March 14, 2011

David Brooks's "The Social Animal"

I have a long review of David Brooks's new bestseller combining fiction and brain science up at VDARE.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Conscious vs unconscious is often mistaken for reason vs emotions.
In Brooks case, it seems to be confused with critical thinking vs assumptive thinking.

Wes said...

What's up with Tom Wolfe worship in HBD circles? Is it because he talks about race and ethnicity pretty openly? He seems to have some insight at times, but he has never impressed me as a writer. Yes, I know, sacrilege.

But I have to agree with Ayn Rand on this one: Wolfe tells us more about what he is feeling than what is actually happening. He endlessly gives us his emotional summation of events, not so much the events themselves. I read The Right Stuff and was fascinated at first, but then his schoolgirl style of emotional gushing got on my nerves. Is that what ya'll like? You like having someone write "Vrrrroooom!"?

Maybe he would have made a better poet than novelist, where emotional self-expression is so highly prized.

Anonymous said...

A great review and one that most definitely is much more interesting than the actual book.

Anonymous said...

If David Brooks is the New York Times "conservative" columnist, no wonder they think the Tea Party are extremists.

It would be cool if some rich patriotic dude, let's say T Boone Pickens, bought up the NY Times and made Steve Sailer their chief editorialist.

Anonymous said...

For someone who is only amused by race, you seem remarkably cranky about it.

agnostic said...

That should be the appeal of the next fundraising drive: Get Steve into the banana yellow C3 Corvette that he's been dreaming about since high school, just in case he bumps into Mila Kunis around Los Angeles.

agnostic said...

And forget about conscious or unconscious thinking in policy, what about in art, while we're talking about fiction?

If your hunch is right, Brooks' unconscious reflex was to make Erica black. Whose unconscious inspiration is for a Chinese-Chicana character? Or for some dork at a think tank? Only forcing-it-too-hard thinking could give characters like that.

And if Brooks has the ideas of nature vs. nurture, recent science, and fictional characters bopping around unconsciously, why didn't they gel into a story where twin characters figure in somehow? Or an adopted kid who eventually meets his genetic parents? Like Luke and Leia meeting each other and Darth Vader.

dearieme said...

" combining fiction and brain science": well, insofar as those are distinct categories.

Anonymous said...

Promoting Roissy again, Steve? Why?

Rohan Swee said...

OT: First, there was hate speech. Then, hate facts. Now comes "hate fiction". (But never fear, the SPLC is on the job protecting you.)

Luke Lea said...

"he claims that the reason middle class children like Harold turn out so much more successful on average than underclass children is not genes, but because the middle class kids are raised by their parents in an atmosphere of “concerted cultivation”.

Yet few Baby Boomers were chauffeured to nonstop lessons like 21st Century kids. Baby Boomers mostly grew up in big families and our parents told us to go out and play because they had important martini-drinking to do."

So true. The only rule in our house was, "Be home by supper."

Luke Lea said...

I especially liked your link to "I Had Not Realized Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman Is This Stupid."

One thing though: I don't see why the orthodox Keynsian (modified by Friedman) response of printing money is incompatible with the Austrian diagnosis. Nominal wages being sticky, the effect of inflation is to lower real wages and hence increase the demand for, and total volume of employment, across the board measured in manhours. This makes it easier for workers to move from sector to sector until a new adjusted full-employment equilibrium is reached with the right number of workers in each sector of the economy.

Of course in today's world that also means lower real hourly wages (hence lower standard of living) for unskilled workers across the board. But that's something that is going to have to happen anyway -- as trade, immigration, and new labor-saving technologies reduce the demand for labor and hence the real wages workers can command.

But this all seems too simple. Maybe I am missing something?

Carol said...

"Baby Boomers mostly grew up in big families and our parents told us to go out and play because they had important martini-drinking to do."

Now that's the way I remember it, too. It was "go out and play on the freeway heheheh.."

Luke Lea said...

In a racially-stratified class society our new plutocratic, cosmopolitan elites are able to play one group off against another, thereby subverting democracy and trashing the American standard of living. Manipulation is easy under those circumstances, as witness the South in post-Reconstruction, or witness Latin America today.

Do Bobos like Brooks -- or should I say "liberal lackeys like Brooks"? -- realize how complicit they are in the process? Do they know where we are headed?

Indeed, I wonder if even the plutocrats themselves know? What do they imagine their standing in the world will be when China, the 800 pound gorilla, comes out of its cage? Hint: look at how Obama was treated at Copenhagen? The trashing of America will come back to haunt them.

Dutch Boy said...

How can you read this crap?

Anonymous said...

I got stopped by the Oakland police for driving with an expired car registration. When they pulled me over I reminded them that the greatest American novel of the day A Man in Full began with the Oakland police arresting a man for driving with an expired registration - and you know how that turned out.

Actually they didn't. They seemed to think I was some kind of wacko. I'm sadden to say that literary references just slide right off the cops in Oakland. But the point remains. Wolfe's writings have huge impacts.

The The Bonfire of the Vanities literally rocked my world. For a while after reading it I was shaky on my feet.

Wolfe's unique power as a novelist is doubly surprising because I read all his articles in Esquire where he tortured himself with self doubt as to his own ability. He had considered himself to be a lower form of writer - a little more than a mere journalist but not quite a novelist. Incredibly he didn't feel worthy.

I think you might be wise to heed this history. You too may be a "hidden" novelist. I certainly think you have more on the ball than David Broder.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Did I say David Broder? I meant David Brooks?

You need some software that let's us edit our postings.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Please tell me there are no sex scenes. Wolfe's are bad enough.

Anonymous said...

"What's up with Tom Wolfe worship in HBD circles? Is it because he talks about race and ethnicity pretty openly? He seems to have some insight at times, but he has never impressed me as a writer. Yes, I know, sacrilege."

In regione caecorum rex est luscus.

Ray Sawhill said...

One of your best pieces.

smead jolley said...

I got pulled over by the Oakland police too, but my registration wsn't expired. Instead, I was in a "high crime area." When the cop came back to my car after checking my license, he accused me of calling him an asshole. That is, he said that while in his car he saw me mouth it in my rearview mirror. He was wrong. Actually, I was just frustrated that the hot-looking hooker I was circling had disappeared.

Anonymous said...

"What's up with Tom Wolfe worship in HBD circles? Is it because he talks about race and ethnicity pretty openly?"

And his taste in art sucks. He's an admirer of Rockwell and this cliched piece of neo-classical tripe:

http://www.blacksunjournal.com/wp-content/images/ex_nihilo_maquette.jpg

http://www.jeanstephengalleries.com/hart-wolfe.html

I must say, though, that PAINTED WORD is a pretty good dig at the corrupt and conceited world of modern and post-modern art.

Anonymous said...

"In a racially-stratified class society our new plutocratic, cosmopolitan elites are able to play one group off against another, thereby subverting democracy and trashing the American standard of living."

Anglo-Americans tried to bring together all the different ethnic groups into a common identity called 'American' modeled on Anglo-Americanism. But Jews didn't want to fall into this trap as they regarded themselves as better than even wasps. As Jews are only 2% of the population, they couldn't insist on Jewishness as the new definitive American identity for most Americans. Besides, Jews take pride in their uniqueness. They want Jewishness to be liked and admired by non-Jews, but they don't want others to share in Jewish identity. Jews found multi-culturalism as the best instrument against Anglo-Americanism-as-a-unifying-identity. Under the umbrella of multi-culturalism, Jews could proudly cling to their own Jewish identity(instead of submitting to Anglo-Americanism as the defining Americanism)and also promote anti-waspism among various ethnic and racial groups, thereby further weakening the wasp cultural hold on America. Though multi-culturalism is supposed to be about all cultures being equal in the US, some cultures are more equal than others. Since Jews have more money, brains, and influence and since blacks got more rhythm and muscle, they matter more than Polish ethnics or Mexican culture. It's win-win for Jews. Jewish supremacy reigns among the diverse cultures, and there's also the weakening of Anglo-Americanism as the defining sun around which ethnic and racial planets revolve.

---------

Jews also outmanuevered the whites when it came to Hispanics. Many white conservatives welcomed the high tide of Mexican immigration in order to use Mexicans against blacks in a divide-and-rule manner, but Jews found a way to play divide-and-rule among whites, Mexicans, and blacks. Whites got Hyman-Rothed in this game of power.

Anonymous said...

"Yet few Baby Boomers were chauffeured to nonstop lessons like 21st Century kids. Baby Boomers mostly grew up in big families and our parents told us to go out and play because they had important martini-drinking to do."

But maybe this was the problem. Boomers may have turned out okay but they were raised too permissively, in a 'take it easy' way, and this attitude spread far and wide. White middle class stopped imparting values of work ethic and social responsibility; instead, it began to impart the joys of hedonism, laxness, taking it easy, fun fun fun til daddy takes the T-bird away. Worse, white middle class began to absorb certain pathologies from the underclass, whether it be gangsterism, jivery, or Bonnie-and-Clydery. Middle class values at one time was defined by Elliot Ness. By the late 60s, young white middle class kids were into Arthur Penn's Bonnie & Clyde.

Not that earlier generations of parents gave their kids piano lessons and etc, but kids had it much harder long ago, which toughened them up--tribally and morally. On the farms, they learned to work at an early age. In many cases, they went to work in factories or shops right after highschool; or they quit school to work to contribute to the family. So, the value they grew up with was 'work, work, work' than 'fun, fun, fun'. And there was no welfare.

Boomers had it much better, and many turned out alright, but they had it so good that many of them became even more permissive than even their parents. And a culture developed where 'we can all take it easy and feel entitled to a good life'. As much I admire Springsteen as a musical artist, I hate his message, which is pretty much, "spend your school yrs hotrodding, chasing girls, skipping school, rock n rolling, etc, etc, cuz after school, whether you graduate or not, there's your union card and a job at a factory where you can make enough to own a home and go on vacation and etc." Well, in the post-war yrs of the 50s and 60s, this was doable since US was the unchallenged predominant economy. But as Europe and Japan rebuilt--and then was followed by other developing countries--, Americans couldn't afford this lax 'I feel entitled' attitude. We needed more serious students, especially in fields like engineering and the like. Parents of boomers had it good after WWII and thought good times would last forever. And boomers grew up thinking this way. Today, we gotta think differently. Even if we were plug up immigration, there's gonna be more competition from abroad. I'm not saying kids need piano lessons but more kids need to be reminded and even forced to do their homework and get serious.

Anonymous said...

"Actually they didn't. They seemed to think I was some kind of wacko. I'm sadden to say that literary references just slide right off the cops in Oakland. But the point remains. Wolfe's writings have huge impacts."

From ZABRISKIE POINT.

Cop: What's your name?

Radical: Karl Marx.

Cop: How do you spell 'Marx'?

Radical: M-A-R-X.

The cop then types "Marx, Carl"

Anonymous said...

The Mexican-Chinese chick may not be typical but I don't think it's entirely unlikely either. In a state like California with so many Asians and Hispanics, there gotta be some mixing. In Brazil, many Japanese and Chinese mixed with locals. In Peru too.

Even so, Sailer might be right that the character might have originated as something other.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping you weren't overly positive in your review cause Brooks' article about "The Social Animal" sucked.

I'm gonna have to take points off your review for not noticing that Brooks picked a mixture of a model minority supposedly with a genetic and cultural advantage. That and the fact that the Chinese/Hispanic mix does occur in the Philippines. Anecdotally, I met just such a couple, a Chinese female married to a Latino not Filipino male. I don't know, however, where the woman grew up. Since they were middle aged and were just getting to the point of learning English, I couldn't decide if they had married later in life or had been living in a Spanish speaking country and perhaps had children. The woman definitely ran the show, btw.

Now back to that vehicle thing. What about a sexy mini Van. How bout say a Chrysler with those tuck away seats? Lots of camping gear and a dog could fit in the back of that thing, you stud you. Come on, don't be shy. You know you want a car that gets pretty damn good gas mileage and can haul lots of stuff too. Get it in black, green or navy and no one will ever be in doubt that you're driving a man van.

As for the Corvette, I'd get a used one for no more than 7k after the last kid has gone off to college. Uh, and not in yellow, yellow is an ambiguous color for a guy...

Anonymous said...

Brooks is bound to confuse a lot of people because of his use of the term 'unconscioius'. He's confusing categorical thinking/knowledge with unconsciousness. Categorical thinking happens all the time. We store new stimuli within certain contextual patterns, thus categorizing them. For instance, most of us know the nature of a book or a movie just by looking at the cover or movie ad. We don't have to read a Danielle Steele book to know it's not great literature. The trashy book cover pretty much says it all. And if a movie is called "Killer X vs Mr. Cyclone", we know it's not a European art film. That's categorical thinking, not the unconscious in action. We know from previous experience and stimuli-storage that certain cues give the thing away.
When we confront new unfamiliar stimuli, we are filled with anxiety/fear and fascination. We don't have enough info to either hate or love the unknown/new thing. If a space alien came to our planet and attended school, it wouldn't know how to feel about whites, blacks, asians, hispanics, jews, etc. But over time, it would gain enough info to develop general impressions of each group. His mind would develop general categories about the human races. This is both useful and dangerous. Useful cuz the alien would know the general facts about blacks, whites, etc when dealing with people. For example, if it knew blacks are more prone to commit crime, it would be wary of areas with lots of blacks. Very useful. But this kind of thinking is also dangerous cuz one might draw general conclusions based on a single sample. If a black guy lived in a white community with mostly KKK thugs, he might think ALL whites are like this. Jews who suffered under Nazis might feel all whites are closet-Nazis. Whites who were swindled by Jews might think ALL Jews are crooks. So, the human mind needs to seek a balance between categorical thinking and critical thinking--ability to keep asking questions and being open to new ideas and stimuli.

As for the 'unconscious', it is a far more unstable entity. It's not just stored information in the back of our heads but the (sometimes violent) undercurrents beneath what may seem like the placid surface. Unconscious is often made unstable by repression. So, in a puritanical society where no one is supposed to think about sex, sexual energies become repressed and twist into strange emotions. Or in a politically or spiritually correct society--right or left--, certain taboos forbid certain truths, which force us to repress what we know to be true. This leads to all kinds of dishonest BS. And since the desire to embrace the correct BS is so strong, those who speak the truth are burned as heretics and the lie is turned into a Noble Lie.

TomV said...

Wes,

Wolfe explores not only race, but class, status game in all sorts of settings, masculinity, spirituality, personality, brain science, and Americanism with a keen eye for subtle insight.

Ironically, I'm not even sure Wolfe is what we would call "race realist." He seems to favor transcendence over essentialism. The hero in A Man in Full, originally a sensitive literary type, grew strong physically through hard labor and mentally through prison life. His last two novels included a stereotype-defying smart middle-class black (don't remember Bonfire). And he has summarily dismissed concerns about mass Hispanic immigration in interviews.

Still I like him because he writes compellingly and insightfully about subjects I'm interested in.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of David Brooks, but maybe his ilk is necessary. The MONKEY MATH post pondered how early man may have developed into higher man. Maybe among them were some proto-Brooksians.

Human advancement seem to require two kinds of people: the obsessives and the moderatives. Without obsessives, greatness is not possible. The great ballet dancer, the great athlete, the great scientist, the great artist, the great conqueror, the great whatever were all obessives. I heard Einstein used to have cold sweats in the night while visualizing the nature of light in changing gravitational fields. I mean what kind of normal person gets wall worked up in that way? Some say Heidegger was the greatest philosopher of the 20th century; now, who else but an obessive would write a 500 tome on the meaning of 'is'. Even Clinton isn't that crazy. We need obsessives cuz they not only have special talent but put 100,000 hrs into solving some mystery. If Einstein had an IQ of 200 but was not an obsessive, he might have taken life more easily, been more normal, less driven to seek/explore/conquer the unknown. So, it may have been the obsessives that drove proto-man to achieve things beyond 'eat, sleep, and shit'. Art developed with the obsession for beauty. Religion began as obsession with the mystery. Romance grew out of obsession with love(something beyond in-and-out sex). But obsessives can also be dangerous. Alexander the Great didn't know when to stop. Mao had to keep experimenting with crazy stuff. Hitler couldn't stop with taking Czechoslovakia. Nuclear energy is great, but look at the crisis in Japan. All thanks to scientists who had to push the envelope. And I'll bet there are obsessive bio-engineers who would love to create the clone army. (I wouldn't mind it myself.)

Because obsessives don't know when to stop, society needs moderatives whose temperament guides them to seek some kind of peace or compromise among the various sides. In the West, the rational and religious forces found a middle ground of peace instead of obsessives of both sides fighting it out to the end. This was possible cuz society had the likes of Brooks. People like Brooks may be despised by all sides--left and right--for their compromises, but they do serve as a kind of peace-bridge. Indeed, modern China lucked out cuz behind the obsessive Mao was the moderative Zhou(En Lai). Though Zhou often played the loyal fellow-obsessive of Mao, he was just playing along in order to survive so that he could one day set China on a moderate course.
In the 20th century, the bourgeois mentality was hated by both Marxists and Fascists as prone to spineless compromise, but it's not always a bad thing.
Of course, there are drastic times that call for drastic solutions, where compromise is more deadly than conviction. In Howard Hawks' THE THING, a scientist guy doesn't want to destroy but 'understand' the creature that is determined to destroy all humans. The creature cannot be bargained with, no more than the Terminator, but the scientist thinks he can be a friend. OTOH, maybe he was obsessive in his own way: more interested in knowledge of the creature than self-preservation.

Severn said...

Ayn Rand's books always struck me as being one extended episode of emotional gushing.

Mel Torme said...

"But I have to agree with Ayn Rand on this one: Wolfe tells us more about what he is feeling than what is actually happening."

That's a good one - Ann Rand criticizing Tom Wolfe. Just ask the average literate person who's read both The Fountainhead and The Right Stuff which is a better book. I'd put my money on Tom Wolfe against 10 to 1 odds.

Ann Rand sucks as a writer, and I am saying this as a libertarian. You can have great ideas, but there is no use spending 2 or 3 pages describing someone drinking a freakin' glass of water (that's from a parody, actually ;-) The Right Stuff is a great book and a good movie too, BTW. I've read it twice, but my reading of The Fountainhead was a bigger waste of my time than the time I used to spend watching Melrose Place.

Ann Rand's got no room to criticize other writers (especially from within the small confines of the grave).

Anonymous said...

I'm annoyed by the title, "the social animal," since there is a classic social psychology book by Eliot Aronson with the same title.

Dave said...

I don't know any half-Chinese / half-Mexicans offhand, but my girlfriend once took a GMAT prep class (at an outfit that only hired top 1% scorers as instructors) from a half-Korean / half-Mexican guy.

Luke Lea said...

"in the post-war yrs of the 50s and 60s, this was doable since US was the unchallenged predominant economy. But as Europe and Japan rebuilt--and then was followed by other developing countries--, Americans couldn't afford this lax 'I feel entitled' attitude.

Real per capita GDP has been growing steadily for the past 40 years, so that can't be it. Try something else.

Luke Lea said...

I've really been losing it lately. I'm so angry I could vote for Sarah Palin. :)

Another Anon said...

"It's win-win for Jews. Jewish supremacy reigns among the diverse cultures, and there's also the weakening of Anglo-Americanism as the defining sun around which ethnic and racial planets revolve."

Jews did better under Anglo supremacy (in the U.S. and before that in Britain) than anywhere else in modern times. Why would they want to subvert that? It doesn't make sense. It's also not obvious how flooding the country with high-IQ Asians helps Jews. Jews are smarter than average, but not so smart that most Jews aren't hurt by the increased competition -- they are (which is why you hear some of them complaining about Tiger Moms).

Anonymous said...

"Jews are smarter than average, but not so smart that most Jews aren't hurt by the increased competition -- they are (which is why you hear some of them complaining about Tiger Moms)."

This is because many Jews like to party and travel and have even been known to have hobbies.

Anonymous said...

He keeps this up and David Brooks will be a funnier guy than Mel Brooks. History of the World Pt II.

Anonymous said...

"Jews did better under Anglo supremacy (in the U.S. and before that in Britain) than anywhere else in modern times. Why would they want to subvert that? It doesn't make sense. It's also not obvious how flooding the country with high-IQ Asians helps Jews. Jews are smarter than average, but not so smart that most Jews aren't hurt by the increased competition -- they are (which is why you hear some of them complaining about Tiger Moms)."

True, Jews did better under Anglo supremacy than under any other kind of goy supremacy, but they are doing even better OVER Anglo supremacy. Also, Jews no longer have to grovel before any other group to get things their way. In the 40s, Jews had to plead with wasp elites to fight WWII and help create Israel. Now, they call the shots.

Jews don't fear Asians. Asians can be powerful when there are a 100 million or one billion in one nation--as in Japan or China--or when they are a minority in a nation of second-raters--as in Indonesia or Malaysia--, but Asians have no decisive advantage over whites and certainly not over Jews. Asians will take orders from the Jews. Jews will be the teachers and Asians will be their 'good students'.

Anonymous said...

Funniest part of Brooks' book is the notion that the Iraq War proves that intelligence isn't everything. If Brooks means intelligence as in information gathering--what CIA does--, he has a point. But if he means 'use of higher reason', Iraq War was one of the most dogmatic and/or stupid ventures in American history. The data was cherry-picked and distorted to make Americans believe Hussein was building nukes! Neocons shelved their intelligence--ability to think rationally--and went with their dogmatic devotion to Israel. Democracy-builders threw caution to the wind and figured Iraq could be remade into a happy democracy.
Some anti-war critics said Bush was too dumb to lead this war, but it was precisely people like Brooks who said that intelligence isn't everything. Bush may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he's a good guy, a tough guy, a committed guy, a man of common sense, blah blah blah, and that's enough for him to be a great war president. In fact, recent history of the GOP has been one of clever Jewish neocons looking for dumb goyboys to do their bidding.

For someone who supported Bush all these yrs, I find it funny that Brooks of all people would be telling us that intelligence isn't that important. Iraq War was the product of willful stupidity, not cautious intelligence. It was the failure produced by low intelligence(or at least willful stupidity), not high intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's fundraise so much that we can buy the New York Times. Then put Steve in charge of running the paper. That'd be fun.

Seriously, why can't some rich conservative family buy up one of these papers and run a bunch of columns from Pat Buchanan, Sailer, the American Conservative magazine guys, Randall Parker, John Derbyshire, etc?

I remember when the NRR guy Schiller recently got caught making those damning statements, he claimed that most of the big American papers were owned by "Zionists" and the "pro-Israel" peole (his words). It'd be nice if some pro-America people bought up a couple papers too.

Actually, screw it. Why should an American paper have a pro-American bias?

Anonymous said...

This book review is hilarious, A Chinese-Mexican kid from the ghetto? Yes, straight out of Political Correctness 101. There may be Asian-Hispanic mixes in California but my guess would be they happen when upwardly mobile Hispanics marry similar Asians, not poor Hispanics marrying poor Asians like in the book. I wonder if there is a connection?

Additionally I love the bit about Krugman and his tirade against Texas, how can anyone like him consider themselves scholarly when the ignore the demographic makeup of the respective states when making those comparisons? Uhhh, hey Paul, Wisconsin is 4% black and 4% Hispanic whereas Texas is 12% and 30% respectively, and by the way how does heavily unionized Detroit do with their public schools? Not so good from what I hear in the NYT yesterday when the writer of a piece on Detroit schools wonders aloud why standardized math scores have hit an all time low since starting 21 years ago and then mentions a few paragraphs later that the schools are now 95% African-American. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!!!

Kiwiguy said...

***What's up with Tom Wolfe worship in HBD circles?***

Probably because he identifies underlying ethnic conflicts and behavioural differences.

SFG said...

Agree with Steve's review, but I think Krugman and Co. like their jobs and are genuinely lying. Do you think any of them would send their kids to Harlem schools?

Wes said...

Mel Torme, I didn't know you were still alive! Cool.

I am sure the literati hate Ayn Rand, but as to who has sold more books, I have no idea. The bookshelves seemed to be stacked with tons of Rand stuff ... Wolfe, not so much. I've never seen anyone walking around with a Tom Wolfe shirt on.

And I think the issue is not who is doing the criticizing but the criticism itself, in other words it's not some mano-a-mano contest. I was just referencing her because it was the best summation of what bugs me about Wolfe I have read. She had a very deep knowledge of literature. Real literature, not the stuff that gets written today.

Actually, I thought the Fountainhead was pretty cool. Now, she was from the old school of Russian novels, so it would have to be tightened up if it was written today. Although people read those long winded fantasy novels that go over 1,000 pages, so maybe not.

Anonymous said...

Good try Steve. You tried to make David Brooks interesting but failed. Even you can't do the impossible.

Why is it that any drone becomes a figure of national importance because Pinch Sulzberger gives them a job?

Anonymous said...

In Jamaica the half Chinese / half black folks kick a lot of ass.

See the list.

20k and a lot of notables.

Silver said...

But I have to agree with Ayn Rand on this one: Wolfe tells us more about what he is feeling than what is actually happening. He endlessly gives us his emotional summation of events, not so much the events themselves

She's one to talk. She built her entire philosophy around nothing more than her feelings of what proper conduct should consist of. You can tell it was all feelings by her furious denunciations of anyone who dared question her. And I'm not sure she ever even tried her hand at writing about anything that actually occurs in the real world.

Realistically, she probably just disliked Tom Wolfe because what he was writing cut too close to home about what was actually occurring. Kinda like Dave Brooks.

Wes said...

I never understand why Ayn Rand is held to a different standard than any other writer. I am sure she had personality issues and could be cruel. So what?

No one dismissed Kant or Satre because of their personal lives. How much bizarre dirt could we dig up on those two? For the most part we separate their personal lives from their professional writings. It's strange to me that anti-Randians get so worked up on the issue. Maybe it's a reaction to the overly enthusiastic Rand-fans.

But I don't see how anyone can deny the emotionalism of Wolfe's writing, and how it is distracting. He tells us more about how impressed he is with astronauts than telling us impressive things about them. He makes the book ultimately about him and how he feels.

Wes said...

With regard to Jewish support for mass immigration and multiculturalism, on one level I understand their arguments for it (from their perspective), but ultimately it seems like the stupidest thing they have done in 50 years. Boneheaded.

They are undermining the very societies that allow them to prosper. I think many are starting to realize it, but sadly it is probably too late.

Hope and Change said...

Jewish-American kids are now getting academically hammered by Tiger Kids. Jewish-American women are getting romantically hammered by Tiger Women. Younger Jewish-American professionals are getting economically hammered by Tiger workers. Jewish-Americans will eventually get politically hammered by a bankrupt, NAM-dominated U.S. that doesn't give a damn about Israel - and wonders why there are so many Jewish names in the American power/wealth aristocracy. In the future, Jewish-Americans will likely get literally hammered by anti-semitic buffoons from Trashcanistan and Crapistan (as they already seem to be in parts of Europe).

I'm not holding all Jewish-Americans accountable for this, but your leaders (and ours) have done everything possible to get us here.

My advice: Bend over and take it. Take it the way that the rest of us are.

Oh - and 1 more thing. Don't forget to thank David Brooks. The man is nothing if not an "intellectual."

Anonymous said...

"Jews did better under Anglo supremacy (in the U.S. and before that in Britain) than anywhere else in modern times. Why would they want to subvert that? It doesn't make sense. It's also not obvious how flooding the country with high-IQ Asians helps Jews. Jews are smarter than average, but not so smart that most Jews aren't hurt by the increased competition -- they are (which is why you hear some of them complaining about Tiger Moms)."

Perhaps it is time that you acquainted yourself with the fable of the scorpion and the frog.

Mr. Anon said...

"Kiwiguy said...

"***What's up with Tom Wolfe worship in HBD circles?***"

Probably because he identifies underlying ethnic conflicts and behavioural differences."

Also because he writes about real things of real importance, rather than so many modern novelists, whose work consists largely of literary masturbation.

Anonymous said...

"I am sure the literati hate Ayn Rand, but as to who has sold more books, I have no idea. The bookshelves seemed to be stacked with tons of Rand stuff ... Wolfe, not so much. I've never seen anyone walking around with a Tom Wolfe shirt on."

What bookstores? Libertarian bookstores? T-shirts? Seriously? WTF?

If you are talking about cult status, no doubt Rand wins, because she was a dogmatic writer with a political cult following (buy the t-shirt!). If you are talking about her quality as a writer, it isn't even close. She is horrificly bad.

No one would be reading Rand's novels today if it weren't for her political cult. Tom Wolfe earned his best selling reputation without having to rely on a political cult to back him up. His novels will be read long after he is dead because they are worth reading as literature, not as polemic.

Anonymous said...

The first "didactic novel" that I can think of is the "Andromeda Strain", written in 1969. True it wasn't "science nonfiction", but I think Crichton wanted readers to consider the real possibility that disease could come from outer space.

Luke Lea said...

Quoting Wes: "With regard to Jewish support for mass immigration and multiculturalism, on one level I understand their arguments for it (from their perspective), but ultimately it seems like the stupidest thing they have done in 50 years. Boneheaded.

They are undermining the very societies that allow them to prosper. I think many are starting to realize it, but sadly it is probably too late."

Too say nothing of the fact that immigration may be undermining America's long-term popular support for the state of Israel, which is in large measure a white, Protestant, working-class phenomenon.

As Mary Peretz once pointed out, Jews seem to be good at everything except government. Politically, they are naive.

For a good history of the problem see, "The Fatal Embrace."

Kylie said...

@Anonymous,

Your comment, which began "But maybe this was the problem. Boomers may have turned out okay but they were raised too permissively, in a 'take it easy' way, and this attitude spread far and wide...." was just excellent in its entirety. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Jewish-American women are getting romantically hammered by Tiger Women."

...which means Tiger Women are being nailed by Jewish Men.

Anonymous said...

"No one dismissed Kant or Satre because of their personal lives."

Are you kidding? Many have attacked Sartre for his personal life.

Svigor said...

Politically, they are naive.

Hilarious to anyone paying attention to the media-cultural skullduggery they've been up to for 50 years.

Mel Torme said...

Wes, in case you still are looking at this thread:

Yes, I am alive and kicking, but, unfortunately for you, I'm not the same velvet fog that you are probably thinking of.

2nd, sure I, myself, would wear a Ann Rand (or even "Ayn" Rand, with the gay spelling) T-shirt over a Tom Wolfe one. That's due to her political views, which mean more to people than any political views of Tom Wolfe. So, anyway, I like her views, but I just can't read books like that. It's not like we have only limited reading material around and need to kill time.

Mr. Anon said...

"Luke Lea said...

As Mary Peretz once pointed out,...."

A comment on Marty's ........ proclivities?

Wes said...

Mel, got your message, and don't give up! You could still take voice lessons and become a crooner.