July 5, 2011

"The Mother of All No-Brainers."

Headline for a David Brooks column.

I wonder how many other clich├ęs from the 90s could be stuck together ridiculously. Maybe you don't remember, but "the mother of all [blank]" was ubiquitous after Saddam Hussein called the 1991 Gulf War "the mother of all battles."

I've never liked the expression "no-brainer," because I tend to picture things concretely, and the image upsets me. Anyway, it's particularly inapt with "mother of." You're combining extreme largeness with absolute nothingness. How big is zero? It's big! It's infinitely huge!

Researching this post, I ran into another expressions I thought you should know about:
tr;dl  

Literally: "too rambley; didn't listen". This spoken phrase is a take off of the popular "tl;dr" (too long; didn't read). Pronounce the letters, namely "tee are. dee ell". This verbal response indicates you stopped listening as the other person was blathering on for too long and you lost interest.

Sarah: So what do you want to do for dinner tonight? We can do Mexican, Italian or Chinese. I want to invite Steve and Kathy, but of course you know that Steve does not like Chinese and Kathy can't eat late. But the only good Italian place is really crowded so the wait would be really long early.. which I guess leaves either that burrito place.... or that not so good Italian place, where the waiter was rude to us the last time. So, what do you think?

Russell: tr;dl
Ha ha. So, hypothetically: you're Sarah. Do you laugh or get mad?

That reminds me, I didn't tell you what I thought of that David Brooks column: tl;dr

60 comments:

MadisonMan said...

There are several tl;dr commenters on this very blog.

Pastafarian said...

True, MadMan, but it still seems a pure dick-move to type "tl;dr".

Pastafarian said...

It's so dismissive -- not only is the person not worth reading, but they only merit 5 characters to tell them that.

Robert said...

First of all, it's David Brooks, who's about as intellectual as a pet rock. Going along with a hard left Democratic Party while pretending to be a Republican/Conservative, is dishonest at best and quite frankly, insulting our intelligence.

Second of all, no, wait, first of all is all that is needed. Brooks is now in my Meghan McCain folder of people I will no longer read.

I long for the day when the NYTimes had good columnists like Safire & Baker.

Chip S. said...

I wonder how David Brooks would describe OctoMom.

MadisonMan said...

I don't think tr;dl (Four syllables!) will ever enter my vocabulary, however. What's wrong with a vacant stare, and saying What?. One short syllable that says it all.

This althouse post? Very close to tl;dr.

Richard Dolan said...

Everyone has a topic or two that can set them off on a long-winded rant. For Brooks, that includes Republican devotion to 'no new taxes,' which he prefers to call 'revenue enhancement.' And the 'no-brainer' tag wasn't just a cliche that didn't fit well with the other cliches in today's column. It's pretty much how he views the 'no new taxes' crowd, and especially the Tea Party.

pbAndj said...

"a pure dick-move "

Presumably this conjures thoughts of foreplay in the mind of a concrete thinking lady.

Drew said...

I don't remember Saddam Hussein saying that the gulf war was "Mother of All Battles," but I do remember that we dropped the "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) on him.

http://www.globemaster.de/html/moab.html

Triangle Man said...

True, MadMan, but it still seems a pure dick-move to type "tl;dr".

I represent that remark! I've only used it once, to give my opinion on Carol Herman's posts. I couldn't think of a way to describe them using "big time!"

Paddy O said...

This is why it's my policy always to be terse and pithy.

traditionalguy said...

Tl;dr...That was what Pelosi and friends called the ObamaCare bill, and then they laughed. It guess it depends on how much you want a relationship. The Hallmark cards writers can go on for 3 pages telling the loved one how special you think they are, in every way, forever and ever, with deep and true passion, that makes you happy, and makes all of life go better, and which you cannot live without...I'll finish this later.

AJ Lynch said...

I thought Saddam said it was the Mother of all wars? bicbw

EDH said...

For it's length, Brooks names no Republicans.

Is that because those Republicans who have forced "Republican leaders...to be effective negotiators...tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them" are the very same Republicans who Brooks says "have no sense of moral decency"?

Scott M said...

Presumably this conjures thoughts of foreplay in the mind of a concrete thinking lady.

Or the glowing phallus scene from "Skin Deep". One of the funniest scenes in any movie of any era.

John said...

I always liked the H-P ad from the 90's that talked about how great some system was that they were flogging.

So the guy looks at the guy describeing the system and says:

"That's like... a brainer"

Meaning a smart decision. As opposed to a no brainer which is a decision one doesn't even need to think about.

John Henry

Steve said...

Why are none of these "pundits" students of history? Remember George H. W. Bush? He of the "read my lips" fame? He had a deal with the democrats that would provide for $3 in spending cuts for every new $1 in taxes. Do you remember the spending cuts? I don't either.

edutcher said...

AJ Lynch said...

I thought Saddam said it was the Mother of all wars? bicbw

Mother of All Battles.

And he was, after all, the Mother of All Mothers.

As it were.

Fred4Pres said...

tr;dl

bagoh20 said...

"Or the glowing phallus scene from "Skin Deep". One of the funniest scenes in any movie of any era. "

I never saw it, so I went to youtube and there it is.

That IS hilarious.

http://youtu.be/Ky5u6vm44ak

Paul Zrimsek said...

There are several tl;dr commenters

Too lambry, didn't risten?

PackerBronco said...

"Brevity is the soul of wit"

Brooks has long been nothing but witless.

MadisonMan said...

Too lambry, didn't risten?

My favorite bad Dad joke: What do you name a women with one leg? Eileen. What to you name a Japanese woman with one leg? Irene.

dbp said...

I stopped reading the Brooks column after this:

If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.

Didn't he say mere lines earlier that the cut/tax increase ratio wold be 3/1 and that cuts would be in the 3-4 Trillion range.

Brooks is either being dishonest or is reall bad at math.

S. said...

"There are several tl;dr commenters on this very blog."

True Story.

Donald said...

Is a person who uses the term "no-brainer" excerebrose?

Donald said...

Is a person who uses the term "no-brainer" excerebrose?

Scott M said...

There are several tl;dr commenters on this very blog

Length isn't one of the only determinants of a "dr". Being short in word count, but rampant in misspellings and rambling bigotry will get you passed over every time. Oh, mentioning how big your are and how much you can bench is a sure-fire "dr".

Kylos said...

Regarding being disturbed by a phrase taken literally, my brother always hated the expression "keep your eyes peeled". (Notice the external – and now internal – use of periods.)

Big Mike said...

I went ahead and read the column, though I confess that by about the halfway point I was yawning.

Brooks makes a number of wild and unproven assertions about the willingness of Democrats to face up to the problems of the deficit (an "astonishing concession"!), and then, he blandly asserts that Democrats have decided that if Republicans are going to be fanatics, then they had better be fanatics too.

ROTFLMAO!

Both parties have factions that want crazy things, but let me ask whether Republicans have elevated their crazies to leadership roles the way that Democrats have elevated Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to leadership roles?

Brooks regards Democrat concessions as "astonishing" because it's been a long time since they've agreed to any sort of concessions.

But as badly as 5 years of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have screwed things up, what the Democrats have put on the table is a pittance next to what needs to be done.

Jim Gust said...

Following up on Steve's comment, Reagan fell for the $3 in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases in 1982, in the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Those spending cuts never materialized either.

Canuck said...

I think there's a 1 in 3 chance that the USA defaults on the debt this summer.

Before Greece!

I'm surprised how chill Americans are about it.

Interesting times.

The Crack Emcee said...

Screw David Brooks. I just did a post on him as well.

He's an fool sometimes.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Length isn't one of the only determinants of a "dr".

Wall Of Text is another turn off for reading.

God made paragraph breaks....USE them.

John Lynch said...

I stopped reading Brooks a while ago, without realizing it. I feel that I am not alone.

Curious George said...

This must have replaced the "Cliffs?" meme

traditionalguy said...

No brainers are a default mode.
Using the brain seems like a punishment to many of the people we meet.

dave in boca said...

Robert is exaggerating that a pop-sociologist like Davey Brooks is as brainy as a pet rock---more like a Chia pet with moss on the leaves.... Brooks is a compleat utter total phoney, or phony, if you wish.

dave in boca said...

[GHWB] had a deal with the democrats that would provide for $3 in spending cuts for every new $1 in taxes. Do you remember the spending cuts? I don't either.

Gotta remember that it took until 1994 to overthrow the treacherous lying Dems who managed to insert Perot into the campaign [TWICE!] to beat Poppy with a serial philanderer with a perjury problem.

gutless said...

This whole discussion reminds of the execrable, "talk to the hand".

Trooper York said...

I think it is bad form to diss other commenters contributions if you don't name names.

Whoever said that I mean.

DonSurber said...

A no-brainer is something that appeals to someone with no brains.

Trooper York said...

Why would anyone in their right mind listen to what David Brooks has to say?

He's like David Gergin and Dick Morris and Andrew Sullivan all the other usual suspect douchenozzles who are just there to play their part in the kabuki bullshit that is political commentary in failing newspaper and TV.

You might as well listen to Steve Phillips talk about baseball for crying out loud.

Scott M said...

Why would anyone in their right mind listen to what David Brooks has to say?

For that matter, why would anyone still listen to Dick Morris? I haven't watched a great deal of TV lately, but is he still getting regular paychecks appearing on Fox's evening talkers?

Trooper York said...

Well it's a tradition to hire people over and over again who once had a fleeting touch of relavance but are now just famous for being famous.

You know like Jimmy Carter or Bob Uecker.

Patrick said...

My pet peeve would be some one saying something like "blogging goodness" It sends chills up my spine and I think the person should be assisted out of the internet on the spot.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

As Steve and Jim Gust point out, it's not secret that Republicans have negotiated deals that include spending cuts and raising taxes in the past. Taxes have been raised but the spending cuts never materialize.

The Tea Party folks, who Brooks is smearing in his column without explicitly naming them, know this, too. And they aren't falling for it again.

sunsong said...

I am a fan of Brooks. I much prefer moderates and independents to the extremes.

I think he is right in the sense that it is pretty obvious our debt is so massive, so staggering, that it will take both cuts *and* revenue increases to begin to deal with it.

The country is tragically polarized. Each side hates the other. As a friend pointed out they make of caricatures of each other and then blame and attack. They don't see each other as they are - they see what they want to see.

I would really like to see the pubbies offer to let *all* the Bush tax cuts expire. There are not enough rich people to pay $14 TRILLION!!! I imagine the dems would have a fit - but it is what is called for in this crisis. In fact, the entire tax base should be broadened.

And, of course, social security and medicare *must* be reformed - which the democrats stubbornly refuse to do.

Both sides are willing to harm the country in order to please their bases. It is Obama's job to bring them together and he is nowhere to be found.

roesch-voltaire said...

To point out that pols have lost their moral compass is a no-brainer that folks on this blog discuss daily but without compensation-- unless you count the wit of Tropper's--"Holly Cow" Uecker comments.

FuzzyFace said...

While "too long; didn't read" is the original meaning of "tl;dr" I've been seeing it more frequently used to provide a summary, giving it the meaning, "too long; don't read" - in this sense, it is not offensive at all, but helpful.

Mike said...

I think that Brooks is very well positioned--with great personal familiarity--to discuss "no brainers". So many of his columns have been written in that manner after all.

Phil 3:14 said...

EDH;
s that because those Republicans who have forced "Republican leaders...to be effective negotiators...tough and inflexible and forced the Democrats to come to them" are the very same Republicans who Brooks says "have no sense of moral decency"?

Agree

I enjoy reading Brooks regardless of whether I agree with him or not.

What I don't understand is knowing that few if any on this blog will agree with David Brooks or Andrew Sullivan, why does the Professor continue to cite their opinion pieces?

Especially since one can simply look at the number of comments and conclude:

tl;dr

Phil 3:14 said...

But I guess a "hit" from AlphaLiberal et al is as good as any?

Phil 3:14 said...

Hmmm
My 4:15 comment was preceeded by the next previous comment at 3:14. A one hour difference = a dead thread

tl;dr

wrisky said...

The blogosphere on the right is pretty solidly anti-Brooks. What does that really tell us though ?
My take is that there is no money to be made talking to the center. Therefore the partisan polarization besetting the US is feeding upon itself. That in turn indicates that the endgame is upon us.

yashu said...

Heh, I've been wondering for a while what tl; dr meant... one of those things (per the post below) I've felt a little embarrassed about not knowing (yet never bothered to look up).

I'll volunteer myself as an example of a tl;dr commenter (occasionally). Fortunately y'all have always been too polite to say so. Believe me, I *wish* I had the gift of pith-- I'm painfully aware that when I try to express my thoughts I often suffer from (& inflict on others) a bad case of logorrhea. It's a real struggle for me to express my thoughts concisely-- they all come out tangled up together, in wordy knots, clause after clause, parentheses within parentheses, adjectives & adverbs clogging everything up. I consider this a deficiency in my thinking as much as my writing.

Can you tell, I feel shame & self-loathing re my writing style. This comment is like a confession at a meeting of Overwriters Anonymous.

On the other hand, I'm a relatively infrequent commenter (partly because my tortuous writing just tires me out), so I figure I'm not too much of a nuisance.

Dustin said...

"
I would really like to see the pubbies offer to let *all* the Bush tax cuts expire."


That's just not fair, though.

If you're right that we need more revenue, find a more fair arrangement than that. Just reverting to a democrat tax system is not the default position, and I'm tired of seeing people pretend it is.

'Just let it expire!' No, what you're talking about is a massive hike in taxes. Own that. It would probably send us into a depression because it's far too literally progressive.

Instead, why not change the tax code altogether? A flat tax or flat income tax? Key it by law to the government's spending from the year before + 25% until we are back on track. That way, if Obama wants to spend a zillion dollars more than we have, he has to take responsibility for paying for it... something he has bitterly fought to avoid. Same for the GOP.

Hiding this discussion behind 'Bush Tax Cuts' seems lazy and pretty inaccurate.

F said...

For me it was: tp; dr
Too predictable; didn't read.

wv: noconf. As in "no confidence." Suits Brooks' column to a "t(p:dr)"

F

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beldar said...

Good use of the semicolon.