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WHAT DIGBY SAID! Quite correctly, Digby foresaw what a poor immigrant (Maureen Dowd) said: // link // print // previous // next //

WHAT DIGBY SAID: Especially after Sunday’s New York Times, we’ll go with what Digby said last week about the Salahi blather:

DIGBY (12/2/09): The other day I mentioned that the Villagers were ginning up a scandal over this party crasher story that would eventually require the resignation of someone in the White House. It's not about security. They really can't be bothered with such trivia. But God help anyone who presumes to ignore the approved social pecking order. One simply does not presume to attend events which are confined to Very Important Villagers and someone must be sacrificed on the altar of Sally Quinn lest the entire social order be threatened.

“The Obama White House is finding out just how sharp their claws can be,” Digby wrote. That was before Maureen Dowd’s broken-souled Sunday column. To our ear, Dowd’s column suggests that a larger problem may be brewing than the one Digby foresaw.

Before we look at Dowd’s sorry piece—the Times should be ashamed for printing such drivel—let’s consider what a slightly more rational world would be like.

In a slightly more rational world, major journalists would concern themselves with topics which actually matter. When they wrote about such topics, they would try to make actual sense.

Dowd, of course, is a major “journalist” within our benighted culture. In 1999, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her thoughts during the previous about Bill and Miss Lewinsky. (Her official citation praised “her fresh and insightful columns on the impact of President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.”) Through the spread of her utterly fatuous style, she may have influenced American journalism more than any other individual in the past two decades.

Yesterday, Dowd outdid even herself. Many liberals slept through the social wars of the Clinton-Gore years. Warning! Yesterday’s deeply irrational column recalls that disgraceful time.

“Someone must be sacrificed on the altar of Sally Quinn,” Digby observed. Yesterday, Dowd made it clear—that “somebody” is White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, who has somehow managed to anger the deeply irrational Dowd. Lying face down on Dear Jack’s finest shag, the green-eyed columnist penned her second consecutive attack on the deeply appalling Rogers. (To recall Dowd’s first attack, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/2/09). In her trademark, repulsive manner, Dowd even lumped Rogers in with the currently unloved Tiger Woods:

DOWD (12/6/09): Tiger Woods and Desiree Rogers are perfectionist high-achievers brought low. They both ran into that ubiquitous modern buzz saw of glossy celebrity wannabes—Vegas parasites and Washington parvenus.

In a slightly rational world, the nastiness of that comparison would occur to almost any editor. So too the stupidity of the claim that Rogers has been “brought low.” But in her previous column, the gruesome Dowd strangely explained that Rogers had been “cruising for a bruising” since April, when she apparently got herself on the wrong side of Insider Washington’s “social order.” Hissing and spitting as she typically does when offended by more accomplished women, Dowd offered this utterly foolish take on recent events:

DOWD (continuing directly): Tiger, titan of the tees, drove into a hazard when he refused to talk to the Florida police and come cleaner, earlier. Desiree, queen of social networking, didn’t properly R.S.V.P. to the House Homeland Security Committee investigating the gate-crasher incident

Even if Desiree thought Congress was grandstanding, it was goofy of her to use the Constitution to get out of a Congressional summons. The Obama White House is morphing into the Bush White House with frightening speed. Its transparency is already fogged up.

The smart thing would have been for Desiree to sail up to Congress, wearing designer sackcloth and pearls of remorse, apologize for the oversight at her first state dinner and promise it wouldn’t happen again.

It just made her look weaker that she couldn’t simply accept some blame publicly for what happened at a dinner she was in charge of, and draw the heat away from the First Family she serves. She’s no G. Gordon Liddy.

Hiss! Hiss-spit! Hiss-spit! Mee-ow!! Dowd’s style has always been drawn from the “women’s pages” of the 1950s—from the days when women hadn’t yet been allowed to discuss substantial fare. Here we see her green-eyed style again, as we’ve seen it so many times in the past. Angered by Rogers’ designer clothes, Dowd responds in the broken-souled way which has increasingly come to define our journalism during the years of this columnist’s influence on our D-minus elite. But the dumbness of yesterday’s column is captured in Dowd’s silly insistence that Rogers’ failure to testify before Congress last week must have been Rogers’ decision. This is extremely unlikely, of course. But Dowd just kept hammering on:

DOWD: Both the golf diva and the social diva mistakenly think the rules need not apply to them. Never mind the White House’s absurdly asserting executive privilege to dismiss a faux pas. It was the assertion of personal privilege by Tiger and Desiree that was so off-putting.

Hiss! Hiss-spit! Mee-ow! Dowd at least suggests in this passage that it was really “the White House”—Obama himself—who decided that Rogers wouldn’t appear before Congress. But so what! As she continues, Dowd keeps implying that it was Rogers’ decision—Rogers, the grand “social diva.” In a slightly more rational world, someone who wrote perfect drivel like this wouldn’t be long for her job:

DOWD: Both Tiger and Desiree hid and stayed silent because they mistakenly thought they were protecting the Brand. But despite their marketing savvy, these two controlling players spiraled out of control. They made the same colossal error in opposite ways.

She mistook herself for the principal, sashaying around and posing in magazines as though she were the first lady, rather than a staffer whose job is to stay behind the scenes and make her bosses look good. (Even if Barack Obama is a brand, Desiree shouldn’t talk like the First Marketer or call him a brand — and she definitely shouldn’t refer to it in a proprietary way as “we.”)

Rogers posed for a magazine last spring—and Dowd herself wasn’t asked! To Dowd, this of course means that Rogers has been “sashaying around and posing in magazines as though she were the first lady.”

It has long been clear that the New York Times lacks the intelligence or the shame to divest itself of this hiss-spitting style. But liberals and Democrats should be concerned by the drift of Dowd’s recent columns. In the 1990s, the primal Heathers of Insider Washington turned against the low-class rubes of the Clinton-Gore world. (Darlings! Both men were white southerners!) They chased them around for eight or nine years, finally sending George Bush to the White House.

The “mean girls” style of that earlier period has resurfaced in Dowd’s recent columns on Rogers. In a more rational world, the Times would be deeply ashamed of what it has published. In our world, real trouble may loom.

What a poor immigrant said: Right to this day, nothing has captured the Essence of Dowd quite like Joe Klein’s anecdote. In 1999, Gay Jervey profiled Dowd for the now-defunct Brill’s Content (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/15/00). This is what Klein said:

JERVEY: "Maureen is very talented," observes Joe Klein of The New Yorker. "But she is ground zero of what the press has come to be about in the nineties... I remember having a discussion with her in which I said, 'Maureen, why don't you go out and report about something significant, go out and see poor people, do something real?' And she said, 'You mean I should write about welfare reform?'"

Darlings! Imagine! Welfare reform!!

Long ago, Bob Dylan x-rayed Maureen Dowd’s soul. Since that time, Dowd’s broken-souled “poor immigrant” style has come to define our “journalism:”

I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would've stayed home,
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone.
That man whom with his fingers cheats
And who lies with every breath,
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise fears his death.

I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain,
Whose heaven is like Ironsides,
Whose tears are like rain,
Who eats but is not satisfied,
Who hears but does not see,
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me.

I pity the poor immigrant
Who tramples through the mud,
Who fills his mouth with laughing
And who builds his town with blood,

Whose visions in the final end
Must shatter like the glass.
I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass.