"... if not in the same way Brooks might. (In 2008, after what he saw as a rhetorical triumph by Sarah Palin, Brooks wrote, 'Somewhere in heaven Norman Rockwell is smiling.') The image that came to mind was one of the panels from Rockwell’s 'Four Freedoms' series: the one on freedom of speech, in which a man stands up at what looks like a town meeting. He might be about twenty-nine. He is wearing a work jacket, so maybe he’s a high-school drop-out. There are better dressed people in the hall. And they are listening to him."
Writes Amy Davidson in The New Yorker, with the sentimentality that Rockwell haters loathe about Rockwell. Here's the referenced Rockwell painting:
I was going to snark that there's no way that guy is 29, but then I asked Meade, "How old does this guy look," and he said, "29." And, "That's what guys who work on the farm look like when they're 29."
Then I tried my other idea: "How do we know he's not a communist, dressed that way to trick the naively idealistic Norman-Rockwell-loving folks of that small town? He's dressed like a folksinger. He could be Pete Seeger." And Meade said: "You can tell by that greasy dirt on his jacket. That guy does real work."
We talked about the difference between this idealized farmer — with his real dirt, in a real place, with real people — and Edward Snowden — who operated within computer networks and evanesced into Asia. But it's 2013, and maybe that Rockwell character does need to be a man detached from the American soil, floating out there in unmediated space. And yet — as Meade said — "He's Tea Party."