You know something? I really don’t like Maureen Dowd. I don’t like her smugness, her hostility towards feminism, her cutesy nicknames and elaborate fictional scenarios involving politicians and Cabinet members. I don’t like the self-congratulatory air pervading her every column, or how she frequently touts her superior experience, name-drops and shamelessly parades her excellent connections.
Indira and I have often shared a laugh in the past about Ms. Dowd, who has written several books, one of them called “Are Men Necessary?” An adapted magazine article that sums up the thesis of her book can be found here.
Dowd blames feminism for her troubles with men, who are apparently intimidated by her beauty and her brains. Feminism, she says, made getting along with men harder. Men now mistake Dowd and her assertiveness for a castrating feminazi and flee in the other direction.
The funny part is that probably she doesn’t get along with men (or anyone? who knows) because she’s likely unpleasant and perhaps a tad boastful. LOOK WITHIN MAUREEN. IT’S NOT FEMINISM’S FAULT THAT YOU HAVE BAD LUCK WITH DUDES.
One other thing I don’t like about her is that she was extremely vicious about Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and was one of her toughest and most unreasonable critics. She often made Chris Matthews’ criticisms look justified.
All this adds up to why I didn’t care when Maureen Dowd was found to have plagiarized a paragraph of another blogger’s work. If at first I found her writing obnoxious and her manner condescending, now I can be justified in thinking that she is an unprincipled journalist and a poor writer.
The Times would do better to stop hiring token conservatives and mix it up by hiring more people of color or an interesting woman or two. To quote my favorite Times critic, Manohla Dargis, I would like to see this happen “not because of some ‘politically correct’ imperative but because it makes the discussion more interesting.” WORD! (Dargis was talking about film critics, but the same principle easily applies here.) Indira once commented that Bob Herbert may be among the best of the bunch, but his genius is doomed to languish in obscurity forever.
Besides Herbert and Dowd (who is the biggest sexist of the bunch), all the other columnists are white men (many with economics backgrounds) in their 50s and 60s. You really know the op-ed page sucks when I enjoy reading David Brooks the most. (I’m not joking. I find him insightful, even if I disagree with him on many occasions.)
So let Dowd take a break to examine her conscience, NYT, and hire Indira or I in the mean time.