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Coworker Max Linsky cruelly Brookrolled me this afternoon with a column entitled “The Alpha Geeks.” The bulk of the piece is a whirlwind rehash of the evidence supporting what Brooks calls an “ascent of nerdism in modern America,” a thesis which I don’t disagree with, but don’t find particularly novel either. At the tail end of the big F, though, Brooks suddenly whips out the Holy Grail of overloaded culture references:
“Barack Obama has become the Prince Caspian of the iPhone hordes.”
This statement has already started to gain memetic momentum, and it may be destined for greatness. But what does it mean? Is there really a metaphor here, or did Brooks simply pluck the words at random from the bestsellers section of the paradigmatic axis? I consider myself a pretty standard-issue geek, and I can’t parse it.
As much as I hate to validate David Brooks’s business model by thinking about anything he’s ever written ever, I’m going to have to print this sentence out and tape it to the wall next to my monitor, to ponder as a sort of koan until I achieve geek enlightenment. Or until I finish writing this WordPress tag-conversion plugin. Whichever comes first.