Wednesday, April 12, 2006

David Brooks: The Poem

Compiled from the writings of David Brooks in the New York Times over the last seven years.

You want us to know how you feel.
Men want others to recognize their significance.
We want to live near people like ourselves.
People want to destroy us.
I want to claim ownership of my death.

You want to stand up and fight The Man.
The law-and-order types want to close the border.
We want to help boys keep up with girls.
A company that sells to brie people doesn't want to open a store in a Velveeta neighborhood.
I want to tell you about my family unit and what it means to me.

You want to lock the world into an epic war.
Most Americans just want to know the system is under control.
We want to keep up with the Chinese and the Indians.
Men want to trade up when a younger trophy wife comes along.
I want to look you in the eye and pledge I will never pander to you.

You want to throw a dinner party for your friends.
Lower-income individuals want to be like middle- and upper-middle-class people.
We want to make sure that the guy we elect to the White House has lived a life nothing like our own.
My brain wants a comprehensive theory of the whole.
I want a snack that will prevent colorectal cancer!

You really want to reduce world poverty.
The lobbyists want to attend $1,000 cocktail parties.
We want to head off underclass riots.
People want to be able to give a satisfying answer to the cocktail-party question "Where do you work?"
I want money.

You want peace on earth, a unifying system that transcends religious, cultural and caste differences.
People don't want to move back to New Orleans.
We want to remain a just, fluid society.
Nobody wants the Protestant Establishment back.
I don't want a president who sees it that way.

You want to understand why Democrats keep losing elections.
Voters want to know someone is running the country.
We don't actually want to be governed by people like ourselves.
All people want to copy American institutions.
I want an open casket, and in preparation, I'd like a surgeon to get rid of the bags under my eyes.

You want to know what a society looks like when it is in the middle of moral self-repair.
Ivy League sex columnists don't want anybody to think they are loose.
We don't want to look like languid aristocrats.
Cadets want their casual sex just like every other group of young people.
I want to talk to the social conservatives.

You want to suck on the gas pipe.
Mother Nature wants you to have that fourth glass of wine.
We don't want to stare into this abyss.
Everybody just wants the miserable present to go away.
I want to be back at Macy's in half an hour.

You may want to contemplate a major life makeover.
People want immigrants to disappear.
We want bloodlines.
Any writer wants to know what it takes to be one of the best-selling authors of the century.
I want to reiterate that I feel humbled by this experience.


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