“Thick”

Self must be a little thick (or maybe not just a little).  She started reading a Peggy Noonan essay in last weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal.  The essay, in the Op-Ed section, is called “What America Thinks About Iraq,” and though self doesn’t regularly read Ms. Noonan, she does recognize that Noonan knows how to turn a phrase.  In other words, self has to admit: Ms. Noonan is an above-average — maybe even a far above-average — writer.

Her essay begins with a fabulous quote:

The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.

Self truly loves that quote.

In fact, it’s probably the main reason she read to the very end of the article.

Anyhoo, Noonan throws out a number of bon mots such as:

They assumed good luck, a terrible, ignorant thing to assume in a war.

But why was it so irrational to assume “good luck,” Ms. N?  Anyone going into a war assumes “good luck” — isn’t that what happened when the Allies went into D-Day?  All wars are catastrophic enterprises, they are a kind of desperate last act.  With consequences too far-reaching to predict with any accuracy.

Just because World War II turned out swell for the Allies doesn’t mean the planners didn’t know that D-Day involved tremendous risk.  It was a gamble.  All wars are gambles.

Ms. Noonan closes without ever identifying who said “The past is never dead . . . “

And that, you know, makes self feel stupid.

The quote, it turns out, is from Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun (1950).  A work self never heard of, until today.  She is no Faulkner devotee.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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