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I have a thesis: on New Year’s Eve, the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd — a woman who falls into the category that those with management experience refer to as “too crazy to fire” — will announce that her entire 2014 corpus was an elaborate piece of performance art.
You may recall — in fact, you likely recall better than Dowd herself — that MoDo got an entire column earlier this year out of getting baked out of her mind on a pot-infused candy bar in a Denver hotel room. Dowd thought the lesson from that experience was that Colorado wasn’t doing enough to caution infrequent marijuana users about the dangers of excessive dosages (governments being instituted among men to point out the haltingly obvious to them). I thought the biggest revelation was that it’s unusual for a Times column to be written with chemical enhancements (don’t kid yourself — the collected works of Paul Krugman can’t be explained without reference to bath salts).
Dowd has outdone herself, however, with her newest column, which executes a seamless 17-point turn between the death of Robin Williams and — you guessed it — Hillary Clinton. Dowd spends the first few paragraphs of her column recalling a 1993 interview she did with Williams, and then works out a transition that makes one wonder if she’s currently keeping all of her earthly possessions in a stolen shopping cart:
As our interview ended, I was telling him about my friend Michael Kelly’s idea for a 1-900 number, not one to call Asian beauties or Swedish babes, but where you’d have an amorous chat with a repressed Irish woman. Williams delightedly riffed on the caricature, playing the role of an older Irish woman answering the sex line in a brusque brogue, ordering a horny caller to go to the devil with his impure thoughts and disgusting desire.
I couldn’t wait to play the tape for Kelly, who doubled over in laughter.
So when I think of Williams, I think of Kelly. And when I think of Kelly, I think of Hillary, because Michael was the first American reporter to die in the Iraq invasion, and Hillary Clinton was one of the 29 Democratic senators who voted to authorize that baloney war.
What follows is 14 paragraphs on Hillary, with Williams’ name never once mentioned again. I leave it to you to conclude whether Dowd is spectacularly tasteless, utterly disinterested in basic journalistic craftsmanship, or just slightly unhinged.
I choose all three. If Maureen Dowd has taught me anything, it’s that writing is about not having to make choices.
Image of MoDo’s creative process courtesy of EJHill.