Charles Johnson’s note: Please recognize that this is a very rough draft and that the quotations may not be perfect. The notes should also not be seen as complete. I missed certain sentences here and there.
On his relationship with W.F. Buckley
W.F. Buckley offered me a job. David Brooks, if you’re in the audience, I want to give you a job. He wasn’t there. He was at Stanford debating Milton Friedman.”
“Milton Friedman debated the young. Tyranny of the Status Quo (debated undergrads)… There were six of us.”
Brooks quotes Schlesinger’s view of Friedman – “His arguments were never longer than a postcard.”
Moves to Buckley…
WFB Died at his desk, which is the way he wanted to go…No one has the glamour that he had…”
Thoughts on blogging. He doesn’t read as many blogs as he once did because he doesn’t have the time and because he’s tired of finishing a very interesting blog post and finding out that some middle schooler wrote it.
“Bloggers all pick on Times columnists. For awhile it bugged me, but now it’s part of the atmosphere.”
Welcome to the Times where it’s all criticism all the time.
“The general theme of the emails I receive is ‘Krugman is great, you suck.’”
As for the more general phenomenon of blogging,
“The newspaper feels like a dying industry. There’s something addictive about clicking through candy.”
Generally, bloggers write on something very arcane.
On writing generally
“There a million things you cannot write.”
The average person on the Subway doesn’t want to read about political philosophy. “They don’t want to read about Leo Strauss.”
“If you write Bush is Evil, Obama is God. You’ll make it to the New York Times most emailed list. It’s horrible social science, but it’s something we all look at.
My parents are academics. I was going to be an academic.
On the supposed decay of the arts.
I’m a cultural optimist. I don’t think we’re heading towards stupid land.
- Lots more people going to the museums
- I’ve heard that more people go to classical music recitals than football games.
On subsidized news programming and liberal-media bias
Non-profit news. New Hour with Jim Lehrer. Lehrer wanted to talk about campaign finace reform. IBrooks just couldn’t get excited about it.
“[The media elite] tend to be Rockefeller – very Establishment mentality. “It’s the ethos of the place that shapes what’s news – kind of like how different colleges have different feels to them.”
“My general rule for journalism is aloofness.”
On his fellow columnists
“Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd, and me – ego alley. Maureen and I are beginning to thaw. We have yet to sit down and have lunch.”
“Her writing style is social. It’s a little volcano of conversation and noise. I like to shut out the world and get to work.”
“Friedman… Tom is bigger than the universe. He’s bigger than all of us.”
Quotes somebody else about Tom Friedman, “Going to the Middle East with him is like going to the mall with Britney Spears.”
On his job
“I do two to three interviews a day.”
“The more and more I learned about this job, the more I realize, character and the mental habits of politicians is more important than their policy positions.”
“Bush is not that interested in execution. He likes to say he can see fifty years ahead. But he’s not concerned with next week.”
“This business that magazines have influence is overdone.”
‘Sociology is the queen of the social sciences. The unexamined patterns of behavior shape everything else.’
“You can make fun of rich people all you want. You can’t make fun of poor people it’s not nice.”
“Forgive me for being patronizing, but I’ve run across in colleges that believe there are essentially only two career tracks, the noble ‘Teach for America types or the greedy Investment Bankers.’”
“Jobs happen by chance. You’ll probably get married in your later twenties. You have ten years to bounce around.”
Brooks talks about his acquaintance that is a Las Vegas fountain choreographer.
Brooks explains his priorities.
1. I want to be a writer
2. I want to be a journalist.
3. I want to be a conservative.Brooks ends on a discussion of college. “Certain schools have just a Golden culture… There’s definitely a Claremont group in D.C.”