Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meaty Metaphors

Tim Geithner! Why Are Rich People So Cheap?
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: January 13, 2009

It's one of those psychological effects that when you are deprived of something, your thoughts tend to fixate on that item. Let's do a textual analysis of today's Maureen Dowd column and see if we can find any clues to her New Year's resolutions.

With Chelsea sitting protectively behind in a plum dress and glam ’40s hairdo — Bill was watching on TV with his mother-in-law — Hillary showed the reasons she could be a star at state and queen of Obama’s hot nerds.
Getting warm? Let's try this passage:
She was on top of all the issues, no matter how obscure. She batted around our “stale” arctic policy — who knew? — with Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who doesn’t seem to realize we’re sick of Alaska.

She was up to date on the inevitable Law of the Sea Treaty.
What was a suspicion becomes a tortured metaphor:
She ladled up the broth of flattery expected in the Senate with a chef’s finesse. Even after Senator Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican on the panel that was questioning her, tut-tutted that her links to Bill Clinton’s foundation carry the “risk” of foreign governments “and entities” trying to curry favor with Madam Secretary by donating money to her husband, she deftly buttered up Lugar.
By now, even I am hungry. We even get some old-timey foodie references.
After enduring endless pompous lecturing from John Kerry on what she should read and think — a thinly veiled attempt to show the world that he would have made a better secretary of state, and indeed, thinks he was promised it by Obama — Hillary slathered on the oleo.
And after dinner, some digestive release is called for.
After his windy discourse on how scientists had “revised the levels of supportable greenhouse gas emissions from 550 parts per million to 450 to now 350,” Hillary replied: “You are eloquent in describing it, and you’ve been a leader in trying to sound the alarm on it for many years.”
We have waded deep into Mike Myers flatulence joke territory here. But it's not all food and fart jokes. Having exhausted the culinary attacks, she repurposes some old metaphors. It used to be The Nepotism Tango, but Hillary has switched partners and it's now Obama she is doing the forbidden dance with.
Obama and Hillary continue to be engaged in an intense tango.
And her image of Obama as Herculean hero is as sharp as ever.
Cleaning out the Augean stables was nothing compared to this task, with Obama trying to bend Hillary and Bill to his will, while they try to bend him to theirs.
And to get the obvious out of the way, the titular reference to Tim Geithner was a complete red herring. The point of the column was to dish up leftovers about Hillary. Because as long as there is a Clinton in the kitchen, Maureen will never go hungry for material.

1 comment:

Grace Nearing said...

And after dinner, some digestive release is called for.

Just woke up Mr. Nearing by laughing out loud.

All that and oleo too. That must be worth a Pulitzer. Not many op/ed columnists in the early 21st century could find a way to work "oleo" into a column about a secretary of state designate testifying before a Senate committee.