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Thursday, May 15, 2014

David Brooks, "Stairway to Wisdom": So Enlighten Us About Jill Abramson's Dismissal

"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."

- Bertrand Russell

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Stairway to Wisdom" (, David Brooks seeks to explain the nature of knowledge. Using as an example teen pregnancy and informing us that "[o]ur master-teacher here is Augustine," Brooks concludes:

"There is a tendency now, especially for those of us in the more affluent classes, to want to use education to make life more predictable, to seek control as the essential good, to emphasize data that masks the remorseless unpredictability of individual lives. But people engaged in direct contact with problems like teenage pregnancy are cured of those linear illusions. Those of us who work with data and for newspapers probably should be continually reminding ourselves to bow down before the knowledge of participation, to defer to the highest form of understanding, which is held by those who walk alongside others every day, who know the first names, who know the smells and fears."


And given that Brooks almost certainly has "walked beside" Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of the Times, Jill Abramson, its former executive editor, and Dean Baquet, its new executive editor, and surely knows all three by their first names, perhaps he would care to inform us about the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Abramson. Maybe he would care to describe the "smells and fears" surrounding this occurrence.

Was Abramson dismissed because she demanded to receive the same compensation package received by her predecessor, Bill Keller (see:

Or, should we simply ignore Abramson's dismissal and pursue other, more abstract knowledge, less close to home, for its own sake?


  1. You are right and Brooks is ... absurd, like everything and everyone in this tower on 8th Avenue.
    Brooks has been striking these absurd pseudo-philosophical, pseudo-theological, pseudo-ethical poses for decades, while ... spending all these decades .. at Der Neue Stuermer and kissing dirty, smelly a--s of those in power.

  2. Oh the truth will come out. Maybe Abramson will write a book. Brooks is a ninny; he's a lefty liberal's idea of what a conservative would be. True conservatives laugh at him.