... the Jack-Out-of-the-Box: Malcolm Gladwell, explainer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Gladwell often sets up his reports on psychological or social-scientific research with piquant thumbnail sketches. Tall, wearing three earrings and a metal plate in his head, availing himself of profanity of a kind that would make an Algerian camel driver blush, Zack Zipperman, Ph.D. has for the past 26 years, in his windowless laboratory at MIT, been teaching white mice to dance the cha-cha-cha, with interesting results for those who can't comprehend why men born after 1942 never carry handkerchiefs. I parody, but not that wildly.
Too frequently one reads Gladwell's anecdotes, case studies, potted social-science research and thinks: interesting if true. Yet one feels naggingly doubtful about its truth quotient. So much Gladwell writes that is true seems not new, and so much he writes that is new seems untrue. Preponderantly, what he reports feels more like half- and quarter-truths, because they do not pass the final truth test about human nature: They rarely, that is, honor the complexity of life.