Tuesday, June 15, 2004

In an Army of Writers, Everyone's a Turncoat (Slate)


Writers Should be Born With Knives in Their Backs

I'll admit that David Brooks initially cast a spell on me. There was just something about his writing (pre-New York Times) that had a flow to it, a certain eloquence, a rambling quality that all meshed in the end. His pieces for The Atlantic, most notably this one, were on point. "Bobos in Paradise," on first read, was an excellent book, although in hindsight my take on it is clouded by his exposed generalizations.

But he has fizzled. Slate's David Plotz has it right when he says that Brooks doesn't have enough material to do two columns a week, especially for a widely viewed behemoth like the Times. I think he is overworked and out of his element.

So right now everyone--including the people who praised him little over a year ago--are lambasting him, saying everything short of "resign." It seems when you make it to one of the many pinnacles in life's endeavors, any effort declared unworthy or insufficient is immediately followed by that six letter word. Be it the presidency, columnist, birthday clown, whatever.

For his sake, this whole situation may die down, at which point he may step down and head back to The Weekly Standard. Or he can just say "damn the [critical] torpedoes, full speed ahead!" After all, it is there, in his own little world, wearing blinders to his critics, where Brooks shines.

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