If You Read Only One Non-Fiction Book This Year …

… make it The Social Animal, by David Brooks.   In brief, it’s a brilliant cultural exposition in the style of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile, so it reads more like a novel than the social science treatise that it is.  I couldn’t put it down this afternoon, yet I don’t have time to finish reading it.  The stealth way it caught my eye, being a featured book at BookTowne where I nestled with into it in my favorite chair, should have been a clue.  Just as well; I’ll savor it as my morning reading this week at Starbucks.  Brooks has surprisingly little to say directly about two topics on which I expected him to focus:  Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Race Relations.

The latter has been on my mind alot this weekend after a weekly Friday phone chat with my father. In passing, I mentioned how unfortunate recent events in Center City Philadelphia have been, with flash mobs of black youth using social media to organize pack attacks on innocent and defenseless passersby.  In Cosby-esque fashion, Michael Nutter, the City’s Mayor, unleashed a verbal attack on “his own”, prefacing his remarks by saying: I’m not going to be politically correct and tell you what you want to hear.  I’m going to tell you what you need to hear.

Certainly there will be apologists who attack Mayor Nutter in the same vein that Michael Eric Dyson took Cosby, another Philadelphian, to task.  Much as social media fueled uprisings and revolutions on a different level in other countries, it apparently has stoked the seething flames smoldering among these youth.  Brooks bypasses the role of social media in shaping The Social Animal, and in one sense it’s what makes the book such a refreshing read.  It’s the same feeling I had when I viewed this video of Mayor Nutter, at a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate race of a different kind.  It’s the Race Street Pier in Philly off the Delaware River.  And as Nutter noted, it serves as a model for what acting as a responsible can accomplish.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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