Friday, May 15, 2009

I (heart) Peggy Noonan

God bless her. Her column in today’s Wall Street Journal
says it better than I can.

Reading it brought to mind the famous essay “Politics and the English Language” that George Orwell wrote in 1946. Here is a summary, by Wikipedia, of George’s points. If you are interested, you can Google the title of the essay and read the whole thing for yourself.

The point of Peggy Noonan’s column is not President Obama’s policies or his appointees or even current attempts at health-care reform, the point is that if the values Americans have held dear for more than two centuries go to Hell in a hand-basket, language such as Peggy Noonan and George Orwell decry will be one of the reasons.

Maybe only former English or journalism majors really care. And just so you know, the way to tell whether you are a former English or journalism major is to read Peggy Noonan’s column and see whether it brings to mind the famous essay “Politics and the English Language” that George Orwell wrote in 1946.

As undoubtedly another former English major once said (and if he or she wasn’t, he or she should have been), “Eschew obfuscation; espouse elucidation.”


  1. I (heart) Peggy Noonan, too. Thanks for sharing the links to her article and to the Wikipedia entry on George Orwell.

  2. i believe in spiritual gifts also, and have read on book by orwell

  3. I remember our library. It had some books you needed a masters to read. The sentences were long. Every word followed by another you needed a dictionary to put together meanings with to form a big picture of what he was trying say. In the end you gave up reading because obviously it was not enjoyable and you need to be able to enjoy a book to get into it.
    You know You can complicate things but in real life there is a right and wrong a good and bad and to have a good world to live in we must accept these bounadaries so every one can live peacefully and happy.The rest is to distract and confuse.

  4. I realise that the United Kingdom enjoys more advanced civilisation than residents of our former colonies across the pond but over here we have a movement called "The Campaign for Plain English" which seeks to pressurise officialdom into employing language which is straightforward and easy to understand. Perhaps it is time for you Sir Robert, along with your darling Peggy, to ignite such a campaign in the Americas!

  5. we heart Maggie too. :-o

    {well, some of the Maggies,
    some of the time, anyway}

    "Some things in life need to be mysterious. Sometimes you need to just keep walking."
    ~~ Peggy Noonan,

    on ABC News'
    "This Week With George Stephanopoulos,"


  6. I'm all for understandable language.

  7. Good essay by Peggy Noonan. Amen to plain, understandable speech!Can you imagine how many scholars and committees and specialists and fundraisers and lawyers the govt would need to implement plain speech? Boggles the mind.