New York Times columnist David Brooks is a somewhat prominent intellectual of our time, which is a really sad, scathing indictment of our time. This spring, the generally vacuous talking head will take his shallow, self-important brand of alleged conservatism to Yale University to teach an undergraduate course entitled “Humility.”
The Daily Caller is not making this up (and could not possibly make this up).
According to The Yale Herald’s Bullblog, which first noticed this deliciously ironic happening, Brooks has bloviated on the topic of humility in the Times and at the Aspen Ideas Festival, a weeklong series of discussions and seminars held annually at a fancypants ski resort full of mega-millionaires.
The course description for GLBL 345 reads thusly:
Traditions of modesty and humility in character building and political leadership. Contemporary understandings of character and character building. The premise that human beings are blessed but are also burdened by sinfulness, ignorance and weakness. The concept of humility in works by and about Homer, Moses, Augustine, Montaigne, Burke, Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others.
TheDC deferentially notes that the entire description is bereft of a single complete sentence, but maybe that’s how they write the humble course descriptions in New Haven.
The letters GLBL stand for global affairs, an interdisciplinary major which, the department explains, “prepares Yale students for global citizenship and leadership by enhancing their understanding of the world around them.”
“I taught at Yale about six or seven years ago and at Duke since and really enjoyed it,” Professor Brooks said, according to New York magazine, “so I was pleased to be able to do it again. I’m going to commute up Mondays and Tuesdays each week.”
New York magazine was also able to contact Brooks via email.
“The title of the Humility course is, obviously, intentionally designed to provoke smart ass jibes, but there’s actually a serious point behind it,” the PBS NewsHour regular and self-appointed cultural commentator explained.
“People from Burke to Niebuhr, Augustine to Dorothy Day, Montaigne to MLK and Samuel Johnson to Daniel Kahneman have built philosophies around our cognitive, moral and personal limitations. The course is designed to look at these strategies as a guide for life and politics and everything else,” he added.