Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Heart of Brooksness: Addendum

Illustration by Lisl Weil.

*Fun discovery: You know how Trump transforms his reading into action, as Jordan was describing it in comments yesterday?
staffers do a Google News search for "Donald J. Trump" every morning, print out the results, and bring them to Trump, who goes through them with a marker pen and indicates which passages piss him off or whatever and then tells [his 27-year-old assistant press agent Hope] Hicks to add the authors of the offending material to his "banned" list, where they linger indefinitely until he changes his mind.
There's a remarkable affinity between that and the way Brooks writes a column, as reported by Danny Funt at Columbia Journalism Review, including an apparent reluctance to use a computer, clearly something you might call a basic of the modern economy, but more than that:
Brooks writes each column on the day of its deadline. For every column, on his office floor, he creates a pile for each paragraph made up of news clippings, cut-out scans of book pages, and handwritten notes. When he referred in his book to his current assistant, the 28-year-old [April] Lawson, as his “editor,” it wasn’t far from true. After he gives her a draft of his 806-word column (he tries to hit that number on the nose every time), she returns a list of notes that’s often just as long. Brooks’ assistants resemble Supreme Court law clerks: They do significant research, they have hefty roles in writing, and they’re often drawn from the Ivy League.
Of course Trump wouldn't use the floor. "Disgusting!"

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