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Thursday, May 1, 2014

David Brooks, "Love Story": Love in the Time of Chimera

Gabriel García Márquez, author of "Love in the Time of Cholera," died two weeks ago, and with his passing, at least for me, love died as I had once imagined it. Sure, I can take my copy of his masterpiece off the shelf and blow the dust from its cover, but I doubt, today, whether I am capable of emulating Florentino Ariza's enduring passion.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Love Story" (, David Brooks describes a real-life love story from Leningrad, which occurred almost 70 years ago, involving philosopher Isaiah Berlin and poetess Anna Akhmatova. Brooks concludes:

"For Berlin, this night was the most important event of his life. Akhmatova was stuck in the Soviet Union, living under a regime of manipulation, fear and lies. She suffered horrendously for it. The regime decided that she had cavorted with a British spy. She was expelled from the Writer’s Union. Her son was thrown into prison. She was desolated but never blamed Berlin, speaking of him fervently and writing movingly about the numinous magic of that night.

I’m old enough to remember when many people committed themselves to this sort of life and dreamed of this sort of communion — the whole Great Books/Big Ideas thing. I am not sure how many people believe in or aspire to this sort of a life today. I’m not sure how many schools prepare students for this kind of love."

How many people "believe in or aspire to this sort of a life today"? Not many. They're too busy seeking a prestigious job with Google (see:

Or, they're preoccupied with adding a selfie to their homepage on Facebook.

Or, like me, they are overwhelmed by nausea after contemplating Jay Carney's efforts to explain away the White House's refusal to turn over to Congress an email from Ben Rhodes, which established the "goal" of underscoring "that these protests [in Benghazi] are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy" (see: It's hard to fathom, but Americans are paying Carney for his equivocation and derision, i.e. a new age masochistic indulgence.

"How many schools prepare students for this kind of love"? You are truly imagining a different epoch, David.


  1. Love has failed so many modern people -- so easy to break up with numerous "live-in" relationships and make them secondary to work commitments. And marriage? that started dying with the advent of "no fault" divorce, that let one party unilaterally end a 30 year marriage with kids -- for any reason, or no reason at all. Gay marriage pounded the last few nails in. Most young (straight) people now have little interest in marriage, which seems transient and expensive, and even when it exists, it's only for the children and not romantic love. In a dog eat dog world, love is for losers. Winners spend 90 hours a week in the office, and sleep with their smartphones.

    1. I think I'm in love . . .