind is bugfuck dumb or not.
I’ve said it before: the bullets will come from the right, but the left will lead us to the brick wall and ask if the blindfold’s too tight.