Pot and Kettle

Posted: October 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Journalism, Politics | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

My good friend Megan and I spend a lot of time emailing one another with thoughts on Maureen Dowd’s NYTimes columns. We both generally dislike Dowd’s work, yet somehow we can’t get her off our minds. My major problem with Dowd isn’t the arguments she wants to make–I’ll agree with her, for example, when she depicts George W. Bush as simpleminded and Dick Cheney as manipulative. It’s the fact that her style of snarky satire only confirms the dangerous stereotype people have about women in power–that they are catty and clawing–the same stereotype Dowd often complains about. In general, Dowd has a tendency to mimic or come down to the level of the people she is trying to dismantle.

This weekend’s column was a perfect example. Dowd’s right that Sarah Palin is less than brilliant and that the Joe Six Packs like her for it. There is surely room for a sustained examination of why folksiness beats intellect in our politics, so much so that intelligent leaders (Bill Clinton, Rhodes Scholar comes to mind) have to play down their brains to succeed. But Maureen Dowd is hardly in a position to complain about someone speaking to the lowest common denominator. If she’s so in favor of high-minded elite discourse, why doesn’t she write some?

One Comment on “Pot and Kettle”

  1. 1 rafigagum said at 7:48 am on October 19th, 2008:

    because snarky satire is her niche; we’ve all got to do what we do best and sometimes she’s very funny

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