In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic.

Now, why would a guy as incredibly handsome, smart, and successful as David Brooks feel the need to churn out another concern-trolling column urging women to choose marriage over career success?  It’s clear that this rugged specimen of American manhood should have nothing whatsoever to worry about in terms of attracting and holding onto a beautiful, successful, ambitious woman like (for example) the Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock!  The author of cutting-edge social analyses such as Bobos in Paradise (2000) is a clearly towering intellect–it’s on all of my syllabi, as I’m sure it is on all of yours, too.  And, although of course I can’t speak from personal experience, I’m sure he is the dignified bearer of enormous and very long-lasting erections.

I just can’t figure out why a guy like that would write something that tries to hang enormous historical, philosophical, and sociological issues around the neck of someone he doesn’t know at all, and about whose marriage and personal life he knows little if anything aside from what he reads on the cover of the tabloids at the supermarket!

p.s.  For an explanation and slightly more serious commentary, see Melissa at Shakesville and Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon.

0 thoughts on “In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic.

  1. I just read Brooks’s article, and I don’t think it anywhere suggests that women specifically should choose marriage over career. Instead, he suggests that both men and women find more happiness from relationships than from increased income. Seems pretty uncontroversial to me, despite the fact that he begins with an anecdote about a woman.


  2. Pingback: I… just… there are no words. « Ye Olde Royle Blog

  3. That guy is a moron. I remember reading something years ago that the happiest people are married men and single women, with single women being happier. The unhappiest people were married women. Probably to jerks like Bobo.


  4. The blogger Driftglass has raise hating on David Brooks to a sublime prose form. If you’d like to enjoy some samples, enter the following string into a Google search box: “david fucking brooks”



  5. I don’t know, Historiann. I’ve always chosen my marriage over professional and economic success, personal fulfillment, self-esteem, and dignity. That’s what “real” women do, right? Anybody who advocates otherwise is probably one of those tragic spinsters sitting at home eating gallons of ice cream and singing along to “All by myself.”

    (Is it somehow Ms. Bullock’s *fault* that her husband is a cheating lying scumbag? Because she as *working*?)


  6. What an @sshat. And his data doesn’t even support his pro-family thesis: if people are happiest in their 20s and after 65, then this also implicates child-rearing (not just one’s career) as detrimental to personal happiness. Somehow, that didn’t come up in his column….


  7. Confused, it’s the context of Brooks’s suggestion that Bullock’s husband was somehow justified in steppin’ out on her. This is just one article among many in the New York Times in which we’re all reassured that traditional gender roles make everyone much happier–and Brooks has been among the most eager promulgators of this self-serving myth.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t think that men who are actually smart, well-adjusted, and attractive go around publicly shaming other people for their supposed marital failures. (But then, the New York Times seems to employ a lot of columnists whose psychosexual concerns are played out in the editorial pages every day–witness Maureen Dowd!) Attractive, well-adjusted, smart people recognize that families and human relationships are complex, and they mind their own effing business.

    A hell of a lot of wives who stayed out of the paid workforce to tend to their husbands’ and childrens’ needs find out that their husbands cheat on them, too. (Will Brooks write a column about how Elin Woods was somehow to blame for her husband’s behavior? Will he write a column scolding women who stay out of the paid workforce and let their cheating husbands support them? I’m not holding my breath.)


  8. So will his follow-up column advocate the *national* legalization of same-sex marriage, on the principle that gays and lesbians deserve to be happy?

    But, we don’t.


  9. Quoting from the column: This is the age of research, so there’s data to back this up.

    The age of research? Gag me.

    Un-amusingly enough though, our president here at Provincial State U is trying to make a related argument with respect to faculty salaries.


  10. The guy’s name is really Jesse James?!? (The closest I get to this stuff is about three feet, at the grocery checkout counter). Brooks needs to write on why actresses fall for cowboy-desperadoes, then?


  11. Yeah, Jesse James. Got his start on the Discovery channel hosting “Monster Garage” where he and his renegade band of mechanics and fabricators would atempt to mate two large machines together in some kind of real life “Transrormer” fantasy. It was pretty much in the mold of all of Discovery’s prgramming for the testosterone demographic. I think that his dalliances have been a career booster as he has not done much since.


  12. @ Truffula: Are you saying that your president is seriously arguing that because money doesn’t make people “happy”, faculty don’t deserve raises??? I vote we apply that logic to Wall Street before academics.


  13. your president is seriously arguing that because money doesn’t make people “happy”, faculty don’t deserve raises???

    It’s more like: hey, I know faculty salaries are low but happiness is not about your job or your salary, now is it? He says he learned this from Studs Terkel. Well, not directly from Studs Terkel or anything he wrote, but from Working, A Musical.


  14. Perpetua: everybody knows that the Masters of the Universe who run Wall Street are making the supreme sacrifice of taking all of our money so that the rest of us can be happy! Don’t you understand how hard they have it?

    Speaking of Holy Week: it’s positively Christ-like.


  15. truffula: funny, that. Studs Terkel listened to working people and gave them a voice with his writing, but I don’t remember him ever making an argument on principal that working people shouldn’t be paid so as not to risk their unhappiness.

    Fie on your Preznit.


  16. See? Those women who go out and achieve success? They do it at a “fateful” cost — they sacrifice their happy marriages that they were sure to enjoy had they only stayed at home, caring for kids and cooking up a nice warm meal for their provider/husband.

    Now if only Sandra Bullock had never made any movies, I’m positive that this Jesse James would never have screwed around behind her back with some random woman. And if he did, it wasn’t his fault — it was those evil womens who, yeah!, who tempted him!

    /end sarcasm

    If I had a bit more time, I’d write something that mirrors Brooks’ fatuous column, only it begins with Jesse James enjoying great media success with his show and his wife and all that, then blowing that to screw around. And how shouldn’t that be a lesson that monumental egos and celebrity (even D-list) fantasy are no substitute for holding on to reality and, you know, cleaving to your partner or being honest and upfront if that loving feeling is gone.

    But my head hurts too much from banging it against the desk over this and other issues.


  17. Heh. A faithful reader (but someone too shy to comment) sent this in: apparently, Brooks has his own entry in “Dickipedia!” From the entry:

    Brooks is very interested in anthropology, psychology and sociology, and likes to apply the language and tools of these fields to his analysis of politics and pop culture. He wishes to be taken very seriously by scholars in these fields, and would be, if only he hadn’t been born extremely lazy.

    Because of this condition, Brooks is unable to do any of the actual analysis and research that would ordinarily give a person credibility in these fields. Many have criticized the insular nature of academia. They claim that those who, like Brooks, were born lazy, or, to use the more politically correct term, “differently incentivized,” are discriminated against.

    Brooks has been able to surmount these obstacles with surprising success. At an early age, he resolved that he would overcome his disability through a combination of dishonesty and smiling. This potent combination worked to a stunning degree, and Brooks has become one of the leaders in public influence, as well as serving as a role model to those all over the world who happened to have been born lazy and dishonest and have nice smiles.


  18. Late to the party, but I propose a round of Switch That Gender.

    Take Best Actor, this year Jeff Bridges. Imagine Jeff Bridges married to a skanky, trashy spouse like the one Bullock drew. Skanky trashy spouse cheats on Bridges and the marriage is rumored to be in trouble. I’ll make a tiny editorial change to the Brooks prose:

    Then came the news reports claiming that BRIDGES’ WIFE is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?

    Brooks goes on to say Jeff Bridges would be crazy to prefer his Oscar over marital happiness, the most important thing in life.

    Could you imagine it? Not one word about how awful it was of Bridges’ skanky wife to betray her marital vows? No pity for the charming celebrity victim? And a hint that Jeff Bridges was wrong for trying to have it all?

    This has been another round of Switch That Gender!


  19. That guy is a moron.

    Brooks is not really a moron. Rather, he is a remorseless liar. Every single word he writes is crafted–not necessarily very well–to reframe sick-fuck far-right-wing propaganda so that it is palatable to lazy “moderates” who aren’t really paying attention to what they’re reading. Whether he really believes anything he writes is completely incidental to his purposes in writing it.

    And yes, Driftglass is a fucking genius, with some of his best stuff eviscerating Brooks.


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