That Nancy Reagan used an astrologer isn’t news. Or is it? It’s not really something that has stayed fresh in people’s minds, is it? Well, very quickly, an astrologer controlled the timing of pretty much every event of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, from the time Air Force One took off to the scheduling for the first meeting with Gorbachev.
And, as it turns out, that astrologer wrote a book!
What Does Joan Say?: My Seven Years as White House Astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan is a shiv in the form of a memoir. Joan Quigley just can’t help herself. In many ways. She can’t help summarizing or reiterating what she’s just said a few pages (and, in some cases, paragraphs) earlier, and she can’t help but take a few jabs at Nancy.
Here’s a good example!
After quoting Nancy calling Elie Wiesel “a fanatic,” Joan goes on to say: To be fair, Nancy was not a religious bigot. She liked her wealthy Jewish friends as well as her friends of other religions.
Or how about:
Nancy had just made a warm and affectionate gesture. Yet I can remember thinking, “This woman would chew someone up and swallow and spit out the bones and never feel a thing.”
Isn’t that cheerful? Then there’s this:
I doubt that Nancy was acquainted either with Euripides or with Aeschylus, but she would have done well to take heed of the classic warning [against hubris].
She also says that, aside from South Africa, the rest of the world “frowns” on slavery in 1990. Well, she’s right, isn’t she? If slightly understated. But that’s nothing compared to what Joan has to say on her favorite subject: Joan.
Let me describe how I was the Teflon in what came to be known for the better part of six years as the “Teflon Presidency.”
The fact that [Reagan’s] cancer did not return is due to the excellent time I chose astrologically. However, as I said, the President has a tendency to develop tumors.
What Does Joan Say? is pretty much like that for all 204 pages. If Joan isn’t explaining how she took advantage of Jimmy Carter’s chart to ensure Reagan’s election or cajoling “Ronnie” through Nancy to think again about that Gorbachev fellow or how Nancy’s political ambition began to scrape away at the Teflon, she’s detailing in mind-numbing detail how she put together all those charts. I can’t really recommend checking it out for yourself, but hell, maybe you’re more into astrology than I am.