David Brooks (journalist)
August 11, 1961 |
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Residence||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago (A.B. 1983)|
|Spouse(s)||Sarah (née Jane Hughes)
|New York Times columns|
David Brooks (born August 11, 1961) is an American  political and cultural commentator who writes for The New York Times. He worked as an editorial writer and film reviewer for the Washington Times; a reporter and later op-ed editor for The Wall Street Journal; a senior editor at The Weekly Standard from its inception; a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly; and as a commentator on National Public Radio. He is now a columnist for The New York Times and commentator on the PBS NewsHour.
Brooks, who is Jewish, was born in Toronto, Canada – his father was an American citizen living in Canada at the time – and grew up in the Stuyvesant Town development in New York City. He graduated from Grace Church School there, then from Radnor High School (located in a Main Line suburb of Philadelphia) in 1979 and from the University of Chicago, with a degree in history, in 1983.
Brooks edited a 1996 anthology of writings by new conservative writers, Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing. He wrote a book of cultural commentary titled Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, published in 2000, and followed it four years later with On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense. Brooks is the volume editor of The Best American Essays (publication date Oct. 2, 2012).
Brooks also authored The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement. The book was excerpted in The New Yorker magazine in January 2011 and received mixed reviews upon its full publication, by Random House, in March of that year. The book has been a commercial success, reaching the #3 spot on the Publishers Weekly best-sellers list for non-fiction in April 2011.
Brooks was a visiting professor of public policy at Duke University's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and he taught an undergraduate seminar there in the fall of 2006. In 2013, he will teach a course at Yale University on philosophical humility.
Brooks and his wife live in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C. Brooks' wife was born Jane Hughes, and converted to Judaism.  She later changed her name to Sarah. They divorced in 2013.
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Ottawa Citizen commentator David Warren has identified Brooks as the sort of conservative pundit that liberals like, one who is "sophisticated" and "engages with" the liberal agenda, in contrast to a "real conservative" like Charles Krauthammer. When asked what he thinks of charges that he's "not a real conservative" or "squishy," Brooks has said that "if you define conservative by support for the Republican candidate or the belief that tax cuts are the correct answer to all problems, I guess I don’t fit that agenda. But I do think that I’m part of a longstanding conservative tradition that has to do with Edmund Burke, which is be cautious, don't think you can do all things by government planning, and Alexander Hamilton, who wanted to use government to help people compete in the capitalist economy." In the same interview with Howard Kurtz in September 2012 Brooks talked about being criticized from the conservative side, saying: "if it’s from a loon, I don’t mind it. I get a kick out of it. If it’s Michelle Malkin attacking, I don’t mind it." With respect to whether he was "the liberals' favorite conservative" Brooks said he "didn't care," stating that "I don’t mind liberals praising me, but when it’s the really partisan liberals, you get an avalanche of love, it’s like uhhh, I gotta rethink this."
Brooks describes himself as being originally a liberal before "coming to my senses." In 1983, he wrote a parody of conservative pundit William F. Buckley Jr., which said: "In the afternoons he is in the habit of going into crowded rooms and making everybody else feel inferior. The evenings are reserved for extended bouts of name-dropping."
Buckley admired the parody and offered Brooks a job with National Review. A turning point in Brooks's thinking came later that year in a televised debate with Milton Friedman, which, as Brooks describes it, "was essentially me making a point, and he making a two-sentence rebuttal which totally devastated my point."
Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Brooks argued forcefully for American military intervention, echoing the belief of commentators and political figures that American and British forces would be welcomed as liberators. In the spring of 2004, some of his opinion pieces suggested that he had tempered his earlier optimism about the war.
Brooks' public writing about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is similar to those by neoconservatives, according to a Salon article by Glenn Greenwald, that labels Brooks as a neoconservative. His angry dismissal of the conviction of Scooter Libby as being "a farce" and having "no significance" was derided by political blogger Andrew Sullivan.
On August 10, 2006, Brooks wrote a column for The New York Times entitled "Party No. 3". The column proposed the idea of the McCain-Lieberman Party, or the fictional representation of the fictional moderate majority in America.
Brooks has long been a supporter of John McCain; however, he did not show a liking for McCain's 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, calling her a "cancer" on the Republican Party. He has referred to her as a "joke," unlikely to ever win the Republican nomination. But he later admitted during a CSPAN interview that he had gone too far in his previous "cancer" comments about Palin, which he regretted, and simply stated he was not a fan of her values.
In a March 2007 article published in The New York Times titled "No U-Turns", Brooks explained that the Republican Party must distance itself from the minimal-government conservative principles that had arisen during the Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan eras. He claims that these core concepts had served their purposes and should no longer be embraced by Republicans in order to win elections, which he considers the most important purpose of a political party designed to serve the political class.[vague]
Brooks has been a frequent admirer of President Barack Obama. In an August 2009 profile of Brooks, The New Republic describes his first encounter with Obama, in the spring of 2005: "Usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me. [...] I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” Two days after Obama’s second autobiography, The Audacity of Hope, hit bookstores, Brooks published a column in The New York Times, titled "Run, Barack, Run", urging the Chicago politician to run for president. However as of December 2011 in a CSPAN interview, Brooks' opinion of Obama's presidency was more tempered, giving Obama only a "B-" rating, and said that Obama's chances of reelection would be less than 50-50 if elections were held at that time.
In writing for The New York Times in January 2010, Brooks described Israel as "an astonishing success story". He wrote that "Jews are a famously accomplished group," who, because they were "forced to give up farming in the Middle Ages... have been living off their wits ever since". In Brooks' view, "Israel’s technological success is the fruition of the Zionist dream. The country was not founded so stray settlers could sit among thousands of angry Palestinians in Hebron. It was founded so Jews would have a safe place to come together and create things for the world."
Brooks opposes what he sees as self-destructive behavior, such as teenage sex and divorce. His view is that "sex is more explicit everywhere barring real life. As the entertainment media have become more sex-saturated, American teenagers have become more sexually abstemious" by "waiting longer to have sex...[and] having fewer partners." He sees the culture war as nearly over, because "today's young people...seem happy with the frankness of the left and the wholesomeness of the right." As a result, he is optimistic about the United States' social stability, which he considers to be "in the middle of an amazing moment of improvement and repair."
Brooks also broke with many in the conservative movement when, in late 2003, he came out in favor of same-sex marriage in his New York Times column. He equated the idea with traditional conservative values: "We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.... It's going to be up to conservatives to make the important, moral case for marriage, including gay marriage."
Regarding abortion, Brooks has advocated for pro-choice government regulations: abortion should be legal, with parental consent for minors, during the first four or five months, and illegal afterward, except in extremely rare circumstances. (New York Times, April 22, 2002.)
- Editor, Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing (Vintage, 1996) 0-6797-6654-5
- Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (2000) ISBN 0-684-85377-9
- On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense (2004) ISBN 0-7432-2738-7
- The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (2011) ISBN 978-1-4000-6760-2
- David Brooks Analyst Bio Online NewsHour
- "David Brooks." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Biography In Context. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
- "David Brooks." Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Biography In Context. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.
- Eberstadt, Mary (ed.), "Why I turned right: leading baby boom conservatives chronicle their political journeys," Simon and Schuster (2007).
- Columnist Biography: David Brooks, New York Times
- It's Back, The Weekly Standard, Feb 20, 2003
- A Loud and Promised Land, New York Times, April 16, 2009. "As an American Jew, I was taught to go all gooey-eyed at the thought of Israel..."
- Brooks, David (January 17, 2011). "Social Animal How the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- "The Social Animal by David Brooks - Book - eBook - Audiobook". Random House. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- Bell, Douglas (March 11, 2011). "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, by David Brooks". The Globe and Mail (Toronto).
- "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement | Books Inc. - The West's Oldest Independent Bookseller". Books Inc. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- Nagel, Thomas (March 11, 2011). "David Brooks’s Theory of Human Nature". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- Myers, PZ (March 11, 2011). "David Brooks' dream world for the trust-fund set". Salon.com. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- Wilkinson, Will (March 10, 2011). "The Social Animal by David Brooks: A Scornful Review". Forbes.com. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- Brooks, David. "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (9781400067602): David Brooks: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- "Publishers Weekly Best-sellers". The Maui News. April 3, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Brooks, David (2/4/2007). "Children of Polarization". The New York Times.
- "David Brooks To Teach 'Humility' At Yale". The Huffington Post. 12/19/2012.
- Post on Brooks's 2012 purchase of a new home in The Washington Post
- Brooks, Sarah (June 19, 2008). "What's in a name? In part, my religion". Washington Jewish Week.
- David Warren, A War Between Two World Views 2009-07-17
- Howard Kurtz, "David Brooks, Riling Up the Right" The Daily Beast September 30, 2012
- University of Chicago Maroon, April 5, 1983.
- Yoe, Mary Ruth (February 2004). "Everybody's a critic". University of Chicago Magazine 96 (3). Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- Greenwald, Glenn (September 29, 2009). "David Brooks: our nation's premier expert warrior". Salon.com. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- Brooks, David (July 3, 2007). "Ending the Farce". New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- Sullivan, Andrew (July 3, 2007). "What Rule of Law?". Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- Brooks, David (August 10, 2006). "Party No. 3". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Shea, Danny (October 8, 2008). "David Brooks: Sarah Palin "Represents A Fatal Cancer To The Republican Party"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- David Brooks: Sarah Palin Is A 'Joke', TPMTv on Youtube, November 15, 2009
- "CSPAN Book TV: In Depth - David Brooks" (December 4, 2011) CSPAN Book TV: In Depth - David Brooks
- Brooks, David (March 3, 2007). "No U-Turns". The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2008.
- Sherman, Gabriel (August 31, 2009). "The Courtship: The story behind the Obama-Brooks bromance". The New Republic. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- Brooks, David (October 19, 2006). "Run, Barack, Run". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- Brooks, David (January 12, 2010). "The Tel Aviv Cluster". The New York Times.
- New York Times, April 17, 2005, 4-14
- New York Times, November 22, 2003, A-15
- Brooks, David (April 22, 2007). "Postures in Public, Facts in the Womb". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- David Brooks at TED
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- David Brooks at the Internet Movie Database
- Works by or about David Brooks in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Meet David Brooks" and Column archive at The New York Times
- Discussion with Andrew Rosenthal, Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, The New York Times video, July 17, 2006
- Column archive at The Atlantic
- Column archive at The Weekly Standard
- David Brooks on The Emily Rooney Show on WGBH Radio
- Video: David Brooks discusses The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement on March 17, 2011, on Forum Network.