Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BlogWatch: Penn A Cougar

Here at MoDo Manor we use the time between Dowd articles to separate the wheat from the chaff in the blogosphere. If we link to another blog its because they had some interesting take on the most recent piercing insight from our favorite y-chromosoned columnist. And in contrast to last week’s Colbert inspired bumper crop, this week we have bupkis. And there was a lot to like about Sunday’s piece. It had Mark Penn’s pop demographics and some heavy Hilary bashing. Normally that would be good for at least a few accusations of liberal friendly fire fragging, but no.

A Google BlogSearch® for “Dowd” and “Colbert” gets 465 hits since the column was printed. “Dowd” and “Penn” yields a paltry 73. And the dirty secret of the blogosphere is that many of those hits are just Google-bait reprints of her column with no value-added snarking.

Not that the week was a total loss. Ezra Klein laughs at the naked emperor that is Mark Penn’s tome:

Wipe out the psychosexual speculation on the "true" nature of Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage from Maureen Dowd's latest, and what you're left with is a pretty good column on the absurdity of Mark Penn's Microtrends. "The chapters all read like reports that Mr. Penn wrote for clients," writes Dowd. "Whether or not they’re trends, they’re certainly micro — marketing studies gussied up as social science. As with Malcolm Gladwell’s 'The Tipping Point,' this book is less social philosophy than a fancy way to sell stuff."

The book is weird that way. The Microtrends really aren't about anything -- they don't fit into some overarching vision of American life, they don't help us explain our neighbors or better understand our world. Maybe they suggest niche markets for new products, but that's the sort of information that's best sold to companies, not released in hardcover. My eventual best guess was that the book exists not so much to sell "stuff" as to sell Mark Penn.
And a few can’t resist the chance to mock MoDo for being self-absorbed. On Snaking The Drain we get:
What really matters to Dowd is whether the person running for president has a personality that meets her approval. And Senator Clinton does not. And that's all we'll be hearing from this shallow and self-centered crank for the next year. Dowd will stamp in her heels and flail her arms and keep telling us that no one likes Hillary.
And Brian Beutler narrows it down to the ouroborosian circle jerk of media analysis:
If you want to enjoy a big meta clusterfuck, read Maureen Dowd on Mark Penn on Maureen Dowd. Frankly, the quality of the discourse--and indeed of the entire country--would probably improve a tick or two if Dowd and Penn focused more on tangling with each other than they do on their regular jobs.
Finally, A Lot Of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago (in a post barely longer than the blog name) explicates the Cougar microtrend with a video clip link to How I Met Your Mother that features as a guest star red-headed sex symbol Jane Seymour.
Today's Maureen Dowd column indicates something I'd missed earlier -- Democratic pollster Mark Penn has identified "Cougars" as a critically important group for microtargeting. Does this mean that candidates should consider hiring Barney Stinson for his expertise on the subject?
Maybe we can get Maureen a guest spot on the show the next time Barney goes cougar hunting. Or get Jane Seymour to play Dowd in the film version of Are Men Necessary?

No comments: