Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Unbearable Shrillness of Maureen Dowd

I was going to write about my amazement at how brazenly and effortlessly Bush lies on the stump -- and, Lord, it sounds real good to the blissfully ignorant and the deliriously partisan. I listened to him today on my ride home, and he was funny, charismatic, and a master dissembler.

But, something has been grating on me for some time. Maureen Dowd may be the single most useless purveyor of opinion in this country, and she somehow has the privilege of ink on the NY Times editorial page. I have thought this for some time. Now, it is ripe for comment.

She is the classic opinion writer as cynic, spewing nihilist nonsense under the guise of faux wit and condescending snarkiness. Generally, she has no point other than to look down on the powerful; it is not entirely clear to me what qualifies her to do so, except for a mediocre career as a NY Times Washington correspondent.

Let's look at some of this morning's Dowd "editorial":

"After 9/11, Mr. Cheney swirled his big black cape and hunkered down in his undisclosed dungeon, reading books about smallpox and plague and worst-case terrorist scenarios. "

-- Zing! Dowd likes to work with what she thinks are clever metaphors and a literary style. They are neither. This weak attempt to dress up Cheney's actions with Holloween metaphors is weak and useless.

"[Cheney's pre-war comments are] often seen in scary movies: you play God to create something in your own image, and the monster you make ends up coming after you."

-- Pap! Evoking Mary Shelley without saying it. Wink, wink. I am so cultured. Want to know how cultured little Maureen is? Check THIS out.

"Just as Catherine Deneuve had bizarre hallucinations in the horror classic "Repulsion,'' Mr. Cheney and the neocons were in a deranged ideological psychosis, obsessing about imaginary weapons while allowing enemies to spirit the real ones away."

-- You uncultured peasants don't get the reference do you. You probably dress as bad as Judy Dean does (remember when Dowd catily and sadly ripped Judy Dean for being insufficiently hip?).

I finally heard her for the first time when she was plugging her book Bushworld on CSPAN a couple of months ago. She is a remarkably dull speaker, and if only some of her limp wit had surfaced, she might have been marginally bearable. Her writing is certainly saucier, but it is a stale, pointless sauce, that is best tossed out rather than being mixed into the national discourse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her voice is unbelievable horrible. I too wonder how she got to comment on the air, but then again I really want to know how Dianne Rheam (NPR) got on the air with that incredibly horrible voice? If anyone has any insight please explain.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Dowd's remarkable attempts at infusing a low-brow writing style with supposedly high-brow content (I give her a D for these efforts) is certainly at odds with the otherwise well-written, and often insightful, editorials at the NY Times. I've only caught one of her public performances on Bill Maher's show, and I came away from the experience convinced that she spends far too much time with a group of imaginary friends. In other words, she's a total whacko. She's just another annoying Arianna Huffington, minus the accent, minus any hint of native personality.

5:01 PM  

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