Wednesday, March 5

You Do The Math.

MoDo: "Duel of Historical Guilts." March 5

WELL, that's settled. Maureen Dowd does write her own headlines.

Correction: That should read Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maureen Dowd writes her own headlines.

Okay, look: we are so far beyond the point of saying Dowd is a worthless gibberer with the taste and consistency of wet cardboard that I've lost track of what exponent goes with "cliché" when describing the sentiment. I believe we may even be beyond the point of wondering whether the language of Shakespeare, Swift, and Raymond Chandler is sufficient to do her real justice, and we know the psychiatric literature avails us nothing. I believe all that's left us is to wonder how many dead hookers and live donkeys there are in her blackmail photo files. We already know it's not enough.

While we're at it someone might want to consider whether there's some set of numbers between the natural and the integers, since without occupying negative space Dowd manages to crawl under Zero on a regular basis, with room to spare, even as we reset Zero to accommodate her previous efforts.  Go take a look at her freaking archive. The last time she wrote a column about anything other than Hillary Clinton was thirty-eight days ago, that one being a Thanks for breaking the story! post-mortem of the Giuliani campaign--a campaign she'd covered in a single column to that point--that mentioned "Clinton" nearly as often as "Rudy". Is there another columnist anywhere with that sort of record? Is there anyone who's been so completely left in the dust by this internets thing? The worst Clinton-bashing bloggers I know occasionally write about something else--even if they seem to share the notion that Senator Clinton ought to avoid saying anything that supports her own candidacy--and they turn out copy every day, and no innocent trees die in the process. The woman is the Taco Bell of columnists, except some people actually swallow Taco Bell's stuff. Today's combination of beans, cheese, and roadkill skunk begins:
Some women in their 30s, 40s and early-50s who favor Barack Obama have a phrase to describe what they don’t like about Hillary Clinton: Shoulder-pad feminism.

Go ahead. Google it and find out how many of them aren't Maureen Dowd.
They feel that women have moved past that men-are-pigs, woe-is-me, sisters-must-stick-together, pantsuits-are-powerful era that Hillary’s campaign has lately revived with a vengeance.

Can't wait 'til "They" start callin' 'em "Mustache Petes".

Look, I'm sorry for quoting her once, let alone twice. But, one, MoDo and I are the same age. (Actually, she's two years older but looks much better, because I've spent forty-some years trying to do Math and she doesn't have to bother.) I have no idea what she was doing in the early Seventies, but I was trying to nail Feminists, which gives me a certain species of expertise in the matter. Surprisingly few of them thought I was a pig, though fewer still let me in their pantsuits. In fact, I don't remember any of them actually wearing pantsuits (which I suspect may just be anti-Hillary invective), or Zoot suits, or bustles. I think it was mostly jeans and dresses. You know, like normal people when they aren't dressing for something.  I don't recall any of them demeaning entire classes of people by connecting them with some twenty-years-out-of-date fashion trend, Junior-high style, either.

I don't recall any woe, either, beyond the natural if buoyant gloominess that comes from being in your early twenties and taking a hard look at your world and your culture. Au-fucking-contraire; what I recall was a spirited determination to Call This White European Male Shit out, and an optimistic sense that a rotten structure would crumble from common sense resistance, and that any shoring up it received on the Times' Op-Ed pages from hopeless misogynists would come from men. Ah, youth.

It's bad enough that valuable Times real estate is given over to Dowd so she can work out her personal problems. But it's beyond forgivable that those problems center on the six years following and two years before the first appearance of pubic hair.

Dowd knows better, but the loss of one's mind is an absolute excuse (as well as a good excuse to stop publishing). But if any of "today's Feminists" are tempted to judge their predecessors according to hairstyle let them hang their heads in shame. The Seventies are not exactly running neck-and-neck with the Icelandic Sagas in the Mists of Time race. The evidence of how (much more) bigoted society was against women a generation ago is all around you. It still has the power to astound me, and I lived through it the first time. And the idea that we've somehow transcended it for all time, along with whalebone stays and shag carpeting, is repudiated regularly. On the pages of the goddam New York Times.


aimai said...

Icelandic sagas? Man! I knew there was a reason I love you. Njal's saga happens to be my *favorite book of all time!*

and yes, this column answers the question of whether Maureen Dowd (shoulder pad feminist) is really Ann Coulter (fragrant hippy chick pie wagons feminist)'s older, sadder, whorier sister.

Main difference: one's "red haired" and one is "blonde" and one gets sloshed on alcohol and one gets bombed on coke.


Mo MoDo said...

Normally I'm as big a cheerleader of Dowd as anybody (I hate competition), but she really phoned in this column. She barely snuck in one reference to Monica Lewinsky. It's like she wasn't trying.

If you're going to mention shoulder pads and not invoke "Designing Women" or Working Girl it's time to turn in that snarky pop culture decoder ring. As always, I read the entrails on my blog, but if Dowd isn't going to give me more to work with, I may have to move onto Krugman or Collins.

Harry Cheddar said...

" . . .MoDo and I are the same age. (Actually, she's two years older but looks much better . . ."

But Dog, take another look. The woman has obviously been botoxed, collagenated, exfoliated, and moisturized to a high gloss. Add in the Earl Scheib makeup job, top it off with Miss Clarol #46 "Etruscan Bronze", and, well, lets just say your current look probably works better with the cranky wizened brilliance of your linguistic stylings.

D. Sidhe said...

You know, had I been one of those feminists you knew way back when, and had you laid this kind of rant on me, I'd have totally gone for it. At this point, it's just hero-worship from afar, combined with a certain nostalgic envy of your Poor Wife, who gets to hear this stuff every day. My partner's witty as fuck, but in deadpan one-liner format, which is a different, if also snarkily agile, species of critter altogether. Sometimes the vocabulary's a window into a new world, though...

Julia said...

Shoulder-pad feminism.

Would that be feminism in the style of Joan Crawford or feminism in the style of Joan Collins?

Vivek said...

While we're at it someone might want to consider whether there's some set of numbers between the natural and the integers, since without occupying negative space Dowd manages to crawl under Zero on a regular basis, with room to spare, even as we reset Zero to accommodate her previous efforts.

As a mathematician, I think I can help. Dowd firmly resides in the imaginary part of the complex plane: sadly, she's not purely imaginary, but her real part is eking closer and closer to zero while the imaginary part seems to have no upper bound.

ciocia said...

She thinks women who voted for Clinton are old-fashioned feminists? What a joke. The only person carrying around baggage from another era is MoDo. She is bitter that people outside the Potomac village don't hate the Clintons as much as she does. Honey, the 90s are over. Bill stayed in office till January of 2001. Please get over it and get on with your life.