Follow by Email

Thursday, October 11, 2012

David Brooks, "The Generation War": Confusing "Virility" With "Incivility"

Joe Biden is 69-years-old. Paul Ryan is 42. I am 58, i.e. somewhere in the middle. To whose generation do I belong? Do I still belong at all?

Weighing in on the Biden-Ryan debate in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Generation War" (, David Brooks concludes:

"This was a battle of generations. The age difference was the undercurrent of every exchange. The older man had the virility, but, in a way, that will seem antique to many."

Excuse me, David, but "virility" is exhibited by interrupting an opponent with snickers and derision?

At a time when the US is teetering on the edge of an economic disaster of unprecedented dimensions, Americans should be seeking proposals and not testosterone.

Brooks confuses "virility" with "incivility." Me? I believe that etiquette and manners were more characteristic of years goneby, i.e. when Biden was still a young man.

I had a meeting with an elected official yesterday, and throughout the 40 minutes that I sat with this man, I could sense the wheels spinning in his head. What was in his best personal interests?

I asked this politician if he ever watches movies, and I asked him in this instance to choose "right" as opposed to "wrong," as might a Hollywood hero.

But I don't think that my arguments resonated with him. After all, we live in an age of narcissism, spanning all generations, in which rudeness is in vogue.


  1. I'm a firm believer in good manners and I could only watch just so much of the debate.
    Trying to listen as a political neutral,I was soon alienated by Biden's performance,and a performance was what it appeared to be.The posturing,smug smiles with the laminates,doing his best to step on Ryan's words,break his train of thought,simply left me cold.

  2. I'm surprised Biden didn't just come out and tell Ryan to shut the f#*k up! That certainly would have made him more popular with the under 40 year old voters.

  3. If the politician you met with was under 40, he's probably been watching reality TV shows ever since his children started taking Ritalin. Good thing you didn't ask him if he ever reads books.
    The right question should have been: "Tzvika Hadar, Gidi Gov and Miri Masika are personal friends of mine and owe me some big favors. How about I get your daughter on 'Kochav Nolad' and make her dreams come true while making you look like the greatest dad/politician Israel has ever known - and you give me what I want. Now, when do you want my lawyer to call your lawyer?"