March 17, 2005

"We have entered Flannery O'Connor country."

Peggy Noonan's column today reprints the entire transcript of Ashley Smith's description of her hostage experience: Noonan adds:
It is an idiot's errand to follow such testimony with commentary. It's too big. There is nothing newspaper-eloquent to say. We have entered Flannery O'Connor country, and only geniuses need apply.

Here are mere facts. They were together seven hours and each emerged transformed. He gave himself up without a fight and is now in prison. She reported to police all that had transpired, the police told the press, and now she is famous.

Tuesday evening on the news a "hostage rescue expert" explained that she "negotiated like a pro." Actually what she did is give Christian witness. It wasn't negotiation. It had to do with being human.

Noonan's absolutely right. It was so clear that the "negotiated like a pro" explanation was not at all what happened. Maybe there are some pros who can feign such things, but I doubt it. It's even hard to imagine anyone telling the story in such beautiful sentences as those in the Smith transcript at the link. Fiction writers can only hope to labor to produce lines that good.

No comments: