Dowd’s Not So Secret Obsession

Dowd’s Not So Secret Obsession

This past Sunday, July 5th, Maureen Dowd’s op-ed, “Now, Sarah’s Folly,” appeared in the NYT. As expected, the piece criticizes not only Palin’s decision to step down, but also targets her appearance, her intelligence, and more.  I know, I know, such is life for public figures.  However, on July 7th, just two days later, the NYT featured yet another article by Dowd on the same subject, entitled “Sarah’s Secret Diary.”  The only secret revealed in this sarcastic, occasionally funny, but ultimately low-blow piece is Dowd’s steady obsession with Sarah Palin.  Perhaps, the two women should have a mud-wrastling showdown on the White House lawn so that they can lay to rest their respective hang-ups with one another once and for all.

Dowd’s Palin touts god, guns, and herself.  The former two points of satire are grounded in reality; the third, however, is largely media contrivance in my opinion.  But Dowd insists Palin is an unabashed attention hog (“It’s about me…It’s about me…It’s about me.” ), concerned with prestige and power, and not politics.

In this “entry,” Palin sounds, literally, like a female Bush, whose words lack both meaning and grammatical correctness.  The truth or accuracy of this point is debatable, I realize, but not my primary concern here; I’m more interested in Dowd than her subject.  At the risk of being more confusing than paradoxical, does it take great skill to parody a subject that verges already on parody?

In the hands of Dowd, Palin’s monologue brims with colloquialisms (“darn,” “huntin’ and fishin’ gal”), misspelled and misused words (“And I know that I know that I know those crapy bloggers will put out more confliction stories.” and “This progresses me away from my image…”), grade-school diction, bad grammar (such as lack of subject/verb agreement: “Todd and me are in our cool fishing bibs…”) and corny analogies( “…people should stop being so stinkin’ mean to me because this is a goal-setting thing, a full-court press, a sub-four marathon.”)

While I often appreciate Maureen’s moxie, I found myself feeling sorry for Sarah when reading this article.  There are some funny moments, such as when Palin feels her anger mounting and says, “Man, I feel a grizzly rising up in me!!!!” but, on the whole, the attacks are excessive, stale, even unwarranted.  Thank the lord McCain and Palin weren’t elected into office because negative media coverage of the latter already rivals that of George over a much longer period.  Aside from being a female and a mother, I have little in common with Palin, so I’m not defending her politics or unpolished prose, but enough already.  I’d like to see the NYT’s maven of grammar, mores, and more, showcase her talent by targeting a more challenging subject, or at least by varying her subject.

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