Dowd the Rogue Dramatist
Dowd the Rogue Dramatist
On Sunday, July 12, the NYT featured yet another Op-ed by Maureen Dowd about…drum roll…SARAH PALIN. Shocking, I know. In this piece,entitled “Sweet Tweet Revenge,” Dowd has composed a faux Twitter dialogue between Sarah Palin and John McCain, both of whom do, indeed, tweet. Back in April, I wrote a post about Dowd’s skepticism of Twitter, not realizing at the time that she had had an account since November 2008. She provides updates very sporadically, which suggests that at least that apathy was real, not feigned; her only recent update directs followers to her article on the philandering of Governor Mark Sanford (Rep) of South Carolina.
While Maureen Dowd does not tweet regularly, she may very well follow others who do, but it is evident that Sarah Palin and John McCain are not among them, even if they happen to be prey,once again, in this, Dowd’s latest parody. I say this because I have read Palin’s and McCain’s update histories on Twitter, and Dowd’s derogatory dialogue that poses as an Op-Ed has no almost no basis in reality. Not that I really needed to do this legwork to make this determination. Early in the piece, Dowd alludes to Palin’s purple toenail polish on the cover of the July 20 issue of Time; this much is true. Beyond this, Dowd’s dialogue is her own contrivance, in which she retravels the same stale path, mocking Palin’s speaking style and pigeon-holing her as a social-climbing attention hog, and in the end, readers experience a few meager chuckles, but gain no insights. I am a writer, not a journalist, but shouldn’t there be substance to editorials? I love wit and sarcasm and irony as much as the next bitter bloke, but r-e-a-l-l-y.
My perusal of McCain on Twitter unearthed nothing noteworthy; this was not the case with Palin, however. Intermingled with countless tweets about state politics in Alaska, you will find Palin’s wise catches of the day, if you will, sometimes in her own words, but more often in the way of direct quotes of notable people from ancient to contemporary times; she summons Plato, Aristotle, and Kronkite, for example, to suggest her resilience to the criticism of the (liberal) media. I don’t know if Palin pores over classical texts and discovers these quotes on her own or if one of her staffers, at her direction, does a google search for, say, “quotes on character,” but either way, Palin’s Twitter account clearly is striving to sound intelligent. In scanning her updates, I found no colloquial language or cutesy expressions, no direct engagement with opponents, no pleas for popularity.
My point is that, in spite of her now numerous Bush-like speaking blunders, I still don’t believe Palin is as dumb as Dowd and others in the media would like the world to believe. In my post last Wednesday on Dowd and Palin, I recommended they settle the score by mud wrestling on the White House lawn. Perhaps, simultaneous IQ testing would be more appropriate. Neither one of them received an Ivy league education or earned an advanced degree. Since everyone else is throwing their guesses into the hat about Palin’s motives for stepping down as governor, I will, too. According to the authors of the Time cover story on Palin, the soon-t0-be-former governor admits scouring the web for derogatory commentary about herself. Perhaps, just perhaps, Ms. Palin, who earned a journalism degree from the U of Idaho, has stepped down so that she can step up to Ms. Dowd, who earned a degree in English from Catholic University in D.C. Then, while Ms. Dowd continues to play out her fantasy of herself as a female Oscar Wilde, Ms. Palin can return to her schooldays, too, by investigating sources, reporting facts, and dismantling myths, in an effort to salvage her public reputation.