The final three sentences of today's David Brooks column ("The Summoned Life") --
The first vision is more American.
The second vision is more common elsewhere.
But they are both probably useful for a person trying to live a well-considered life.
-- summoned me to share with the Young Writer out there exactly how you too can learn to write a New York Times Opinion Page Editorial just like America's Last Reasonable Conservative, David Brooks!
In just 10 Easy Steps you'll be punditting like a pro!
1) Pick a subject. Any subject. From Tasseled Loafers to Torture, it literally does not matter.
2) Quote extensively from one person or group on the subject. It's OK to just more-or-less copy and paste in big hunks of what whatever-you-happen-to-be-reading-at-the-moment to flesh out your 800-word column. Here at the Times we call that "research"!
3) Quote from some other person or group on the same subject who appears to hold a different opinion. If no actual opposition exists, just put on your Magic Green Jacket and invent an opposing opinion.
4) Although such is not the case with today's subject, as often as possible, try to impute these fictional distinctions to the different hemispheres of the political Universe. So no matter how bigoted, reckless or just bugfuck crazy the Right behaves, you just go right ahead and blandly assert with no supporting evidence whatsoever that the Left is equally and oppositely bad in exactly the same qualities and quantities. Here at the Times we call that "seriousness"!
5) Discover in your final paragraph or two that -- amazingly! -- the precise midpoint between those two completely artificial positions on an imaginary spectrum just happens to be exactly the Right and Reasonable answer!
6) Rinse and repeat. No matter what the subject, no matter how false or bizarre the equivalence, just rinse and repeat. Twice a week.
7) Every week.
9) After year.
10) After year.
Long ago this stopped being a "style", and started being a fetish, Mr. Brooks
It's called "Asymmetriphobia": a horror of asymmetrical things.
FYI, this posted started life as a comment on the NYT website where it clearly ran afoul of somebody and was wished into the cornfield along with all other bad things.