October 21, 2010 by Ben Crystal
Pity poor Maureen Dowd. How awful her life must be, carrying the psychic scars of indignities suffered during adolescence so far into her twilight years. Try to forgive her embittered rant against the girls who gave her a hard time in high school.
Appearing in Sunday’s issue of The New York Times, Ms. Dowd offered us heathens “Playing All the Angles;” a housecat-swipe of her claws at her teenage tormentors. Well, their proxies, at least — Mo never knew girls like Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell in high school. They didn’t live in the urbane confines of Washington D.C.’s well-heeled neighborhoods, and they surely didn’t score silver-platter jobs in the journalism field straight out of Rich Girl University.
Dowd actually has talent as a writer, albeit drastically misdirected. Her tendency toward extreme bombast is far less noticeable than it might be were it not for the colossal talent-shadows cast by vastly more appealing thinkers like Charles Krauthammer (smarter), P.J. O’Rourke (funnier — on purpose), and Christopher Hitchens (more interesting — with better hair).
Her plagiarism and deliberate mischaracterizations are oft-noticed, but Dowd is a woman, so she demands — and gets a free pass. Let me amend that. Dowd is a liberal woman, so she gets a free pass.
She certainly doesn’t offer them.
Just days after the California chapter of NOW stood up to be counted with Jerry Brown in calling Meg Whitman “a whore,” Dowd reserved her bile for Whitman, not Brown — nor NOW.
Her screed focused primarily on Sharron Angle, the fund-raising machine who has hapless milquetoast Harry Reid cowering in the corner like a flyweight who’s just been told he’s sparring with one of the heavyweight boxing champion Klitschko brothers. But despite the fact that Dowd was evidently inspired by an Angle event, she made room for catty claws at other conservative women who are laying the proverbial smackdown on her liberal allies. Of course, she called Angle a racist, which was ludicrous, especially considering that Dowd is whiter than the putty-faced Park Avenue trust fund dowagers who still take her seriously.
As an earnest wingnut, Dowd takes the obligatory potshots at other nationally-reviled Women of the Right. To be fair, in the age of MSNBC‘s all-hate-all-the-time programming, old war horses like Dowd have to use as wide a choke as possible in their satirical shotgun.
Welcome to America’s post-post-feminist era. Sorry, “strong women,” the girls of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy were locked out in 1999.
Whatever happened to celebrating girl power, anyway? When then-First Lady Hillary Clinton decided to use her husband’s capital to put her trial lawyer pals in charge of the nation’s doctors, liberals like Dowd accused her critics of everything short of ersatz Salem Witch Trials. Now, strong women scare Dowd the same way a week at a nudist colony with Nancy Pelosi would scare…everyone. (I would need to iron everything I own the moment I got home.)
Reading Mo’s Sunday simper was a glimpse inside the tortured psyche of American journalism’s most famous cocktail party conversationalist. She identifies eight Republican women by name, and then tears into them like she was the president of the science club and they were the cheerleading squad.
“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.”
But Dowd is an analytical commentator, not a jealous harpy, right? The only thing that was missing from her literary shriek was a pair of boxes at the bottom of the text marked:
“Check Y or N? Do u h8 mean gurlz az much az me?”
Dowd compares her subjects to the “mean girls” who tortured her in high school; and then verbally shreds Angle’s hair, wardrobe, respect for the 2nd Amendment and even her… vehicle?:
“With casino red suit and lipstick… Angle… campaigns at times with a .44 Magnum revolver in her 1989 GMC pickup.”
An ’89? Horrors. At least Dowd isn’t a “mean girl.”
The strong women on “The View” were so upset when Bill O’Reilly pointed out the religious identity of the 9/11 hijackers that they stormed off in stereotypically estrogen-soaked outrage. California’s NOW babes called Meg Whitman a “whore.” Rachel Maddow falsely implicated Steve Stockman in the Oklahoma City bombing. Nancy Pelosi wanted Federal investigations into opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque. And now we have Ms. Mo, howling like the runner-up to the homecoming queen about the high school-ish tendencies of conservative women.
Girls, girls, girls — save it 4 Facebook.