Al Gore says that there’s an assault on reason, David Brooks writes and a review and shows him why. The first paragraphs of Brooks’s review center on Gore’s sentence structure and word choice–not the facts, the reason, or the logic. For instance:
>As Gore writes in his best graduate school manner, “The eighteenth century witnessed more and more ordinary citizens able to use knowledge as a source of power to mediate between wealth and privilege.”
Maybe Gore doesn’t write well, maybe he does (you can’t tell by a few sentences taken at random), but at least it’s him that’s doing the writing. Worse than Brooks’s Blackwell criticism, is his failure to comprehend Gore’s point. For Brooks, Gore’s history is technological, “determined” by machines. This nicely plays into another of the many Gore tropes invented and endlessly repeated by the likes of Brooks: Gore is a “strange” person, a machine-like person, who needs someone to teach him how to act or dress.
Brooks failure to grasp Gore’s point repeats the now standard tropes of the printed pundit. The internet is bad:
> Fortunately, another technology is here to save us. “The Internet is perhaps the greatest source of hope for re-establishing an open communications environment in which the conversation of democracy can flourish,” he writes. The Internet will restore reason, logic and the pursuit of truth.
>The first response to this argument is: Has Al Gore ever actually looked at the Internet? He spends much of this book praising cold, dispassionate logic, but is that really what he finds on most political blogs or in his e-mail folder?
Golly-gee. Ever so many political blogs engage in real serious political discourse. The real surprising thing here is that Brooks wants us to think that somehow he knows what reasoned political discourse is.