Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cheap shots: Double Take

John Barrymore in Sam Taylor's Tempest (1928).
I abhor, of course, all kinds of cheap and prurient gossip, even in the realm of Brooksiana, but I feel I have to say something about this opening graf of the Acknowledgments to The Road to Character:

Politico (H/t RealityChex for pointing me to the story in general) has reported that people are talking about this passage because of the odd way in which it fails to say what Snyder is, or was at the time the book was written (a twenty-something research assistant at the Times; she's now 30, and living in Houston, not, presumably, with Joel Kotkin),
as the only person not given a specific title: Fact-checker, editor, friend, parent, or even “ex-wife.”
and the fact that while she was having this peculiar moral influence over him, his long marriage was breaking up, as everybody knows, and inquiring minds want to etc. Cutting to the rather Clintonian chase,
Brooks’ publicist answered only in the present tense: “He is not in a relationship with Anne Snyder.” 
The reason I have to say something about it is just that I scooped the story nearly two years ago, sort of, after he gave her a similar acknowledgment for helping out with a particularly idiotic column of June 2013. That is, I didn't get what his connection with Snyder was, but I did get that there was something mysterious about it (and the fact that, as he himself notes, she is a better writer than he is):
what she did for Brooks is simply left unclear (she "delineates several possible changes to the social fabric" but we don't know where or which ones he cited); as far as I can tell from her blogging at Humane Pursuits her main contribution is to have offered an explicitly Christian perspective on Charles Murray's Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, a book that seems to account for a lot of Brooks's current preoccupations. She has an arch and literate style, though.
Just saying. (I would like to express the hope that the sex was largely or even entirely in his head.)

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