HOW MUCH BROOKS TO BROOK? I have to admit it: I read pretty much every David Brooks column. He’s often quite good, honestly. However, as many have pointed out, he also has a unique knack for being infuriating. And it?s easy to get baited into responding each time. (Today, for example, Brooks declares ($) himself to be, in effect, a centrist Democrat, although he concludes with an appeal to Republicans: ?[W]e disaffected voters are easy. We want to go home with you if you?ll give us a reason.? That sort of says it all. But I digress.) But I?ve found two things helpful in dealing with my troubles. One is a helpful warning from Michael Kinsley about a similar threat: ?If you’re not careful, you can squander an entire journalistic career swatting flies from the Wall Street Journal editorial page.? And the other is an awareness of the existence of a natural Brooks Ratio. That would be the ratio of maddening-to-non-maddening columns in the Brooks output, and it’s best not to challenge it. For example, my own Brooks Ratio, since I feel my anger growing when reading roughly two out of seven Brooks columns, is 0.29. I can live with that. But I?d be curious to see how others deal with the problem.
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