Sunday, November 13, 2005


Gene Lyons On Maureen Dowd

A must read. Lyons tackles the bizarre bundle of passive-aggressiveness that is Maureen Dowd. Here's a sample:

Everywhere you look, there’s the Shyest Woman in Washington, demurely avoiding the spotlight. That would be Maureen Dowd, the acerbic New York Times columnist, promoting her new book, “Are Men Necessary?” An excerpt in the Sunday Magazine was illustrated by a photo of the author perched elegantly on a barstool, wearing basic black, red stiletto pumps and fishnet stockings. She gazes coolly into the camera as if to say, “Forget it, big boy. You can’t afford me.” Elsewhere, Dowd appeared on “Imus in the Morning,” got profiled in The Washington Post, and in New York magazine by Ariel Levy, who called her “the most dangerous columnist in America.” In return, Dowd plugged Levy’s book, “Female Chauvinist Pigs : Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture,” in an online chat with readers. It’s called networking, but it’s ordinarily done more subtly. Nobody begrudges Dowd the attention. It’s just funny to hear her friends carry on about the pundit’s bashfulness when she’s on TV all the time. [...] ... Kool Mo D, as I’ve called Dowd since she emerged as queen of the Washington “Heathers” during the Clinton years, was just playing along. But what would she write about a public figure who made her career lampooning the personal foibles of politicians, but insisted that her own intimate life was nobody’s business, then invited magazine writers into her home to explore it? She’d say that person was confused. What’s significant about Dowd’s confusion is how it illuminates the paradoxical rise of the celebrity pundit, journalists who achieve sublunary stardom by treating politics as “infotainment,” appearing on TV and copping an attitude. Her witty eviscerations of President Bush would be more persuasive, however, had she not also mocked Al Gore as “the teacher’s pet from hell,” Bill Clinton as “the Animal House president,” etc. Back then, Dowd treated Bush as a down-to-earth alternative to the humorless Gore. John Kerry was a dork, too. Dowd and her cohorts treat presidential politics like a TV dating game. Heaven help the first woman presidential candidate. No outfit, no hairstyle, no speech mannerisms exist which cannot be mocked.
Hell, for a woman who whines incessantly about how tough life is for smart, tough women, she sure has a hate-on for smart, tough women. She would be hot and cold on Bill Clinton -- often at the same time -- but she has always hated his wife Hillary with an undying passion. It's almost as if she's jealous of Hillary for marrying a guy Dowd knows she herself could never attract. But I digress:
“[W ] hile it was great entertainment to read her verbal shanking of [fellow New York Times reporter ] Judy Miller,” comments blogger DCMediaGirl at dcmediagirl. com, “let me say that I found her bitchy, veiled, disapproving reference to Miller’s ‘relationships’ with powerful men to be a bit rich.” The reference is to Dowd’s romances with people like actor Michael Douglas and “West Wing” impresario Aaron Sorkin.
Um, yeah. Pot-kettle-black applies here.

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