22 July 2004
Party dressing

Maureen Dowd makes it into the August Harper's Bazaar with an article titled "Democrats or Republicans: Who Dresses Best?"

I'm not inclined to draw any conclusions myself, but here are some pertinent quotes culled from the Dowd piece. From Stephanie Cutter, director of communications for the Kerry campaign:

With Democrats, you can get some stilettos, some Manolo Blahniks, things that are more Sex and the City. Republicans are more Friends.

I suspect Ann Coulter might disagree. Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, sees it this way:

For liberals, it's socially acceptable to dress like libertines. Republican girls look better in such costumes because deep in their hearts they suspect that the look is a sin, a concession to the grossly oversexed culture that they spend their day jobs lamenting. What enhances their appearance is the eroticism of complicity.

Meanwhile, Robin Givhan, fashion editor of The Washington Post, sees convergence of a sort:

The stereotype has been that Republicans tend to go for the fur and big jewels and more obvious expressions of wealth, while Democrats tend to be less flashy and have a more Midwestern kind of reserve. But I don't think that really applies now that you look at Teresa [Heinz Kerry], the Queen of Chanel, and Laura [Bush], who wears Oscar de la Renta and looks practically nauseous when the subject of her clothes comes up.

Not to say that Mrs Bush is dowdy, as Dowd herself points out:

Laura Bush is a pretty woman who always dresses appropriately. It wouldn't suit her to be too glamorous or clothes obsessed; she's not a "look at me" type. She has an understated wardrobe, a sort of fetching Marian the Librarian look, that has become more stylish as she's gone along.

I'm not sure I understand "as she's gone along" — is the First Lady actually setting fashion trends? — but I can certainly understand the appeal of Marian the Librarian.

As for the pictures, well, they're here, along with my standard brand of half-baked (sometimes quarter-baked) interpretation.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:27 PM)
18 October 2005
Non-accidental verbosity

Tim Blair, arguably the fastest-driving member of the Pajamas Media (name change pending) Editorial Board, on buying pixels by the barrel:

People wrongly think the benefit of writing online is that you have infinite room to go on, but the true benefit of not being locked into a word count per page is that the writing can be as brief as you can make it. A lot of mainstream journalists could benefit from that. Maureen Dowd, for instance, whose columns I think run to about 850 words, could easily pare her columns down to ten, fifteen or even five words, and that includes the byline.

Assuming two words for the byline, that leaves three words. Were I some sort of quasi-MoDo, I might come up with "I'm so cute!"

Of course, there's always the question of whether my readers might not be better served by a blank page — or by a 404.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:11 PM)
31 October 2005
MoDo with no mojo

Lindsay Beyerstein probably isn't buying Maureen Dowd's new book:

Remind me why anyone should take dating advice from Maureen Dowd. This is the woman who regularly uses her New York Times column for content that belongs in an F4M classified ad. Asking Maureen Dowd for perspective on intimate relationships is like asking Judy Miller for advice on journalistic ethics.

If this catches on, I can give out diet tips. But it's only the beginning:

Dowd thinks she's finally gotten the last laugh on those ugly, slutty, Birkenstock-wearing feminists from college. She and her mom knew all along that the feminists were kidding themselves. It's just a Fact of Nature that men hate self-actualized women. Always have. Always will. (Details are sketchy, but apparently Science has established that it has something to do with dopamine and ev psych.)

I adore self-actualized women. I also expect them to ignore my existence, but this is a different matter entirely.

Dowd's bitter takehome message is that women have to play by The Rules, whether feminism endorses them or not. Otherwise, they'll end up as barren old maids in corner offices. Feminism has confused women, Dowd thinks: The women's libbers convinced us that, at least in the abstract, women ought to be able to enjoy sex, power, and money without alienating men. They gave us the (probably correct) idea that it's degrading to hide your personality in order to manipulate some poor sucker into marriage.

I might suggest that what MoDo needs is an all-encompassing, utterly transcendent, and most of all brief affair, just long enough to get the blues out of her system — but then, it's also been suggested that this is exactly what I need. (And never, I hasten to add, has it been suggested by someone actually volunteering for the unpleasant task.)

It's not often I get to quote from both LB and FWP in a single post, but this Porrettoism seems apt:

The woman who wants to improve her relations with men will first clarify her own appreciation of what she wants, including (of course) what she wants from a man. That and only that will make it possible for her to be honest with men — and to know how to deal with them not as enemies, and not with contempt, but from a position of strength.

You make your template, then you start matching shapes. Not before.

Addendum: Lileks observes: "Just for the record: I am married to a Strong & Successful Woman. I have no problem with Strong Women. On the contrary. But I am less than fascinated by Strong Women who have issues like the Roman sewers had mice."

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:18 AM)
7 November 2005
What's the opposite of "kismet"?

For some reason, I said this about Maureen Dowd last week:

I might suggest that what MoDo needs is an all-encompassing, utterly transcendent, and most of all brief affair, just long enough to get the blues out of her system — but then, it's also been suggested that this is exactly what I need.

Shed those Dowd-y feathers and fly a little bit? Maybe, maybe not. But the mind reels — at least, my mind reels — at the very idea that MoDo and I might have something in common. (And here's the complete reel.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:54 PM)
12 November 2005
Now that we're out of Katrina footage

I know, we've spent entirely too much time on the subject of Maureen Dowd.

But said subject does tend to spawn interesting tangents. This Dowd-related item at The Passing Parade generated some comments to the effect that there might be a conspiracy to put another woefully-overexposed female, Jennifer Aniston, on every last farging magazine cover in the nation, if not actually on The Nation itself.

Now quoting me, from April 2003:

To: customerservice@bigmagazinepublisher.com

For some unaccountable reason, this month's subscription copy was fitted with the wrong cover, an error which stood out blatantly. I mean, a magazine that does not have Jennifer Aniston on the cover? What were you thinking?

Either I'm way ahead of the Zeitgeist, or — wait, was that MoDo on the cell phone?

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:02 AM)
13 November 2005
Beyond mere personal ads

A British woman has taken out newspaper ads seeking a boyfriend for her daughter. Applicants should be single, 24 to 30, geographically acceptable, and must produce a 500-word essay detailing their qualifications. The young lady in question is twenty-four, a student, and has a six-year-old son from a previous commitment. Appearance is not a major criterion, though "Brad Pitt lookalikes will not be rejected out of hand".

Meanwhile in Denver (first spotted at Okiedoke), a woman in her late forties is offering a package deal: buy her house, and she comes with it. Asking price is $600k, which doesn't seem out of line for the Washington Park area of Denver, especially given the amount of work she's supposed to have put into it — I pulled up some MLS listings in 80209 and even the smaller bungalows start in the 400s — but, you know, some things are harder to appraise than others. I bounced this premise off a few women of similar age, and they were somewhat suspicious of the entire venture.

I'm inclined to think that Maureen Dowd isn't going to be trying these particular ploys any time soon.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:10 AM)
14 November 2005
When pundits breed

Keith Rogan writes to Mark Steyn:

Conservative columnists with a sense of humor (like you) are a rare breed. With that thought uppermost in mind, I can't help but wonder what sort of "Uber-Columnist" might be created if Ann Coulter and yourself could be induced to breed?

With nothing more than a candlelit dinner and massive amounts of fertility drugs I can envision a future harvest of leggy, bearded, journalism students that could change the world as we know it, possibly.

Perhaps you could send Ann some roses and a dinner invitation to get the ball rolling, so to speak?

If this seems horrifying, wait until you hear Steyn's reply:

Well, if I glimpse Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd necking on a park bench, I'd certainly be willing to even up the score. Lie back and think of Canada, as Queen Victoria almost said.

This exchange serves two purposes. It enables me to get in my Obligatory Gratuitous Maureen Dowd Reference for the day, and it suggests a question: "Is there any demand for hot pundit-on-pundit action?" Somehow I doubt it; I've turned up only two examples [not safe for work] of Ann Coulter fan fiction, neither of which involves another pundit. Still, that's two more than I've found for Dowd, or for Krugman or Steyn.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:06 AM)
Let no expired equine go unbeaten

And why not?

NEW YORK — Maureen Dowd's Technorati search ranking soared to No. 4 this week as bloggers feverishly posted reviews of her new book, Are Men Necessary?, searched for and read others' reviews, and discussed her irrelevance.

"She's just a well-trained, albeit, clever monkey," wrote Dennis Wright, the writer behind Poliblogger. "Does anyone read her books anymore?" Wright asked in his 18-paragraph review of Dowd's new book. Of Wright's 23 posters, 21 said they had read the book, but didn't think other people would.

"Nobody cares what she thinks," wrote Robert Oakley, responding to Wright on his blog, Rightdude. "I don't care what she thinks. She writes these crappy books and behaves as if we are going to talk about them or even care. I mean, do I seem like I care to you?"

You've already seen my level of indifference.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:36 PM)
15 November 2005
Your daily Dowd

Thoughts from Lindsay Beyerstein:

No doubt misogyny influenced some people's assessments. The more interesting question is whether the discussion itself is framed by underlying sexist or misogynist assumptions. Are we treating [Maureen] Dowd unfairly because she expresses herself in a stereotypically feminine way? I would argue that Dowd deserves the criticism she's getting, but that there are a lot of equally frivolous men in the media who are allowed to coast on sexism because the public is irrationally predisposed to see their contributions as serious and important.

Some stereotypically feminine characteristics deserve to be criticized, not because they're associated with women, but because they're intrinsically undesirable. [Dowd-like elision here.] If your life prospects depend on your looks, it's only natural to be preoccupied with your personal appearance. If manipulation is the only tool you've got, every job begins to look like an opportunity for feminine guile.

A variation on the hammer/nail thesis. I'm not persuaded that manipulation is the only tool in a woman's belt, so to speak, but when you know something will work, there's a tendency to use it.

It's true that certain attributes are systematically devalued because they are associated with femininity. However, we shouldn't give women a free pass to behave in ways we wouldn't approve of generally. In an ideal world, David Brooks would be dismissed as frivolous and self-absorbed, too.

What? You mean he hasn't been?

Props to Beyerstein for insisting, quite properly, that double standards suck. But I must say a few words on behalf of frivolity. In general, those who turn up their noses at it have failed to grasp an essential concept: life is not supposed to be serious 24/7. And the context doesn't matter all that much, either: gallows humor isn't always tasteful, but it's funny, and under those circumstances, you need all the funny you can get. I suppose I could fault Maureen Dowd for not conforming to the stereotype of the perennially-unamused industrial-strength feminist or for not fully comprehending the Hundred Years' War on Terror, or David Brooks for, um, not thwapping E. J. Dionne upside the head some afternoon on All Things Considered, but what would be the point? No, they're not answering the Ultimate Questions of Life, the Universe, and Everything, but then they're not supposed to. Life is the journey, not the destination; what I want is a travel guide with a sense of humor. Then again, I'm frivolous and self-absorbed. (Ask anyone.) Does this disqualify me for writing for The New York Times? Probably not. (Lack of Official Credentials and an inability to make up stuff on the fly, on the other hand, probably would.)

I leave for someone with greater psychological insights than I — which presumably wouldn't take much — the explanation for why I've spent so much time on Maureen Dowd this month.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:07 AM)
16 November 2005
Bids for attention

Today's Maureen Dowd commentary, from Sir Cranky:

I read a little more of Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? on the subway and bus. She writes about how male readers frequently email her at the Times, asking her to read stuff they write, or watch them on tv, or hear their lectures. Apparently, female readers rarely do this. There is a subtle putdown in the way Maureen talks about all these guys, giving the impression she thinks a lot of them are kooks and wannabes. Or ineffectual cyberspace pick-up artists. And, if Sir Cranky were to email her his thoughts, he'd be joining that elite fraternity too! Wheeeee!! At the same time, Miss Dowd sounds like a homely girl at a nineteenth century ball, showing off a surprisingly full dance card. "I have Chester for the waltz, and Lewis for the polka, and..."

Disclosure: I have never sent anything to Maureen Dowd.

Can there actually be a connection between the stridency of modern career women like Dowd and her pals, and the meteoric growth of strip joints?

Disclosure: I have never actually been to a strip joint.

Further disclosure: When I was much younger, I had a low-level crush on journalist Elizabeth Drew. (Today's her birthday: she's 70.) Once she said this:

The torment of human frustration, whatever its immediate cause, is the knowledge that the self is in prison, its vital force and "mangled mind" leaking away in lonely, wasteful self-conflict.

This is not quite as dire as, say, Faulkner's assertion that "only vegetables are happy," but I do believe that nine times out of ten, the imprisoned self welds its own bars.

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:43 AM)
17 November 2005
Dowd for the day

Middle Class Guy Peter Bella thinks MoDo ought to be sacked:

She indirectly, in a recent column, called Judith Miller a whore. She very delicately and through the use of intellectual obfuscatory vocabulary referred to Ms. Miller's private life and her involvement with men. How ghastly. How horrible. How evil. Had Ms. Miller been involved with women it would be perfectly acceptable, but the fact that she likes men is abhorrent to Ms. Dowd.

If a male had written such a vituperative column, he would have been fired at the demand of Ms. Dowd and hauled before Congress to testify before a money wasting hearing before he was publicly castrated by Ted Koppel and Marlo Thomas. But evidently, a female can get away with it. There are only two reasons for this kind of behavior and vengeance drivel by Ms. Dowd. One, she is jealous that her brilliant counterpart actually has a life, and a sex life to boot, or two, Ms. Dowd is a lesbian who was turned down by Ms. Miller.

I rather doubt the latter: while certainly lesbians don't find men, um, necessary, except perhaps for situations requiring good old Brute Strength, they also don't spend a great deal of time castigating them for their perfidy, an activity which constitutes a significant portion of the MoDo operandi.

What I find worrisome, though, is the idea that someone actually considers Judith Miller "brilliant." And besides, as should surprise no one, I like "intellectual obfuscatory vocabulary." Sometimes it's all I have.

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:45 AM)
19 November 2005
An explanation of sorts

Well, you know, if I'm going to bash MoDo's book, the least I can do is read the damned thing.

Anent which, Dowd writes to the Sydney Morning Herald:

[I was] hoping to start cool, sexy conversations between men and women, not spur angry rants from women. It's strong, successful women who are bristling, which is weird, because I thought they already knew that life can be a bit harder for them at times, but also a great adventure.

I doubt anything I have to say on the subject will be cool and/or sexy, but we shall see.

(Via Tim Blair.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:02 PM)
21 November 2005
Live at 24 frames

Six minutes of last night were spent watching Maureen Dowd on The Daily Show, an old 2004 clip at Comedy Central's Web site. If you're going to tell me I needn't have bothered, well, you're right, I needn't have bothered. Still, curiosity won out.

The superficial stuff I got through in a matter of seconds: very nice legs, a hairdo apparently specifically designed for maximum flipability should she decide to act saucy, and a smile that isn't really a smile. Yes, it turns upward at the edges, and yes, she does noticeably brighten when someone (or when Jon Stewart, anyway) agrees with her, but it's not a smile: it's as though she's keeping her teeth at Maximum Clench back there, in case Dick Cheney gets mentioned. Either that, or she doesn't want anyone to know that she's chewing gum.

I have a weakness for what I call "voices that will melt zinc." Dowd, alas, leaves my metal cold; one-third nasal, one-third whiny, and one-third Lily Tomlin's "Ernestine" character, she undercuts her every effort to sound flirtatious. If this is supposed to be saucy, it's the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee stuff in a can, and it's been left on the stove too long.

The horror, I suppose, is twofold: first, that MoDo is probably only six months in charm school and $75,000 worth of therapy away from being a genuine catch, and second, that I'd even think of that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:32 AM)
22 November 2005
Time to be regained

Marcel Proust's Questionnaire, first posed to him (he didn't write it) when he was 13 years old, lives on in somewhat-altered form on the back page of Vanity Fair; there have been issues where I thought it was the only thing worth reading. (I answered it myself once, though not under the auspices of V.F.)

MoDo gets her turn in the December issue, and some of her responses are amusing:

What is your greatest fear?
Jeb Bush 2008.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Bringing unnecessary presents for unnecessary men.

What do you most value in your friends?
Availability at deadline.

How would you like to die?
After my enemies.

On what occasion do you lie?
The Proust Questionnaire.

I'd like to think she'd come up with those if you asked her in person; it would demonstrate some redeeming antisocial value.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:19 AM)
23 November 2005
Obligatory Dowd content

Because, like, I haven't, all day.

Anyway, since this was in my Quote of the Week queue, I figured I'd use it. From Ace, on MoDo's Are Men Necessary?

Women do a lot of ribbing of men — Maureen Dowd's made a cottage industry of it; she just wrote a book that I've nominated to the Guinness World Records committee as the World's Longest Friendster Profile.

That's gonna leave a mark. Fortunately, with a good foundation and careful blending, no one need ever know.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:48 PM)
25 November 2005
It's those damnable prepositions

Jennifer of I Make Out with Geeks approvingly quotes Maureen Dowd:

Smart men are better in bed because they're more imaginative and more studious, pouring over a woman as though they're getting their master's degree in her.

Does that count as lab work?

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:24 PM)
28 November 2005
Bazaar outcroppings

It's hard to imagine a magazine less relevant to my existence than Harper's Bazaar; it's aimed at (1) women (2) with a lot more money than I'll ever have (3) and the willingness to spend it on clothing, for Prada's sake.

So I just renewed it for another year, because, hey, it's about as realistic as those science-fiction magazines, and what's more, it's a whole lot cheaper. Besides, fashion is fascinating, and not just because the Bazaar version is hyperexpensive and presumably designed for women with the general contours of twelve-year-old boys; in some ways, you can read it as an informal poll of how things are going otherwise, as the Princess explains:

If there is any indication of the mood of the country, it is typically how the consumers feel: if there is a chance that they might be depressed, the mood at the mall will be sullen and low, with people crowding around the clearance racks instead of trying on bright formalwear and expensive shoes. Skirts get longer, colors get darker, and the salesclerks are rude and unforgiving. But today, shopping was pleasant for the first time in a few years. The colors on the Gap sweaters didn't fade into the background, people were conscious about saying "please," "thank you," and "excuse me," which is an oddity even inside Club Monaco. I have to take this as a positive indication.

And it's not just socioeconomic phenomena that are filtered through fashion. In the December issue, Maureen Dowd (of course) draws a bead on the unfortunate (according to feminist theory) fact that Looks Matter:

It's still a catch-22 for women. If you pay too much attention to fashion and looks, you may be deemed superficial; if you don't pay enough, you may be deemed sloppy.

And here she quotes a friend of hers in the D.C. establishment:

"I'm constantly asked by my male colleagues ... how much I spend on shoes and how many pairs I own. Do I ask them what they spent on their super-high-tech home-movie theaters? No. It makes me defensive."

I'm not even going to try to decide whether a $3000 HDTV is worth more or less than five pairs of Manolo Blahniks at $600 each.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:20 AM)
2 December 2005
Occasional Dowdishness

Mister Snitch on Maureen Dowd, as found at skippy the bush kangaroo:

[A]ll I see are issues, issues, issues. And big feet. She portrays herself as a litmus test — a good man will want her, a fool will fail to appreciate her. What she fails to address is that a good man will simply see that there are countless far better options available to him.

Including celibacy.

Of course, "big feet" can mean only one thing for a woman: larger-than-average shoes.

(And skippy wasn't exactly kind to her, either; if you're a confirmed Dowdophobe, or even if you're not, read the original post.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:02 PM)
3 December 2005
One down, were it true

From Crawford and Cutler's Shackle Report, this possibly-apocryphal story:

With release of her book Are Men Necessary? and its companion article in The New York Times Magazine, witticist Maureen Dowd obliterated any sign of her rival, blogster Arianna Huffington, last month.

Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of the Times, who answers to the name of Pinch, said, "There is, as you know, room in America for only one woman pundit at a time, and our sources, who declined to be identified due to their being me, determined that it should be our woman pundit, even though none of us want to marry her."

Not that anyone's having any problems mocking Arianna. Or, for that matter, MoDo.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:47 PM)
6 December 2005
An angle I hadn't considered

Alex Bensky does not believe:

There is no "Maureen Dowd"; the construct is just an elaborate joke played by the Times editorial board.

Which leads to the next question: who's that playing MoDo on the talk-show circuit? I'm betting on Klinkenborg.

(One of miriam's ideas.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:26 PM)
8 December 2005
MoDo made over

Maureen old and newThe New York Times has apparently replaced Maureen Dowd's old headshot with a new one. Does it make any difference? Gawker opines:

The old one, with its dark background and pursed lips, said, "I'm mysterious and witty." And the new one, with a white background and tousled hair? Just one thing: "Marry me!"

I don't know. The new photo might be good for Casual Friday, but I'm not convinced she's comfy when she's casual.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:19 AM)
14 December 2005
Is a review necessary?

Yes, I have now read Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? (Short answer: Yes, at least sometimes.)

I haven't reviewed it here because, well, there's not much to it: I got the distinct impression that coming up with actual transitional material to fill in the Marianas Trench-sized gaps between the original Dowd columns that make up the bulk of the book was a lot lower on MoDo's to-do list than, say, finding a suitable pulp-fiction cover design.

Which is not to say that there was nothing worthwhile in it; but that which was worthwhile, I believe, came off as merely incidental to the intent of the book. In fact, suggests the Anchoress, Dowd wrote the wrong book altogether:

I hope you will try to write the book you should have written this time around. A book that should not contain the words "men" or "me" or "Bush" at all, and it should not contain a single reference to a movie, or television or pop music. Because honey, you need to focus on something different — you need to break out of your rut, and your unhealthy obsessions.

Write a book about the three women whom you clearly loved and admired and miss. Write a book about your mother, and Katharine Graham, and Mary McGrory.

Because I have to tell you, in the whole silly exercise of Are Men Necessary?, the only time you were readable, likable and still clearly in control of your pen was when you were writing about these three women, and you made the reader want to read more.

Absolutely true. This isn't much material — a mere handful of pages — but this is where Dowd shines, where she's more concerned with getting the story told than with maintaining the standard snark level, where she comes across as someone who still has ideals and is grateful to those who imparted them to her.

People (not just you, Snitch) ask me why I bother with Maureen Dowd at all. My stock response has been that I see her as sort of a kindred spirit: fiftyish, certified smartass, and utterly clueless about the ways and means of love — how could I not pay attention to someone like that? But I was going back through some of the archives this week, and reread some of the stuff I wrote where sneers took a back seat to sense — here's a particularly good example — and it occurred to me that perhaps MoDo and I, in addition to having most of the same weaknesses, might also have one or two of the same strengths. (A tongue-in-cheek review of same came out here last month.)

Or it could be simply this, as the Anchoress says:

Somewhere in your Catholic background, you learned about gifts and how they are used. You have one, and you've been wasting it on worldly and fleeting things. Write something out of love. It will last, as love does.

Something to add to my to-do list, I see.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:28 AM)
29 December 2005
Doing a slow burn

The armchair shrink speaks:

Guys argue that women tend to stew and hold grudges more, sometimes popping up to blow the whistle on a man's bad behavior years later, like a missile out of the night, as Alan Simpson said of Anita Hill.

Yet look at Cheney and Rummy. Their steroid-infused power grabs stem from their years stewing in the Ford White House, a time when they felt emasculated because they were stripped of prerogatives.

They're men, Maureen. They're not necessary at all. Remember?

As DCeiver might say, "Meh."

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:33 PM)
11 January 2006
Have you cuddled your cactus today?

Inasmuch as I'm supposed to be pining for this, um, "unattainable snarkgoddess" (a phrase for which I score an actual Googlewhack as of this writing, though this post will eventually trash it), here's a not-entirely-random Maureen Dowd description from this denunciation of a Norwegian quota system by E. M. Zanotti:

Sure, women don't hit the upper echelons, but could that be because some women might happen to not want to hit the upper echelons, work three thousand hours a week, and end up alone and bitter like Maureen Dowd? Sure, she believes she out of a date because everyone just thinks she so wonderful, but let's hit the Earth for a second: MoDo is about as cuddly as a cactus, and twice as pretentious.

"The cactus is our friend." — Maria Muldaur, "Midnight at the Oasis"

Actually, cacti don't strike me as particularly pretentious, except for the saguaro, and that could be just a trick of perspective. They sure are prickly, though.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:25 PM)
24 January 2006
On the prowl

Maureen Dowd is in Australia to promote Are Men Necessary?

Since the formal release date is the 30th, obviously she has some time to kill, and the Australian reports the following (down near the bottom of the page):

This time she plans to track down an Aussie bloke she had a crush on when she was 20.

I have a feeling there's one hell of a story here — and I probably don't want to know what it is.

(Via Tim Blair.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:11 AM)
28 February 2006
No stripper wells, either

So tell me, Iowahawk, what do you think of Maureen Dowd?

Actually, if you squint really hard, you can theoretically imagine MoDo being sexually attractive to a drunk oil platform worker on a twenty minute shore leave. But only after you first wheeled her to the taxidermist for a makeover.

Hmm. Usually he's a bit more forthright than that.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:22 AM)
7 March 2006
Down under, so to speak

Maybe Maureen Dowd was serious about finding a fellow in Oz:

When I was 20, I fell in love with an Australian hotel manager in Dublin called Rowan. After that, I wanted to emigrate to Australia but my parents made me go home instead.

Now I'm here at last. And if they can take a strong, sassy, saucy woman, Australian men should please apply.

Applications follow:

"The Ultimate Bloke":  It's simple why we Aussie boys are the juice ... poor Maureen has had to suffer for years the irony of US boys calling themselves men. Now she's in Australia, her search for a man can begin.

"John":  Any woman that can write so elegantly and with such biting sarcasm must be worth spending a little time with. And the added bonus — Maureen is a redhead! Reds are the best!

"Tori":  I'm an intelligent young man with exceptional communication skills, GREAT sense of humour and a charismatic personality. I am a self-trained gourmet chef with an exquisite taste for fine food & wine, which I would like to share with Maureen. Indeed, I'm 2QT2eat and the perfect accompliment for an attractive career woman.

Jeebus. After reading these, I'm starting to think that I coulda been a contender. Remind me to pick up a case of Carlton Draught.

(Via Wonkette.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:23 PM)
15 March 2006
Nigel Wick speaks up

Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson did the 20Q thing with Playboy this month — by which I mean April — and get a load of Q6:

PLAYBOY:  Your Maureen Dowd interview was almost flirtatious. What was going on? Can you have as much fun with Ann Coulter?

FERGUSON:  I adore Dowd. I find her endlessly fascinating, endlessly sexy. She's very female, and I like that. But one of the things I like most is that when I challenge her on something, she seems delighted. It's what makes her such a good writer. Coulter thinks that everyone who disagrees with her has a political stance contrary to hers. She's strident and seems angry about something. Maybe it's just an act, but she has kept it up every time I've met her.

I'm not persuaded that it's an act, but if it is, it's a good one: I never hear of her breaking character.

This alleged Dowdian delight on being challenged is apparently something she switches on and off, depending on whether she wants to be Dr Jekyll or Miss Heidi; I await further research into this matter. I will point out, though, that anything more animated than obvious boredom will be interpreted by some guys as being flirtatious: Amanda Congdon caught some complaints about yesterday's Rocketboom. She replied:

If two men had a chuckle together, would that be flirting? I find it very sexist that every time I have a good time with the person I am interviewing (whether it be Steve [Brudniak] or Senator Edwards) people misconstrue it as "flirting" because I am woman. It just goes to show how women still can't be looked at without that weird sexual angle. It's 2006 and gender equality is just so far away. I realize that more and more every day.

Me, I think all sexual angles are weird, but maybe that's just me. I would suggest, though, that gender equality isn't the issue here: rather, it's gender interchangeability, which is even farther away and which I am not anxious to approach.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:21 AM)
15 June 2006
Close encounters of the Dowd kind

Lindsay Beyerstein reports from YearlyKos:

There was a traffic jam in the hall. As I got closer it became clear that a small woman with red hair was locked in a very intense conversation with Matt Stoller from MyDD in the middle of the corridor.

Kombiz from Eduwonk pulled me aside.

"Do you know who that is?" he whispered.

I assumed that the small but vital woman undressing Matt Stoller with her eyes was Arianna Huffington.

"That's Maureen Dowd."

"No way!" I blurted out, "My grandfather has a crush on Maureen Dowd!"

I must have said it louder than I thought, because Dowd instantly severed her laser-like eye contact with Stoller and swiveled at the waist to glare at me.

I mention this mostly to remind people that I am not anywhere near old enough to be Beyerstein's grandpa.

Well, that and to puzzle over the phrase "small but vital."

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:01 AM)
24 August 2006
Because it's been a while

Michael Bates thought it was about time to tweak me again about Maureen Dowd, and he pointed me to this Fred On Everything denunciation.

I would remind him, and the rest of you, that I am aware of her, um, deficiencies. Except for the alleged resculpturing — "She probably gets more daily maintenance than a 747, but she still looks as though a vocational school held an injection-molding contest and everyone lost," says Fred — her deficiencies are fairly similar to my deficiencies, and therefore I'm inclined to cut her a bit more slack than she might deserve.

On the other hand, were I to decide that I must have a pundit around the house, I'd probably do better, or at least somewhat less badly, with the likes of Mary Katharine Ham, whose politics are a bit closer to mine, and who — never mind, this can't possibly be said with any degree of finesse.

And keep in mind that I don't consider myself in a position to look down my nose at Jacqueline Passey, either. (That is so last week, you know?)

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:09 PM)
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