Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marilyn Monroe, Bookworm

Making Ignorance Chic
Published: October 19, 2010

Maureen admires a certain dumb blonde:

The false choice between intellectualism and sexuality in women has persisted through the ages. There was no more poignant victim of it than Marilyn Monroe.

She was smart enough to become the most famous Dumb Blonde in history. Photographers loved to get her to pose in tight shorts, a silk robe or a swimsuit with a come-hither look and a weighty book — a history of Goya or James Joyce’s “Ulysses” or Heinrich Heine’s poems.

What’s more, she read some of them, from Proust to Dostoyevsky to Freud to Carl Sandburg’s six-volume biography of Lincoln (given to her by husband Arthur Miller), collecting a library of 400 books.

A list of those books as well as lots more pictures of Marilyn Monroe reading, or pretending to read, can be found at the Booktryst blog.

Included in the list are:

297) American Rights: The Constitution In Action, by Walter Gellhorn

This is a book I doubt Christine O' Donnell is familiar with. Perhaps the current crop of political airheads, blonde or otherwise, can learn a few things.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mean Girls

Playing All the Angles

Published: October 16, 2010

We are in the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.

These women — Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine — have co-opted and ratcheted up the disgust with the status quo that originally buoyed Barack Obama.

Really nothing more to say.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Deja Vu Diplomacy

In reading Maureen Dowd's dispatch today from Saudi Arabia, I had the strongest sense of deja vu as the image of a NYT columnist discussing peace initiatives sent my mind reeling back to 2002 when the Mustache of Understanding was making the circuit of oil shieks.

Thomas FriedmanMaureen Dowd
An Intriguing Signal From the Saudi Crown Prince
Published: February 17, 2002
Arabia: Inshallah, Obama
Published: March 6, 2010

I took the opportunity of a dinner with Saudi Arabia's crown prince, and de facto ruler, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, to try out the idea of this Arab League proposal.

“[Obama] said all the right words in his speech,” said Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister. “But the implementation took traditional roads.”
So I asked, What if Mr. Sharon and the Palestinians agreed to a cease-fire before the Arab summit?

"Let me say to you that the speech is written, and it is still in my drawer," the crown prince said.
Actually, the president didn’t say all the right words in his speech. He created an obstacle for himself by demanding that Israel stop expanding settlements when it was not going to do so — even though it should — and when that wasn’t the most important condition to Arabs.
As for the "axis of evil" and reports of a possible U.S. military strike against Iraq, the Saudi leader said: "Any attack on Iraq or Iran should not be contemplated at all because it would not serve the interests of America, the region or the world, as there is no clear evidence of a present danger. Iraq is contemplating the return of the inspectors, and the U.S. should pursue this because inspectors can determine if Iraq is complying with the U.N. resolutions."

If anyone deserves to be paranoid, of course, it’s Israel. But Israel can’t be paranoid because paranoia is the mistaken perception that people are out to get you.

Asked about the possibility that Israel could attack Iran with its new drones, Prince Saud said dryly: “Talk about changing lifestyle. I think this would change lifestyles at once, forcibly.”

Next week: Maureen Dowd shares the wisdom obtained on her taxi ride back to the airport.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ford and Food

A Scrubbed Toe in the Race
Published: February 6, 2010

While not one of her more common extended metaphors, sometimes Maureen Dowd gets the munchies. She starts today's nugget with some scene setting.

Between bites of an egg-white garden omelet at a bistro in his Union Square neighborhood, Harold Ford Jr. defended himself on pedicures and flip-flops.
She interviews him and he protests just a little too much that he is just a common Joe despite getting limosened to Morning Joe.
"It’s so unfair how it’s been characterized. I eat at places like the Coffee Shop more than I eat uptown.”

We had stopped in the Coffee Shop before deciding that, despite its greasy-spoon name, it was a hub of hip, too noisy for an interview.
Just to fact check the hipster claim here is the New York Magazine capsule review of the diner doppleganger:
Even though it carries a high risk of poor service and unpleasant encounters with attitudinal (but often pretty) people, The Coffee Shop sometimes seems unavoidable. When it comes to the Union Square area, this loungey pseudo-diner’s varied, inexpensive menu and sidewalk seating make it one of the best casual options in the neighborhood. There’s hardly ever a seat at the bar, which serves up surprisingly good drinks (including milkshakes and mojitos); and there’s usually a wait for a table at peak times, so plan to hang out on the corner of 16th and Union Square for a bit if you go.
Sounds like the kinda place a pretty boy Senatorial aspirant would hang out. As for cheap, perhaps it is by Manhattan standards but the Barbequed Chicken Sandwich with a low fat cilantro lime mayonnaise goes for $10.95.

And while she uses the word 'slick' elsewhere to describe Ford, Maureen comes up with a more culinary comparison.
But he has a buttery way that suits brash New York. He charms everyone, from waiters who drop cutlery to customers who drop into his conversation.
And she finishes with a cryptically ambiguous vignette.
The guy at the next table was staring at Ford’s plate. “The garden omelet,” Ford said, with a grin.
Real men don't eat quiche but aspiring senators that get mani-pedis can definitely scramble some eggs.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Betwixt and Between

Camus Fired Up
Published: January 30, 2010

One of Albert Camus's works is translated into English as either Betwixt and Between or The Wrong Side and the Right Side. The latter would seen to be appropriate for the recent upbraiding President Obama gave congressional Republicans.

In today's post-mortem of Barack's foray into Baltimore (where yours truly spent a half hour stuck in traffic as the motorcade went by) Maureen Dowd gives us a double dose of Alliteration Alerts™:

He may lapse back into his Camus coma at any moment. But on Friday he dropped the diffident debutante act and offered, as he did at the State of the Union, some welcome gumption.
And if that second phrase sounds familiar, it's because she originated the phrase in May of 2008:
Obama is acting the diffident debutante, pretending not to care that he was given a raspberry by a state he will need in the fall.
And while it is a stretch to call it true alliteration, we do get a plethora of p's in this passage:
When Peter Roskam of Illinois complained that they’d been “stiff-armed” by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president promised to bring the Republican and Democratic House leadership together for more play dates.
Say "promised Presidential play dates" three times fast.

And Maureen liked the show so much, she suggested making it a regular series.
Obama’s advisers must wish they could do this every week for the cameras.
Perhaps NBC can give them a slot at 10 p.m. I understand they have some dead air to fill.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The New One

Bringing Sexy Back
Published: January 26, 2010

The One
The New One

gloomy populism
sunny populism
Ivy League cool
Cosmo hot
a professor who favors banks, pharmaceutical companies and profligate Democrats

an Everyman who favors banks, pharmaceutical companies and profligate Republicans
48-year-old, 6-foot-1, organic arugula
50-year-old, 6-foot-2, double waffle with bacon
plastic and hidden
warm and accessibly all-American
6-foot-5 body man Reggie Love
“American Idol”-star daughter, Ayla

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Maureen is 58 years young today. Thanks to NPR for reminding me.