Every Wednesday at 7:00 am, I am faced with the same dilemma when I open my NY Times to the Op-ed page: Is it worth the next three minutes of my time to read the likely insipid, insulting and/or witless column by Maureen Dowd.
There is a morbid curiosity -- Which Democratic politician will she be trying to emasculate? Which aspect of her troubling "issues" will she be working out on paper to be read by millions?
But today, I was "rewarded" by one of the most disturbing sentences ever to appear on an Op-Ed page (or anywhere):
When we were children, my brother christened my kittens with the names of Redskins linebackers and slammed their little heads together - until I caught him.Huh? What?
Just take that in for a moment. A Pulitzer Prize-winning (!) NY Times columnist is telling the world that her brother used to torture kittens for fun. And this in a column that ostensibly was trying to compare the NFL to Jane Austen.
Thankfully, Charles Pierce is on the case in Modo is Ready for Some Football:
Holy Jesus H. Christ on a wheel route, where did this incipient sociopath end up being confined? She's hip-deep in Emma while her dear brother is bashing together the heads of kittens? How drunk were her parents when this was going on? Was Child Services called? The cops? The 82nd airborne? Abraham Van Helsing?(Don't worry. I didn't get the Silence of the Lambs reference at first either.)
Re-reading Austen, I could get lost in a fascinating honeycomb of relationships. I could delve into a rigid male-dominated hierarchical society with pompous wealthy overlords and opportunistic strivers and alluring young protagonists faltering with immature misjudgments and public opprobrium.And forget for a few blessed moments that I was being raised in the House Of Usher. Have the kittens stopped screaming, Maureen?
Now Charlie doesn't mention that this brother is almost certainly the brother to whom Maureen "lends" her column once a year for the purpose of spewing right wing nonsense.
And Maureen wasn't through. In the words of Charlie Weaver, she goes on:
The 19th-century author of “Emma,” the best makeover story ever, would have marveled at the macho makeover saga in Miami with the thuggish Richie Incognito trying to harden the brainy, viola-playing, Stanford-educated Jonathan Martin — the “bully” and the “baby,” as Mike Ditka curtly called them.Ah, there's the emasculation we were waiting for. Clearly, Maureen is panting over the "thuggish" Incognito, while her contempt for "brainy, viola-playing" Martin oozes off the page. Of course Dowd is adopting the "Martin needed hardening" narrative over the "Incognito is a racist, disgusting, asshole bully" narrative.
Still, once again, Charlie Pierce comes up with the brilliant encapsulation of all that is wrong with Maureen (or Brooks, or Gregory, or the Zombie Eyed Granny Starver):
Have the Kittens Stopped Screaming, Maureen.