When the only educated people you know hold identical views to yours, it's an easy step to assuming that all those other mysterious creatures out there who disagree with you are simply dumb anti-intellectual jingoists. The cocoon blinds Didion in other ways as well. Many times in the piece, she recounts going out into the country to talk to real people about 9/11. She doesn't seem to realize that the people Joan Didion might meet in bookstores -- the ones who have come explicitly to hear her speak, no less -- might not be completely representative of the country as a whole. Memo to Didion: Get out a little more.
In a similar vein, I found this interview with Harper's editor Lewis Lapham:
Lapham has just come back from a book tour supporting "Theater of War." "I was speaking to audiences in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Berkeley," he said. "There are a lot of people that are opposed to our war policy. I haven't met anyone who is for our war in Iraq."
Lewis, you traveled to San Francisco AND Berkeley and couldn't find anyone in support of the war? Nothing but peaceniks at the "Bread and Revolution" bookstore? I'm floored.