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Trish Wilson

I think Yglesias missed a major point of Brooks's op-ed - Brooks is talking about women having separate accounts. The books Brooks quoted were addressed to women. It's a known fact that women file for the most divorces today, so taking away their financial independence would be one way to prevent them from leaving. I think that is what Brooks was really getting at. I wrote about on my blog.

Kit Stolz

It actually makes sense that Brooks goes to Tolstoy for moral authority. Like Tolstoy, he wants to be wise about all things, but also like Tolstoy, he really doesn't want to listen to anyone else, or think about anyone else's arguments.

Here's a good example of Tolstoy as the man who knows all and listens not at all. In 1897 Chekhov was desperately sick in the hospital. Tolstoy visited him. Because he was so famous, the nurses dared not chase him away, even though Chekhov was very weak and coughing blood.

"We had a most interesting conversation," Chekhov wrote a friend named Menshikov a few weeks later, in his usual ironic way. "Interesting mainly for me, because I listened more than I spoke. We discussed immortality. He recognizes immortality in its Kantian form and assumes that all of us (human and animals alike) will live on in a principle (such as reason or love), the essence and goals of which are a mystery to us. As for me, I can imagine that principal only as a shapeless, gelatinous mass with which my I, my individuality, my consciousness will merge. I have no use for that kind of immortality, I do not understand it, and Lev Nikolaevich was astonished I didn't."

So Chekhov fell silent, and Tolstoy went on to lecture him about art, and why it must serve morality or religion!

I'm sure Brooks will go on to lecture us about such subjects in the future.

Aladdin Sane

Brooks and his editors would probably catch a lot more flak if anyone really bothered to read him very closely; his prose is muddled and he's a big time snooze (both of which are death for a columnist, actually). Readers with time to burn and a saint-like capacity for patience would come to realize that Brooks is a sexist fool. But really, there's few things worse than a bad writer with a steady, paying gig.


" Education rarely trumps vanity and self-interest, even in liberal academics."

No it often enhances it.


Regarding whether Brooks actually reads the books he talks about, Jim Lehrer catches him giving a thoughtful review of a book it turns out he hadn't read...

JIM LEHRER: Have you read it? You talk like you have you've read it.

DAVID BROOKS: I read parts; I stood in the bookstore for about an hour looking at it; I did not buy it.

JIM LEHRER: You went into the book store and picked it up and, what, skimmed it?

DAVID BROOKS: Simon & Schuster is now canceling my book contract but I have to tell the truth.



Roderick Spode, George Will and Vronsky all within a few column inches of one another. When ruminating on the intellectual meanderings of David Brooks, one can't help but recall that most appropriate of Wodehouse chestnuts:

"The whole world seemed to be suggesting, 'Say it with flower-pots'"

Thank you, Lance!


Ok, I know Brooks is often wrong, generally when he bows down to the right and stumps the party line, because partisan hackery and good intellectual writing don't mix well. But I think a lot of people in blogland misconstrued the point of the checking account column. I thought the moral was "don't get married and keep an eye on the divorce." The column didn't just reject female checking accounts, but all joint accounts. Husbands shouldn't hide from wives and wives shouldn't hide from husbands, no matter who is the bread-winner.

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