We have two Dowd related kerfuffles in the blogosphere today, proving that irrational Dowd Haters will latch onto anything in an attempt to make Maureen look silly or incompetent.
The first comes from the New York Post (Dowd’s employer’s rival just in case you can’t smell any ulterior motive). They rehash a column by Times of London (another NYT rival) writer Michelle Henery who describes a chance encounter with Dowd like this:
". . . She was in my face, smiling warmly, greeting me like a long-lost friend. My mind went into overdrive trying to figure out why the world-renowned, Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times uber-columnist . . . was speaking to me. The shock . . . left me momentarily speechless, but in those few seconds Maureen's sweet smile turned into embarrassed confusion and she scampered off."Now even by Michelle’s account, Maureen did not address her by name, but that doesn’t prevent Henery from playing the we-all-look-alike card:
Henery continued, "The next day I e-mailed a group of American friends, asking whose doppelganger I was. They all agreed: 'She must have thought you were Michelle Obama.' "The column ends with Henery making a joke about not being able to keep her red-headed journalists straight.
"Maureen, no hard feelings. When you came up to me, I mistook you for Arianna Huffington."Well played. Dowd completely denies the incident ever happened and Times of London has since deleted the column. Gawker managed to obtain head shots of the two Michelles so that readers can judge for themselves the resemblance if any.
Disappearing columns or at least portions of them are at the heart of the second brouhaha. The following paragraph was in the online version of Dowd's latest column (explicated here) Wednesday morning and some early print editions.
Even though Obama stopped smoking when he started running for president, he has lost five pounds racing around the country. Just like Hollywood starlets, he works out religiously and he can make a three-course meal out of a Nicorette.This paragraph has now Orwellianly disappeared from any official source, but like Mark Twain’s lies, it has circled the world while everyone else was putting on their shoes. Blogs have jumped on this as some sort of insidious reprimand on the part of the Times.
Did her editors finally step in and say she'd gone too far? Can we hope for more?The Daily Howler (aka The Dowd Hater) goes even farther and suggests:
Who knows? Even the Times may have finally noticed a fact: Maureen Dowd is a gender-nut crackpot.Humor site 23/6 gives us a technical definition of a typical Dowd rhetorical device:
Classic Dowd Pointless Antiphonal Wordplay (CLADPAW) involves combining a political reference with a pop cultural reference in the first clause of the sentence, and then recombining the two in a pointless way in the second clause, often with the addition of some kind of homophone, homonym, or pun. Turns out, it's as satisfying as it sounds.They then offer up a poll with three choices for the most over the top sentence in the column with the choices being:
"Tuesday’s voting showed only that the voters, like moviegoers, don’t want a pat ending. Hillary and Obama will battle on in chiaroscuro."In a McCain-thin margin (which is a good bit wider than an Obama-thin cigarette), The laconic/ironic/bionic choice is leading. Bob Somerby of The Howler (see link above) disagrees calling it “moronic.”
"Better the devil you know than the diffident debutante you don’t."
"The big question is: Can he go from laconic to iconic to bionic?"
Everybody is entitled to their opinion. You can call Dowd a crypto-racist for a case of mistaken identity in a crowded room or you can (as Molly Ivor of Whiskey Fire does) accuse her of
dealing in the most meaningless and shallow terms, makes all the Dem candidates unelectable.She then spins the theory that in order to have more juicy topics to write about Dowd deliberately trashes only Democrats. She then places full blame for Bush's election and the subsequent debacle in Iraq on Dowd's line about Gore lactating. And Maureen gets accused of having a "particular shallow, divisive, and damaging form of psychosis." Wow! If only Times columnists had that kind of power, we wouldn't need elections or candidates.