In December 2001, David Brooks mesmerized American liberals with his simplistic Red America/Blue America explanation for the current U.S. political climate. (See Thomas Frank and Chris Lehmann, who hail from Kansas and Iowa, respectively, on the folly of this formulation.)
Back then, and until recently, Brooks advocated fewer lattes and more Nascar for the “liberal elite.” Now he says liberals’ problem is a lack of familiarity with trends in European literature and the great philosophers of yore. His most recent column, an appreciation of Saul Bellow, concludes thisaway:
American democracy is no longer engaged in an Oedipal struggle with European aristocracy, the way it was from the days of the American Revolution all the way up until Bellow’s heyday.
We’re living in a unipolar culture, and it’s lonely at the top.
Wah, David. Go have a nice latte and a Swedish massage. You’ll feel better.
In other news:
- Salman Rushdie argues that the Bush administration has only strengthened Islamic terrorism by failing “to engage with the rest of the world in a serious way.” Blasting the U.S.’s “unilateralist policies,” Rushdie says, “the moment you leave America … you find not just America’s natural enemies, but America’s natural allies talking in language more critical than I, in my life, have ever heard about the United States.” (Rushdie’s latest novel, Shalimar the Clown, will appear in September.)
- Ann Coulter made Time‘s annual “100 most influential people” list. Here’s an excerpt from one of her “erudite and persuasive” books.
- At In these Times, Digby contends that the “right blogosphere operates largely as part of the greater Republican message machine,” and thus garners far more media recognition than the left-leaning political blogosphere, which “is populated by ‘citizen bloggers,’ who work in non-political occupations for a living and blog for reasons of personal interest.”