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Archives: October 2005

Maureen on Maureen: From one Modern Girl to Another

In yesterday’s NYT mag excerpt from her upcoming book “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide,” Maureen Dowd looks at why it’s hard for a smart, sexy, sassy, independent thinking woman to catch and keep a man, folding in ruminations on magazine cover lines, ruffles and bows, who pays for dinner and why, when Harvard Business School is hot (and to whom), and why everybody oughta have a maid.

Since I am a soft, mysterious cat (read: an unmarried woman of a certain age, though feel free to be uncertain downward when guessing it), I will leave this one to unjaded and uncynical Fishtern Maureen Miller in “Maureen on Maureen,” what we hope will become a regular feature here on Fishbowl. Take it away, Maureens!

A long tall drink o' MoDo.jpgWhat a fun, sexy time for Maureen Dowd! It’s not just the shoes; Dowd herself said as much about her new book in an interview.

And how we love MoDo’s manifesta, which Matt Drudge has already dubbed “The Red-Shoe Diaries” for its noir-ish accompanying photo. This week’s New York Times Magazine metaphorically smacks The Man upside the head with a spatula via the crackling “What’s a Modern Girl to Do?”, excerpted from November’s <a href=""Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide. Within hours, the once and future op-ed queen returned to her rightful throne at the number-one spot on the MEL list. I’d say TimesSelect be damned, but this one, thankfully, was gratis.

In the past, I’ve taken issue with Dowd’s brand of screwball feminism (“screwball” in the Hepburn and Tracy sense.. For this previous inspiration, see January 13, 2005′s “Men Just Want Mommy,” where we first heard her oft-repeated quip that “art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection, rather than affection.” In the aftermath of the hype behind the spineless Kunkelites, though, who ask we do nothing less than to reject men who don’t deserve us first, I say,” good show”! It’s nothing less than refreshing to see La Dowd take these sad-sacks on for their solipsism and expose the predators within. (Ed. That’s our Fishterns, wishy-washy and unopinionated! Can we pick our Maureens or what?)

A Publishers Weekly advance review complains that Dowd’s anecdotal — i.e. East Coast-centric—approach is “slapdash” without the “slash and burn” of Bushworld, but her breeziness works to better effect in the magazine essay form. Incidentally, the pop of the prose also undermines Dowd’s claim that it’s “increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography,” as it is arguably the literary equivalent of the calculated giggle. I’ll take a page out of Dowd’s handbook, though, and “avoid all sarcasm” on that one. That is, I’ll admit I enjoy it, one salty Irish Catholic broad to another. (Ed. For the record, this salty Jew is with you). Say what you want about Dowd’s op-ed screeds; when she’s on the cultural commentary she does best, she’s one funny gal. No barbs to be had here, just the old patented cute ‘n clever, though I excerpt my favorite lines below:

  • “Jurassic feminists shudder at the retro implication of a quid profiterole.”

  • “After Googling and Bikramming to get ready for a first dinner date, a modern girl will end the evening with the Offering, an insincere bid to help pay the check.”
  • Dowd also remarks that “the key to staying cool in the courtship rituals is B. & I., girls say — Busy and Important.” Funny, I always thought the key to staying calm when a-courtin’ was a glass or two of G&T (or is that “T.M.I.”?) (Ed. LOL!)
Remarkably, MoDo even managed to slip in an up-to-the-minute reference to Louise Story‘s infamous September 20 front-page Times story, “Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood.” Dowd quotes Yale history professor Cynthia Russett ” as saying that “that women today are simply more “realistic,” having seen the dashed utopia of those who assumed it wouldn’t be so hard to combine full-time work and child rearing.” Too bad, then, that Russett also told The Nation’s Katha Pollitt just this October 17 that she was quoted out of context:

[H]istory professor Cynthia Russett, quoted as saying that women are “turning realistic,” is happy to go public with her outrage. Says Russett, ‘I may have used the word, but it was in the context of a harsh or forced realism that I deplored. She made it sound like this was a trend of which I approved. In fact, the first I heard of it was from Story, and I’m not convinced it exists.’

Uh, you go, girl? (And shout-out to Pollitt for citing FishBowl in that column!)

I’d take on more of the substance of the article, but I think I’m going to have to take a moment for Me Time instead. The whole schpiel, I fear, left me cringing in recognition. I regret I can only dream that I, like the women Dowd cites in her “courtship” passage, C.B.B. — “can’t be bothered” — by this. Her romp through the gender wars has left me, in one way or another, “malleable and awed.” Guess that makes me an Ivy League postfeminist statistic after all.

(Ed. Maureen — both Maureens, actually — always be bothered. What’s the point otherwise? That’s just one salty Jew’s opinion.)

(P.S. Gentlemen, that stuff I write on the blog about not being able to cook was just a joke. Did you know you can make eggs in the microwave? It’s true!)

NYT makes stuff up again

Okay, it’s not quite Jayson or Judith, but a reader pointed out this sentence in an article in yesterday’s NYT about housing prices in Watts:

Ms. Arnold said places like Marina County, Bakersfield, Ontario and Riverside, all an hour or two from the city, are luring people away with houses twice the size for half the money.

We think that Marina County is really Ventura County. And we’ll chalk this up to a bad cell phone connection. But still, would it kill the NYT to buy a map? (Think piece idea- Bad Cell Phone Connections: The New Scourge of Journalistic Accuracy.) (UPDATE: Looks like ‘Marina County’ is ‘Moreno Valley.’)

Can they make it here, can they make it anywhere?

Community activist/blogger/LAT critic/exclamation-point lover Brady Westwater landed a piece in Sunday’s Current section wherein he proposes that the dilapidated shuttered theatres downtown LA’s Broadway district be re-opened as an urban renewal project:

In the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, L.A.’s Broadway District pulsated with entertainment. In its dozen still-standing theaters, Lily Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt and Lillian Russell sang, and the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope and Jack Benny made people laugh. Wyatt Earp and Albert Einstein were in the audience, among others.

Today, these theaters are vacant. In New York, meanwhile, 6 million people flock to theaters and inject more than $4 billion into the city. Yes, $4 billion.

Okay, fine, open up the theaters on Broadway. But please don’t make me go to ‘Cats’ again.

Alito Scalito

Is it just me, or does this feel really convenient? We’re all weary of SCOTUS drama (especially Michael Luttig, who I bet has finally cracked and heaved a large glass object against a wall somewhere), and the right will no doubt complain about foot-dragging Democrats keeping the country from getting back on track. Meanwhile, the Dems will Bork while the Borkin’s good. Oh, my God. I think I just coined THE new cool catchphrase. Totally fetch.

Still, it will be nice to actually hear both sides dig into the issues rather than eyeliner, sugary birthday cards and end-runs around actual answers. Rueful money quote from Bush: “Judge Alito …. has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years.” Man’s got a sense of humor, at least. Point being, this one will be about the nominee, and there’s plenty to chew on in his record. Finally, the philosophical debate for which the Dems have been girding. Ready thy questions of heart, Chuck Schumer!

Bush Picks Radical Right Favorite Judge Samuel Alito For Supreme Court [Yahoo! via HuffPo]

PlameGate Weekend: A Selection

As if we could be exhaustive here; the zone, she is flooded. All we can do is pluck some highlights for your edification.


  • Tim Russert lets everyone else do the talking: The NYT has a curious piece on Tim Russert‘s “Meet The Press” yesterday. Titled “TV Newsman Is His Own News in the Leak Case,” it sets up a dramatic expectation that Russert actually turned “his trademark attention to an atypical topic: himself.” I read this piece having missed the show and read on looking for exciting revelations. Yet the rest of the piece consists of recapped events, Russert’s comments from phone interviews, and quotes from other people; it’s only halfway down that we are told “Mr. Russert declined to discuss the circumstances of his testimony in much detail beyond the official statements he and NBC issued at the time, and he largely confined himself to repeating those statements on the air on Sunday.” Which kind of means that he wasn’t his own news and didn’t turn his trademark attention to himself, but whatever.

    At HuffPo, of course, Arianna sighs loudly and rolls her eyes, annoyed but not surprised that she’s learned nothing new from Russert. She cites Steve Lovelady at CJR who honestly can’t believe Russert could fail to acknowledge the “silent elephant” in the room, saying “nothing. Nada. Non. El zippo. Not one word.” about his role in the matter (and thus joining a distinguished group of journalists who, upon being implicated in PlameGate, promptly clam up: Novak, Miller, and now Russert).

  • “We’re not being undermined by North Korea…we’re being undermined by our own officials.” This weekend 60 Minutes put together an excellent segment on how the leak affected Valerie Plame, other CIA agents and national security in general. Joseph Wilson says “there have been specific threats” to his wife and family. Other quotes: “One of the worst things about the leak is that it gives America’s enemies clues about how the CIA operates” “She’s an expert in WMDs. These are the kinds of people that don’t grow on trees” “I think any time the identity of a covert agent is released, there is some damage. And it’s serious.” It is an excellent piece. Read it here; watch it here. [via Crooks & Liars]
  • What did Cheney know and when did he know it? Enquiring minds want to know, specifically the one belonging to Nicholas Kristof, who (like us) wonders if Scooter acted alone and thinks Cheney’s got a choice: explain or resign. Newsweek, meanwhile, devotes their cover to “Cheney’s Man” (aka “Cheney’s Cheney”), saying, interestingly, that Cheney’s influence is on the wane with Dubya (Time says he’s lost confidence in Cheney, Rove and Andrew Card). Drudge, meanwhile, excitedly predicts an executive-privilege showdown when Fitzgerald tries to get Cheney to testify against Libby.
  • The open question of Novak’s source: Also in Newsweek, crack investigative reporter Michael Isikoff reports that Novak cooperated with Fitzgerald from “early on” and did, in fact, reveal his source — “whom Fitzgerald never charged, apparently because the mystery leaker told the truth to the grand jury.” Also, apparently some eleventh-hour evidence on Rove’s behalf gave Fitzgerald “pause.” Hmm. [Newsweek]
  • Also: Harry Reid thinks Rove should be fired and said so on “The Week”; David Remnick writes on Bush: insular, arrogant, and all of the sudden, adrift and alone thanks to a “Hell Week” in which all sorts of systemic White House problems came home to roost; Matt Cooper recounts his chat with Scooter; and Frank Rich thinks this one’ll be a long time unravelling.

    UPDATE: We can’t be exhaustive, but we can exhaust ourselves trying to be! Salon’s Eric Boehlert made some good pre-and-post “Meet The Press” points on Russert that bear inclusion: (1) Despite the fact that the discrpancy between his and Libby’s testimony got Libby indicted for perjury, “for more than a year, Russert, free to discuss his testimony publicly, never disclosed that key discrepancy himself. He didn’t just bury the lead, he buried the whole story”; (2) he references a “carefully-worded” NBC statement neglects to actually mention that Russert and Libby never discussed Plame: “why was that glaringly important point, which would have caused Libby some discomfort prior to the indictment (as well as advanced the story in 2004), why was that left unsaid?” In hindsight, he says, that seems the opposite of transparent; (3) Boehlert connects some dots following this morn’s NYT piece which, though it “completely fails to mention the deceptions in play” does help explain Russert’s reticence: “Libby’s boss, VP Cheney, has appeared on Russert’s “Meet the Press” no fewer than 10 times since being sworn.” [HuffPo] SIDE NOTE: I find myself going to HuffPo more and more for this kind of dogged attention to detail. Ariannna continues to collect talent. HuffPo is not only a player, but a heavy-hitter. Two weeks shy of six months, people.

  • The New York Times Store: Let Judith Miller Hold Your Pencils!

    newyorktimesstore-thumb.jpgJust in time for the Christmas season* the New York Times has opened a little store amongst the holiday shops at Bryant Park (which are, for the most part, scheduled to open officially on November 25th). According to savvy spy NewYorkology, The NYT store has all sorts of goodies, including beach towels, books, crossword puzzles, photographs and freedom-loving T-shirts. But the pi&#232ce de r&#233sistance comes in the form of “a very special pencil holder”:

    The pencil holder has a full-color reproduction of the front page of the New York Times from January 22, 2003. And sure enough, just below the fold you can find a vintage Judith Miller byline: “U.S. Deploying Monitor System for Germ Peril.” Priced to move at $14.95.

    We’re gonna hold out for our “Valerie Flame” notepads, not to mention our Jayson Blair pocket protectors.


    *Oh, my God, I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.

    I think I may have just fallen in love with Jake Tapper

    Leak haiku. Brilliant.

    Patrick Fitzgerald:
    Sheikh Rahman, Ramzi Youssef
    and Scooter Libby?

    Two counts perjury
    One obstrucion of justice…
    Wasn’t there a leak??

    (Libby’s statement as shortened and haiku’ed:)

    “I am confident…
    at the end of this process

    Joseph Wilson, he
    wanted Karl Rove frog-marched out
    but Rove hopped away?

    I will add one posted in Tapper’s comment section:

    Bring back Lewinsky
    At least that indictment was
    for a good time, right?

    I don’t plan on taking that line of questioning any further. A Karl Rove visual I don’t need. Oh no, it’s too late, now I’m thinking about him having a fantastic weekend!! Ick.

    (ABC’s Down And Dirty courtesy of FishbowlDC).

    If I Had A Million Dollars…

    I’d be rich. And happy. But if I had a million hits…well, I’d just be happy. So THANK YOU Fishbowl readers, for making the month of October our first-ever million-hit month. I’m happy!

    There are a million ways we’d like to say thank you, and here are four (million? you do the math) in what we like to call our “Million-Fish Mix” (which was harder to put together than you’d think, because “million” doesn’t crop up that much in song titles, so we went for style over substance. Special shout-out to 10th-grade boyfriend Neil Shankman for introducing me to “A Million Ways” by The Nylons. He made making this list 25% easier. Rock on, Neil!). Point being, thank you for reading Fishbowl. We really appreciate it!

    A Million Ways [The Nylons]
    A Million Ways [OK Go]
    A Million Ways [Dirty Vegas]
    A Million Ways [Annie Gallup]

    Lunch at….AMC: Flight Edition

    So, we missed the Lunch at Michael’s edition this week because we were running around hosting this fabulous Women’s Magazine Editor Dinner instead. We feel guilty, very guilty about this. So, we had our spies fly back on the planes with certain American Magazine Conference (AMC) media honchos and mark down where they were seated. We hope you enjoy this special edition of Lunch at…AMC: Flight Edition.

    Read more

    Statements: Libby thinks he’ll be exonerated; Bush has to get to work

    Bush had his statement at 3:50 pm, and Libby‘s came in at about 4:30pm.

    Said Bush:

    Today I accepted the resignation of Scooter Libby. Scooter has worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people and sacrificed much in the service to this country. He served the Vice President and me through extraordinary times in our nation’s history.

    He reminded his audience that Scooter is innocent until proven guilty, and then shifted to what’s on deck: SCOTUS appointment redux redux. In the meantime, he said, he had a job to do.

    It was actually very succinct and well done, though as Paul Begala said on CNN: “You can’t say “I’ve got a job to do” and then get on a helicopter and go to Camp David for the weekend” (though as we know by now, Bush can work while on vacation).

    Meanwhile, Libby has issued a statement of his own: He thinks he’ll be “completely and totally exonerated” for what was essentially what his lawyer called “an honest mistake” (opening the door for his defense against obstruction charges — remembering differently isn’t necessarily remembering wrongly — or intentionally), and reminds America that “I have spent much of my career working on behalf of the American people,” and maintains that he has always conducted himself honorably and truthfully in that endeavor.

    If convicted, Libby could face up to 30 years.

    Given the above, does anyone else thing Karl Rove’s “I’m gonna have a great day and a great weekend!” comment was a little inappropriate?