Chris Beam profiled New York Times columnist David Brooks for New York this week, and Mr. Brooks comes out looking like the Eeyore of The Times Opinion lineup (“Murderer’s Row”).
“Every column is a failure. I always wish I did something different,” Mr. Brooks told Mr. Beam, whose father Alex Beam writes a lifestyle column for the Boston Globe that runs on the same days as Mr. Brooks.
At one point in the piece, we imagine Mr. Brooks sitting in his basement, underslept, working on his next book to the soundtrack of Sense and Sensibility on repeat (track one: “Weep You No More Sad Fountains”) while waiting for his wife to call him up to drive the kids somewhere.
Mr. Brooks also talked about moments in his life where other people would have been excited but he just sort of shrugged, like the time when he won $5,000 at Foxwoods (“I was more unemotional than normal. I was wondering, What’s wrong?”). Or when he caught a bat at an Orioles game (“I just put it at my feet and sat there.”).
At one point, Mr. Brooks said “I think inside I’m as emotional as anybody … I just don’t emote it.”
The opposite goes for Mr. Brooks and opinions. He doesn’t really have that many, but he opines nevertheless.
“I look at Andrew Sullivan or Jonathan Chait, churning out opinions,” he says. “I don’t have that many.”
By the end of the piece, Mr. Brooks’ melancholy is something you have to appreciate, especially when you consider the cast of characters who are paid to offer their opinion of things. New York‘s headline has the right idea; if nothing else David Brooks seems like A Reasonable Man.
Follow Zeke Turner via RSS.