On a hitting streak

October 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Posted in politics, read this, wine | Leave a comment
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I have a love-hate relationship with Maureen Dowd.  (She once was a guest lecturer to my national political journalism class at Columbia and, perched on the edge of the desk in a very, very short skirt, spoke about her time on the George H.W. Bush campaign trail — making it sound like one big booze fest (which I’m sure it was) but also as if he flirted with her the whole time. Not the impressive lecture I was expecting.) At times I find her columns too formulaic — too many ideas set up in opposing symmetry (e.g., “America’s back in the cold war and W.’s back on vacation.”), and a little too heavy a dependence on pop culture (which works for Bill Simmons, but hers can be cloying — for example: “our new Napoleon in bunny boots (not the Pamela Anderson kind, but the knock-offs of the U.S. Army Extreme Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Boots).”)

Recently, however, she has dusted off her thesaurus, and her columns have been brilliant — relying more on a deft use of language than her sometimes borderline cliches.  For example, recently she ever so casually dropped the word sesquipedalian into a column on Paul Newman (as Lindsey also noted in a post). And then, today, in a sentence that must be really fun to read aloud, “The conservative donnybrook over Sarah Palin, the peppery debate raging about whether she is an embarrassment who should fade away or an impudent but promising wine picked before its time.” 

Tonight I shall have to find an impudent but promising wine to test the metaphor.

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