Peggy Noonan Sees a Bright, Insane Future
Friday! Peggy!She has predictions, for you, your dogs, your hair, and especially for your abandoned skyscrapers. Peggy Noonan does not simply sit in her Upper East Side apartment gulping whisky sours while breathlessly watching RedTube clips, her small nervous hands clutching her crucifix, and other things. No! She looks outside, sometimes. She long suspected something was a bit different out there -- once, not so many months ago, she ventured out on foot. Things had changed. The bustle was gone, the Mexican was no longer handing out advertisements and then running, in terror, as Peggy Noonan yelled Reagan-esque platitudes and tried to ... catch this Mexican. It is hard to catch household slaves. It is a game for the young, really. Peggy remembers when she was young. It was the Seventies.
Now! What was life like, for the witty and ambitious Jersey Girl who found herself in Manhattan during its glory days of Studio 54 and oh my god so much cocaine and the rouge just slathered on the cheeks and the Farrah flippy hair and the velvet ropes and Elaine's, oh it will never be so sweet again, New York City, bite the Big Apple, don't mind the maggots.
Right. The maggots. They were there, too -- both metaphorical and actually real, squirming all over the massive piles of uncollected garbage. And what had possessed these gaunt youngsters of lesser means, making such an insane racket at what was, presumably, a venue for quaint hill music, country and bluegrass? What kind of awful insult to human beauty was happening, with this chopped hair and ripped dungarees and strange, skinny ties?
And the race riots, the serial killers, Ed Koch, and the worst of all: the blackout. The day those towers of commerce went dark. Never again, Peggy. Never again.
In New York some signs of that future are obvious: fewer cars, less traffic, less of the old busy hum of the economic beehive. New York will, literally, get dimmer. Its magical bright-light nighttime skyline will glitter less as fewer companies inhabit the skyscrapers and put on the lights that make the city glow.
A prediction: By 2010 the mayor, in a variation on broken-window theory, will quietly enact a bright-light theory, demanding that developers leave the lights on whether there are tenants in the buildings or not, lest the world stand on a rise in New Jersey and get the impression no one's here and nobody cares.
Yes! We shan't let the triple demon of global warming and broken energy infrastructure and economic collapse keep the lights off in Manhattan! Fuck the barbaric darkness, fuck it dead.
Now, the amphetamines surge in her heart, the ideas swirl erotically in her fogged brain, her eyes are trying to get out but somehow, by the grace of God, they remain tethered to the sockets. There is, and she feels this most certainly now, a connection -- a nearly visible gossamer thread, direct from the Most Holy and straight down to the ethernet jack in the back of her neck. Prophecy! This is what is to come, oh hear ye, mighty Babylon on the Hudson!
More predictions. The cities and suburbs of America are about to get rougher-looking. This will not be all bad. There will be a certain authenticity chic. Storefronts, pristine buildings—all will spend less on upkeep, and gleam less.
Yes! Those gaunt youngsters of the late '70s, they were ... they were right. Dear God, there is something beautiful, indeed there is something chic about this run-down America of lost hopes and aborted dreams. The future!
Teeth clenched, fingers skittering across the keyboard like metallic spiders, the words from on high now visible, swimming wildly before her engorged pupils, a whirlwind of truth -- yes, she feels the actual wind sting her face -- this recession, just now barely as severe as the one she sleepwalked through in the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan's own not-so-great Depression, will permanently change not only Manhattan, but the entire nation! Behold:
People will be allowed to grow old again. There will be a certain liberation in this. There will be fewer facelifts and browlifts, less Botox, less dyed hair among both men and women. They will look more like people used to look, before perfection came in. Middle-aged bodies will be thicker and softer, with more maternal and paternal give. There will be fewer gyms and fewer trainers, but more walking. Gym machines produced the pumped and cut look. They won't be so affordable now.
Yes! Thicker, yet thinner! The "pumped and cut look," which does not exist outside of a certain New York homosexual male demographic, will soon fall aside, replaced by fat people. Imagine! And those home fitness machines people buy and never use, they won't be so affordable now, not with thousands of them for sale on Craigslist, right now, for about a hundred bucks on average.
And hair dye, that fantastic trophy of the wealthiest Americans, will all but vanish. Only those with, say, seven dollars and a Rite-Aid or CVS nearby will have access to such luxuries. Open thy mouth and let the Lord use your tongue, Peggy! Shout it from the, uh, balcony of your apartment.
Hollywood will take the cue. During the depression, stars such as Clark Gable were supposed to look like normal men. Physical perfection would have distanced them from their audience. Now leading men are made of megamuscles, exaggerated versions of their audience. That will change.
Exactly! Or, "exactly," if all you watch is gay porno.
Back then, in the Depression, all Americans looked like dashing heroes and banged the likes of Vivian Leigh and Claudette Colbert and Carol Lombard. It was the way things were, back then, in those simpler, ugly-person times. Why, one can imagine this happening again, just as in Peggy's prophecies -- one can almost picture a plain Oklahoma man such as, say, Brad Pitt, just cold fucking Angelina Jolie all the time. In movies. It could happen! It could happen one night.
The new home fashion will be spare. This will be the return of an old WASP style: the good, frayed carpet; dogs that look like dogs and not a hairdo in a teacup, as miniature dogs back from the canine boutique do now.
Already, one sees this happening. Outside so many former middle-class homes, one sees stacks of belongings outside, sometimes even tossed into a waiting dumpster. We have long wondered, since last year, why people are doing this. Now we know: People are throwing out the "nice things" so they can replace them with a new, spare home fashion -- to be more like the good people, the good white people. This is made a bit difficult by, say, the bankruptcy and closure of all those furniture stores. That the people have gone away, too, is a barrier. But not insurmountable, because no barrier is insurmountable in America.
Yeah and fuck all those little yippie dogs, right?
Goodbye Bland Affluence [Declarations/Wall Street Journal]