Monday, April 12, 2010

David Brooks, Duke, and the Rich

A lot of people have linked to David Brooks' prime piece of wankery, talking about how he rooted for Duke in last week's NCAA Championship game because as rich people, they deserve to win.

Unlike 90 percent of America, I was rooting for Duke last night. This was widely cast as a class conflict — the upper crust Dukies against the humble Midwestern farm boys. If this had been a movie, Butler’s last second heave would have gone in instead of clanging off the rim, and the country would still be weeping with joy.

But this is why life is not a movie. The rich are not always spoiled. Their success does not always derive from privilege. The Duke players — to the extent that they are paragons of privilege, which I dispute — won through hard work on defense.

Yes. I was going to say that for the first time in human history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people. How do you construct a rich versus poor narrative when the rich are more industrious? 

Oh, where to start...

It's hardly surprising that Brooks is a Duke fan and alum (though he seems to have only taught there). Every thing about the man screams Dukie--wealthy, white, privileged, self-centered, condescending to the rest of the world, elitist, etc.

Only a man like this could claim and in fact believe that the rich work harder than the poor. Brooks might as well be working for the New York Times in 1890 rather than 1910 with his gospel of wealth mentality.

Only a man who has never worked in a sewer, as a logger, as a vegetable picker, as a janitor, or as a maid could claim that the rich work harder. Yes, some rich people put in long hours at the office. But that's irrelevant for making a claim over whether the rich or poor work harder--they do so because they want to and because they can. Meanwhile, the poor, who work very hard when they can find a job, work long hours because they have to feed their families and because they will be fired if they don't. And unlike David Brooks, who if he did so little work for the Times that they would fire him, they can't go get another job teaching at Duke University.