Background: It has been well-reported that while still an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, David Brooks authored The Greatest Story Ever Told, a satirical profile of William F. Buckley, Jr., which caught Buckley’s attention, and ultimately led him to hire Brooks at National Review. Now that Brooks has himself reached the exalted status of celebrity journalist, as evidenced in a recent New York Magazine feature, hasn’t he earned similar satiric treatment?
The Greatest Two Stories Ever Told
David (middle-of-the-road but ironically no Buckleyesque-middle-initial) Brooks grew up in the shadow of radical 1960′s Greenwich Village, the child of Jewish liberal academics, who were later to concede grievous error by too often letting him sleep on his right-side as an infant.
In the third grade, he received the prestigious appointment of blackboard monitor, whereupon his first act was to write 100 times on the blackboard that the school had to invest in more erasers. However, by the next day, he had completely erased his initial missive.
Although Brooks famously launched his career by landing a job at National Review after penning a parody of the magazine’s founder Bill Buckley, he also suffered many early disappointments, including getting passed over for the role of Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties.
While Brooks vehemently denies deliberate “fence-sitting” on hot button issues in order to steer clear of controversy, he has declined to outfit himself from the clothier that shares his name, Brooks Brothers, instead favoring Paul Stuart, whose logo actually features a fence-sitting ivy-leaguer.
Brooks also bucks the trend of tacking extreme left or right by not only taking the highly unpopular middle seat on commuter trains, but plopping himself down in the “middle stall” in public restrooms. And to bolster his reputation as the liberals’ favorite conservative, Brooks insists that the New York Times alternate the location of his column between the left, middle and right sides of the Op-Ed page.
Whenever asked to identify his favorite philosopher, Brooks has no hesitation in answering “Solomon,” and invariably adds that he, Brooks, would have actually “split the baby,” instead of just threatening to do so.
In describing his approach to facing the trials and tribulations of daily life, Brooks contends that he’s neither a “half-glass-full” nor “half-glass-empty” individual, but instead prefers to go with a full half-glass.
Despite his fame as a prominent columnist and regular fixture on news opinion programs, Brooks’ wife maintains that he’s a still a regular guy around the house, and helps generously with the chores. “Although for the life of me,” she exclaimed, “I can’t understand while he only vacuums half of the living room with a Hoover.”
Asked recently as to what advice he would give Obama, with whom Brooks appears to share a similar uber-cool zen, Brooks offered that the “President should block out all the cable chatter, figure out the most rational solutions to our most vexing national problems, and then just do the exact opposite — precisely what the rabble-rousing tea-partiers are clamoring for.”