Conservative columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks, recently wed his former researcher assistant, Anne Snyder, who is 23 years younger than he is. Old dude trades in first wife for younger model, not exactly breaking news here.
Unless, of course, you’ve staked your reputation on being a national spokesperson for Character and Virtue. In 2015 Brooks wrote “The Road to Character.” Same year? He divorced his wife of 28 years, Sarah.
In a New Yorker profile, Brooks says he wrote the book to “save his soul.”
“I was born with a natural disposition towards shallowness.” Brooks, who established a reputation for sometimes glib but often insightful cultural commentary with “Bobos in Paradise,” his 2000 best-seller, has more recently specialized in applying the latest in brain science and social psychology to larger questions of morality on the Op-Ed pages of the Times. He continues, “I’m paid to be a narcissistic blowhard, to volley my opinions, to appear more confident about them than I really am, to appear smarter than I really am, to appear better and more authoritative than I really am. I have to work harder than most people to avoid a life of smug superficiality.”
Oh come on with the false modesty. David you’re a natural at smug superficiality. And few ever achieve your kind of blowhard narcissism.
I don’t know what’s more endearing really, the way you blame single mothers for their own poverty, (speaking of which, I hope that newly single mom Sarah got a great settlement for herself and those three kids) or your wedding registry. Alas, since last night someone has removed the link! But no worries, the good people at Awl wrote a hilarious bit of satire on it, complete with screen shots. Will someone please buy this couple the Sissinghurst Castle Spoon Rest?
(Did Sarah get all your household items, David, or have you always shopped at Anthropologie?)
Now, I’m not saying that David Brooks had an affair with Anne Snyder. Hey, two people can work on a book about character together platonically for three years. You know, maybe they had long lunches and chastely discussed the Oxford comma. I don’t know. But interestingly, while the book was being written, the Post prematurely announced Brooks was getting divorced in November 2013. Brooks, however, kept his status as
cake-eating married until 2015.
Brooks, easily one of the most admired conservative columnists in America, with a distinguished list of bestselling books, and a vocal critic of morality and cultural habits, devotes the opening paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section to Snyder, gushing about the “lyricism of her prose” and the “sensitivity of her observations.” Brooks says it was Snyder’s influence that led him to write a book about “morality and inner life” and that she was a close partner in the “three years of its writing.”
The big-thinking journalist even gives credit to Snyder for the ideas in The Road to Character, writing: “If there are any important points in this book, they probably come from Anne.”
How nice to have a muse.
His wife? She’s thanked at the end for the “amazing job” she’s done raising their kids. That’s something. Not everyone can be sensitive and lyrical. Enjoy that consolation prize for 28 years of marriage, Sarah!
The muse-now-wife? She’s got a new job as director of the “Character Initiative at The Philanthropy Roundtable, a pilot program that seeks to help foundations and wealth creators around the country advance character formation through their giving.”
I’d like a job like that.
CL: Give me $10,000.
Wealth creator: I don’t know. You look liberal. (That hair, do you comb it?) What are you going to do with my money? Waste it all on orphans or something?
CL: No! I’m taking your money purely to advance your character formation. The more you give, the more solid your character. $10K is just entry-level marshmallow character. I can recommend quartz character for $50K, or if you’re feeling particularly virtuous, a cool million for our granite character special.
Wealth creator: Sign me up! I need some new character! The old character is getting shabby.
Do you folks in Chicago need some character? The newlyweds are on tour together! Check it out. Buy them a spoon rest or something.