Talking Brook: 'Yaron Brook Show: Corruption in DC, Manon, Feminism and Capitalism'
How does Dr. Brook show his appreciation for opera?
To usher in the show, Dr. Yaron Brook speaks about the utter disaster that is the current impeachment process aimed at President Trump. Grounds for impeachment ought to include cozying up to dictators and writing each other “love songs.” No matter how you paint it, corruption is institutionalized, according to Dr. Brook, and all politicians are corrupt. Dr. Brook questions why Nikki Haley gets paid $75,000-$100,000 a pop for speaking engagements. He holds that politicians “produce nothing but become multimillionaires.” This is an age-old tale of how the people who occupy office hold immense power already in a political sense and then through pull and graft, show up with millions of dollars.
The good doctor talks about the back and forth between private companies and government officials. Hunter Biden “made” money in positions of power that he was never qualified for at all. Both sides, Republicans and Democrats, are at fault. But still with Trump, Dr. Brook holds that everything that he’s done is “worth impeachment.” The only way to eliminate corruption is to install capitalism. Dr. Brook declares once again that George Washington is his favorite American President. Why? For one thing, Dr. Brook admires the fact that Washington could’ve served as many terms as he wanted but stopped at two. The first president could have been made king but he didn’t want to obstruct the political flow.
Dr. Brook mentions the “socially acceptable corruption” as if the American people are just waving off gross miscarriages of governance. But all of that speech is just to set up the crux of Dr. Brook’s chat: aesthetics. Skillfully, he switches from politics to art with aplomb. The opera that he saw with his wife at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, Manon receives high praise from Dr. Brook. A sense of joy springs into his talking style as he mentions this work. He describes how opera combines music (and in this case) Romantic, sweeping music, acting, singing, and scenery, which all contribute to a rewarding experience. Integration of these elements proves to be crucial. Dr. Brook contends that the best way to learn about opera is to “listen to it in the background a little bit.” One should also start with Italian opera, particularly Verdi and Puccini, and especially Verdi’s La traviata.
To Dr. Brook, stories gain great depth once looked upon with the thought of the time period out of which they saw creation. He lets his audience know that there’s a sexual element to the piece. Morality plays a huge role in the entire production. He talks about how women received vicious treatment during the period in which this production was set which happened to be the late 19th century. He wonders what more elements of capitalism would’ve provided women during this time. At this point Dr. Brook concedes that he is hemorrhaging viewers (and possible Super Chats) while talking about this opera. He doesn’t care. He values dispensing knowledge about a piece of art that he loves.
In general, men doing things to sixteen-year-old girls is pretty disgusting. But once viewed with the lens of history and that time period, a grain of salt must be applied. The female lead, the young teenager, is adventurous, sexual, and “curious” about the world. The males who are attracted to her pine for her beauty and passionate demeanor. Dr. Brook delves into the plot explaining how the girl is at a station awaiting to be whisked away into a world of duty and drudgery at a convent. He says that she is “renouncing her sexuality, her individuality” and going because she’s “full of life.”
During this era, the “only avenue to wealth and the wonders of the world was through the husband.” It was just a few years later in the latter part of the 1800s that the recognition of individualism, money, pleasure and time remained luxuries in previous periods. Dr. Brook delineates how Christian morality holds that denying oneself, sacrifice, promoting altruism, and being subservient are all values. He continues saying, “conventional morality is always represented by the father” in these times.
As he switches gears, Dr. Brook shows how Ayn Rand made it, partly because she was of course, a genius. It’s hard to think about how Miss Rand overcame the challenges in the early to mid 20th century, much less what women experienced in previous centuries. Dr. Brook moves back to the opera. He says that the young girl “seduces” the male lead in the church and engages in coitus with him... in the church, much to Dr. Brook’s profound approval. With the mindset that most of these works involve duty vs pleasure and more often than not, the leads settle someway. Dr. Brook is at his most expressive in detailing how “if you pursue your passion or love, you will die” as a consequence. He says that you “can’t reject joy and pleasure and happiness. They go together."
In regard to women’s liberation or feminism, Dr. Brook remains consistent and thorough in his analysis of the times. In the setting of the opera, women’s minds received rejection. Men shunned a woman’s sexuality and ambition. Once capitalism swept onto the scene, more possibilities opened up for women. Not only in economics but in the arts did men and women flourish. Because the doctor outlines this shred of history, it presents to his audience a greater depth and clarity surrounding a period shrouded in fuzziness.
The host mentions that very few Western nations oppress women to the extreme. He challenges his viewers and listeners to “think again” about whether an opera projects a “silly story.” With all of the context of a given age, it is incumbent for audiences to realize that the stories reflect the times.
Then it is time for Super Chats, an obviously vital section of the show. A questioner poses a query about horror movie suggestions. Dr. Brook admits that he’s no fan of the genre and offers only the film Aliens (1986) as a recommendation. By staying on the theme of aesthetics, Dr. Brook confesses that he isn’t an expert of Classical music but “he likes what he likes.” Additionally, he derives supreme value from such offerings. As a deviation from his taste in film, he will allow himself to view the upcoming comic book movie, Joker (2019). He holds that it will be an experience to demonstrate just how ugly our culture remains to be.
With a switch back to politics with nimble ease, Dr. Brook states that the United States government should neither deal in foreign aid nor domestic aid for that matter. A question about fascism prompts the doctor to say that the social system is a “zero-sum world” and that it is “just as bad as communism.” Dr. Brook refers to Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s work The DIM Hypothesis (2012) in relation to the rise of socialism on the left and nationalism on the right. To combat these atrocities, the implementation of “reason, individualism, and capitalism” ought to serve as solutions.
One question about the homelessness, beggars, and poverty in America (where it exists) allows Dr. Brook to show how government gums up the process for people to gain wealth. In a related portion, he talks about how a revolution in mental health would occur if a truly free market saw the light of day. Then he gets technical. When a query about interest rates comes up, he deftly exhibits clarity in how interest rates go down and older people start saving less. But then interest rates go up because there’s a shortage of capital until it finds a balance. This is Dr. Brook’s forte but it might turn off some of his audience after gaining so much knowledge on aesthetics. Furthermore, he explains how only a government bureaucrat could allow people to lose money by saving.
As he signs off, he takes on one last question about the distinction between legality and morality when it comes to animal “rights.” He shows that animals do not in fact have rights, and if your neighbor is mistreating his dog, he should be socially ostracized. It should be legal to abuse animals but totally immoral. The way that Dr. Brook handles the multitude of subjects and categories makes for an engaging experience that permits his audience to always want more.