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David Brooks, Social Psychologist

According to David Brooks, "Harmony and the Dream", NYT, 8/11/2008: The world can be divided in many ways — rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian — but one of the most striking is the divide between the societies with an individualist mentality and the ones with a collectivist mentality. This is a divide that goes […]

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David "Semi True" Brooks

David Brooks, "The Progressive Shift", NYT 3/18/2013: There is a statue outside the Department of Labor of a powerful, rambunctious horse being reined in by an extremely muscular man. This used to be a metaphor for liberalism. The horse was capitalism. The man was government, which was needed sometimes to restrain capitalism’s excesses. I recently […]

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Brooks on biological sexism

David Brooks recently argued that James Damore's anti-gender-diversity memo was right, and that Google was wrong to fire him ("Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.", NYT 8/11/2017), giving us another example of Mr. Brooks' long-standing fascination with pseudo-scientific justifications of gender and ethnic stereotypes. The best evaluation of Damore's memo that I've seen is Yonatan […]

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Reality v. Brooks

David Zweig, "The facts vs. David Brooks: Startling inaccuracies raise questions about his latest book", Salon 6/15/2015 ("Factual discrepancies in the NYT columnist's new book raise some alarming questions about his research & methods"): For at least the past four years David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, TV pundit, bestselling author and lecture-circuit thought […]

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Life, death, whatever

David Brooks, "It’s Not the Economy, Stupid: How to conduct economic policy in an age of social collapse", NYT 11/29/2018: People, especially in the middle- and working-class slices of society, are less likely to volunteer in their community, less likely to go to church, less likely to know their neighbors, less likely to be married […]

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Mid-voice crisis: Beyond active and passive

I've long since accepted that most people use "passive voice" to mean "vague about agency": see "Passive Voice" — 1397-2009 — R.I.P.", 3/12/2009. And I've made my peace with an extra-extended use of the term passive to convey only a vague sense of disapprobation: "'Passive construction' means… nothing at all?", 7/25/2009. But in David Brooks' […]

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Ask Language Log: -ism exceptionalism

Jonah Goldberg, "The Trouble with Nationalism", National Review 2/7/20 But I firmly believe that when we call the sacrifices of American patriots no different from the sacrifices of Spartans — ancient or modern — we are giving short shrift to the glory, majesty, and uniqueness of American patriotism and the American experiment. I’m reminded of […]

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La conjetural Ursprache de Tlön

David Brooks may be a fantasy-nonfiction author manqué, but Jorge Luis Borges has set a standard in that space that's hard to match. From  "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", in Ficciones: There are no nouns in the hypothetical Ursprache of Tlön, which is the source of the living language and the dialects; there are impersonal verbs qualified […]

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Nouns, verbs, and ontological metaphors

Federico Escobar pointed me to an essay by David Brooks, "The 2016 Sidney Awards, Part I", NYT 12/27/2016: Perry Link once noticed that Chinese writers use more verbs in their sentences whereas English writers use more nouns. For example, in one passage from the 18th-century Chinese novel “Dream of the Red Chamber,” Cao Xueqin uses […]

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The Female Brain movie

Silas Lesnick, "An ensemble cast has come together for Whitney Cummings’ The Female Brain movie", comingsoon.net 8/17/2016: Black Bicycle Entertainment has today announced the ensemble cast for their upcoming The Female Brain movie, which marks the directorial debut of Whitney Cummings. Cummings herself will also star in the film, which she co-wrote alongside Neal Brennan, […]

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Sticky stereotypes

Today's Zits:

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Pundit culture

Dean Baker, "Brooks and Marcus on PBS News: Getting Just About Everything Wrong on the Economy", Beat The Press 8/3/2013: The PBS Newshour won the gold medal for journalistic malpractice on Friday by having David Brooks and Ruth Marcus tell the country what the Friday jobs report means. Brooks and Marcus got just about everything […]

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Hippie punching

"Hippie punching" is in the news around the world these days — Paul Krugman, "Macroeconomic Hippie-Punching", NYT 5/26/2013; "Gordon Campbell on the govt's latest bout of hippie punching", Scoop Media NZ 5/27/2013; "« Hippie punching » et puis tant pis !", L'est-éclair 5/28/2013; One definition is offered by Michael Berube, "Libya and the Left", The Point, […]

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