Touchy-feely fanaticism

Touchy-feely fanaticism
: David Brooks has a very odd column in today’s Times.

He attacks Mitch Albom and his touchy-feely ilk. And I’m jiggy with that. I can’t stand Deepak et al filling bookshelves and PBS at pledge time and minds with their self-indulgent pap.

But then Brooks quite oddly decides to compare and contrast Albom with Mel Gibson. And if that’s all he did, I wouldn’t necessarily agree but I wouldn’t be posting about it. Except he goes one step further: He uses Gibson as a proxy for religoius fundamentalism and fanaticism (I still won’t argue) but even then still says Albom et al are more dangerous.

Who worries you most, Mel Gibson or Mitch Albom? Do you fear Gibson, the religious zealot, the man accused of narrow sectarianism and anti-Semitism, or Albom, the guy who writes sweet best sellers like “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven?”

I worry about Albom more, because while religious dogmatism is always a danger, it is less of a problem for us today than the soft-core spirituality that is its opposite. As any tour around the TV dial will make abundantly clear, we do not live in Mel Gibson’s fire-and-brimstone universe. Instead, we live in a psychobabble nation. We’ve got more to fear from the easygoing narcissism that is so much part of the atmosphere nobody even thinks to protest or get angry about it.

Have you read the news the last two and a half years, Mr. Brooks? I’d say that religous dogmatism — fundamentalism and fanaticism — is a well-proven danger! It is causing wars and hate crimes and terrorism and, some would say (see below), peril to the Constitution. To lump Gibson in with all that is odd enough but then to dismiss all that as trivial against the crap-think of Albom et al is most odd.