a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

David Brooks: in search of dignity

Posted by Thomas Nephew on July 11th, 2009

David Brooks, the odd little fellow who delivers reliably idiotic conservative pablum on the “Lehrer Hour” and the op-ed page of the New York Times, recently aimed for the George Will demographic by reminding us of the Virtue of a Founding Father.  From his July 7 column, “In Search of Dignity“:

When George Washington was a young man, he copied out a list of 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Some of the rules in his list dealt with the niceties of going to a dinner party or meeting somebody on the street.

“Lean not upon anyone,” was one of the rules. “Read no letter, books or papers in company,” was another. “If any one come to speak to you while you are sitting, stand up,” was a third.

We can apparently add another one to the list, something along the lines of

“Whensoever a Senator becomes Familiar with Your Thigh, Object Not, but Esteem it as a Signal Honour to be Shared with Your Viewing Audience.”

But let Brooks tell the story:

You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here.

I’m like, ehh, “the whole time”?  It’s hard to figure out the upside of sharing a story like this, but maybe Brooks is signaling he’d like to join one of those new “salon” gigs the Washington Post was considering — advertised as “Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No.”

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