A Very Special Wonkette Presentation: Friday with Noonan

We've been hearing from people who read Peggy Noonan's Wall Street Journal column yesterday. Their main question: Has this woman gone irredeemably insane? Of course not. Allegations that Justin Timberlake is a tool of Satan, that Janet Jackson's booby will cause the next 9/11, and that our culture is like a small amphibian all make perfect sense if you understand what she's trying to say. Which is why we present this very special, one-time-only edition of "Translating Peggy Noonan."

Peggy-speakWhat it means
On Saturday night Sept. 8, 2001, I did something unusual. I went to Madison Square Garden to watch the taping of a Michael Jackson special.I usually spend my Saturday nights compulsively re-watching Reagan press conferences. Also, I realize that all events that occurred prior to Sept. 11, 2001 have incredible symbolic power.
We thought it would be fun because we thought it would be strange. We had no idea.What's more "fun" and "strange" than a black entertainer?
Marlon Brando . . . sat at the center of the stage with a mike in his hand and spoke for about 10 minutes in a kind of deranged if harmless free association. People booed. . . they didn't spend this kind of money to see a fat man in a chair say things that might be serious.Couldn't they have gotten Bill Bennett or something?
Whitney Houston. . . was emaciated, like a person in a terrible famine. . . there were repeated reports in the tabloids of drug abuse, and her appearance seemed to buttress them. "Skeletonism," I said to my friend. "I think it's a disease now. You get famous and then turn into a skeleton."Ha ha. I made a joke.
"I feel like we just witnessed the end of our culture," I said. "We are," he said. "It's a freak show now. The whole thing, it's just a freak show."I surround myself with people who think exactly like me.
Two-and-a-half days later came 9/11 and the ending of a world. When my friend and I talked again he said, "Remember that night? You could see it coming then."The terrorists hate us because our pop stars are kinda weird.

Peggy-speakWhat it means
. . . Janet Jackson, whose famous breast was exposed to show the famous nipple decorated by the famous Goth-looking metal sunburst.This whole thing was about the nipple piercing, right? It's the nipple people are worried about, yes?
Oh no, I thought. We're back to the pre-9/11 freak show.I am unaware of the existence of David Gest, Paris Hilton, Vincent Gallo or ""Celebrity Fear Factor."
You have all followed the great controversy, although I'm not sure controversy is the right word for an incident the facts of which no normal human would debate. I believe that the purpose of a debate is to describe what nipples look like.
Was it deliberate? . . . Will an FCC fine of $27,500 stop the networks? Oh sure, in their tracks.I recently learned how sarcasm works.
This was the Super Bowl, after all, a football game in early-evening prime time with children watching, and nice people who hadn't bought into the concept of seeing a sex show.I have never seen or heard of professional football cheerleaders and when a beer commercial comes on the television, I find my memory of it mysteriously wiped clean.
This might be a frog-in-the-water moment. You remember: You put a frog in a nice cool pot of water, and he's happy and swims around. But if you put a flame underneath the pot and slowly raise it, chances are he'll boil to death. On the other hand, if you dump a frog in a boiling pot of water, he'll jump right out and be saved.Just trust me. This metaphor is going to work.
Our culture has been on a boil for years. Then it cooled a bit. The other night at the Super Bowl they put the flame higher and the water began to boil. The frog--that would be us--is still alive. And may, in his shock, jump out of the water.See? Crystal clear. You're the frog, I'm the water, Justin Timberlake is the hand that turns the flame on. . . Are you with me?
But the question is: How? How to turn it around. I wonder if all the sane adult liberals and conservatives couldn't make progress here. But how. Readers?OK, let me explain again. Our culture is a frog. Janet Jackson is the pot and Justin Timberlake is the water. The nipple is the flame. No, wait. . . The nipple is the water, Janet is the flame and Whitney Houston is the frog. Hold on, I'm almost getting it. . .

Janet Jackson and the Frog [WSJ]


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