I haven’t written much about Maureen Dowd lately, because I frankly haven’t been reading her – she is so much eye-rolling drivel these days, having, as she does, only two themes left. The first theme, of course is the Yosemite Sam Rootin Tootin, “that varmit Bush, aaaaahhhhhhh hates him! I hates him!”
The second theme is “boo-hoo, lookit me, I’m so good at my job but it’s cost me the love of men, and men mostly suck, anyway!”
Her most recent column is more on Theme #2. I should mention that since the Iraqi elections and the subsequent “Arab Spring,” Dowd has been writing on Theme 2 with more frequency, as it is safer for her. Her credibility re Bush is so shot that she simply should stay away from that topic for now.
As usual, we have to wade through two paragraphs of self-involved baby-boomer pop-culture fatuousness (I pretend I’m Emma Peel!) before Dowd even begins to make her point. And her point is, apparently, that her job is so very, very hard, and she’s just miserable because women, you know…they just want to be LOVED, but it’s hard to be loved when you have to give your opinion…and mean men can’t take it – they feel emasculated and accuse her of writing with a Ronco slicer and dicer… (sob…oomp)
Maureen, honey, you need to hear a few things.
First, as I tried to tell you twice in December and again in January…STOP THE WHINING. You’re making a spectacle of yourself and rather than gaining the respect of those men-in-media who hold all the cards, instead of being a sterling example of all that a female analyst or pundit can be, you come off like the neurotic, insecure editor of a high school newspaper who can’t understand why no one appreciates how HARD it all is being the clever one who can name all of Charlies Angels and still “dish out” the snarks by taking aim at the easiest and safest target in the school! The boys only want the stupid cheerleaders! WAHHHHHHH….
Now, here is some advice: BUCK IT UP. Being able to write for a living is so much better than actually having to go out and get a real job – it is a gift and a privilege. I suggest you take a big breath, gird up whatever is left of your loin and take the ups and downs that come with your incredibly privileged, powerful position like a professional, or – if you cannot do that – LEAVE the job to someone who has the stomach and the fortitude for it.
You want names of women who can occupy your deluxe piece of journo real estate and who can not only “dish it out,” (your gender stereo-typing, hon, not mine) but can do it substantively, without cutesy-poo pop references, without dissembling, without cranking up the woe-is-me’s and without curling into a fetal position with a bottle of Prozac between their knees when they are challenged, women who will stand by their analysis or opinions? Look around the internet! I can name a dozen women off the top of my head – any one of whom could fill your twice-weekly 700 word limit with provocative, intelligent and meaningful commentary, without subjecting her readers to this unending caterwauling.
If your job has left you this undone then fer cryin’ out loud, maybe you’re in the wrong job! Leave it to someone better able to deal with it and find a position that allows you to get all the coos and puppy licks you’ve been missing out on.
Just stop this bellyaching – you are an embarrassment to your uterus! That’s right, I said your uterus! Your uterus is a tough, muscle, expansive and flexible, which can take a beating for months and then get right back in fighting form, ready for another round. It draws in and it casts out, making no excuses, nor yelping about how hard it’s working. Your uterus does not make sobbing, hiccuping noises of complaint because it is underappreciated, and it doesn’t simply find something it hates and blow incessant raspberries through its cervix. Consider your uterus, Maureen, it is very near the core of your being, and it is strong and capable.
More importantly, it functions at its best when it is doing the job it is meant to do!
Speaking for myself, I’m tired of reading about all the things your life is missing. Satisfaction in your work, the respect of your male associates, a loving relationship. You have never written about children, but maybe you wanted them. Maybe you were supposed to have them, maybe you weren’t – only you and God know that, but honey, you’ve made your choices. If they have not brought you happiness, then make appropriate changes while there is still time – before you are a 70 year old crone with even more regrets.
If I seem cruel, let me say, I am cruel only to be kind. Your op-ed pieces have become unreadable piffle, and I daresay there is not a single male op-ed writer at the Times who spends as much time writing about their personal foibles and frustrations as you. Your writing screams out, “I AM SAD. I AM UNHAPPY.” And it is very, very sad to read. Instead of inspiring admiration, your writing lately inspires only pity, and if someone wrote that to me, I wouldn’t be able to stand it.
So, DO something with yourself. Take a sabbatical – give some other women (plural) a chance to “dish it out,” for a while. Go to Rome and have a torrid affair with some guy named Marco, who pinches your bottom and annoys the crap out of you until your feminist hardware starts to fail and you begin to feel like a woman, again. Let him do all those degrading things, like calling you “cara” and asking you to wear a dress that shows a little cleavage. Try to cook linguine and when he complains that the pasta is too soggy, and not al dente, throw something at him and let him call you “strega” and then have terrific make-up sex on the kitchen floor, and then tell him he’s a real man – even if you can’t stop giggling when you say it – and let him tell you you’re a real woman. You might find that those words mean something.
Shed the velvateen rabbit skin and spend some time being real, without curtseying to all the rules of political correctness, partisan politics and feminist goose-stepping. Think for yourself. Discover if there is any, ANY little piece of your oh-so-modern-soul that has resisted becoming part of the automaton collective, and see if that tiny patch of freedom allows you a bit of room to breathe, a bit of open sky – room for thinking thoughts that don’t fall in with anyone’s line, and for feeling things that (in the twenty-first century) you’re simply no longer supposed to feel.
Go somewhere and get in touch with someone who is NOT Maureen-Dowd-of-the-New-York-Times-Stan
dard-Bearer of the pop-culture obsessed but increasingly bitter boomers. See if you can still find the Maureen Dowd who started to write because she LOVED writing, loved the glories of language, the girl who found that writing a punchy, well-turned phrase was more satisfying than dessert AND a make-out session!
See if she still exists, and then, LET HER OUT TO PLAY.
Then, maybe when you come back…you’ll be fit to write again. I wish it for you.