Monday, February 14, 2011

Pardon Her French

Simply the Worst
Published: February 12, 2011

While the rest of world was fixating on the revolution in Egypt and its ramifications, Maureen Dowd was amortizing her purchase of Donald Rumsfeld's memoirs. About the unrepentant former Defense Secretary, she had this to say:

As part of his “Je ne regret rien pas” book tour, the 78-year-old former defense secretary stopped by the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, where he got the group’s annual “Defender of the Constitution” award.
Running that French phrase through the astoundingly incompetent Babelfish translator gets the English abomination of "I regret nothing not." Jay Hancock of the Baltimore Sun takes issue with her lack of translation talent saying:
If Maureen Dowd is going to use French in her column on Rumsfeld, you would think she could consult with somebody who knows the language, or at least Google the Edith Piaf song.
To which he links to the famous Edith Piaf song.

This is not the first time Dowd has alluded to the French chanteuse's oeuvre. Back in 2008, she referenced "les imbeciles de regime cowboy" (pidgen French for 'idiot cowboy administration') when she said:
On the illicit rush to war, W. ne regrette rien.
Note that the phrase is used slightly differently then. Suitably pedantically, The Iconoclast at the New English Review diagrams the error:
It was the first month, or possibly first week, of first-year Freshman French. For her howler today -- "Je Ne Regret Rien Pas" -- was wrong in not one but several different ways. It was wrong as to the spelling of the verb, and even more embarrassingly wrong with the pleonasm of the negation: no "pas" is necesary, and the verb regretter requires a first-person singular "regrette" -- so that if she were writing correct French, the line attributed to the man she condescedingly calls "Rummy" would read "Je ne regrette rien."
Somewhere there is a French teacher at Catholic University hanging her head in shame while Edith Piaf spins in her grave.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rummy And Poppy

Blame, Not Shame
Published: February 5, 2011

Parsing the psychodrama of the Bush Dynasty is a long-lasting obsession of Maureen Dowd and a new memoir by Donald Rumsfeld adds new fuel to the fire. Maureen has a soft spot for George I with nothing but disdain for the his more hot-headed son.

As she sees it, Rumsfeld has the obverse opinion. Rummy is envious and disdainful of George H. W.:

Rummy has never hidden his disdain for Poppy, whom he regards as a flighty preppy who didn’t have the brass to march into Baghdad and take down Saddam Hussein. {snip} No doubt Rummy feels that if he’d been a pedigreed scion instead of a working-class scholarship kid, he could have been president. And he wouldn’t have made a hash of it, like some presidents he worked for.
Meanwhile, W. hero-worships the rough-hewn Rumsfeld, giving him a Rude Name® and all:
The 78-year-old Rumstud, as W. dubbed him, was both the youngest defense secretary in American history and the oldest. {snip} W., however, loved Rummy’s blunt muscularity and contempt for weakness.
And this is where Rumsfeld forms a hinge in Dowd's working thesis that the W.'s actions are all predicated on resolving his deep-seated daddy issues.
Rummy writes about the president-elect. “He had to be aware that I did not have a close relationship with his father.” At some level, that must have appealed to the wimp-phobic W., who spent more time trying to be Ronald Reagan’s heir than his dad’s.
Rumsfeld shares one other attribute with the president who saw an invasion of Iraq as a way to right perceived weaknesses.
The high school wrestling champ doesn’t wrestle with self-doubt.
If only he and the last president he served had been more right rather than so certain.

Welcome Back

It seems we at Dowd Central weren't the only ones that missed Ms. Dowd.

Where ever you were, partying with Charlie Sheen, skiing with Marc Mezvinsky, or just enjoying some well earned rest, we are just glad you are back.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Easy For You To Say

Bye Bye, Mubarak
Published: February 1, 2011

Which of these three tongue twisters from today's column would be hardest to say three times fast?

The ire in Tahrir Square is full of ironies...
...stanch the uncontrolled surge...
...the awful hypocrisy of America coddling autocratic rulers.

And just to prove that we have the real deal back after a month long absence from the pundit page of the Gray Lady, Maureen throws in a patented Dowdversion®:
Cleopatra’s Egypt was modern in ancient times and Mubarak’s was ancient in modern times.
Maureen, you maniacal maven, we missed you.