Not all of our esteemed Republican newspaper columnists are as bold as Dame Peggy Noonan, who ventured bodily into deepest Brooklyn some years ago and is still talking about that adventure today. But “Mr. Peanut” mascot George Will did the next best thing: He read a book about this wretched place. And learned!
“How miserable it must be to be a progressive,” goes the headline of George’s column today. Indeed it is. But how do you know, George? Who’s been snitching to you? What spying have you undertaken, venturing forth from your burrow beneath a Jos. A. Bank store? “Life is exhausting — and daily choices are unbearably burdensome — for some Americans who are so comfortably situated that they have the time and means to make themselves morally uncomfortable,” he writes. What field research has brought about such a conclusion?
If your anthropological curiosity is aroused, venture to gentrifying Brooklyn, in the spirit of Margaret Mead going among the Samoans. It is not necessary to actually go to Brooklyn.
You can observe Karen Kipple’s agonies while she drives herself to distraction and her life into a ditch as the protagonist of Lucinda Rosenfeld’s novel “Class.”
If you are a well-paid national political columnist tasked with unearthing true conclusions about the world in which we live, it is not necessary to actually go to that world. Why not just read this novel, over here?
As you continue to read this column written by famous political analyst George Will and published in The Washington Post, you will find out a number of intriguing facts, such as: “Karen, who favors single-origin organic coffee from Burundi, takes Ruby to an artisanal ice cream shop with flavors such as Maple Fennel, and no corn syrup.” Or: “Her adherence to the ‘urban-farming movement’ — evidently there is one — is strained by a restaurant offering ‘pan-seared locally sourced pigeon.’” Yes, there are a number of eye-catching facts, although you may want to make a note to yourself that A FULL SIX OF THE EIGHT PARAGRAPHS OF THIS GEORGE WILL COLUMN ABOUT “PROGRESSIVES” ARE RESTATEMENTS OF THE PLOT OF A NOVEL.
“Rosenfeld’s novel,”George writes, “is a glimpse of how arduous life is for progressives, bowed as they are beneath the crushing weight of every choice’s immense social significance.” Is it? Is it a glimpse of that? Or might it be more accurate to say that it is a made-up story, read by George Will, who did not go to Brooklyn?
In any case, I look forward to George Will being invited on a nationally televised political talk show to discuss his insightful findings soon. Sucks to be a progressive!