Thursday, October 21, 2004

I used to read this?

I experienced a blast from the past today - a visit to the journalism of Rolling Stone Magazine. Many were the afternoons that a younger self spent in the bedroom or apartment of an aquaintance picking over one story or another in Rolling Stone magazine, for no better reason than it was cool to do so. I can't even recall a single one of the articles; dozens and dozens of issues, and not one article was more significant than the fact that I'd read it and found something to say about it. A glance at the first Rolling Stone article that I've seen in a decade is enough to suggest why that might be as Rolling Stone politics interviews Maureen Dowd.

Under the headline "Ms. Bush-Bash" dangles a question for the reader to deliberate over the course of the exchange - "Does anyone understand Dubya better than New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd?". It occurs to me that's a bit like asking "Does anyone know more about being a jungle commando than Sylvester Stallone", but since I haven't even made it to the article yet I let it slide. My eyes next flit to the honeyed caption beneath a photograph of MoDo; "Striking with precision and psychological acuity". I wonder if Rolling Stone has also applauded the tact and sensitivity of Marge Schott as I'm already having second thoughts about reading the article. I venture in anyway.

Maureen Dowd isn't simply a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times op-ed columnist. She's also the pre-eminent Bush-basher in the country, which is saying something when you trawl the mountains of I-hate-Bush books in your local Barnes & Noble. What puts Dowd, 52, miles above the armies of foaming leftist ranters is the precision and psychological acuity of her strikes. In her recent book, Bushworld (a collection of her writings on the Bush family from 1992 to 2004), she fingers the Bush cabal's first term as the "most astonishing and dangerous subordination of American history to particular psyches I've ever seen" and documents how world events have fulcrumed around the paranoid insecurities, macho posturings and sour cynicism of a small handful of neocon warmongers, with the "barking mad" Dick Cheney and his yapping lap dog, George W., at the helm. Here, Dowd grapples to explain the enduring popularity of a president who, as she puts it, "has done everything wrong."

It's staggering... it's stunning... it's left me in need of a beer. I vaguely recall that Rolling Stone articles often kissed the flesh off the ass of their subjects, but the sycophantic scrawlings of John "T ball stand" Colapinto are almost supernatural. MoDo isn't one of the foaming letist ranters, she's miles above them; not just any old Bush-basher, but the pre-eminent harpy, and a chronicler of the Bush cabal. In fact, I'll have to re-read it, but I think that it said that MoDo's callow jeering has single-handedly delivered us all from the catastrophic aftermath of the electoral college since 2000. Scratch that beer - double Johnny Walker black on the rocks, please. I must press on; I just have to see if our sage of the op-ed page ever pauses to wonder if half the country supports him because they don't swallow her posit that Bush "has done everything wrong".

You've written all these columns ripping the Bush administration, yet it doesn't seem to be changing the public mind. Is that discouraging?

I think the American public is brilliant. They get it. But we all succumb to certain things, and presidential races are about proving who is the strongest father. And Bush is just doing it better. I'm not like other commentators who say, "The public isn't getting it." People have great responses, and if they respond, then it means the politician is doing something effective.

I suppose I didn't really need to go as far as reading the very first question to realize that no, it will not ever cross her mind that she could be the one not "getting it". It's more likely to her that the half of the electorate which does not sound like her has been hoodwinked by the slick, ineloquent, shrewd, retarded, complex schemes of the simple svengali who swept them under his mental domination with a Jedi mind trick.

I'm already thinking that a look into the mind of Maureen Dowd is like a look at the ingredients of liverwurst (something not meant for the eyes of decent folk), so I start skimming. It's enough to paint the general picture
  • "they've jammed through a lot of superconservative domestic policies -- judges and harsh environmental stuff. A lot of people don't like that."
  • People are "so rattled that we haven't caught Osama"
  • "we have over 150,000 kids stuck in Iraq"
  • "we have cut and run" from Iraq
  • "The guys in my office at the Times are joking that the Clintonistas surrounding Kerry are sort of like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- Bubba Eye for the Brahmin Guy"
  • John points out that Bush is "an opponent whose entire strategy is to never change at all, no matter what the facts are"; MoDo agrees emphatically, adding a with a wistfull backwards glance that "the template of the Clinton War Room should have been in place a year ago" (for the Kerry campaign)
  • "W. is running such a visceral, hormonal campaign, all about fear and testosterone"
  • "Kerry just made a very cerebral case that Bush is in a fantasy world and that he's not leveling with the American public"
  • "It was very much the Bush family thing of "Trust us, we know best, leave it to us, we're born to rule, stay out of it"
  • "He's used to being in this cossetted environment where the only people he ever talks to are handpicked, pre-screened supporters who love him"
  • "I stopped buying French wine and French mayonnaise. I'm very patriotic."
  • "the 9/11 Commission pointed out that we're going to have to try to understand the world and not bomb the world into democracy"

And in the midst of all that I find this discombobulation -

So you don't necessarily go with the characterization of Bush as dumb?

If Bush is dumb, why is he running Kerry around in circles? He never took advantage of his opportunities in terms of Yale and Harvard or absorbed as much as he could have in his father's White House. But I think he's bright. . . . Although in emotional IQ, I don't know, because he's still under the impression -- the Bushes have a preference for deference -- that Cheney is his butler to power. W. said in the [Bob] Woodward book that he trusts Cheney because he's not a vice president who would be looking at his own ambition. But at the same time, Cheney has sort of taken over the whole world -- and W. still thinks he's deferential because he calls W. "the man." He led W. down this path of going to Iraq. So in that sense I think he's malleable, and that's what I'm getting at when I call him the Boy King.

After a look inside the head of Maureen Dowd, I would encourage her to try getting into someone else's head for a bit - anyone's head. Maybe Paige Davis could get Miss Cleo and Dionne Warwick to cohost "Trading Psyches". MoDo's been inhaling the fumes of upper west Manhattan for too long; I've inhaled enough second-hand Manhattan from this article to make me dizzy. Was Rolling Stone always like this? I'm beginning to understand how I wound up a registered Democrat. To answer that tantalizing invitation to contemplation below the headline -- "Does anyone understand Dubya better than New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd?" -- yes. Ringworms understand Dubya better than Maureen Dowd.

6 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

Reading such stuff; you are a glutton for punishment! Or one for a good laugh, I guess it's how you look at it.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

It was simply morbid curiosity.

10:42 PM  
Blogger timh said...

Doug, I got a good chuckle reading your post, I needed the laugh and beer to boot.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Tman said...

No MOOcowd fisking is complete without a link to Ace O' Spades Microsoft Word Helper MoDowd Word Template....

http://ace-o-spades.blogspot.com/2004_04_11_ace-o-spades_archive.html#108205461275113571

2:34 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That MoDo template is just frightening. Have you ever wondered if she's an elementary school lunch lady plagerizing the students?

3:44 PM  
Blogger Rantburger said...

As Don Imus's producer said on his show yesterday, "I'd hose her, but I wouldn't want to talk to her afterwards."

12:00 AM  

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