26 October 2007

Fiction that fits the talking points

I have enjoyed Peggy Noonan's writing for a long time. Lately she has seemed to me a little too nostalgic. This week's column was very good. She writes about Scott Beauchamp, the second outright liar to have hoodwinked the leftist New Republic magazine:

Everyone in journalism thought first of Stephen Glass. I actually remember the day I read his New Republic piece on the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in 1997, a profile of young Republicans as crude and ignorant pot-smoking alcoholics in search of an orgy. It, um, startled me. After years of observation, I was inclined toward the view that there's no such thing as a young Republican. More to the point, I'd been to the kind of convention Mr. Glass wrote about, and I thought it not remotely possible that the people he painted were real. I also thought: Man, this is way too convenient. The New Republic tends to think Republicans are hateful, and this reporter just happened to be welcomed into the private world of the most hateful Republicans in history.
On the Thomas stories, which I read not when they came out but when they began to come under scrutiny, I had a similar thought, or a variation of it. I thought: That's not Iraq, that's a Vietnam War movie. That's not life as it's being lived on the ground right now, that's life as an editor absorbed it through media. That's the dark world of Kubrick and Coppola and Oliver Stone, of the great Vietnam movies of the '70s and '80s.

Too many people see the war, and by extension the world, through lenses made decades ago. We are dealing with a more connected world and geopolitical dangers that are sharply different than those that were present in decades past.


Anonymous said...

Second liar?

You forgot about Eve Fairbanks, from just last year, and that other woman from before the time of Mr. Glass.

Not to mention Lee Seigel.

Jlowryjr said...

I stand corrected. Thanks for the comment.