The way we weren’t: Meanwhile, Maureen Dowd is also frazzled in the wake of last month’s attacks. On October 14, the pundit pondered the naughty way “we” were before this fine mess got started:
DOWD: Only five weeks ago, we inhabited a paradise of trivia, wallowing in celebrity, consumerism and cosmetic-surgery advances. Now we inhabit a paranoia of trivia, worrying about potential mortal threats in everyday actions—opening a letter, getting on a plane or train, going to the mall or a football game.
“We” had been demons of trivia, Dowd said. Yep—“we” had been wallowing in celebrity, consumerism and advances in cosmetic surgery.
Well sorry, Mo, but here at THE HOWLER, “we” aren’t signing up for that club. Here at THE HOWLER, only seven weeks ago, “we” were finishing a four-year run of slamming your love of sheer trivia. Who had “inhabited a paradise of trivia?” Many folks hadn’t, but one had—Maureen Dowd. For that reason, we had asked, again and again, why the Times put her column in print.
Indeed, speaking of The Way We Were, we had recent occasion to list the topics Dowd explored in The Summer of 99. (All right, all right; our work was done for an early chapter of The Spinning of the President, Year 2000.) And no, dear friends, we aren’t making this up—survey Dowd’s topics in that period, after she returned from a four-week vacance:
July 28: Dowd described her recent lazer eye surgery.
August 1: Dowd reviewed the movie “Runaway Bride.”
August 4: Dowd discussed a Talk magazine piece about the Clintons’ marriage.
August 8: She interviewed Bob Dole on the prospect of being “first gentleman.”
August 11: She compared the Talk magazine piece about the Clintons with an auction of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia.
August 15: Will Warren Beatty run for president?
August 18: Bush and the question of youthful drug use
August 22: Bush and the question of youthful drug use
August 25: Dowd reviewed a Showtime movie about Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas.
August 29: She ruminated on the life story of John McCain. “Never have so many men wanted to run,” she mused, “to prove they are worthy to larger-than-life dads.”
September 1: “I ran into Kato Kaelin the other night,” she wrote—at the start of a piece about Monica Lewinsky’s fashion business.
September 5: Dowd penned a review of the Paris, the new Las Vegas casino-hotel.
Amazing, isn’t it? Pre-9/11, Dowd hadn’t had a serious thought since the Times unwisely put her in print. She’d been the “it-woman” of an addled press culture—reigning queen of its “paradise of trivia.”
We’re all in this thing together now, and we do wish Dowd and her cohort well. But “we” don’t plan to sign up for her club, and “we” wish she’d stop signing up for us.