Thursday, October 27, 2005

WELCOME TO OUR WORLD, CRAZY JESUS LADY! Peggy Noonan’s Dies Ire offers the expected laughs -- her equivalence of apocalyptic symptoms (“nuts with nukes, epidemics”) with swears on the TV; her suggestion, with “It's beyond, ‘The president is overwhelmed.’ The presidency is overwhelmed,” that if George W. Bush can’t handle the job, by God no one can; and the sort of sound bytes that, were they snipped out of the context of, say, a local cable babbler’s TV show, would be cruelly unfair, but which in Noonan’s case do not distort but rather distill her special, mad Irish poetry (“You say we don't understand Africa? We don't even understand Canada!”).

But there is a sort of poignancy there, too. For the most part I don’t feel sorry for Noonan. She made a pile of money as the Riefenstahl of Reaganism; she continues to rake it in as a propagandist; whatever discomfort her obvious mental infirmities bring her are no recompense in the cosmic scale for the confusion she has sown and the misery it has caused.

Still, the sight of Noonan Lasching herself over the revolt of the elites makes one wonder if perhaps she has glimpsed, among the stuffed goblins marked “liberalism” with which she has been accustomed to populate her dreamscapes, something like an actual demon:
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.
There is something in this that suggests a real, if momentary and (for her) unsustainable insight: that the “elites” know the jig is up and don’t give a damn, so long as the gulf between them and us stays wide enough to keep the molten lava off their private beaches and the agonized screams faint enough to be masked by a Sound Machine.

One important thing is missing, though: any sign of awareness that any specific members of these elites brought about this state of affairs, by consciously widening that gap between themselves and ourselves – that anyone had effected a specific and dastardly plan to concentrate the wealth and power of our nation in the hands of the few, with the cover story that thence it would trickle down to the rest of us – and that Peggy Noonan had written their speeches, accepted their honoraria, and to this day speaks of them as if they were our greatest benefactors.

Perhaps, now that she is not attending so many state dinners or answering Presidential calls, she is no longer entirely sure which side of the chasm she occupies.

I don’t believe in Hell, so it may be that the vague fear which currently ruffles her fine hairs is as close to physical justice as the crack-brained hag will ever get. Well, it is not enough, but it’s something.

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