To be honest, I think it’s getting past time for somebody to infuse some much-needed skepticism into Malcolm Gladwell‘s writing.
As much as I love and respect Gladwell’s writing- his book, The Tipping Point, is one of my all-time favorites- he’s coasted far too long on an overwhelmingly unchecked public image. Call me cynical, but I believe that few, if any, public figures should enjoy a 100% approval rating.
Kaus doesn’t trash Gladwell- he just raises some interesting arguments that suggest Gladwell’s tendency to sometimes avoid mentioning counter-arguments hinders his points. Kaus’ sharpest criticsm:
Like many New Yorker policy articles, Gladwell’s reads like a lecture to an isolated, ill-informed and somewhat gullible group of highly literate children. They are cheap dates. They won’t think of the obvious objections. They won’t demand that you “play Notre Dame,” as my boss Charles Peters used to say, and take on the best arguments for the other side. They just need to be given a bit of intellectual entertainment and pointed off in a comforting anti-Bush direction.
Interestingly, Gladwell’s healthcare article isn’t getting flack from Kaus only- here’s the IceRocket blog search results for the article’s URL.