Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Big Dance

The Nepotism Tango
Published: September 30, 2007

The tango is a highly eroticized dance step with its origins in the cowboy culture of South America. Nepotism is the practice of awarding relatives with jobs regardless of their qualifications.

Politics is often described as a horse race. Perhaps comparing it to a dance contest is a better metaphor since it is a combination of skill and appearance that determines the winner.

Maybe it’s fitting that a woman who first sashayed into the national consciousness with an equation — “two for the price of one” — may have her fate determined by the arithmetic of dynasty.
Personally, I don’t need the mental image of Hillary sashaying anywhere, let alone into the nations consciousness. While sashay usually means “To strut or flounce in a showy manner” it also has a specific dancing connotation which is “A figure in square dancing in which partners circle each other by taking sideways steps.” That narrower meaning is ripe for all sorts of metaphorical interpretation.

And Hillary isn't the only one doing some circle stepping:
Obama, tiptoeing gingerly around Hillary...
That is tiptoeing as in through the tulips with Tiny Tim. And we all know what gingerly means.

Not only does Hillary strut and sidestep, she is getting dance advice from writer Bill Sammon:
The Texas president has been sending the New York senator messages to “maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric about Iraq,” as Mr. Sammon puts it.
The Texas/New York contrast there is not accidental as it gets repeated later:
Without nepotism, Hillary would be running for the president of Vassar. But then, without nepotism, W. would be pumping gas in Midland — and not out of the ground.
Vassar, of course, being the very prestigious formerly all-female sister school to Hillary’s alma mater Wellesley. And Midland is the Texas outpost of the Bush dynasty where Bush the Younger learned how to lose money in the oil business at his daddy’s knee.

It’s all MoDo’s way of saying that when it comes to grace and elegance, Hillary is Strictly Ballroom and Dubya is nothing but Texas Two-Step.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Greg Gutfeld Goes Gaga

In Tuesday’s column, Maureen Dowd latched onto Greg Gutfeld’s characterization of the Iranian president as a fruitbat as an example of inhospitable name-calling. In addition to the fruitbat line, Greg also had this to say about the fashion sense of our Persian guest:

Ahmadinejad needs gays bad. Look at that waxed hair and that retarded coat. He needs a queer eye, fast.

When aspiring Fox News Neanderthal Gutfeld found out that he had garnered the notice of Maureen, he went on a charm offensive. While he seemed a little miffed that he’s never been invited to go hot-tubbing with Frank Rich and the rest of the NYT Op-Ed gang, he makes a serious play for Maureen’s affections. Despite her being twelve years his senior, he is willing to pull out all the stops. He tells her to quit pining for mustachioed tyrants that will just love her and leave her.

Maureen, he's just not that into you.

But I am. I'll wait. When he's done with you, just call me. We'll have margaritas. I'll even wear the jacket — maybe pants. I won't like it, but I'll do it… for you.

Uh, that's not your gut you're feeling, Greg. Think lower.

It seems a shame that such an eloquent knuckle-dragger as Gutfeld could become such a smitten schoolboy. We understand MoDo’s magic allure, Greg. We really do.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blog Watch: Paging Miss Manners

In yesterday’s column, Maureen Dowd upbraided Lee Bollinger for being so rude to his honored guest, the president of Iran. The Eternal Hope blog sides with MoDo and sees this sort of rude behavior emanating from the bad example we have in the White House:

And given how Bush has a way of humiliating people in public, it is hardly surprising that minions like Lee Bollinger did the same by humiliating Ahmedinejad when he went to give a speech to the students at the University of Columbia. The Jewish protests against the Iranian leader for his holocaust denial were completely called for. But for a university president to embarrass him the way he did was totally unprofessional. Bollinger is supposed to be representing his university, not his own personal feelings about Ahmedinejad. His humiliation of the Iranian leader said more about his selfish behavior and reflected much more on his institution than it did about Ahmedinejad.
Mark Finkelstein of NewsBusters mentions that Mika Brzezinski read from the MoDo column on the air. Finkelstein then cites Tucker Carlson as pointing out that The Man In The Dinner Jacket is no charm school graduate:
I like Tucker Carlson's take on the matter. On his show last night, he laughed at the notion, pointing out that it was this same Iran that engaged in the worst breach of hospitality in recent history: holding American diplomats hostage for over a year during the Carter administration. Oh, and who is accused of being one of the hostage-holding thugs? None other, of course, than that sensitive guy himself, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Perhaps we can get an etiquette expert to help with how best to introduce a holocaust-denying homophobic zealot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fruitbat In A Dinner Jacket

‘Fruitbat’ at Bat
Published: September 26, 2007

“Casey At The Bat” is a famous poem about a small-town baseball hero that endures humiliation when he strikes out in a clutch situation. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was called a fruitbat by Greg Gutfeld of Fox News upon the event of his delivering a speech at Columbia University.

And on top of all that, we help build up the self-serving doofus Iranian president, a frontman with a Ph.D. in traffic management, into the sort of larger-than-life demon that the real powers in Iran — the mullahs — can love.
According to Wikipedia, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s doctorate is in transportation engineering and planning, a subdivision of civil engineering. His undergraduate entrance exam scores ranked him 132 out of 40,000.
But while challenging the policies and ideology of the Evil Empire, Ronald Reagan understood he had to engage Mikhail Gorbachev, not ignore or insult him.

Reagan was able to help the Soviet Union — and world communism — to fall apart. All W. has managed to do is destroy the country he wanted to turn into a democracy and make Iran more powerful than it was before.

In Iranian eyes, the U.S. has behaved in a way that continually diminishes their country” — from U.S. involvement in the 1953 coup that reinstated the Shah to W.’s branding them as part of the “axis of evil.”
Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union the “Evil Empire” in a speech on March 3, 1983. The Soviet Union dissolved amid political and economic chaos in 1991. Dubya described Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as members of the “Axis of Evil” in his State of The Union speech on January 29, 2002. The United States invaded and defeated Iraq in March of 2003. North Korea tested a nuclear device in 2006. Iran, well, that's the point.
Wouldn’t sticks and carrots — cultural fluency, smart psychology and Reaganesque dialogue — be a better way to bring the Iranians around than sticks and stones?
“Carrot and stick” is a frequently debated metaphor that either means a combination of rewards and punishments is the best combination of motivations or it implies that the hope for a reward, no matter how illusory is an effective incentive.

Sticks and stones may break my bones / But words will never hurt me is a common schoolyard rebuttal to verbal insults. Maybe stones and carrots like in the stone soup fable would be the best solution.

The president’s irrelevant U.N. speech was a bad combo with the schoolyard name-calling of Lee Bollinger.
Complete the following the analogy:

Kettle:pot::Lee Bollinger:_________

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Dowd Report is to:

  • Annotate and explicate the literary, historical, political, epistemological, and pop cultural allusions made by Maureen Dowd in her twice weekly New York Times column. Discussed terms are bolded within the quote. All interpretations of intent or meaning are solely those of Dowd Report and its contributors.
  • Provide the most current information on Maureen Dowd’s other published works, television appearances, public sightings and any other activities where she deigns to rub elbows with mere mortals.
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for MoDo rumors, innuendos, and gossip.
  • Highlight and comment on other internet commentary or criticism of the New York Times most attractive, intelligent, insightful and acerbic female political columnist.
  • Get featured in a mainstream media report about obsequious fansites that border on or even cross the line dividing genuine fandom and creepy stalkerhood.
Comments and linkbacks are always welcome regardless of political affiliation or incorrectness of views concerning Maureen Dowd's inherent genius and beauty.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Flintstone Fred Vs Ringtone Rudy

Uxorious or Spurious?
Published: September 23, 2007

Uxorious: 1) Excessively submissive or devoted to one's wife.(FreeDictionary) 2) A perverted affection that has strayed to one’s own wife. (Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce)

MoDo uses the NRA convention to illustrate the difference between Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. She sets up the convention speeches as a Wild West shoot-out.

…there was only one other ingredient needed for Flintstone Fred’s testosterone cocktail: a sexy blonde. Introducing his wife, Jeri, he drawled, “I think she’d make a much better first lady than Bill Clinton.”
The call-out to the animated caveman conjures a certain level of Neanderthalness in both appearance and political outlook.

Then there is a long discussion of the possibly pre-arranged bit where Rudy Giuliani takes a call from his wife. MoDo calls bullshit.
This suggests either that Friday’s call was staged to humanize the dictatorial former mayor, or that Rudy is afraid of Judi’s digital wrath, or that the candidate is still struggling with how to integrate his third wife into his campaign, after her puppy-killing, husband-hiding, cabinet-sitting rough start.
In six hyphenated words Dowd dredges up Judi Giuliani’s former career with a company that used animals to demonstrate surgical products, her previously undisclosed first (of three) husbands, and some overly generous offers of unappointed political power.
Mitt Romney’s camp…found video of the first cellus interruptus and sent reporters links to YouTube clips of both calls.
Coitus interruptus changed to cellus drives home that Rudy may be both pistol-whipped and pussy-whipped.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blog Watch: MoDo Lingo

Doghouse Riley of Bats Left Throws Right has put together a MoDo Glossary for those of us emerging from two years of Times Select embargo. He puts together some recent phrases that will help re-orient yourself to the highly specialized patois of the New York Times's hottest columnist. Here are some of her verbal epithets for current characters so you can recognize them:

First Groupie, The: William Jefferson Clinton, Forty-Second President of the United States
Goracle, The: Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. , 45th Vice-President of the United States
Metrosexual In Chief: John Edwards, potentially
Obambi: Senator Barrack Obama, D-Ill.
Senator Pothole: Hillary Clinton
Smooth Jazz Senator: Barack Obama
Tough Guys: Rudy Giuliani and John McCain
W.: George Walker Bush, Forty-Third President of the United States
Warrior, The: Hillary Clinton
Riley also explains that Lazio is a verb meaning to coarsely criticize Hillary.

Thanks for the help Doghouse.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blog Watch: Slinking Back

Hometown conservative blog Missoulapolis notes the delicious irony of the first MoDo column after the fall of Times Select to be about slinking back. She quotes the Alan (Not Atlas) Shrugged column's opening lines:

It’s a lost art, slinking away.

Now the fashion is slinking back.
Draw your own conclusion about how veiled that dig is at her NYT masters for keeping her off the pundit market for two years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ginger or Mary Anne?

Will Rudy Let Her Rudy-Up?
by Maureen Dowd
September 16, 2007

“Rudy-up” is a variation on the street slang phrase “man-up”, meaning to take something like a man and to be tough and daring.

For months, Hillary’s comely male rivals for the Democratic nomination have tiptoed around her, letting their wives take shots at the front-runner.
By calling John Edwards and Barack Obama "comely" and accusing them of using their wives to make attacks, she is questioning their masculinity.
Enter Rudy. He may wear skirts, but he’s not afraid to take down a skirt.
Rudy Giuliani once wore a dress in a skit with Donald Trump. Some people think he enjoyed it just a little too much.
Obama has been trying to make this point for quite a while, but so gingerly that every time he sneaks up on it, Hillary surges ahead.
Rudy doesn’t do ginger.
The irony is that if you could loosen up Hillary with a few Jack and gingers, she would probably be closer to her reinvention than to his caricature.
We have at least two meanings of ginger here. “Gingerly” means gently and is an another subtle accusation of effeminateness. Additionally, the phrase “doesn’t do ginger” could be a reference to Ginger Rogers who can do everything Fred Astaire can but backwards and in heels. “Jack and ginger” means Jack Daniels and ginger ale, implying that if you got a few drinks into Hillary, she would be as tough or tougher than Rudy. I’m surprised MoDo didn’t manage a Gilligan’s Island call out.

Essentially, Dowd is calling Obama, John, and Rudy pussies and claiming that Hillary is the only man in the bunch. She’s just saying it ever so gingerly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day Of The Dauphin

Alan (Not Atlas) Shrugged
by Maureen Dowd
September 19, 2007

Atlas Shrugged is the Ayn Rand novel advocating ruthless slefishness as a philosophy. Alan Greenspan is well connected to the Objectivist movement founded by Rand.

He [Rumsfeld] and Cheney were orchestrating the invasion from the start, guiding the dauphin with warnings about how weak he would seem if he let Saddam mock him.
The Dauphin is the title given the heir apparent to the French monarchy. By calling Dubya the dauphin, she is mocking him as an easily led child that is only holding power because of father's office.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Goddess Smiles