David Brooks, mildly conservative columnist for the New York Times, penned an op-ed Tuesday distinguishing "engaged" writers from the "detached" writers. Essentially, engaged ones push a position while detached ones simply seek out the best, most accurate information.
In his column, Brooks inexplicably refers to the engaged writer as "he" and the detached writer as "she," though both are hypothetical.
James Taranto, opinion page editor of the Wall Street Journal, has a theory on the gender prescriptions.
Tanranto writes in WSJ Wednesday:
Brooks offers advice for a hypothetical "young person beginning to write about politics and policy." You have a choice, he suggests, between being "engaged" and being "detached." ...
[T]he detached writer "wants to be a few steps away from the partisans. . . . She wants to remain mentally independent because she sees politics as a competition between partial truths, and she wants the liberty to find the proper balance between them, issue by issue." Brooks seems to have himself in mind here, although the choice of pronouns suggests previously undisclosed issues of sexual identity.