Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wall Street is not the Only Thing Imploding in New York

Periodically, I rise to the bait so freely proferred by my journalistic bete noire, The New York Times. However, I rarely have a go at Maureen Dowd, for much the same reason that I rarely challenge the blind to billiards or jump grandmothers in stairwells. I'm alluding to my sense of chivalry, of course, but there's also the fact to have a go a Dowd, I'd have to read Dowd, and in my current capacity I'm already exposed to far too much flailing and failing prose, though I am at least compensated here for my suffering.

However, seeing that Ms. Dowd's latest political rumination, Park Avenue Diplomacy, is today's most emailed article among The New York Times faithful, I thought I might venture off my well-worn path and take a look. Who knows, perhaps Dowd has purchased a new thesaurus or cribbed some scintillating notions from Naomi Wolf? Alas, no such luck.

I don’t agree with those muttering darkly that the picture of Gov. Sarah Palin with a perky smile and shapely gams posing with a pleased Henry Kissinger, famous for calling power the ultimate aphrodisiac, is a sign of the apocalypse.

It isn’t even a sign of the apocalipstick.

Yes, this is Dowd at the peak of her form.

Sarah was motorcading around Manhattan even as a “greed is good” Wall Street experienced an End of Days vibe while a world gone sour on America descended on the United Nations.

After losing its moral superiority abroad with phony evidence for attacking Iraq, the U.S. has now lost its moral superiority in the financial arena. Once more, W. took the ball, carried it off the cliff and went biking.

Two paragraphs, three sentences. A reference to a lousy (even by Oliver Stone standards) Oliver Stone film, Palin's barbaric theological persuasions, humanity's disenchantment with America (all in one sentence!), followed by the war in Iraq, the Wall Street crisis, George Bush carrying a ball, then carrying it off a cliff, then riding a bicycle. Don't you think she could have tossed in something about stem cell research, global warming, and the failure of the female orgasm?

Oh, and what's the deal about America losing "its moral superiority in the financial arena?" I know Bernanke and Paulson have been laying it on heavy, but they haven't been laying it on that heavy. (Yes, I realize it should be "heavily," but "there is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right."
-E. Abbey.)

Finally, Sarah huddled with Henry in his Park Avenue office, next to pictures of Ford and Reagan. The two made an odd couple: the last impure Rockefeller Republican and the first pure Rovian Republican, grown totally in the petri dish of cultural crusaderism.

Is the odd couple composed of Palin and Kissenger, or Ford and Reagan? If the former, presumably, then why the mention of the latter, and is it not a basic error to use "the two" in reference to Palin and Kissinger, when in fact the last two people identified in the prior sentence were Ford and Reagan?

Palin was "grown totally in the petri dish of cultural crusaderism?" Couldn't that be as easily said of Barak Obama, and more tellingly, mightn't he - with a little tweaking of the phrasing here and there - like to have that said of him?

Kissinger probably explained détente and Metternich to Palin, while she explained the Iditarod and moose carving to him.

I once heard a rather well-known poet (as poets go) describe a student's effort at verse as "high grade ore." The above is not, to put it gently, high grade ore.

And Governor Palin spends so much time ostracizing reporters who might quiz her on NATO or the liquidity crunch that her press strategy is beginning to smack of Putin’s — but less lethal.

Even if she blows off the First Amendment — and lets McCain’s Rove, Steve Schmidt, demonize the press even though she disdains women politicians who whine — Bill Clinton is still a fan.

One tires of having to explain this, but criticism of anyone else's expression - valid criticism, invalid criticism, intelligent criticism, idiotic criticism, ideologically pure criticism, ideologically tainted criticism, constructive criticism, or mean, hurtful, vindictive, eye-gouging criticism is not a violation of the First Amendment; it is an exercise of the First Amendment. Therefore, "demonizing the press" (which thoroughly deserves its own circle of hell, by the way) does not constitute "blowing off the First Amendment."

To reiterate, this is today's single most emailed New York Times article, which is another way of saying that - as Sarah Palin herself might phrase it - we are upon the End Times. Or as the apparently now silent (and who came blame him?) Udolpho once put it, "This culture may not be worth saving."


ziel said...

That Udolpho no longer feels we are worth his time is rather depressing. Then again, the comparison of Maureen Dowd - who has a regular column in the NY Times - to Udolpho is in itself a strong indictment of our society. Presumably Udolpho's making some good coin doing whatever it is he's busy doing these days, but still, we can't get better than Maureen Dowd to write (alleged) satire for the Times?

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