“Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” sang Simon & Garfunkel in February of 1968, a year of innocence and chaos. “Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” If that line is difficult to parse several generations later — as in, who the hell is Joe DiMaggio? — it confused people back then too. Songwriter Paul Simon was tweaking the nostalgic yearning for a vanished America found among people slightly older than himself, but at least as he explained it 30 years after the fact, the song also shares in that sadness. In a New York Times Op-Ed after DiMaggio’s death in 1999, Simon wrote that in an era of political discord (meaning the Bill Clinton presidency and the Lewinsky scandal), “we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence.”

Source: Sarah Palin’s feel-bad politics: The dark allure of right-wing nihilism, self-pity and curdled nostalgia for a once-“great” America – Salon.com