Posts tagged "David Brooks"
Another Week Ends: Capitalist Christians, Parents Teaching Achievement (Not Empathy), Post-Penitent Pantene, Sedaris’s Journey to the Ends of the Law (and Back), Antinomian Aucklanders,  and Crooked-Timber Anthropology

Another Week Ends: Capitalist Christians, Parents Teaching Achievement (Not Empathy), Post-Penitent Pantene, Sedaris’s Journey to the Ends of the Law (and Back), Antinomian Aucklanders, and Crooked-Timber Anthropology

1. The New York Times hosted a debate asking the question of whether capitalism has become incompatible with Christianity. It’s a pretty interesting forum, and some highlights with commentary are below:

[Gary Dorrien, Union:] The field I teach, social ethics, was founded in the late 19th century as a protest against capitalist ideology. American social gospel theologian Walter Rauschenbusch put it poignantly: “Capitalism has overdeveloped the selfish instincts in all of us and left the capacity of devotion to larger ends shrunken and atrophied.” Pope Leo XIII described capitalism as a system defined by the callousness of employers and the greed of unrestrained competition, including its…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Silent Treatment, 1st-World Problems, Rectify & Rev, Robinson’s Lila, Phillips’ Freud, Heresy Help, Tragic Soccer, and Soviet Propaganda

Another Week Ends: Silent Treatment, 1st-World Problems, Rectify & Rev, Robinson’s Lila, Phillips’ Freud, Heresy Help, Tragic Soccer, and Soviet Propaganda

1. Under the auspices of “How and Why to Ban the Silent Treatment from Your Relationship”, The Wall Street Journal issued a perceptive and even quite touching treatise on how the dynamic of demand and withdrawal comes to poison so many loving relationships. The article starts out with the same old line about judgment and expectation snuffing out affection (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and ‘law’ making bad things worse, with some token men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus thrown in–but it doesn’t end there. That is, while some of the diagnosis (and rather patronizing advice) falls under the heading of the perilously…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Homo Animatus and Adventure Time, Dreher Reads Dante, Eulogies (not Résumés), Smugness Is For Real, Everybody Dies, Nuremberg Chaplains, and Christian Rap

Another Week Ends: Homo Animatus and Adventure Time, Dreher Reads Dante, Eulogies (not Résumés), Smugness Is For Real, Everybody Dies, Nuremberg Chaplains, and Christian Rap

1. In TV: Game of Thrones continues with a strong fourth season, despite some controversy on Sunday as it plumbed the worst of Martin Luther’s incurvatus in se (sin as being “curved-in on oneself”) in a scene horrific even by GOT standards. In animated television, it’s recently come to our attention that Rick and Morty on Adult Swim is absolutely brilliant, ht SA, if you have a high threshold for (lots of) ribaldry. Its first season has been perhaps the most creative in recent TV memory, as a boy (Morty) is dragged along into bizarre sci-fi escapades by his grandfather (Rick), a mentally damaged man whose…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Amy Chua’s Three Traits for Success, Nietzsche’s Subversion of Atheism, Why Fun Is Fun, The Eighth-Grade Ubermensch, Dostoevsky’s Internet Anxiety and Lena Dunham’s Eden

Another Week Ends: Amy Chua’s Three Traits for Success, Nietzsche’s Subversion of Atheism, Why Fun Is Fun, The Eighth-Grade Ubermensch, Dostoevsky’s Internet Anxiety and Lena Dunham’s Eden

1. What happens when you combine an unshakeable superiority complex with deep insecurity? Probably a nervous breakdown in mid-life, or Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan. But Amy Chua (of “Tiger Mother” fame) asks us to guess again. The real answer is… success.

For those unfamiliar with her work on hyper-controlling parenting (using that adjective as value-neutrally as possible), it’s ruffled our feathers before. And her new book on success – with its threefold foundation of superiority, insecurity, and impulse control – promises to do so again, ht ER:

Some have denounced the book as racist. This loaded term is often bandied about in discussions about culture…

Read More »

Lecturing the Prodigal Son(s) in The NY Times

Lecturing the Prodigal Son(s) in The NY Times

A few thoughts on some recent Internet Prodigal Son banter, from David Zahl and Will McDavid:

As much as I admire The NY Times, it’s not where I go to read about grace. You? And yet, David Brooks was back at it again this week, talking about the parable of the prodigal son(s) and endorsing grace as an essential factor in crafting social policy for those who’ve squandered their inheritance/potential/goodwill. Check it out:

We live in a divided society in which many of us in the middle- and upper-middle classes are like the older brother and many of the people who drop…

Read More »

Legalistic Makeup and the Yawning Gap in Religious Experience

Legalistic Makeup and the Yawning Gap in Religious Experience

File this one under required reading. David Brooks’ column in The NY Times this week “Alone, Yet Not Alone” mines a very rich vein: the discrepancy between how religious faith is presented and how it is experienced in America (and the world) today, particularly in terms of the role doubt plays. The man appears to be on something of a hot streak, quoting Augustine and Heschel in equal measure, and dropping what could be a career-making (hopefully not -wrecking) endorsement of singer-songwriter Audrey Assad. The intro goes like this:

When secular or mostly secular people are asked by researchers to give…

Read More »

Buying Bathmats for the Traumatized

Buying Bathmats for the Traumatized

Many pastors, especially of the mainline and Catholic varieties, are required as part of their training to do a brief internship at a hospital serving as a chaplain to the sick and dying. Oh how I wish I had read the recent blog post by Catherine Woodiwess and the accompanying op-ed by David Brooks that appeared today in The NY Times before I stumbled through my own hospital rotation a few years back! It would have saved me (and more importantly the patients I visited) a good deal of unnecessary grief.

Woodiwess offers a few bullet-point reflections on her own trauma…

Read More »

Obesity, Freedom, and the Limits of Willpower

Obesity, Freedom, and the Limits of Willpower

Over at Aeon Magazine, a tremendously insightful essay was published a couple of weeks ago on the rising obesity trend – one that’s gone way beyond America, and one whose potential solutions are fast becoming a major policy issue for governments, as well as a booming industry (soon to become a trillion-dollar one, McKinsey & Co reported). And at The New York Times, Stephanie Clifford chimes in on how little impact health-related labeling and advertising actually has. Of course, people unhelpfully tend to define the problems in terms of a deficiency in willpower, and so attempts to address it cluster around…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Snowden Psychology, Child Stars Grown Up, Sleep Perfomance, the Science of Risk-Management, and Ira Glass on Jesus Freaks

Another Week Ends: Snowden Psychology, Child Stars Grown Up, Sleep Perfomance, the Science of Risk-Management, and Ira Glass on Jesus Freaks

1) I guess the graduation speeches were of quite the well-suited ilk this year—fitted more for the heart and less the diploma. Jonathan Safran-Foer spoke at Middlebury’s graduation (the transcript was then printed for the Times), and talked a lot about today’s ease of communication and, thus, today’s relational retreat. Entitled “How Not To Be Lonely,” he catalogues some of the cultural and social restraints of technology, something we love…to…talk…about, but what’s more interesting is the focus he takes on power of intervention and attention.

He remembers sitting in a park, next to a woman who crying in public. Not knowing…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Underconfidence, Kate Middleton’s Picnics, Unreported Medical Advice, D.H. Lawrence’s Christian Wonder, the Double-Bind of Summer Movies, More Christian Wiman, and (Way) Too Much Sociology

Another Week Ends: Underconfidence, Kate Middleton’s Picnics, Unreported Medical Advice, D.H. Lawrence’s Christian Wonder, the Double-Bind of Summer Movies, More Christian Wiman, and (Way) Too Much Sociology

1. How confident are you? Over at The New York Times, David Brooks surveyed his readers to get a sense for self-confidence, lack thereof, and the ways males and females experience confidence differently. While the word itself is a bit vague and murky, and Brooks found few trends in the survey data, the individual responses are definitely worth a look:

But it was really hard to see consistent correlations and trends. The essays were highly idiosyncratic, and I don’t want to impose a false order on them that isn’t there. Let me just string together some of the interesting points…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Recovering Francis, Present Shock, Silicon Valley Solutionists vs Pessimistic Germans, Internal Gutters, The Pull, iPhone Police and Steve Brown

Another Week Ends: Recovering Francis, Present Shock, Silicon Valley Solutionists vs Pessimistic Germans, Internal Gutters, The Pull, iPhone Police and Steve Brown

1. Not knowing much (at all) about Pope Francis, maybe you were as pleasantly surprised as I was to read David Brooks’ irenic column about “How Movements Recover”, in which he articulated a philosophy and approach quite near and dear to this mocking-heart:

Augustine [of Hippo], as his magisterial biographer Peter Brown puts it, “was deeply preoccupied by the idea of the basic unity of the human race.” He reacted against any effort to divide people between those within the church and those permanently outside. He wanted the church to go on offense and swallow the world. This would involve swallowing…

Read More »

Five Golden…Themes! What We Just Couldn’t Get Enough of in 2012

Five Golden…Themes! What We Just Couldn’t Get Enough of in 2012

One of Mockingbird’s most distinctive features is the repetition. Like Christmas itself, we’re trying to point that one “old, old story,” that ancient theme, as we see it dug up time and again. It’s dug up in all sorts of places, of course, from 18th century poetry archives to slasher films, from church basements to top-tier corporate office towers. But it’s still resonating a singular focus–the Gospel–from these unforeseen, albeit obscure, sources.

Despite the wide-spanning scopes and intentions of some of our favorite “news” sources, the same thing unwittingly tends to happen. After all, reporting the news means telling and retelling…

Read More »

An Unfortunate Letter from a Frustrated Parent: Brooks, Corinthians, and the Failure of Criticism

An Unfortunate Letter from a Frustrated Parent: Brooks, Corinthians, and the Failure of Criticism

A UK newspaper article went viral last week when the Telegraph published a letter sent from Nick Crews, a retired naval officer, to his three 30-something children. The long and sternly-worded letter expressed the father’s “bitter disappointment” with each of his children for their lack of “maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions”. The letter culminates in the father’s declaration that “I want to hear no more of you until… you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about.”…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Post-Election Meekness and Melodrama, Googlepoetics, Psychopathic Stories, DFW Exists, The Testament of Mary, Episode VII, and Skyfall

Another Week Ends: Post-Election Meekness and Melodrama, Googlepoetics, Psychopathic Stories, DFW Exists, The Testament of Mary, Episode VII, and Skyfall

1. Definitely not the easiest week to write this column. The Interwebs, as one might have predicted, have been consumed by I-Told-You-So’s and The-End-Is-Nigh’s, neither of which are a whole lot of fun–at least not from the standpoint of grace. Who knows, maybe you found yourself staying away from screens altogether this week, biding your time until the sanctimony and self-pity dissipated a little…. Maybe you took the opportunity to read the new DFW collection, catch up on Bob’s Burgers, change an ungodly number of diapers, and possibly delve a bit deeper into the unreleased work of The Rolling Stones….

Read More »

Self-Adoration or Self-Contempt? Terry Cooper and Intrapsychic Original Sin

Self-Adoration or Self-Contempt? Terry Cooper and Intrapsychic Original Sin

Terry D. Cooper’s Sin, Pride & Self-Acceptance was referenced by David Brooks in a recent New York Times op-ed. In it Cooper addresses the problem of original sin as it has been treated in psychology and theology. He asks the question about whether or not original sin–that is, elemental human nature–is fundamentally about innate self-interest or self-hatred. In other words, is the base level of human waywardness pride or insecurity? Psychoanalysts have said that Calvinist understandings of human pride as the basic human sin misunderstands a deeper level of human insecurity. We puff up because, deep down, we are cowering….

Read More »