Maureen Dowd has opinions, everybody! And she is gracious enough to share them with us little people.
When she heard about the June 17 campaign to drive that Saudi women are mounting on Facebook, the first thing Dowd did was call up her friend Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who is “a pillar of modernity in the medieval kingdom.” In fact, that’s exactly how she opens the piece—it’s very important that we know she has connections. And it’s very important that we know just how modern he is:
In his skyscraper office in Riyadh, women in tight jeans and suits rule the roost, working side by side with men, something that is forbidden elsewhere. Government offices in Saudi Arabia are segregated by gender.
The prince made a point of hiring a woman, born in the holy city of Mecca, and training her to be the pilot of his private jet.
For a piece that’s supposed to be about Saudi women’s lack of driving rights, Dowd sure spends a lot of time telling us about her friend, the prince, and his wealth of privileges.
She reflects on the first wave of Saudi women to fight for the right to drive in 1990 and how she interviewed them nine years ago, gives us a brief rundown of Manal Al-Sharif’s arrest, and ends the piece with an excerpt from an obviously satirical piece in The Arab News from Reem al-Faisal (who Dowd mentions is a princess—remember, it’s important!). The Swiftian excerpt suggests Saudi women ride camels instead of attempting to drive cars.
So once again, Dowd mirrors an issue through her privileged lens and bounces it off her privileged sounding boards. Instead of reading her piece, why don’t I sum up the entire article for you in one paragraph?
“Oh, hello there! I was just on the phone with my super-rich Saudi man friend—he’s a prince, you know. Anyway, he was telling me something about how those poor unfortunate women can’t drive over there—terrible, you know—and so one of the princesses suggested they ride camels. Can you imagine? Oh, my, hahaha. Lourdes, I asked for my martini ages ago!”