Friday, November 25

Editor's Note: Maureen Dowd Is On A Book Tour

One of the things I did yesterday was catch about the last two-thirds of MoDo with Charlie Rose while I was treating my frostbitten extremities. I'd never actually seen her in action before. She's sorta the Victoria Jackson of political columnists, if anybody besides Pepper remembers Victoria Jackson.

I don't give a rat's ass about her book, an opinion which was confirmed by the cutesy tete-a-tete she had with Charlie. My attitude may short-change any nuance in the thing, but there it is. As with Daphne Merkin and her public crush on Strip-Search Sam, I've long since been filled to the eyeballs with whining about cartoonish, straw-womyn feminism and post-feminism and Having It All and the different planets Men and Women inhabit. Go on Jerry Springer, fer chrissakes, or write yourself a stand-up routine. Those are the proper venues for this sort of thing, unless you want to actually do the academic work.

And please, please spare me the "Feminism didn't turn out the way the early Feminists thought it would" routine. What, ever, in the History of Mankind (you should pardon the expression) has? Did Christianity turn out the way the Early Christians envisioned? Did the history of civil rights in this country play out according to the Abolitionist blueprint? Are the Eagles gonna be NFC champs?

People on the Right like to babble about The Law of Unintended Consequences, so long as it applies only to Welfare or Medicare or other programs they want to oppose without acknowledging they don't much care about the underlying problem. That's not an answer, it's a rhetorical flourish, and a fallacious one at that.

The hell of it is, MoDo is a couple years older than I am. Unlike Merkin looking at the 60s through the wrong end of a pair of Warren Beatty aviators, Dowd knows better. She knows that women's issues have nothing to do with sidewalk sociological pronouncements about Relationships or Boboesque anecdotes about What Women Want. Feminism is about civil rights and social justice, not about guaranteeing every holder of two x-chromosomes perpetual bliss.

Sitting on my deck, where I'd been before the cold drove me into the warm embrace of PBS, is a pile of broken concrete that used to be the bowl of our front yard birdbath. It fell apart in the cold a couple of nights ago, the day after my wife left me a note to bring the birdbaths in before they broke. And here's the thing about that: I'm the one who does that stuff. As such I like to imagine I have a better handle on what and how much needs to be done. I'd probably done a hundred winter-prep things in the garden my wife has no idea even need doing. So that evening when she brought up the fact that the birdbaths were still outside despite her note, I got a tad snippy about it. Bear in mind that my wife spends all day telling teenagers what to do, and sometimes she forgets to hit the off switch when she gets home.

The fact is I thought they'd be fine for one more night. And I was wrong. And just to make sure I'd have to acknowledge I was wrong she brought the pieces around to the deck so I wouldn't find them in situ and clean them up. She wanted to force me to submit to an ass kicking. Which I did. And immediately after that I noted in a studiously casual manner that if she could manage to cart the thing to the back yard after it broke, she could have put it in the garage herself and spared the note paper.

It's the course of True Love, Maureen. I know, you claim your book has nothing to do with your personal life, and maybe it doesn't; I'm not shelling out $24.95 for the answer. The Birdbath Incident is now a running gag with us, because that's how relationships work. If I expected my wife to soothe over every last bruise I get from the world, or "complete me", or vice versa, we'd be writing books about how tough it is to have relationships. Try meeting some real people beyond the career- and power-obsessed holes in the rarified atmosphere who Just Can't Connect. You and Charlie kept coming back to the sparkling battle of equals that was Hepburn and Tracey on screen. In real life, Ol' Spence was a sour, womanizing drunk. I'm guessing that not all of their real conversations were all that sparkling.


Anonymous said...

Once again, you are spot on.
What does MoDo have in common with the neo-cons? They both expect reality to conform to their fantasies.
Wake up, girlfriend! Most of us stopped believing in Santa Claus by the time we hit puberty.
Lookout world! Doughouse Riley is on fire!

Anonymous said...

She's sorta the Victoria Jackson of political columnists, if anybody besides Pepper remembers Victoria Jackson.

Me likey. But she also has the Jan Hooks thing going on, too.
No matter what, you've got the finger on the pulse. MoDo is ripe for satire. I remember she once wrote that she liked to imagine herself as Emma Peel in her famous catsuit before she writes a column. Whatever it takes to get you up in the morning, MoDo.