Peggy Noonan has just attacked President Obama in the Wall Street Journal.
Among other things, she complained about "that imperturbable drone... the sense that he is trying to teach us, like an Ivy League instructor taken aback by the backwardness of his students. And there's the unconscious superiority."
This characterization struck me as scary and hilarious. Why? Because it fits Noonan herself perfectly, and she clearly doesn't realize it.
I spoke at a writing conference in Michigan where she was the keynoter, and I can unequivocally say she gave the worst keynote I'd ever heard anywhere, despite her being Ronald Reagan's speech writer. I am not exaggerating about how awful she was.
Noonan spoke in a self-adoring rhapsodic drone as if every word she uttered was a cantata by Bach and we were all too tone-deaf to comprehend her brilliance. She spoke too long, she wandered, she name dropped. She never gave a bit of good advice to anyone or said anything that might inspire the writers in her small audience. Her speech sounded recycled from some other venue, because it had very little to do with writers, the writing process, or publishing.
It was an outrageous performance, and deeply insulting to her audience. Throughout this epic of narcissism, she radiated a sense of superiority that was almost toxic, and it took me weeks to get over how dismal her keynote was. Since then, whenever her face appears on a TV screen, I change the channel.
I wouldn't have blogged about her if a Facebook friend hadn't posted about her column, and if I hadn't had my own painful experience of Noonan as someone who is the very things she claims to see in President Obama: arrogant and dull.