If you can abandon the attempt to derive meaning from her columns in the Wall Street Journal or her blatherings on television, Noonan may be the most bewitchingly mad arranger of words on the planet, a Kurt Vonnegut character come to life. Kilgore Trout would envy a passage like this, Noonan's description of her first meeting with Ronald Reagan in What I Saw at the Revolution:
I first saw him as a foot, a highly polished brown cordovan wagging merrily on a hassock. I spied it through the door. It was a beautiful foot, sleek. Such casual elegance and clean lines. But not a big foot, not formidable, maybe even a little ... frail. I imagined cradling it in my arms, protecting it from unsmooth roads ...
Here's her take on Condoleezza Rice from today's Journal:
"I think she is extremely ladylike in her bearing and manner," I said. "Soft voice, pastel suits, heels, not a hair out of place."
"Yes," my friend said, "but she doesn't give off any sparks of sexuality."
"That's another thing I like about her", I said. We don't want a secretary of state running around giving off sparks of sexuality, do we. We don't want a secretary of state giving off sparks at all. We want a nice, quiet, calming, competent, sophisticated, even-keeled person to do a good, solid, nonshowy job.
I know that she's wrong in just about every way that counts, but I want to cradle Peggy's foot on unsmooth roads.