Friday, April 22, 2016

What Is It With Peggy Noonan And That Paul Simon Song?

"Bush's writers-Robert Grady, who wrote speeches for Bush during the 1988 campaign, Peggy Noonan, who wrote for former President Ronald Reagan, and Roger Ailes, who managed Bush's campaign advertising-sought a way to connect with younger voters, a key voting bloc for the GOP.
The device they chose was a simple phrase-'this age of miracles and wonders'-drawn from one of Paul Simon's largest-selling songs. Noonan had employed a similar device in Bush's highly successful 1988 GOP convention speech..."
- LA Times article on the '92 Bush campaign, 1/29/92

"'These are the days of miracle and wonder,' sang Paul Simon in the 1980s. It ran through my head all morning, from out of nowhere, and I think I know why." 
- Column on the Challenger disaster, 2/1/03

"Crazy Jersey Guy in the second car is blasting the wild opening of the first cut of "Graceland" by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Paul Simon:
And the sun was beating 
On the soldiers by the side of the road . . . 
These are the days of miracles and wonders 
This is the long-distance call
Driver of the first car grabs the radio. Old Man stops him. Laughs through his nose. Says, 'Give it a second.'
They race forward in the darkness.
'Don't cry baby, don't cry . . .'"
- Imagining the Special Forces raid that will someday kill Osama bin Laden, 3/10/03

"As the lyrics came—'The way we look to a distant constellation / That’s dying in a corner of the sky / . . . Don’t cry baby / Don’t cry'—my eyes filled with tears. And a sob welled up and I literally put my hands to my face and sobbed, silently, for I suppose a minute."
- Discussing the 2016 election, 4/21/16

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  1. The song itself is ambivalent about technology in a sort of Dickens' "best of times, worst of times" sense. But to modern conservatives, technology is always good. It provides two things. First, it provides profit to the "makers." Second, its promise provides a rationalization for doing nothing through collective action. Remember that before conservatives got organized into global warming denial, their response was, "Technology will save us; it always has."

    But if you look back at Reagan's "sunny" outlook on the future, it was based on a studied ignorance. It depended upon glorifying the Moon landing and ignoring the Hiroshima bombing, even though they were both the products of the Cold War. And this studied ignorance goes much deeper than technology. Happy Face Conservatism is all about pretending that everything is okay. And I can see how that's appealing, as long as you and those you love aren't being harmed. These are the days of miracle and wonder. They are also the days drone attacks on wedding parties.

  2. Really, Nooners should be looking farther along in the lyrics to find anything that relates to her WSJ readers and the GOP; "A loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires..."

  3. Peggers has been hitting the Grey Goose pretty hard since the beginning of the Trumpenera. At this point maudlin snatches of pop songs appear to be about her apogee...


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