This weird and wonderful year has been packed with implausibilities and impossibilities: the Clintons losing, a black man elected president and Peggy Noonan occassionally making sense. This week’s installment of her serialized first-person novel of Manhattan Madness, Declarations, contains two well-written arguments for the current conventional wisdom — Hillary is an interesting yet troublesome choice for Secretary of State, and Robert Gates should stay on for a while as Secretary of Defense. Which is nice and all, but it doesn’t really leave your Wonkette much to work with. Luckily, Peggy was just coming down from her Dexedrine-Percocet highball when she scrawled her first zany sentence, in Lancome mascara, on the walls of her Upper East Side apartment.
Rumors, leaks, gossip, backbiting, an air of mounting mistrust. Looks like Lulu’s back in town.
Okay … who the hell is Lulu?
We are accustomed to Peggy’s use of somewhat antiquated references, and we enjoy a columnist who feels no need to keep up with the latest stupid vulgarities from the teevee or the “You might be a redneck” or the hip hop or whatever.
But this one stumps us. Lulu. Noonan is, we think, referring to the melodrama surrounding Hillary Clinton’s supposed ascent to the State Department and Bill Clinton’s usual filthy and villainy making the process unpleasant and noisy.
Let’s see, wasn’t there a pop singer in the 1960s called “LuLu”? Did she have something to do with that Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? movie? Let’s check the Internets …. Ah hah, LULU is “Lululemon Athletica Inc.,” a NASDAQ-listed company which is trading at $7.60 per share this afternoon, or $43 down from its 52-week high. But that’s pretty much every stock these days, right? So Peggy did not mean LULU, which is apparently a manufacturer of track suits worn by Armenian gangsters. Or fancy yoga clothes for ladies, who knows?
Anyway, the singer. It was To Sir, With Love. Same thing? She was/is Scottish. Married a BeeGee once! Can’t see what this has to do with the Clintons, though.
A comic strip about a little girl. A bear in a children’s book. A video game character. Oh but wait, look here: There were two plays (in German) written more than a century ago, and one was adapted to film — a silent movie, naturally, in 1929 — and also made into an opera. And there’s a character called “LuLu.”
The “Lulu” plays Erdgeist (Earth Spirit, 1895) and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1904) are probably his best known works. Originally conceived as a single play, the two pieces tell a continuous story of a sexually-enticing young dancer who rises in German society through her relationships with wealthy men, but who later falls into poverty and prostitution. The frank depiction of sexuality and violence in these plays, including lesbianism and an encounter with Jack the Ripper (a role which Wedekind played himself in the original production), pushed the boundaries of what was considered acceptable on the stage at the time. The plays formed the basis for G W Pabst’s acclaimed silent film Pandora’s Box (1929), starring Louise Brooks as Lulu, and Alban Berg’s uncompleted opera Lulu (1937), which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century opera.
Bingo. It doesn’t really matter what the story of a “sexually-enticing young dancer who rises in German society” has to do with the Clintons, or the White House, or anything, really. (Jack the Ripper?!) All that matters is that we’ve found the source of this week’s Peggy Noonan reference: an Opera! So refined!
Keep Gates [Wall Street Journal]
Oh and here is the NOT SAFE FOR WORK modernist rape-murder opera Peggy Noonan loves, and which your editor actually owns ON VINYL hahahahahah because why not? (Works well for Halloween, too, if you don’t want those fucking kids coming to your door.)