Friday, December 1


Peggy Noonan, "Grace Under Pressure:
Difficult times call for less-contentious politics." OJ, December 1

We're going to need grace. We are going to need a great outbreak of grace to navigate the next difficult months.

The cynical middle-aged guy I sometimes talk to mentioned that there are two times you hear calls for civility in politics: immediately after Republicans have finished sliming someone, and then again after they've fucked things up as his replacement.

And the cynical middle-aged guy turns to me and says, "Remember the backhand slaps at Clinton in Bush's first inaugural address? Remember that it took him nearly two months--and the exhaustion of the news cycle--to allow as how Air Force One hadn't been trashed, and that meanwhile the six weeks' tubthumping about Vandalgate, Giftgate, and Pardongate, all led by his press secretary, all complete bullshit, got a "we're putting that behind us. My administration is all about being positive? Remember? Republicans deserve exactly the same Grace they exhibit."

I am thinking about getting him a hack license.
Much has been strained. We were all concussed by 9/11--we reeled--and came down where we came down. For the administration, extreme events prompted radical thinking. American exceptionalism was yesterday. They would be universalists, their operating style at once dreamy and aggressive: All men want the same thing, and we're giving it to them whether they want it or not. Now the dreamers hope to be saved by men--James Baker, Vernon Jordan--they once dismissed as cynics.

Reading Peggers this AM I was suddenly reminded of what Mailer said in The White Negro, something about how actual Negroes, because they'd been forced to suppress the tiniest emotional response for generations for fear of being unexpectedly gifted with a new necktie, had achieved a curious reversal: their deepest thoughts played on the surface, while their surface emotions remained buried. And after the last couple weeks of viewing or listening to reporters playing Ring Around the Rosy with the corpse of US politics--breathlessly awaiting the withered foregone conclusion that is the Baker-Hamilton commission, reporting one-time President George W. Bush's pre-response as though the man still has a gauntlet to throw down, trying to inflate the House Majority Leader vote into something big enough to qualify as a story--it occurred to me that Nooners is the Hipster Reporter. She can't help blurting out her deepest fears as everyday banter. Angels, or the Elect, or a guy in a big white hat are always coming to her rescue. But all the surface stuff, like "George W. is a bonehead", "all that Reaganaut stuff has been reduced to ashes while I stood by and cheered", or "despite my faith, my brain still feels like there's something crawling around in there", all those things remain out of sight though, unfortunately for Peggy, far from hidden.


D. Sidhe said...

Peggy tends to strike me as a more public version of the sweet little old lady down the block who serves wonderful teas and racist rants to unsuspecting strangers. It's like homemade sugar cookies and vicious condemnation of the Nips from your charming grandmother. You're always tempted to dismiss it, but man is it disturbing.

golombek said...

As must have been said a zillion times already, I can't believe she gets paid for writing that stuff.