Jim Newell at Gawker alerts us to Reagan-idolator Peggy Noonan’s fears of an internet planet:
In today’s comical jumble of foggy Victorian wrist spasms, “Youth Has Outlived Its Usefulness,” Noonan lashes out at Earth’s toddler authority figures and their petty, corrosive effects on discourse. They are incompetent, pre-pubescent. Why do these middle-aged men have no midwives or governesses to monitor them as they sway in the cradle?
“Mr. Obama is young, 48, as is British Prime Minister David Cameron (43), with whom he meets next week, and as were Bill Clinton (46 on Inauguration Day) and the somewhat older but still distressingly young George W. Bush, sworn in at 54. Mr. Cameron’s partner in governance, Nicholas Clegg, is also 43. Stephen Harper of Canada is 51, Nicolas Sarkozy of France a youthful 55.
Youth is supposed to bring vigor and vision. In general, however, I think we find in our modern political figures that what it really brings is need-for greatness, to be transformative, to leave a legacy. Such clamorous needs! How very boring they are, how puny and small, but how huge in their consequences.”
And who enables these petulant 50-year-old rapscallion devils? The bloggers, who are somehow even younger! Look at them, on their “Internet” machines, slamming the typing boards like unmedicated Jacobins.
“On the Internet, you read the fierce posts of political and ideological writers and wonder, Why do so many young bloggers sound like hyenas laughing in the dark? Maybe it’s because there’s no old hand at the next desk to turn and say, “Son, being an enraged, profane, unmoderated, unmediated, hit-loving, trash-talking rage monkey is no way to go through life.”
At the age of 54, it would be rather thrilling to be dismissed as a mere stripling, except that Peggy Noonan is a Very Serious Person promoting the Very Serious presidential credentials of… a bunch of piggy-eyed Heartland(tm) Republican hacks. I wish Finley Peter Dunne’s work were more widely available online; during America’s first Gilded Age, he wrote a wonderful satire of punditocratic headshaking over the impetuous results-oriented methods of President ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt that could be substituted for Noonan’s tut-tutting with a simple updating of the proper nouns.
On the other hand, ‘Trash-Talking Rage Monkeys’ would be a great name for a garage band, eh?