Friday, January 14, 2011

What the science of human nature can teach us : The New Yorker

David Brooks is at it again. I should have known it wasn't going to go well when I read this:
You can see a paragon of the Composure Class having an al-fresco lunch at some bistro in Aspen or Jackson Hole. He’s just back from China and stopping by for a corporate board meeting on his way to a five-hundred-mile bike-a-thon to support the fight against lactose intolerance. He is asexually handsome, with a little less body fat than Michelangelo’s David. As he crosses his legs, you observe that they are immeasurably long and slender. He doesn’t really have thighs. Each leg is just one elegant calf on top of another. His voice is so calm and measured that he makes Barack Obama sound like Sam Kinison. He met his wife at the Clinton Global Initiative, where they happened to be wearing the same Doctors Without Borders support bracelets. They are a wonderfully matched pair; the only tension between them involves their workout routines. For some reason, today’s high-status men do a lot of running and biking and so only really work on the muscles in the lower half of their bodies. High-status women, on the other hand, pay ferocious attention to their torsos, biceps, and forearms so they can wear sleeveless dresses all summer and crush rocks with their bare hands.
But I kept reading, hoping we'd eventually get to the bit about the "science of human nature." Instead it's an extended fantasy of cobbled together studies and just-so stories related to courtship and "happiness."

Let's face it "Composure Class" isn't as catchy as "Bobo", but it's probably a smart move to flatter the wannabe new plutocrats at the stage. Who would identify so closely with an article in the New Yorker or fuss about how happy they are. These are first world problems, version 2.0.