It was just the other day when, with snow falling as gentle as Jesus’ dandruff, Peggy Noonan took up her quill and dashed off a few haiku over a pitcher of saki with a bourbon chaser:
Full fat flake fell far
To sleep on the rude pavement.
Grraaawwwr. The shovel. Run!
Unique. Liquefies, blends. A
Loss, but less lonely
All New York today
Is slush. Slip, fall, “Have a hand!”
We shyly love mess
Snow meets us, observes,
Turns gray and thick in protest.
It is a critique.
Cried “Tanya” not “Lara” when
Fevered. Oh poor man.
You can do this too
On a cold slushy day in
Oddly enough, we expected:
Elian, my love
Oh look, a magic dolphin!
Chill the vodka please
But as Donald Rumsfeld once said: “You go to the bar with the haiku you have, not the haiku you want.”
It has been a soft and gentle winter for Peggy: gazing out from her Upper East Side pied-à-terre, watching the snow silently drift down, Perry Como playing on the stereo console, dreaming about Ronald Reagan chopping wood, his shirtless chest glistening with a film of real American man-sweat….
When Peggy was startled from her two-sheets-to-the-wind reverie by a cacophony from down below. The nerve of those people! How rude!
Oh wait, it’s just the rich folks dropping their guard, taking off their masks, and letting their asshole-flags fly.
Peggy Noonan, Wordwrangler to the Last Great Man-Of-The-People President (that would be Ronald Reagan) does not approve of your fratty gauche shenanigans, billionaire people!
They are America’s putative great business leaders. They are laughing, singing, drinking, posing in drag and acting out skits. The skits make fun of their greed and cynicism. In doing this they declare and make clear, just in case you had any doubts, that they are greedy and cynical.
All of this is supposed to be merry, high-jinksy, unpretentious, wickedly self-spoofing. But it seems more self-exposing, doesn’t it?
And all of it feels so decadent.
Do gone on Peggy, while I freshen your drink. I know, I know: no lemon twist, if you had wanted lemonade, you would have ordered lemonade… [insert delighted tinkling laughter followed by an unintended snort]
They’re all kind of running America.
They all seem increasingly decadent.
What are the implications of this, do you think?
They’re making their videos, holding their parties and having a ball. OK. But imagine you’re a Citizen at Home just grinding through—trying to do it all, the job, the parenthood, the mowing the lawn and paying the taxes. No glamour, all responsibility and effort. And you see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.
What happens to a nation whose elites laugh at its citizens?
What happens to its elites?
Peggy puts down her pen, turns off the Como, slips Les Misérables into the BluRay player, pulls her pashmina tightly around her, and settles in to watch Hugh Jackman; his naked chest glistening with a film of real French man-sweat, and Peggy thinks:
Après Hugh, le déluge…