Redemption for Dowd?

Redemption for Dowd?

I’ve read less of Maureen Dowd’s Op-Eds lately because, well, quite frankly, I got bored with them.  Over the summer, I found myself becoming less interested in her own words and, instead, becoming more lost in the dramatic and entertaining comments (always several hundred) that her pieces elicited.  For instance, while a few readers found her piece on the Anna Wintour/Vogue documentary to be ‘refreshing,’ many chastised her for deigning to cover such a ‘light,’ ‘frivolous topic, when she should be covering ‘real’ issues.  In a piece soon after, she managed to address obliquely the harshness of her own critics.  She does apparently read her articles’ comments. And she is human after all.

After reading her latest editorial from today’s NYT, “Port Mortuary’s Pull,” I find myself still more intrigued with the comments than her content. Some readers have lauded this piece, which centers on Obama’s down low night flight to honor fallen soldiers and visit with their families, as “excellent commentary,” “by far one of [her] best articles,” and give her “kudos for a somber and serious article.” Others chastise her for being soft on Obama: “Ms. Dowd, when are you going to stop romanticizing Obama and analyze him objectively, the same way you analyze Bush? The two men are different, but you must treat them with the same dedication to objective truth or you are in danger of refusing to speak truth to power.” And still others, praise her for not being soft on Obama: “It’s about time you call Obama the empty suit that he is. He doesn’t want to make any tough decisions and continues to campaign and give campaign speeches with no substance.” Isn’t it amazing how people can read the exact same words and process them completely differently?

Quality, substance, and opinion aside, the only constant  in Dowd’s writing that keeps me coming back and that I truly enjoy analyzing is her clever and resourceful use of literature–allusions, metaphors, puns–to comment on contemporary politics and more.  Style counts for something, eh: our mutual love of Oscar Wilde may be our only common thread.

And so, my love/hate relationship with MoDo continues.


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