Peggy Works Blue In The Red States
Now that Bob Novak has given legitimacy to the art form, Peggy Noonan has decided to work blue as well.
I end that sentence with a preposition to segue into my favorite story this summer of cultural tensions and differences as navigated by two American women. A Southern lady sees a vacationing society lady from the Northeast. The Southern lady is gregarious: "Where y'all from?" Society lady is put off: "I'm from a place where they don't end sentences with a preposition." Southern lady smiles, nods her head: "Beg your pardon. Where y'all from, bitch?"
It's fun to see cultures collide, because that's one of the ways you know they still exist.
Such fun. Almost as much fun as when the Southern lady saw three law-abiding Muslim men and up an' called the po-lice men.
And it's a true story, too. Barbara Bush tried to have the woman killed for her insolence, but Peggy distracted Bar with some gin.
We've gotten ahead of ourselves.
Peggy's foul-mouthed joke is featured in the opening paragraphs of her most recent WSJ Online column. After a well-deserved absence, Nooners has returned to her column with her verbal vacation slides from West Virginia, the Nation's Ashtray.
Reading Peg's ramblings, blogger Tristam Shandy points out that Peg never takes a vacation from inaccuracy. Quoting Peg, Tristam writes:
Someone else said, approvingly, "Everyone keeps a gun in West Virginia. Crime is low." Later I would be told it has the lowest violent crime per capita in the United States. It is very nice, when traveling, to see your beliefs and assumptions statistically borne out.
Something about this didn't ring true, didn't jibe with Peggy's usual strict, zen-like adherence to accuracy. Hmmmm, what could it be? Yes, the careless use of easily accessible statistics! In this case, we refer to violent crime numbers.
Peggy, we say this with all the love and admiration in the world: whomever "told you" that little nugget of heartland bushwa is retarded. Because there are eight -- count 'em, eight -- states with lower numbers than West Virginia.
As our contribution to this essay, we point out this emerald Peg dug from the turds:
We went to a little old coal-mining town, where we visited what used to be the company store and is now an antique shop. I saw the scrip with which the operators paid the miners. I thought scrip was paper money, but it's thin metal ovals like quarters and nickels, with the number of the mine the miner works in stamped through. In a side room was a picture of the company store as it had been circa 1900. The whole right side of the store was a long polished bar, with rows of whiskey bottles along the walls. This in a place that was relatively impoverished. The other half of the store sold dry goods.
You can see the whole beginning of the Ladies Christian Temperance Union right in this picture, I thought: Maybe Prohibition was a Protestant movement and not a Catholic one in some part because the Catholics of the East weren't paid in scrip but with green money, so an edge of coercion -- We'll work you to death and then force you to pay high prices for our whiskey as you pour out your woes -- and the resentment coercion brings, was missing.
Besides, Irish Catholics would sell their children before giving up the drink.
PegAnon means to refer to the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, but we'll cut her some slack because...well, you know.
But I'm not sure what to make of her incoherent theory that temperance crusades began as a Prot revolt against overpriced booze in company stores. The WCTU tells a different tale:
Hillsboro, Ohio is credited with being the birthplace of the Woman's Temperance Crusade. Dr. Dio Lewis gave a lecture on Temperance at the Hillsboro Music Hall on the evening of December 23, 1873. On the morning of December 24, 1873, under the leadership of Mrs. Eliza Thompson, daughter of a former governor and wife of a highly respected judge, seventy women arose from their knees and started from the Presbyterian church to the saloons.
Sounds like the foremothers of that uptight Northern society bitch were behind it all.
Peg will be glad to hear that the modern WCTU opposes stem cell research, equal marriage rights and human cloning. Peg could get elected president of the U., if not for one thing.
Okay, two, three, tops.
Finally, there is no rational explanation except advanced dementia for this final set of Peg anecdotes:
At the store the man behind the counter was friendly, intelligent and missing an eye. He had no artificial eye, no eye patch, just a red space where the eye would be. When I asked his name he said, "Jack, but my friends call me One Eye." I nodded at this information and remembered what a friend told me. He works with a local man who was complaining about his lazy brother-in-law who's on welfare. "He wouldn't take a job in a pie factory!"