April 11, 2017

Why did Peggy Noonan win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary?

She's been around a long time, and I hadn't noticed that she was getting especially good, so why give her the prize in 2016?

The official statement credits here with "rising to the moment with beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation’s most divisive political campaigns." And it lists 10 columns, all of which can be read at the link (which is great, since they're originally published at the Wall Street Journal, where you need and probably don't have a subscription):
  1. February 27, 2016 Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected
  2. March 5, 2016 The Republican Party is Shattering
  3. April 23, 2016 That Moment When 2016 Hits You
  4. May 7, 2016 Trump Was a Spark, Not the Fire
  5. August 27, 2016 A Wounded Boy’s Silence, And the Candidates’
  6. September 10, 2016 Remembering a Hero, 15 Years After 9/11
  7. September 24, 2016 The Year of the Reticent Voter
  8. October 22, 2016 Imagine a Sane Donald Trump
  9. November 26, 2016 No More Business as Usual, Mr. Trump
  10. December 31, 2016 Shining a Light on ‘Back Row’ America
If I can trust the accuracy of my tagging, I only blogged about 2 Peggy Noonan columns in 2016, and neither is among the 10 the Pulitzer people liked so much.

I blogged about "What to Tell Your Children About Trump" here. I tweaked her as "Kind of vulnerable to flattery." Trump had talked to her on the phone about how she'd been "unfair to him, sometimes mean, sometimes really, really mean." I guess the Pulitzer people liked other columns — the ones where she was mean.

And I blogged about her November 11th column — "What Comes After the Uprising" — here.

So... from inside the elite, where people are "lost in a data-filled fog" and did not see what was coming, Noonan is able to report that there's fear and to demand reassurance. Her prescription is: Hire the elite insiders!
The president-elect should make a handful of appointments quickly, briskly, with an initial emphasis on old hands and known quantities. Ideological foes need not be included but accomplished Washington figures, especially those from previous administrations, should be invited in. It is silly to worry that Mr. Trump’s supporters will start to fear he’s gone establishment. They believe in him, are beside themselves with joy, and will understand he’s shoring up his position and communicating stability.

... [T]here are former officials and true experts with esteemed backgrounds who need to be told: Help him.... Donald Trump doesn’t know how to be president...
Trump needs help, she says.... Not only does Donald Trump not know how to be President, in Noonan's view, he didn't even know how to run for President. He just happened to be there in the midst of a people's movement, an "uprising"... "It was a natural, self-driven eruption."

Incredible! Trump didn't run a high-class, high-tech campaign. That's correct. But that doesn't mean he did nothing!... Here was one man who looked at America and saw it his own way, jumped into something for the first time, and played it instinctively, screwing up sometimes, but standing strong and barreling on. It's the most amazing political performance I've seen in my life.

And Peggy Noonan would like to deem it nothing and to say it was the people who did it all. And now, as she sees it, Trump threatens to take his nothing performance into the White House. He didn't know how to campaign, and he "doesn’t know how to be president." So he needs help from the professionals, from Noonan's circle of highly educated, elite, befogged friends. He needed them before, and he's only lucky he won without their help. He stumbled into a people's movement, a "natural" uprising of "normal people." So he'd better bring in the abnormals who didn't see what was coming but who are finding it "somehow... more beautiful" because they didn't see it coming. They didn't position themselves properly to seem as though they belong close to the new President, but perhaps if Peggy strings enough words together Trump will see the strange, wonderful way that they really do belong.
So... I didn't like the 2 columns I did blog about. I don't know if I would have preferred the 10 the Pulitzer people chose, but none of them jumped out at me as much as the 2 I chose. Obviously, I'm at least as likely to blog about something I don't like as something I like. But I haven't methodically read the 10 chosen columns, so I'm not really in a position to assert that the Pulitzer committee only likes conservative columnists when they are aggressing against conservatives.*
______________________

* This sentence should be recognized as employing the rhetorical device called apophasis.

99 comments:

Michael K said...

I am a WSJ subscriber and I have read most of her columns. She did kind of get it at last but she is past her prime. This is the equivalent of the "Lifetime Achievement" Oscar.

Ann Althouse said...

I see her on one of the Sunday shows quite a lot and find her very strange. She is so into her own head, her own emotions about politics. She speaks differently from any of the other guests. It's like the ideas are brewing inside her and emerging in a manner that's more like something that would happen in a private room during a love affair.

Michael K said...

She talks about people she meets on the street or in stores.

I just don;t know if she knows anyone outside NYC.

David Baker said...

Is there someone they passed over to get to Peggy Noonan? With all the pay-walls, it's impossible to tell anymore.

Meanwhile, in my limited opinion the more talented editorial writer is Mo Dowd.

buwaya puti said...

Mike K is right, this seems like a lifetime achievement award. By now she is an old lady who is out of touch and rambles. A lot of the others in the media are like that, men and women, all old ladies.
It's not a matter of age either. Novak never turned into an old lady.

The Bergall said...

Perhaps winning a Pulitzer is akin to winning the Nobel?

Have you seen the complete list? There's where the bias lies...........

Tommy Duncan said...

Barack Obama - Nobel Prize

Joe Biden - Presidential Metal of Freedom

Peggy Noonan - Pulitzer Prize

Anyone detect a pattern here?

Darcy said...

The only time Republicans win this type of award or acknowledgement is when they bash other Republicans. Oh hi, John McCain.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I share your puzzlement over the Pulitzer Prize award (however, like the Nobel Peace Prize, it's been awarded to far worse than her), but she does get credit for summing up the feelings of those who voted for Trump:

"I don't know about you but when people look down on me I want them to be distinguished or outstanding in some way—towering minds, people of exquisite sensibility or learning. Not these grubby poseurs, these people who’ve never had a thought but only a sensation: Christians are backward, I saw it in a movie!

It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors."

Darcy said...

I call her Piggy Nooner. Not nice, I know. I find her annoying and full of herself.

traditionalguy said...

I agree with The Professor. Noonan feels personally connected to each person she writes about observing. And woe to any who disappoint her after she invests herself in them.

I would call her the only one who was eligible this year. The rest are insane with delusions about Evil Trump, or the are committed Trump Loyalists. It was only Old Emotions First Peggy who kept her feet in both camps, managing to stay balanced on the fence.




David Baker said...

Althouse said... "I see her on one of the Sunday shows quite a lot and find her very strange. She is so into her own head..."

Agree 100%: Off-putting, haughty, pompous, and self-possessed.

bwebster said...

I've enjoyed Noonan's writing and commentary for many years, but I'm surprised to see her getting the Pulitzer now -- I think others here nailed it as more of a 'lifetime achievement award' than something specific to 2016. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much quality competition she had for 2016.

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, I hate to be forced to state the obvious, but although she is deeply immersed in her world, she did try to get outside of it and understand what was happening in the last election, rather than impose her narrative on events.

That this may be so notable in our time and place as to be worthy of the Pulitzer Prize (even to bring her into contention for it!) is literally shameful to the pundits and journalists of our time and place. So consider this Pulitzer Prize as an industry admitting that it is collectively wearing a Dunce Cap.

What I like so about this blog is the stance of picking something, anything, and asking "What is this? What does it mean?" rather than picking something as a pretext to tell us what the writer thinks it should mean and what we should do/think/say. Journalism has become all about the second tactic, which made Noonan stand out as an oddity who became prophetic during one turbulent year in US life.

Psota said...

She wrote a great column back in 2005 called "A Separate Peace" https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122487970866167655

Sebastian said...

Noonan is sufficiently pseudo-conservative to be acceptable to liberal Pulitzer judges. Solid member of the establishment, clubbable now that clubs are open to women.

Yes, she's too into her own emotions, which makes her almost unreadable to me. Gimme cruel neutrality, even if only as put-on, any day.

But she had her eyes open for part of the campaign. The "patronized by our inferiors" line is a classic -- I'd give her the prize just for that.

AJ Lynch said...

Salena Zito should have gotten two Pulitzers if Noonan got one. Zito really really observes and sees the stuff that is happening here and now.

AReasonableMan said...

This was a well deserved prize. No commentator made more effort to capture the mood of Trump voters. While not the obvious person to do this she made a sincere and significant effort to both understand and be a champion for these people. Last weeks column was genuinely outstanding. She has come a long way in this journey.

I read Noonan every week, largely because the Saturday WSJ is light on sensible opinion pieces. My respect for Noonan has steadily risen over the last year and a half. Could not have been a more deserved award. The commenters who are saying she is old and out of touch are making a statement about themselves rather than Noonan.

zipity said...

I've always found her preachy and overly impressed with herself.

She just really seems like she is straining to create "soaring" prose.

gadfly said...

New respect for Noonan. Back in 2007 she wrote a WSJ column entitled "Mormon in America" where she dispensed only one criticism: "I do not know why Romney did not include nonbelievers in his moving portrait of the great American family. We were founded by believing Christians, but soon enough Jeremiah Johnson, and the old proud agnostic mountain men, and the village atheist, and the Brahmin doubter, were there, and they too are part of us, part of this wonderful thing we have. Why did Mr. Romney not do the obvious thing and include them? My guess: It would have been reported, and some idiots would have seen it and been offended that this Romney character likes to laud atheists. And he would have lost the idiot vote."

Trump obviously didn't make the same mistake because religion was never a part of his life - and it shows through in his high vote count among idiots.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Well, I hate to be forced to state the obvious, but although she is deeply immersed in her world, she did try to get outside of it and understand what was happening in the last election, rather than impose her narrative on events.

That this may be so notable in our time and place as to be worthy of the Pulitzer Prize (even to bring her into contention for it!) is literally shameful to the pundits and journalists of our time and place. So consider this Pulitzer Prize as an industry admitting that it is collectively wearing a Dunce Cap."

Agreed. The obvious question is "who else besides Noonan should have won it?"


I can't think of anybody. (Well, actually, if I were Queen of the World, Mark Steyn would have gotten one a long time ago, but he will never, ever even be considered.)

Sam L. said...

I gave up on her 9-10 years ago.

Robert Cook said...

Peggy Noonan winning a Pulitzer for any writing- or pundit-related endeavor is proof the Apocalypse is upon us and that Hell hath frozen over!

eddie willers said...

Add me to the "Lifetime Achievement" voters.

She wrote two that were memorial. Reagan's post Challenger speech ("And touched the face of God") and a post 9/11 one where she talks of the people waiting to perform triage for victims that never arrived. Where were they? "They exploded in air. We breathed them in".

Achilles said...

It is interesting to watch an insular coddled elite pat itself on the back. They work for the same masters and try to define the proper scope of discussion.

Trump was not from their ranks. He came from the outside where we all live. Sadly it looks like they have made headway in dragging him down recently.

Let us see how he handles the Rosneft takeover of CITGO.

readering said...

i believe folks are nominated for Pulitzers and the nomination of a commentator would include the 10 columns upon which the nomination is based.

Robert Cook said...

"The official statement credits here with 'rising to the moment with beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans....'"

In other words, it's her genius (and uncontrollable compulsion) to piss out 100 proof treacle that won her this prize!

rehajm said...

The leper with the most fingers...

johns said...

Salena Zito should have had this Pulitzer

rhhardin said...

Obama won it too.

I call it the Beulah Surprise.

rhhardin said...

Commenters weren't eligible, so it doesn't really mean anything.

rhhardin said...

I was rooting for Kathryn Lopez, on the theory that you might as well get the worst outright.

khesanh0802 said...

I agree with those who think Peggy has lost a little zip off her fastball. However she was one of the few "establishment" columnists who early on recognized, wrote about, and partially sympathized with, the Trump phenomenon. While the rest of the WSJ editorial page ranged from insanely to moderately NeverTrump ( with the possible exception of Kim Strassel) Peggy had the courage to point out that the average voter was in a state of rage and prepared to cast everything "normal" to the winds. She did, in fact, seek out voters well outside her NYC circle and reported what they had to say in favor of change. As someone mentions it is absurd that such a creature of the establishment was one of the few writers in the country who actually "got" what was going on.

As Ann points out, after her effective election analysis Noonan fell back on her establishment roots, urging hiring of establishment types and begging the Republicans to seek out the Democrats so there could be bi-partisanship. Apparently she did not absorb the message of her own analysis. She did not win the Pulitzer for that backsliding, however. She won it for some really good work prior to November 8

Infinite Monkeys said...

and it shows through in his high vote count among idiots

I thought that was Hillary's base. From the emails, it certainly seemed that her campaign viewed her voters that way.

jaydub said...

The only pundit who got the election and Trump right was Scott Adams. That being the biggest and most important story of 2016, he's probably the only pundit deserving of a Pulitzer for 2016.

Roughcoat said...

I see her on one of the Sunday shows quite a lot and find her very strange.

If you had grown in the Chicago Irish American milieu in the 1950s-60s you would recognize her type immediately and be well familiar with it. She's an archetypal Irish American Catholic school girl, the good girl from a lace curtain family and ubringing, top of her class, teacher's pet, involved in lots of school and church activities (including the student newspaper). A committed virgin, won't allow you to feel her up on a date or touch her bare tits (but maybe lets you cop a feel through her blouse). Prime and proper, nearly a cold fish but not quite, with good looks and the hint of hidden passion struggling to get out that keeps the boys interested.

I dated girls like this. There's a certain attraction ... can't quite explain it. Maybe it has to do with unrealized potential. You want to be the lucky guy who unlocks it. But the type is also profoundly annoying, for obvious reasons.

khesanh0802 said...

My comments at 2:20 reflect my contemporaneous reaction to each of Peggy's columns. I was in a rage at the editorial board of the WSJ for not having a clue about what was happening in the presidential campaign. Taranto ( who I sorely miss at BOTW) had a clue , but he has always been a bit of contrarian. By mid October Jenkins, Henninger and Strassel were finally getting the idea that the Trump phenomenon was real and that, whether you really liked Trump or not, he represented some better choices for the country than Clinton. Gigot and Stephens haven't recovered to this day.

Roughcoat said...

Meanwhile, in my limited opinion the more talented editorial writer is Mo Dowd.

Dowd is another Irish American Catholic school girl type, the polar opposite of the Noonan type, she's the shanty Irish bad girl, the fun girl, the party girl. She's the redhead and all that being a redhead entails in Irish legend and lore. Wowza! Great fun, lots of nooky and hot times, but man-oh-man, a first class ball-buster and shit-tester. Sex followed by loud agruements followed by great make-up sex. You do not want to marry them unless you can handle being with someone who's on your case constantly.

Re Noonan winning the Pulitzer, I think she deserved it. I thought her columns on Trump and Hillary and Obama were often pretty damn excellent, very insightful and spot on. Her views on those three were frequently and more or less much the same as Althouse's and I mean that as a compliment.

Roughcoat said...

I dated girls like Mo Dowd too. Enjoyed every minute, except when I didn't.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Roughcoat: I recognize the type very well. There's another sort of lace curtain Irish schoolgirl - I have them (too many of them, alas) in my extended family. Eighty years ago they would have become nuns and been very handy with the ruler. Instead, they came of age in the '70's and adopted feminism and left-wing politics with a passion. Now they are rather grim harridans who will corner you at a party and lecture you about oh, let's see, over the years it's been the wonderfulness of the Sandinistas, the great Cuban healthcare system, the inevitability of global warming, the necessity of keeping abortion legal, the terribleness of Bush or Trump - all delivered with thin-lipped intensity.

Once upon a time, they would have cornered you in a high school hallway to tell your skirt was too short or to check if you smelled like cigarette smoke. Alas, they've gone on to bigger things.

Richard Dolan said...

So, lots of people here don't like Ms. Peggy. I've always enjoyed her columns.

She is especially good writing about cops, fireman, military guys -- her favorite subject, and the one she's best at. The column about Welles Crowther on the Pulitzer list is one of them. Noonan calls them heroes, and she loves how grating and old-fashioned that word sounds to millenials lacking the qualities she likes to extol. And those guys are defined by their roles -- it's all about strength, loyalty, service, protecting others. A very Irish Catholic outlook, as is the emotional and frankly sentimental quality that runs through her writing. So sneer if you like. She wouldn't mind.

As for the columns Althouse said she really didn't like, I think Ms. Peggy got the better of that too. Althouse says that Ms. Peggy's post-election advice to hire the elites Trump blasted during the campaign is tone-deaf or worse. Trump's stumbles in the early days of his presidency showed that Trump wasn't remotely ready to be president when he was elected. He figured out quickly, even if others didn't, that he needed the help of the elites he disdained during the campaign. And in his administration, he has surrounded himself with people like that. His econ team is from Goldman Sachs, foreign policy and military team are as elite as one can find, and so on. It's a roster full of Ivy types, very accomplished and experienced. Trump has also noticed that the problems are coming from the other end of his staff -- the Bannon-like bomb-throwers, who better learn to play nicely with the suits.

It's the only way Trump can achieve what he said he wanted to accomplish.

Good for Ms. Peggy. The Pulitzer was an honor well deserved.

Mike Sylwester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sylwester said...

Ann, less than a year from now you will be embarrassed that you did not write one post critical of Peggy Noonan while she was being awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2017.

Otto said...

lol ann doesn't agree with Pulitzer award after she was aglow with them for giving the putz (Dylan)one.

The Bergall said...

One of her best quips "Too much information and not enough thought....".

I am reminded of that all too often.

Roughcoat said...

exileonmainstreet:

Thanks for your very accurate (and funny) comments about a subset of the lace curtain type. Yes indeed, I am also well familiar with the left-wing trajectory that many such take. Those that don't follow this path often go in the other direction, which is to say, they are redeemable! There's no telling which way they'll break, but the college years are usually permanently formative in this regard.

How does it come to be that the lefties all have thin lips? They seem to develop this physical trait AFTER their political "awakening." Inexplicable.

Roughcoat said...

Richard Dolan:

Totally agree with you concerning Noonan's virtues. It makes me think she grew up in an Irish American community with friends whose fathers were on the job as cops and firefighter, also construction workers.

Her Pulitzer was indeed much deserved.

Quaestor said...

A few years ago I made the mistake of watching the Women's World Cup Final through to the end of the coverage. The soccer itself was about as exciting as soccer can be — somewhere between competitive quilting and rush hour driving — but it was remaining for the post-game awards ceremony that was my big blunder. Everybody got a trophy — everyone, the winners, and the losers, including the coaching staff and the team dieticians. We make sport of youth soccer leagues that have reduced winning to a meaningless detail, however, even the most incompetent youth league striker with a shelf full of "Best Attendance" awards would have been chagrined by that interminable rite of mediocrity. From the beginning of the domination of youth sports by neo-Marxist cooperation theoreticians, it took only about a dozen years for the expectation of reward for unexceptional performance to spread to professional-level play — just about the time it took for a six-year-old dribbler to pass upward through the strata of organized ball-kicking.

The Pulitzer committee now contains people who have been conditioned in the same manner as my hypothetical midfielder. Everybody who shows up gets a trophy. Noonan has shown up.

mockturtle said...

Not since Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower has a writer deserved the Pulitzer, IMO.

Roughcoat said...

Btw, and if you will forgive me the generalization, I think Althouse is a Protestant-German variant of Noonan. The two remind me of each other; it strikes me they have a lot in common. Both are formidable writers with equally formidable intellects, and both alternately please me and piss me off.

exiledonmainstreet said...

How does it come to be that the lefties all have thin lips? They seem to develop this physical trait AFTER their political "awakening." Inexplicable.

4/11/17, 2:56 PM

Setting one's mouth in a permanent frown while contemplating the countless oppressions, injustices and microaggressions one must battle in the course of a lifetime must erode the lips after a while.

Mike Sylwester said...

The person who should have won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2016 was Sundance of The Conservative Treehouse. All year long, he explained, predicted and preached Trump's eventual victory.

rcocean said...

Look at the competition:

The left-wing pundits went batshit crazy in 2016 calling all the Trump supporters vicious racist Hitler's with low IQs and confidently predicting a Hillary Landslide.

Meanwhile, the establishment conservative types (Will, Brooks, Rubin, Gigot, Kristol, Goldberg, Lowry, etc.) went batshit crazy and #NEVERTRUMP - then called all the Trump supporters vicious racist Hitler's with low IQs - and confidently predicted a Hillary Landslide.

No matter how bad Noonan was, she was a brilliant genius compared to the other Establishment columnists. She won by default.

Kathryn51 said...

eddie willers said...
Add me to the "Lifetime Achievement" voters.

She wrote two that were memorial. Reagan's post Challenger speech ("And touched the face of God") and a post 9/11 one where she talks of the people waiting to perform triage for victims that never arrived. Where were they? "They exploded in air. We breathed them in"


She also wrote Reagan's 1984 Normandy Beach speech with the memorable lines: "These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war."

As Richard Dolan pointed out, Noonan has always aligned with the true heroes in our society.

rcocean said...

Myself, I stopped reading her years ago. Too vague, too emotional, not conservative enough.

Her trashing of Palin in 2008, just confirmed I was right to stop reading her.

rcocean said...

IRC, she also wrote the "No New Taxes" Bush acceptance speech in 2008.

Fernandinande said...

The below is from "Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected".

What's the opposite of "timeless"?

"We’re in a funny moment. Those who do politics for a living, some of them quite brilliant, are struggling to comprehend the central fact of the Republican primary race, while regular people have already absorbed what has happened and is happening."

Why is the moment funny and what is the central fact?

"Journalists and politicos have been sharing schemes for how Marco parlays a victory out of winning nowhere, or Ted roars back, or Kasich has to finish second in Ohio."

"Sharing schemes" for what already happened? Does that make sense?

Or do "parlays a victory out of winning nowhere" and "roaring back", whatever they may mean, refer to the goals of the shared schemes, something they hope to accomplish in the future?

Is the scheme sharing the "central fact"?

"But in my experience[ ]any nonpolitical person on the street, when asked who will win, not only knows but gets a look as if you’re teasing him. Trump, they say."

"Gets a look" must mean "gives a look."

"I had such a conversation again Tuesday with a friend who repairs shoes in a shop on Lexington Avenue. Jimmy asked me, conversationally, what was going to happen."

So there is her 'any nonpolitical person'...but he says "Troomp!", not "Trump" - because non-political people talk funny.

I suppose that ever-so-humble-she has cocktails every Wednesday evening with her friend the shoe repair guy who speaks to her conversationally rather than ordering her to prepare a brief because he's such a funny-talking sweetie-pie in spite being stupid enough to like Trump.

What a load of trivial garbage. I apologize to myself for reading part of it.

Jack Wayne said...

Peggy is only too happy to be patronized by our inferiors. What a surprise!

rightguy2 said...

"Btw, and if you will forgive me the generalization, I think Althouse is a Protestant-German variant of Noonan. The two remind me of each other; it strikes me they have a lot in common. Both are formidable writers with equally formidable intellects, and both alternately please me and piss me off."-Roughcoat


I also see the two writers as similar as they both tend to go below the surface and are capable of making unique, original, and very insightful observations. At the same time, there is the tendency to blow the big stuff- i.e. they both plumped for Obama in 2008. Valuable and interesting writers, to be sure, but not infallible. If you want to read something more consistently true and correct, I recommend Victor D Hanson.

Achilles said...

johns said...
Salena Zito should have had this Pulitzer

Salena Zito more or less accurately portrayed Trump voters.

Noonan wrote caricatures.

So yeah guess who the Pulitzer committee preferred.

Mike said...

AJ Lynch said...
Salena Zito should have gotten two Pulitzers if Noonan got one. Zito really really observes and sees the stuff that is happening here and now.


AJ is right. Great call!

RAS743 said...

Two things. For someone who lives in the capital of cynicism, New York City, Peggy Noonan is astonishingly naive. And the Pulitzer Prize, like the Academy Awards and cinematic achievement, has nothing to do with journalistic (or other) achievement; it's a congratulations from elite careerists who have, for whatever combination of factors (CYA certainly could be one; gotta have a conservative in there who knows which fork to use), decided that the recipient should be welcomed to their club. All I need to know about the Pulitzers is that Michael Kelly was never awarded one for his reporting or commentary. His takedown of Ted Kennedy should be required reading in every J-school -- for however long they survive.

Michael K said...

"IRC, she also wrote the "No New Taxes" Bush acceptance speech in 2008."

That was 1992 unless you were being sarcastic.

Johnny Sokko said...

A rich old white lady had to win something this year.

Gordon said...

If you read her post-White House biography, it highlights an interesting difference between old Peggy and modern Peggy. When she was hired to write speeches, she had not gone to an elite school (Farleigh Dickinson) and didn't dress like the other women of her age group in the White House. She wrote of encountering Nancy Reagan, the latter reacting by not quite curling her lip at Noonan's clothes.

But she's lived among the media elite in New York for so long now that she believes she's one of them. More than that, she behaves as kind of a female George Will in manner.

As for the Catholic girls comparisons, it's interesting that neither Noonan nor Maureen Dowd could hang on to a man for very long.

Darrell said...

I thought my column--Hillary Clinton Will Never Be President Of The United States--had a shot. I guess I could have added a few more lines, now that I think about it.

William said...

She's got to be one of the great presidential speech writers of all time. Several of her phrases are now part of the American idiom. I don't go out of my way to read her column, but, when I do, I usually find an elegant turn of phrase. She knows how to write. On the Sunday talk shows, she seems benign and very ladylike. There's nothing weird kicking around in her libido, and no sex tape of her will ever surface. That's reassuring......I've read collections of columns by Walter Lippmann and Murray Kempton. In hindsight, you can see where they were monstrously wrong about quite a lot of things, but they were eloquent and persuasive in their arguments. They could credibly play the role of wise man. She can decorously play the role of wise woman. We're all pretty much blundering around in a dark maze, and it's comforting to think that there's a way out of it and someone who knows that way. Sure , give her a Pulitzer. She's no dumber than the other pundits.

BudBrown said...

I've enjoyed Noonan's columns over the years. I think she should have won earlier.
I wonder who would have won if Hillary won.

Roughcoat said...

Just to be clear: I often find Noonan infuriating. Her stance on Palin, for example. And I'm no fan of her lace curtain demeanor and attitudes. They really grate on me. But when she's right, she's right.

Jim at said...

The fact ARM is praising this award tells me all I need to know about how worthy it is.

Pass.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

"I see her on one of the Sunday shows quite a lot and find her very strange."
Agree. Isn't that why she gets to be on the Sunday talk shows. Just like Anna Navarro. Funny how the most annoying Republicans are the ones who get invited on most frequently.

AReasonableMan said...

Jim at said...
The fact ARM is praising this award tells me all I need to know about how worthy it is.


No doubt a dumber response is possible, just not sure how.

William said...

By way of comparison, consider Paul Krugman who has won both a Nobel and a Pulitzer. Can anyone remember a single thing he has ever said or written? Nor is his demeanor on the Sunday talk shows reassuring. I'd be wary of hidden cameras if I ever took a leak in his residence. He's not credible as a wise man. Peggy Noonan doesn't look diminished in the company of past Pulitzer winners.

Michael K said...

The fact ARM is praising this award tells me all I need to know about how worthy it is.

No doubt a dumber response is possible, just not sure how.


I assume you would say the same about Trump having all the right enemies.

Some of Noonan's columns are quite good but she does have an issue about getting west of the Hudson R.

Trump managed to figure it out.

Chuck said...

I wouldn't have given Peggy Noonan my vote, for any Pulitzer. But the fact that she won it, in light of other honorees, isn't too shocking to me. It's reflective of the Pulitzer Committee, more than the honoree.

Like Obama getting a Nobel Peace Prize.

But for Althouse to say that she has barely even read Peggy Noonan (the column appears like clockwork, every Friday online and then in the Saturday print edition; geeze I just have to say again that instead of reading the New York Times religiously, and getting mad at their Trump coverage, she ought to just get herself a WSJ subscription. It's been my unsolicited (and by now perhaps unwelcome) advice to Althouse for years.

If I were giving Pulitzers for commentary column-writing, I'd have given the award to Holman W. Jenkins Jr. (also of the Wall Street Journal) every year for the last 15 years.

hombre said...

Noonan's October observation that "we are patronized by our inferiors" was itself worth the Pulitzer.

hombre said...

Personally, I like Spengler and Salena Zico.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Holman Jenkins totally has it in for Tesla. Sorry. He had the temerity to ask why a Tesla should look more or less like every other car, when there wasn't an engine under the hood. Maybe because, aerodynamics?

M Jordan said...

I can't stand Noonan even when I agree with her. She reeks phony to me.

M Jordan said...

@William. "Can anyone remember a single thing [Paul Krugman] has ever said or written?"

I remember this: he said a Trump win would result in an immediate and permanent stock market collapse.

Pete said...

Althouse said, "It's like the ideas are brewing inside her and emerging in a manner that's more like something that would happen in a private room during a love affair."

What an odd thing to say! I doubt Althouse has ever used that phrase to describe any male pundit so why save it for Noonan? OK, Althouse doesn't approve of this Pulitzer selection but she fails to make clear her reasons why. Certainly Althouse and Noonan are working different sides of the street - Noonan has been a speech writer and columnist for far longer than Althouse has been a blogger but then again Noonan only has to write a weekly column while Althouse has managed to churn out daily posts. (And attract commenters like Laslo and the now long gone Crack Emcee.) I've said before that Althouse's achievement can't be ignored but her criticism of Noonan comes across as petty.

I've no doubt that when the Pulitzer is handed out to bloggers, Althouse will top the list. But until then, I'll be immensely satisfied with Noonan's selection. Yes, it could be for her longevity rather than the columns cited, but Noonan has a long track record of moving speeches and columns, without once, ever, having to rely on a walk through an unlinkable dictionary to pad out a post.

Good for Noonan.

Joanne Jacobs said...

The 10 columns were picked by Noonan as her best work of the year -- or, really, the columns she thought most likely to appeal to the Pulitzer judges.

She's done some very fine work -- but she's erratic.

Chuck said...

"Can anyone remember a single thing [Paul Krugman] has ever said or written?"

Yeah! About a dozen, or more! And they are all memorable, for having been spectacularly wrong.

Former Enron advisor Paul Krugman.

Chuck said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
Holman Jenkins totally has it in for Tesla. Sorry. He had the temerity to ask why a Tesla should look more or less like every other car, when there wasn't an engine under the hood. Maybe because, aerodynamics?


I think that Holman Jenkins' major beef with Tesla is how anybody had the temerity to hand out a tax bread for something like $7500 to $15,000 with every car.

Crazy Jane said...

Interesting to compare her to MoDo and observe that both are Catholic-raised. Each has her moments, but in general their work is airy and associative, a little much for my taste.

Noonan also hit it out of the park with Reagan's speech after the Challenger explosion. "Slipped the surly bonds of earth ... the future belongs to the brave ... " Just the right sentiment on a very tight deadline.

The Pulitzer message: See, we do too like conservatives. The awards are pretty political, as most awards are.

Ken B said...

It should have been Scott Adams. Has anyone else been as consistently interesting and challenging on Trump? He's not the usual stuff. Even when I am convinced he is punking me I find he has something to say I hadn't thought of in quite that way. Never the case with nostrum peddlers like Noonan. Plus he was much righter much sooner than nearly everyone else.

mockturtle said...

"Slipped the surly bonds of earth" is from High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. Hardly an original line.

Big Mike said...

I see her on one of the Sunday shows quite a lot and find her very strange. She is so into her own head, her own emotions about politics.

And like so many of your readers, I thank you for watching the Sunday talking heads so that we don't have to. I don't know how you did it for so long, and now that you apparently aren't watching them anymore, perhaps you don't know either.

But if her commentary on Sunday morning talk shows is like her columens then I think Noonan's notions -- what you call emotions -- about politics come from an innate sense of what plays with the middle class in the flyover states. That's a valuable instinct. If Hillary Clinton had a scintilla of that instinct she'd be president instead of Trump.

She speaks differently from any of the other guests.

Which is bad because why?

It's like the ideas are brewing inside her and emerging in a manner that's more like something that would happen in a private room during a love affair.

Not at all surprising. Noonan has had a love affair with politics since Reagan tapped her as a speech writer 37 years ago.

n said...

Ann, I share your thoughts about Peggy Noonan. Tell us your thoughts on David Brooks at NYT.

grackle said...

Like most of her pundit class, expecting her to “understand” Trump is like expecting a chimpanzee to understand Sanskrit. They must resort to fantasy, hers perhaps slightly more off-beat and quirky than the usual journo-whore offerings on Trump, which when I’ve seen her she sandwiches between bouts of belaboring the obvious.

On this YouTube video of a Face the Nation panel published Nov 13, 2016, when asked, “What should we expect from a Trump administration?”, she craftily avoids any predictions. Predictions can be found to be laughably wrong later and held up to ridicule, a la Paul Krugman.

Instead she gives advice: Trump needs to, “…start out with a central yet banal yet truthful insight like ratchet it down, be cool, be humble, be calm, …”

Unspoken assumption: Trump frightens people. Unspoken assumptions are an important tool for propagandists. And this assumption is somewhat true. The blue state folks, which is half of America, are scared shitless of Trump. And what is feared is also hated. The other half of America applauds when Trump has agitators thrown out of rallies.

And Noonan’s advice is given to Trump, not to her fellow pundits and Guest Whores who tried but failed during the campaign to tip the scales for Hillary against Trump and have been dead wrong 95% of the time or the Hillary supporters(overlapping groups for sure) who are losing their collective minds with disappointment and rage. To give her credit later on she describes their hysteria as “unhinged.”

And Trump should hire “accomplished” and “inherently moderate[naturally]” people for his staff, which seems to be her method for Trump to “normalize.”

More advice: Trump should “do something big,” meaning get some legislation through Congress, mentioning infrastructure and tax reform. Hardly earth-shattering but I judge it to be good, practical advice. Here I’ll give her a “B.”

At the end she reminds the panel of the year before when a theme prominent in the MSM and on the panel itself was “ … the breakup of the Republican party …” and calls the GOP’s rise[caused by Trump’s win] and the Democrats’ current misery(of 6 months ago, our time) an “amazing flip on expectations.” The host tries a weak, irrelevant rejoinder about the Sanders campaigners’ enthusiasm as they fade out.

I’ll give her an overall “B” for this outing. But I don’t see that she has any real insight into Trump on this particular video.

Achilles said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
"Holman Jenkins totally has it in for Tesla. Sorry. He had the temerity to ask why a Tesla should look more or less like every other car, when there wasn't an engine under the hood. Maybe because, aerodynamics? "

Not aerodynamics. You can look up drag coefficients of vehicles fairly easily. They are all pretty much bricks rolling down the road.

The reason all cars look the same is because of safety regulations. Hoods are all shaped like they are to cause less damage to pedestrians.

tim in vermont said...

I have so little respect for awards anymore than I can't care. They have all been overtaken by politics.

MisterBuddwing said...

My regard for Peggy Noonan, such as it is, took a small hit when she repeated a TV joke as the gospel truth.

In the Wall Street Journal of Nov. 9, 2007, Noonan wrote:

The story as I was told it is that in the early years of her prime ministership ... Margaret Thatcher held a meeting with her aides and staff, all of whom were dominated by her, even awed. When it was over she invited her cabinet chiefs to join her at dinner in a nearby restaurant. They went, arrayed themselves around the table, jockeyed for her attention. A young waiter came and asked if they’d like to hear the specials. Mrs. Thatcher said, “I will have beef.”

Yes, said the waiter. “And the vegetables?”

“They will have beef too.”

Too good to check, as they say. It is certainly apocryphal, but I don’t want it to be. It captured her singular leadership style, which might be characterized as “unafraid.”


Apparently, Noonan had never heard of a satirical British TV show called "Spitting Image":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjE080TGEEk

Well, at least it wasn't a phony National Guard memo.

wendybar said...

They needed a token "Republican"...since Peggy sides with the left most of the time, she was PERFECT!!

CJ said...

FPBP


But "Sure, give her a Pulitzer. She's no dumber than the other pundits." is also good

CJ said...

I've always found her writing style to be irritating. She writes as if she's chewing over an idea out loud on the page - by basically repeating the same thing in 3 different ways in a single paragraph.

Something like, "I write this way because it helps my readers understand what I'm saying. Because I think they're stupid. Because I have nuance in my thoughts and they do not."

It's shitty writing but I guess, as William said above, she's no dumber than the other pundits.

CuznDon said...

Read for yourself: http://www.pulitzer.org/winners/peggy-noonan

"For distinguished commentary, using any available journalistic tool, Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).
Peggy Noonan of The Wall Street Journal

For rising to the moment with beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation’s most divisive political campaigns."

No subscription needed.

edward irvin said...

This post pretty much mirrors my thoughts on Bob Dylan winning the Noble Prize for Litterature.

Big Mike said...

Achilles is right about federal regulations affecting car design. There has to be a front bumper and it has to be a certain height above the ground and be able to withstand a low speed collision without sustaining damage. There are headlight regulations. For a truly ghastly example compare the original Jaguar XKE series 1 with the "Federal" series 2 post 1968.