Put this in the department of specious comparisons. David Brooks seems to be in China, where he personally interviewed some of the survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan province. He concludes:
These were weird, unnerving interviews, and I don’t pretend to understand what’s going on in the minds of people who have suffered such blows and remained so optimistic. All I can imagine is that the history of this province has given these people a stripped-down, pragmatic mentality: Move on or go crazy. Don’t dwell. Look to the positive. Fix what needs fixing. Work together.
I don’t know if it’s emotionally sustainable or even healthy, but it raises at least one interesting question. When you compare these people to the emotional Sturm und Drang over lesser things on reality TV, you do wonder if we Americans are a nation of whiners.
I guess I could imagine more. Maybe the (still authoritarian) Chinese government's press handlers really know what they're doing. Not only did Brooks buy their story, he advanced it by comparing it to the worst American TV culture has to offer. I'll never look at Big Brother the same way again.
*I changed "totalitarian" to "authoritarian" because it seems more accurate.