David Brooks And Writing For Money

Brooksy’s still out there, via The Guardian:

He should be given credit for noting and categorizing this trend:

‘This may seem like serious stuff to readers who recall Bobos in Paradise, Brooks’s acutely well-observed debut about the new class of “bourgeois bohemians”, the emerging elite who fused the social values of the hippies with the consumerism of the yuppies. Returning to America following a stint in Brussels for the Wall Street Journal, Brooks found that it was “now impossible to tell an espresso-sipping artist from a cappuccino-gulping banker.” (He counted himself a Bobo, as must at least some Guardian readers.) He zeroed in on a new form of conspicuous consumption: a Bobo would never spend thousands on a fancy TV – that would be crass – but would willingly blow cash on “necessities”, such as restaurant-quality kitchen appliances, or a bathroom lined with slate of precisely the right artisanal roughness.’

A sharp-enough guy.  Being the ‘house’ conservative amongst Left and Left-Liberals has its benefits, including gigs at the NY Times and NPR.

‘His support for Obama helped establish him as the incoming president’s favourite conservative: the night before each column appeared, New York magazine reported, he’d get a call from a senior aide asking if the next day would be a good one, meaning: would Brooks praise or criticise the White House?’

Best to stay relevant and not evince a shudder of disgust amongst those movers and shakers in the right rings of public opinion when your career may depend upon it.

Expressing conservative views in the wrong setting can be met with bemused, quizzical stares and even mild shock.  Many citizens are fearful to be seen loping around gun-shows, howling along to the pack-song in the wastes of AM radio, or steadily creeping along university quadrangles as though werewolves in mid-transformation.

All is not well, however.  There is a disturbance in the force; lingering doubts and deeper sorrows:

‘Brooks builds a convincing case that this isn’t just his personal problem but a societal one: that our market-driven meritocracy, even when functioning at its fairest, rewards outer success while discouraging the development of the soul.’

Soul-development will be available in that new book, and at Yale, and at the NY Times, and on NPR.

***Clearly, this is a serious piece, and in no way presented tongue-in-cheek.

As previously posted:

Will Wilkinson found Brooks’ last book lacking:

“The story of Harold and Erica does not really illustrate a new, coherent, science-based theory of human nature. It is a bowl hammered from Brooks’ philosophic predilections into which a jumbled stew of scientific anecdotes is poured.”


“Brooks’ characters are constantly saying and thinking the sort of thing Brooks says and thinks in his opinion columns. They’re constantly made to express what are quite clearly elements of the author’s conception of human nature, sociality, and political life. But this stuff often has little or nothing to do with the “revolutionary” discoveries Brooks says he’s attempting to pull together into a coherent conception of human nature, sociality, and political life”


“I suspect Brooks really does thinks thumos is an essential part of the best big-picture theory of human nature and the good society. But that’s an idea he took from the science-wary Allan Bloom and Harvey Mansfield, not Robert Trivers or David Buss or Geoffrey Miller.”

As before, perhaps it’s worth pointing out that the way in which Brooks goes about analyzing and understanding culture, our relationships to one another, our interior lives etc….is ostensibly through the lens of his understanding of the social sciences.

Charlie Rose has a full interview with Brooks and his last book.

A debate with Milton Friedman, a long time ago, and perhaps not so long ago:


Also On This Site:  Part of a larger move away from religion…toward social liberalism…libertarianism…liberaltarianism?:  Will Wilkinson And Jonah Goldberg On Bloggingheads: Updating Libertarianism?…A hip, more diverse conservatism?: RealClearPolitics reviews Grand New Party here….From Will Wilkinson-A Response To Kay Hymowitz: ‘The “Menaissance” and Its Dickscontents’

Harvey Mansfield At Defining Ideas: ‘Democracy Without Politics?’

Morals have roots in emotions…neuroscience toward Hume?:  Jesse Prinz Discusses “The Emotional Construction Of Morals” On Bloggingheads

Roger Scruton At The WSJ: ‘Memo To Hawking: There’s Still Room For God’Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

-Maybe if you’re defending religion, Nietzsche is a problematic reference: Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

Related On This Site: Repost-A Quotation From Emerson-Some Thoughts On Hipsterdom & ‘The Culture’The Cresting Of A Hipster Wave?-From The New York Observer: ‘Brooklyn Is Now Officially Over: The Ascendance of Brooklyn, the Lifestyle, Above All Else’

David Brooks, We Hardly Knew Ye-One Nation Under The Best & Brightest Long-Term Planners

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