Peggy Noonan Suddenly Decides She Hates Berets, Narratives

Pictured: A US Army private wears un-American headgear. Nooners takes a close look at Team USA's Olympic uniforms and concludes there's Something Wrong With America. In the controversy surrounding the uniforms of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team,

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Today, Nooners takes a close look at Team USA's Olympic uniforms and concludes there's Something Wrong With America.

In the controversy surrounding the uniforms of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, the problem isn't China. That the uniforms were made there is merely a deep embarrassment and a missed opportunity. Our textile and manufacturing companies deserved that work. You wonder how it could be that no one in the American Olympic Committee or in Ralph Lauren's company asked, "By the way, we're making the outfits in America, right?"

Sure, they could've. But Nooners didn't seem to notice or care that in 2008, when a Republican was president, the Ralph Lauren designed uniforms were also made in China. Sure that was an oversight.

But that isn't the biggest problem. That would be the uniforms themselves. They don't really look all that American. Have you seen them? Do they say "America" to you? Berets with little stripes? Double breasted tuxedo-like jackets with white pants? Funny rounded collars on the shirts? Huge Polo logos? They look like some European bureaucrat's idea of a secret militia, like Brussels's idea of a chic new army. [...]

Americans wear baseball caps, trucker hats, cowboy hats, watch caps, Stetsons, golf caps, even Panama hats and fedoras.

I'm not sure Americans have ever worn "trucker hats" as part of an Olympic uniform, but during the 2002 Winter Olympics they wore -- wait for it -- berets with little stripes. But then again, a Republican was in the White House, so no biggie.

Then Nooners shifts gears and wrinkles her nose at the President.

I am certain the president has no idea how patronizing he sounds. His job is to tell us a story? And then get our blankie and put us to sleep?

When he says "a story" he means "the narrative," but he can't use that term because every hack in politics and every journalist they spin uses it and believes in it.

We've written of this before but it needs repeating. The American people will not listen to a narrative, they will not sit still for a story. They do not listen passively as seemingly eloquent people in Washington spin tales of their own derring-do.

The American people tell you the narrative. They look at the facts produced by your leadership, make a judgment and sum it up. The summation is spoken—the story told—at a million barbecues in a million back yards.

Ah, yes -- what kind of out-of-touch hack thinks Americans will listen to some contrived narrative that's been cooked up in Washington instead of on their own grills?

Maybe Mr. Bush should begin to think in terms of his own narrative. Maybe the real question is whether he and his people will write it, or whether it will be imposed on him by the media.

One thing is sure. The media abhor a vacuum. If they find one, they’ll fill it. Which suggests the Republicans, who have despised the sleek savvy of the Clinton years, may have to emulate it to some degree. Mr. Bush has not only got the White House. He’s got a great, grand stage. Mr. Clinton strutted there. Mr. Gore would have too. And Mr. Bush? Will he develop a sharper stagecraft to go with his statecraft? Now that he’s on stage—a large, grand stage—he needs a greater narrative, and a bolder sense of drama.

Nooners' columns would be more effective propaganda if she could lay off the Tanqueray martinis long enough to check her own archives.

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