The road that has been widely taken: Long ago, Katherine Boo became the sage of an age.
The year was 1992. Writing for the Washington Monthly, Boo did something that just isn’t done—she complained about Maureen Dowd’s fatuous work! In the process, she coined an immortal phrase:
Katherine Boo was prescient. At an early stage, she diagnosed the disease which has spread all through the “press corps.” The Dowdism was “creeping” at that time.
Since then, it has galloped, stampeded.
Where are Dowd and Boo today? On Sunday, Dowd presented her latest cry for help. She offered her latest analysis of politicians’ wives on the New York Times op-ed page.
Silly commenters cheered her on. The nation’s IQ kept dropping.
By way of contrast, Boo has published her latest book: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.
Just for the record, Mumbai used to be Bombay!
Ironically, Boo’s book was praised last week in the New York Times, the entity through which the Dowdism rampaged. You might even say that Boo is writing about very poor children in very poor neighborhoods, the kinds of people we liberals pretend to be concerned about, so we can bash the other tribe for their lack of concern.
In 1992, these were two sides of the journalistic world. One side has crept, spread and conquered.
The immortal reply: What does Dowd care about? In a profile in Brill’s Content, Gay Jervey recorded her immortal remarks.
The year was 1999. Dowd's alleged words, recalled by Joe Klein, define the current age:
JERVEY (6/99): “Maureen is very talented," observes Joe Klein of The New Yorker. "But she is ground zero of what the press has come to be about in the nineties... I remember having a discussion with her in which I said, 'Maureen, why don't you go out and report about something significant, go out and see poor people, do something real?' And she said, 'You mean I should write about welfare reform?’”"You mean I should write about welfare reform?" We'd call that a perfect screen-grab.
Yesterday, Dowd mused about Callista and Michelle. She told us what their husbands see when they look into their eyes.