On the Opinion Page: April 1, 2008

01Apr08

In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

David Brooks/Pitching with Purpose

The Short Version: The key to life (and baseball) is mental discipline.

In his words: “Not long ago, Americans saw the rise of a therapeutic culture that placed great emphasis on self-discovery, self-awareness and self-expression.”

Score: D (Destroyed)
Although we are almost never inclined to viewing life through baseball, we were relieved that Brooks spends most of his column discussing the art of mental discipline in a way that is fairly compelling. Ultimately, however, he sets us a false dichotomy between mental discipline and self-discovery that seems drawn from the Hollywood stereotype of therapy as something for the weak-minded (and — let’s be honest — effeminate). Which is sad, because we have met far too many people — and often very “successful” ones — who possess an excess of mental discipline but whose eyes reflect a vacant and oddly destroyed terror at unearthing the secrets of the self. Is there any reason not to strive for both?  

Timothy Egan/Fresh Ideas for a Tired Crusade

The Short Version: The war on drugs is stupid. Just ask Rick Steves.

In his words: “If it takes a churchgoing guidebook writer who spent his college years as a member of the marching band to call for an end to a tired war, so be it.”

The Score: B- (Boring)
We don’t disagree with anything Egan has to say, but his earnest, suburban prose leaves us wanting to smoke crack.  

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