Yes, my favorite authentic bore is appearing in Seattle, but I think I'll skip seeing him.
The latest of his columns I read is worth some analysis. First, unlike (say) me, he is not expressing opinions but rather stating the truth of the way things are. People are doing this and that, according to him. His use of the third person in declarative sentence after declarative sentence gives a tone of authority to his dull pronouncements. He throws a list of experts into the mix, but he never quotes them or explains what they say but limits himself to the vague and huge overgeneralizations he favors. He is full of important punditry gas.
Wow. I just re-read it. It's so bad . The subject appears to be parenting. It seems that the young ones are being spoiled these days. Overpraised. Or pushed too much. Or something. Parents are doing this and that and it's wrong.
The language is at about 6th grade level. I'm wondering about his cognitive powers, actually, because this is at such a low level of writing skill. Or perhaps he thinks that's what his audience can take in, because anyone who reads him is presumably a little slow. And yet...because of his authority markers it might seem to make sense to people who aren't paying that much attention to what he seems to be saying.
Oh god, I can't even bring myself to cut and paste. You will have to read it yourself.
Here is my take on child rearing, for which I am willing to take full responsibility: Be nice to your kids. Make sure they get enough food, exercise, fun things to do, plenty of sleep, etc. All the good things. Encourage them in their endeavors and get them educated. No authority needed for that, and not so tough.
Parents have been doing this quite a bit, in my observation (not sanctioned by authority, of course but just me saying this in the first person). Brooks may have a point, but I'm not sure what he is trying to hide behind his superficiality and pathetic attempts to add a little spice to his bland prose style. This little essay of his gets a "C-" from me. I probably should not be so encouraging, because he might get the wrong idea about his abilities as a writer and thinker.
More: I am simply stunned that Brooks has such a reputation as a serious thinker. Truly. People I respect in many ways look upon him as a wise man. Why??????