My sister, apropos of nothing, just sent me this crazy Peggy Noonan quote from 1992. I assumed she had seen it on Wonkette since that is her only source of news (I consider this very wise), but I couldn’t find it there.
The life of people on earth is obviously better now than it has ever been — certainly much better than it was 500 years ago when people beat each other with cats. This may sound silly but now and then when I read old fairy tales and see an illustration of a hunchbacked hag with no teeth and bumps on her nose who lives by herself in the forest, I think: People looked like that once. They lived like that. There were no doctors, no phones, and people lived in the dark in a hole in a tree. It was terrible. It’s much better now.
I agree with the sentiment here (and I realize she’s kidding obviously), but it is very strange to me that this sort of “historical analysis” (Noonan’s columns nearly always contain something like this) is the kind of thing that official Washington thinks is deserving of Pulitzers.
It’s amazing that in this so-called information age such a huge amount of our discourse — not just the Beck/Palin part of it but the serious, respectable part — is driven by reminiscences of hunchbacks, magical dolphins, nonexistent Applebee’s salad bars, Stagger Lee-style cab drivers, and so on. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why this is so. Bob Somerby’s been at it for ten years and he doesn’t seem to have gotten anywhere with it. It’s probably something for anthropologists of the future to sort out.