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May 4, 2011 10:14 AM   Subscribe

The ten strangest sentences in David Brooks' latest book "The Social Animal"
posted by The Whelk (64 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Baby, gonna get you lubricated. it's only $19.95 today at Jiffy Lube.
posted by idiopath at 10:19 AM on May 4, 2011


The ten strangest sentences in David Brooks' Nick Cave's latest book "The Social Animal"

I'll take two.
posted by cmoj at 10:19 AM on May 4, 2011


Heh. Very funny. Perhaps this is just my opinion, but these are only strange in the "How did his editor miss that/how did he get this ludicrous pap published?" sort of way.
posted by clockzero at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cantaloupes are another reason veganism is superior to carnivorism.
posted by notyou at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hm. The second sentence reminded me of Léolo and then I found out it was already done in Portnoy's Complaint 23 years earlier.
posted by knilstad at 10:21 AM on May 4, 2011


He was tall, and since one study estimated that each inch of height corresponds to $6000 of annual salary in contemporary America, that matters.

I'd be making $420k a year. Lemme start yacht-shopping now!
posted by The Giant Squid at 10:21 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't read The Social Animal yet, nor will I ever, but it reminds me of those books in my grandma's bookshelf - hidden away behind the books she had actually wanted in the open - which were tracts like "EVERYWOMAN: A PLAYLET ON BECOMING A FINE YOUNG LADY" and other such crap. As funny as The Social Animal Looks to us right now, I bet it'll be especially strange to see in a used bookstore in thirty years' time, especially since David Brooks made the conscious authorial decision to have his characters' lives progress without giving any thought as to how the world might change around them.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:23 AM on May 4, 2011


Previously. But this is too is worth reading.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2011


If the first sentence quoted is the first sentence of the book - way to open with horribly mixed metaphors, Bobo!
posted by Eyebeams at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2011


Wow. He had to self-publish this, right?
posted by kozad at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2011


"How did his editor miss that/how did he get this ludicrous pap published?"

A question that has plagued Brooks for much of his career!
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:27 AM on May 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


Why anyone listens to anything Brooks has to say is beyond me.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:29 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why anyone listens to anything Brooks has to say is beyond me.

He's basically a pink-shirted, tubby punching bag. A conservative you know you can always out-debate at the Catalina Wine Mixer.
posted by The Giant Squid at 10:30 AM on May 4, 2011


So, people are poor because they're 2 or 3 inches tall. Interesting fact.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:31 AM on May 4, 2011 [22 favorites]


Hacktastic.
posted by box at 10:31 AM on May 4, 2011


I've said it before.

David Brooks is totally the guy in the bear suit at the end of The Shining.
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on May 4, 2011 [15 favorites]


A conservative you know you can always out-debate at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

That explains why he's always on NPR.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:33 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, until this post I didn't realize he was the conservative in the politics discussions on All Things considered. I always figured it was E J Dionne because he works for the Washington Post.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:34 AM on May 4, 2011


Hey, some asshole has a new book out.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's true. Sometimes they have the nature channel playing in the Pep Boys waiting area.
posted by katillathehun at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


A number of comments suggest that Brooks is to be avoided because he is conservative. No. This book is to be avoided because it is terrible piece of writing. And yes, I had read it and nearly finished it.
posted by Postroad at 10:36 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


"The result was a pair of satisfying climaxes, and eventually, through the magic of the birds and the bees, a son."

What is this 'magic of the birds and the bees', and why was I not made aware of it?
posted by Pecinpah at 10:38 AM on May 4, 2011


What is this 'magic of the birds and the bees'

I think it has something to do with animals copulating.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:40 AM on May 4, 2011


BLAM.
posted by valkyryn at 10:40 AM on May 4, 2011


Brooks is also the unfunniest one on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, which considering the competition, is something of an achievement.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I found out it was already done in Portnoy's Complaint 23 years earlier.

This was pointed out in the comments too.
posted by Obscure Reference at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2011


Cantaloupes are another reason veganism is superior to carnivorism.

Oh, they're all right. You want to try honeydew. That's the money melon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2011



I found out it was already done in Portnoy's Complaint 23 years earlier.

This was pointed out in the comments too.


But did they mention Farm Fresh Girl?
posted by dubold at 11:05 AM on May 4, 2011


I think the trick is to imagine that Brooks and Douhat are members of a Taliban sleeper cell. Even though they have been given the rudiments of a western college education, after having been raised in the mountains of Afghanistan, their ignorance of western social mores is vast and they can't quite hide their disgust.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:06 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well fuck me. I'm a foot tall.
posted by Naberius at 11:08 AM on May 4, 2011


Well, how many of you can wait 15 minutes before asking for that second marshmallow?
posted by blucevalo at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2011


Brooks is also the unfunniest one on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me

I agree, but this is actually a very strange thing — because these excerpts from his book are (even if unintentionally) fucking hilarious. I think it's because they're taken out of context. The ten sentences are funny individually (as many other Brooks sentences would be) in a way that Brooks's writing and speech aren't when taken all together — when they're packed together, amid the numbing effect of his bombastic lecturing tone and the fantasy that some logic connects them, the goofiness of the individual sentences recedes. The effect here is much like the comedy of Matt Taibbi's pillorying of Thomas Friedman — without the tissue of pseudological connections, we can begin to enjoy the deep weirdness of the writing.
posted by RogerB at 11:14 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


At least he's not the insufferable Tom Friedman, who is as dumb as a box of rocks. "There are three things we need to know about X." Dude there's a lot more than three things we need to know about anything.

What a moron.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:15 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


What is this 'magic of the birds and the bees'

I think it has something to do with animals copulating.


Does that get you lubricated, baby? Want to go back to my place for some climaxes, bees, and children?
posted by FatherDagon at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


I caught a bit of David Brooks a couple of weeks ago on Charlie Rose discussing this book, and he came across as intelligent and thoughtful. Which surprised me because I rarely agree with his opinion column, and in the past he has always struck me as a conservative tool. Now, I have yet to read this book (and I highly doubt I will ever will), but he and Charlie had a very thoughtful and interesting discussion on some of the background research he did, and as I said he was a very good conversationalist, with interesting stories and a good feel for give-and-take discussions.

I don't recall him mentioning the chicken-as-Fleshlight bit, but then I didn't catch the whole interview.
posted by mosk at 11:19 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would like to see the ten least strange sentences for comparison.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:24 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey, some asshole has a new book out.

Hey David, some asshole wrote a book and put your name on it.

FTFY
posted by Billiken at 11:28 AM on May 4, 2011


‘This hand reaching to touch me across the table is not quite like my mother’s hand. It’s more like the hand of other people I wanted to have sex with.’

Oh. Um. That's... um... uh... check please?
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:29 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


4 of the 10 sentences make complete sense to me:

I’m writing this story, first, because while researchers in a wide variety of fields have shone their flashlights into different parts of the cave of the unconscious, much of their work is done in academic silos.

With his friends he was all ‘Yo! Douche bag!’ but in parental and polite adult company he used a language and set of mannerisms based on the pretence that he’d never gone through puberty.

Erica was suddenly consumed by a burning desire to be a business leader.

He was tall, and since one study estimated that each inch of height corresponds to $6000 of annual salary in contemporary America, that matters.

posted by John Cohen at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought we were disdaining point-and-laugh threads on the blue.
posted by oneironaut at 11:44 AM on May 4, 2011


Brooks is also the unfunniest one on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me

Wait, when's he been on WWDTM? Are you thinking of PJ O'Rourke?

I thought we were disdaining point-and-laugh threads on the blue.

Pointing and laughing at the creative output of a celebrity pundit is different from point and laughing at, say, Walmart shoppers or whatnot.
posted by kmz at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2011


Wait, when's he been on WWDTM? Are you thinking of PJ O'Rourke?

It looks like he was on the show once, but you're right, I think I (and probably everyone else) was thinking of O'Rourke.
posted by RogerB at 11:58 AM on May 4, 2011


"He's basically a pink-shirted, tubby punching bag. A conservative you know you can always out-debate at the Catalina Wine Mixer."

The conservative Colmes.
posted by klangklangston at 11:58 AM on May 4, 2011


MetaFilter: Imagining a man who buys a chicken from the grocery store, manages to bring himself to orgasm by penetrating it, then cooks and eats the chicken.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 12:01 PM on May 4, 2011


Here's a (now ten year old) takedown of Brooks by a modern master of the form, John "The War Nerd" Dolan [NSFW: The Exiled].
posted by metaman livingblog at 12:08 PM on May 4, 2011


I'd have to be extraordinarily lubricated to consider reading that book.
posted by Decani at 12:31 PM on May 4, 2011


*sigh* the kids around here don't know their chicken fucking history.
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:42 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He wore a scruffy three-day growth of beard on his face, and his hair was perpetually shaggy, like one of those sensitive stud novelists at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

i like the idea of the Iowa workshop being a stable filled with studs and fillies.
posted by Shit Parade at 12:50 PM on May 4, 2011


A conservative you know you can always out-debate at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

Or beat in College Bowl, as my team did.
posted by stargell at 12:53 PM on May 4, 2011


Imagine a man who buys a chicken from the grocery store, manages to bring himself to orgasm by penetrating it, then cooks and eats the chicken.

I have my problems with David Brooks, but I have to hand it to him here: his use of the word "manages" in this sentence is a sublime piece of comedy, which Philip Roth himself would have been proud to come up with.
posted by escabeche at 2:17 PM on May 4, 2011


Agreed, escabeche - I zoomed in on the "manages," as well.
posted by rush at 3:36 PM on May 4, 2011


Metafilter: She still thought it was a sign of social bravery to be a crude-talking, hard-partying, cotton candy lipstick-wearing, thong-snapping, balls-to-the-wall disciple in the church of Lady GaGa.

Seriously this one sentence explains MeFi's love of Gaga. Thanks, David Brooks!
Wasn't chicken fucking another MeFi meme?

But apparently I'm supposed to hate David Brooks and Chuck Klosterman. What comforting pop-sociology am I allowed to read?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:03 PM on May 4, 2011


Actual sociology would help.
posted by The Whelk at 4:19 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The narratives in this book were absolutely atrocious. What's amazing is that they were able to keep it down to ten sentences. (The discussion of pregnancy and motherhood from an allegedly fenale perspective is probably good for at least five sentences all by itself.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:24 PM on May 4, 2011


I think the book makes total sense if you're a newly arrived alien trying it's best to describe human interaction to your otherworldly masters.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 PM on May 4, 2011


David Brook's creepy projections speak volumes...volumes I will never read.
posted by Oyéah at 5:44 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Connecticut. 'Bohos in Paradise' was pretty accurate.

Anyone want to explain why he's wrong with the Gaga sentence? Because it's about as good a reason as any why the smart folks on this site love her so loudly.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:48 PM on May 4, 2011


The effect here is much like the comedy of Matt Taibbi's pillorying of Thomas Friedman

Thank you so much. Taibbi's review of The World Is Flat is one of my favorite book reviews ever, and this one is wonderful as well.
posted by straight at 6:53 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the derail, but the David Rees comic about Friedman's book is also amazing.
posted by straight at 6:56 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am confused by Brooks' seemingly earnest emphasis on tradition, social mores and "seriousness" in his columns, and the uninhibited, graceless writing on various sexual matters and low culture. This guy is a weirdo, and not in the funny quirky sense.
posted by blargerz at 8:01 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus, this was 3 kinds of awesome even before I remembered that he isn't even the biggest outsized-metaphor-carving hack in the Times table because I've got like this mental block or something where I always forget there are serious people nodding along seriously to whatever the fuck Friedman's telling Charlie just now because you simply must nod seriously along to Friedman or you don't understand, like about the world, and then straight came up in here and whup-assed my Paradisical Bobo musings with that Rees comic that I hadn't seen and you should go see and in case you didn't go it's so fucking awesome I simply must transcribe its best panel for posterity . . .
Charlie, think about this: We're on the edge of a cliff made out of yesterday's decisions. Our cliff is asking, "Which way is up?" China is building a new cliff, with elevators at the bottom. Their cliff is asking, "Which way is down?" So, Charlie: Which envelope will China's cliff push?
Also, and I say this in all seriousness, The Whelk's bear suit observation is the first time in Mefi history that I literally sprayed a drink all over my keyboard and you owe me a keyboard motherfucker.

QED. On a flat green bobo patio man BBQ.
posted by gompa at 10:30 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Goddam I meant Times stable unless I didn't. Quid pro quo.
posted by gompa at 10:32 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also China's cliff is actually saying "Which up is down?" which is a better line so fuck me. Ipso facto.
posted by gompa at 10:36 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


While we're appreciating David Rees's moustache-mockery: I really hope he follows up with more of the Thomas Friedman Metaphor Illustration Service. No reason to make a one-off joke out of a project that promising.
posted by RogerB at 11:06 PM on May 4, 2011


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