For anyone who has ever asked himself, “What’s David Brooks thinking?”

Brooks…admits he is something of a throwback. “This is going to sound pretentious, but I try to be a 1950s public intellectual in 2008, in 800 words.”

Just for fun, fill in the blanks, but imagine it’s Brooks’s co-New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd talking: “This is going to sound ____, but I try to be a ____, in 800 words.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.