May 29, 2010

Poobahs of Manhattan...

Both Charlene and I were annoyed by Peggy Noonan's piece in the WSJ, : He Was Supposed to Be Competent :

...The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.

The American people have spent at least two years worrying that high government spending would, in the end, undo the republic. They saw the dollars gushing night and day, and worried that while everything looked the same on the surface, our position was eroding. They have worried about a border that is in some places functionally and of course illegally open, that it too is gushing night and day with problems that states, cities and towns there cannot solve.

And now we have a videotape metaphor for all the public's fears: that clip we see every day, on every news show, of the well gushing black oil into the Gulf of Mexico and toward our shore. You actually don't get deadlier as a metaphor for the moment than that, the monster that lives deep beneath the sea....

It's not just that Noonan was wrong about Obama, and now turns against him without apologies to us, who told ytou long ago that he was incompetent. It's more the tone of her piece, the assumption that the pundits and poobahs of Manhattan are still the source of wisdom, and we should all wait for their opinions as presented in the "important" media outlets.

That's just SO Industrial Age. Sorry, Peg, but the socially unacceptable people from the heartlands were so far ahead of you you look like a dinosaur from the illustrations of my youth, sluggishly dragging your tail in the mud. In the old days one almost had to be in one of a few centers of power and influence to keep ones finger on the pulse of events. Now it seems like almost a disadvantage to be in NYC or Washington. It makes you stupider rather than smarter.

And the big papers and TV networks have lost most of their function. They were middlemen, and in the Industrial Age they were necessary. Information moved sluggishly, and they were places where it pooled. The newsroom of the NYT was one of the most important places on the planet, because few other places had the same access to information, and also because few other places had so much power to filter what went out to the ordinary world.

But those days are gone. If someone makes a speech I can usually watch it on a YouTube video almost immediately. I don't need the WSJ. I don't need any organization to collect information and put it together in an attractive package and dole it out to me once a day or once a week. I swim in a sea of information, often raw and direct and unfiltered.

I have, just sitting at the dining room table with a laptop, almost as much information available to me as Peggy Noonan has in Manhattan. And, possibly, just possibly, I can use it better than her, see it more clearly, because I'm not embedded in the reactionary world of the Manhattan elites.

Posted by John Weidner at May 29, 2010 4:52 PM
Weblog by John Weidner