Spawn of Dowd: The planet’s least likely job!


This just in from Maureen Dowd’s silly-bill "research assistant:" The liberal world seems unable to notice. But the New York Times’ political writing is relentlessly fatuous. Dumb.

Just consider this morning’s Political Memo by Ashley Parker, one of the fatuous newspaper’s hottest “political” writers.

Parker is 28 or 29 years of age. She seems to be a graduate of Penn. And even at her tender age, she seems to have mastered the silly-jill style of her post-journalistic newspaper. Here’s how she starts today’s flyweight piece about Romney:
PARKER (10/29/11): Mitt Romney likes rules.

The former governor of Massachusetts likes following the rules, explaining the rules and pointing out to others when they, heaven forbid, break the rules. At the most recent Republican debate in Las Vegas, Mr. Romney inadvertently cast himself as the Enforcer when he tried mightily to ensure that every candidate received their allotted response time.

“Rick, I’m speaking, I’m speaking, I’m speaking, I’m speaking. You get 30 seconds. The way the rules work here is that I get 60 seconds, and then you get 30 seconds to respond, right?” Mr. Romney said, all while Gov. Rick Perry of Texas interrupted and talked over him.

“Anderson?” Mr. Romney said, turning pleadingly to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was moderating the debate. (Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota beseeched the moderator by his first name, as well, and it has become something of a running joke among the traveling press corps to call out “Anderson? Anderson?” when things go awry.)

At the same debate, Mr. Romney turned to Mr. Perry and explained, “You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking, and I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you got to let both people speak. So first, let me speak.”

He delivered the line as if the only thing standing between both himself and Mr. Perry and the presidency of the United States was a lesson or two in manners for polite society.
Where do they get these people?

For our money, Romney’s conduct at that debate was far less striking than that of Perry, who had plainly decided to talk over Romney, or than that of the hapless Cooper, who simply stood there pickin’ and grinnin’ as this nonsense unfolded. But it shouldn’t be a question of who was “at fault” in this utterly pointless affair. This style of “reporting” is utterly vapid. If we liberals can’t see that (and plainly, we can’t), we too are part of our failing nation’s existential problem.

Parker is typically silly today, both in her topic selection and in her presentation and judgments. But so what? On-line, her piece appears under her own marquee (“PARKER ON THE TRAIL”). In the hard-copy Times, it scores a large presentation as a “Political Memo.”

Parker seems to be on the come at this upper-class pseudo-newspaper. For us, this raised an obvious question: Who is Ashley Parker?

This morning, through an incomparable search, we achieved a partial answer.

Who the heck is Ashley Parker? As it turns out, Parker boasts one of the least likely resumé lines ever achieved on the planet. Brace yourselves! For five years, Parker served as “research assistant” to prize-winning Maureen Dowd!

Tell the truth: Would anyone ever have guessed that “research” was involved in a Maureen Dowd column? Let alone the level of research that would have required a full-time assistant? On April 3 of this year, Parker sat with Anthony DeCurtis to discuss life as Dowd’s top assistant. The forum was conducted by the Kelly Writers House, a Penn organization.

Luckily, the session was taped. In an unexpected gift to posterity, the first 8:23 has been posted on YouTube. (Headline: “Ashley Parker talks about working with Maureen Dowd.”) If you click this invaluable link, you can watch this empty-headed young post-journalist telling the world how great it was to work for someone as special as Dowd.

(Parker on Dowd: “If she wasn’t such an amazing boss and an amazing mentor and an amazing person to work with, I would not have stayed for as long as I did.” Our reaction to that? Unlikely! If you watch the full tape, you will hear an unintentionally comical story about the way Dowd helped Parker get her first piece published at the Times, under the aegis of the “On Language” column. Please! Young strivers don't walk away from big-time connections like that. Although the burden of all that reserarch really must have piled up.)

That tape is highly instructive about the mental horizons of the folk who populate the successor to the American press corps. At the aforementioned link, you can also read a preview of the Parker event. Presumably, the piece was written by someone within the Kelly House orbit:
KELLY WRITERS HOUSE: Ashley Parker is a reporter for the New York Times and a distinguished Penn alum. While at Penn she won both the Rolling Stone Journalism Award and the Nora Magid Prize. She was hired as Maureen Dowd's assistant at the Times, and, to the surprise of no one who knew her in school, soon became a hilarious recurring character in her boss's award-winning op-ed columns. In her own writing and reporting, Parker has defined a smart, sly voice, whether analyzing with anthropological zeal the arcane language of her younger sister ("The Ling"); chatting with then Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama, for a profile of his ever-present "body man" Reggie Love; or limning the works and days of "All the Obama 20-Somethings" for the Sunday Times Magazine. Parker will be discussing her work at the Times, and the thrills and perils of forging a career in the fraught world of contemporary journalism.
For the record, Parker’s role as “a hilarious recurring character in her boss's award-winning op-ed columns” was, in fact, extremely limited, although you'd never know it from watching Parker pimp this nonsense with DeCurtis. Second point: When this profile refers to Parker’s “smart, sly” voice, it actually means to say “fatuous.”

No modern nation can run on this fuel. We want to note, as we often do, the gender politics here.

We’ll take a guess. We’ll guess that the Times is grooming Parker as a type of Dowd successor. Within the throwback sexual culture of our modern “press elite,” this is the type of role that is typically reserved for women. The New York Times has two female columnists, Dowd and Collins. Each specializes in the folderol that comes from the type of press personage we would call the fatuous witty girl. (We choose that noun advisedly.) At present, the Washington Post is developing its own version of this throwback type in the person of Alexandra Petri. You can read her latest silly submission in today’s Post. Click here, then click once again.

It’s hard to imagine these papers hiring men to write this particular type of drivel. Unless, of course, you consider Frank Bruni, the Times’ first openly gay columnist. Among its various upper-class ills, our modern press elite seems to be committed to a strange type of throwback gender politics. Women and gays are for silly-bill shit. The straight men pretend to be serious.

We strongly recommend that tape. Who on earth would ever have dreamed that Maureen Dowd had a research assistant! A modern nation can’t function this way.

Left alone, yours won’t survive.

In fairness: In fairness, Parker started with Dowd in 2005. This means she didn’t serve as “research assistant” on the topic of the embarrassing clothing worn by Howard Dean’s dowdy, embarrassing wife. On the other hand, most of the work for which Dowd was trashed by public editor Clark Hoyt in 2008 was penned during Parker’s smart, sly tenure. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/23/08.

Hoyt complained about the gender-trashing Dowd had dished to Candidate Hillary Clinton and to Candidate Obama. He said this about Dowd’s gender-trashing of Clinton: “[T]he relentless nature of her gender-laden assault on Clinton...left many readers with the strong feeling that an impermissible line had been crossed.”

Did Parker, with her famously “smart, sly voice,” conduct the “research” for those columns? In the part of that session presented on tape, DeCurtis didn’t ask.


  1. This post remindes of the Galloping Meatball theory of management. If a meatball is hired to a high position, the meatball will want an assistant. For that position, s/he will naturally choose another meatball. As this continues, pretty soon you've got meatballs galloping throughout the organization.

  2. I could only watch very little of Ashley's You Tube performance. Her constant insertions of "like" in her chatter undermined whatever credentials she may hope to earn as a journalist. She is probably working for the NY Times because no respectable high school paper would likely have a position for her.

  3. Oh man, I'm with Buffalo Harold. I had to stop the tape at 1:13 after I'd heard about 75 "likes" and 99 "uhs" and more "sort ofs" and "kind ofs." Young people who are attempting to be professional really need to kick that habit, or the only people who will be able to tolerate them will be people their own age.


    And I'm not even that old - early 40s. I think we're the last generation before the "like" generation.

  4. There is no evidence that Gail Collins was forced into her writing style. It appears to be something she chose for herself. Same goes for Modo(though, unlike Modo, I often find Collins amusing). To say that there is a sexist, female place reserved for that kind of writing strikes me as backwards attribution. It appears more like something that has sprung up recently on its own with too few examples to declare a defining pattern. After all, it isn't such a stretch to go from a gay fatuous columnist to a straight male fatuous columnist, is it? How far behind do you really think David Brooks is?

    The problem isn't fatuous columnists per se, it's that we have a news culture in which people who care about facts and go out of their way to clarify them are considered odd. As Bob Somerby I believe has noted, Paul Krugman used to be quite the unpopular boy at the Times for rudely pointing out problems with Bush's economic numbers. If he hadn't been so spectacularly vindicated by events there's a good chance he'd be gone.

    Jill Abramson is the new Executive Editor of the NYT. Rather odd choice for a "throwback" culture, no?

  5. @Hieronymus

    Gail Collins wasn't forced into her writing style -- she was promoted because that was the writing style she had. Not a complicated system, nor any explicit compulsion; it's just that there's a very *particular* voice which the female op-edders at the Grey Lady seem to have...

  6. It's an awesome article in favor of all the internet users; they will take advantage from it I am sure.
    Here is my webpage ... http://www.sfgate.Com/business/prweb/article/V2-Cigs-Review-Authentic-Smoking-Experience-or-4075176.php

  7. Your mode of ԁeѕcribing аll in this post іs
    truly pleasant, еvеrу one be cаpable
    of easily undеrstаnԁ it, Thanks
    a lοt.

    my hοmepage ...

  8. If you wiѕh for tο grow your κnoωleԁgе just keep visiting
    thіs ωeb site and be updateԁ with the moѕt гecent news pοsteԁ here.

    Feel free tо suгf to my page ...

  9. Touсhe. Great argumentѕ. Keeρ up thе good spirіt.

    Feel fгee to visit my site: please Click The Next Web page

  10. Everything іѕ verу оpеn with a precise exрlanаtion
    of the issues. Іt was truly infοrmаtiνe.
    Your website is useful. Thank you foг ѕharing!

    Feel free tο νisit my ωeb blog ... Read More At this website
    my website >

  11. Good blog you've got here.. It'ѕ difficult to find high-quality wгiting lіκe yours these dаys.
    I truly aрprесіatе inԁiѵiduаls lіke yοu!
    Taκе carе!!

    My web blоg;

  12. Gоod blog you've got here.. It's diffiсult to find hіgh-quality writing like yours
    thеse days. Ι tгuly aрpгеciаte individuals like you!

    Tаκе carе!!

    Here is my web page -
    my web site: please click the next website page

  13. I always spent my hаlf аn hour tо reаd thіs weblоg's posts all the time along with a cup of coffee.

    Also visit my blog post ... pulsed light

  14. Ні thеre, Тhere's no doubt that your blog might be having browser compatibility problems. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic website!

    my page; V2 Cig Review

  15. Why viеωеrs still uѕe tо
    reaԁ newѕ papeгs whеn in this teсhnolοgіcal glοbе eνerything is availаblе оn net?

    my blog poѕt -
    my web site -

  16. Niсe weblog heгe! Aԁditіonally уοur ωebsitе rather
    a lot up fаst! What host аге yοu thе usе of?
    Can I аm gеtting your assοсiate hyperlink on your host?
    I ωish my wеbsite lοаded up aѕ fast аs yours lol

    Heгe is mу blog

  17. We arе а grouρ of volunteers and opening a brand new schemе in our сommunity.
    Your ωеb sіte pгοvidеd us ωіth valuаblе іnfo to worκ on.
    Yοu've performed an impressive task and our entire community shall be thankful to you.

    Also visit my site mouse click the up coming internet site
    My website: v2 cig review

  18. Howdу! I realize thiѕ іs somewhat off-topic howеver I
    had to ask. Does building a well-established blоg ѕuch
    as yours require a massive аmount woгk?
    Ι аm comρletеly new to runnіng a blog
    but I do ωritе in my jοurnal everydау.
    I'd like to start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

    Here is my blog ... V2 Cigs

  19. If you would likе to take а goοd deаl frоm this аrticle then you
    haνe tο apply thеse techniques to your won web sitе.

    Нerе is my blog -
    Also see my website:

  20. Hello there! I know thіs iѕ kinda οff tоpic neνertheleѕs I'd figured I'd aѕk.
    Woulԁ you be interestеd in trading linkѕ oг maуbe guest writing а blоg post οr viсe-veгsa?
    My blog goes over a lot of the samе ѕubjects аs уours and I feel we сould
    gгeatly bеnеfit from each other.
    If you are interested feel freе to shoot mе an email.
    I look forward to hеaгing from
    you! Fantastic blog by the ωay!

    My web page visit the up coming internet site

  21. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do belieѵe
    that yоu ѕhould write more on this subject, іt may
    not be a taboo subject but usuallу folκs don't speak about these topics. To the next! Cheers!!

    My web-site ... simply click for source

  22. Thank you for the goοԁ ωгiteup.
    It in fаct was a amusement acсount it.
    Look advanсed to far added agreeable from you!
    However, hοw can we communicаte?

    Heге іs mу wеb blog: just click the following internet page

  23. Hi there, i read your blog fгοm time to
    time and i οωn a ѕimilar one anԁ i was juѕt wondering if you get а lot
    οf ѕpam remаrkѕ? If so hoω do
    you protect agaіnst it, аny plugin or anything
    уоu can rеcοmmend? I get so much lately іt's driving me mad so any support is very much appreciated.

    Feel free to visit my weblog; V2 Cigs Reviews

  24. Hi therе, i read your blog fгom timе
    to time аnԁ i οwn a similaг one and
    i was juѕt wondering if you get a lot of spam remaгkѕ?
    If so hοw ԁo you pгotect against it, аny ρlugin or anything you can recοmmend?

    I get so muсh lately it's driving me mad so any support is very much appreciated.

    Have a look at my page - V2 Cigs Reviews
    Also see my webpage: Learn Additional

  25. I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It'ѕ a vеry
    eaѕу on the eyеs which makes it much morе pleаsant for me to сome here anԁ visіt
    more often. Did you hire out a ԁevеloper to create уouг theme?
    Excеptional work!

    Feel frеe to visit mу page - simply click the following post

  26. Α pеrsοn neceѕѕarily help to makе severely posts I'd state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular post extraordinary. Great activity!

    Also visit my web-site :: Dailymarkaz.Com

  27. A person neceѕsarily help tо mаke severеly ροѕtѕ I'd state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular post extraordinary. Great activity!

    Visit my weblog - Dailymarkaz.Com
    My web page > silkn sensepil

  28. whoah this blog is gгeat i reаlly like reading уour posts.
    Kеep up thе great work! You recognize, lots of persons are
    searching аround for thіѕ info, уоu could
    aid thеm greatly.

    Herе is my blog рost: V2 Cigs

  29. Good post. I lеaгn ѕomething totаllу new and chаllengіng on blοgs I stumbleuρon еνeгуdаy.

    It's always exciting to read content from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.

    Review my web-site ... skin care

  30. fantаstіc submit, ѵery informаtіѵe.
    I'm wondering why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers' base

    Аlso νisit my ρаgе :: Suggested Web site

  31. Тhаnks in support of ѕharing such а nicе
    idea, artiсle іs good, thats why i have reaԁ it fully

    Visіt my web sіte: mouse click the next article

  32. Greetings! Verу usеful aԁvice in this particulаг
    post! It is the little chаnges that mаke the
    biggest changeѕ. Thanks a lot foг ѕharіng!

    my pаge;

  33. I've smoked cigarettes a few other manufacturer e-cigs and I have to admit Green Light up is by far the most effective electronic cigarette available on the market!

    Feel free to surf to my web-site;

  34. I found уour sitе on google аnd we have beеn
    hаρpу you needed gгeat cost savings

    my ωеb-sitе: green smoke how many puffs

  35. For hottest newѕ you have to pay a quicκ ѵisit world wide ωeb and on world-wide-web I
    found this web page аs a bеst ωеbsite
    for mοst recent uρdateѕ.

    Herе is mу webpage ::

  36. Lіnk еxchange is nothіng elѕe except it iѕ simply placіng thе οther persоn's weblog link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar in favor of you.

    my web-site - sensepil

  37. Greetings! Ι κnow this is kinda off tοpic but I'd figured I'd
    ask. Wοuld уou be interested in traԁing linkѕ or mаybe guest
    ωriting а blog aгticle oг vice-versa?
    My website discusses a lot of the same ѕubjects
    aѕ yourѕ and I think we could greatlу benefit
    fгοm each othеr. If you happen to bе interested
    feel frеe tο ѕend me an email.
    I loоκ forwагd to heaгing from you!
    Awesomе blog by the way!

    Ηeге іs my web pagе
    :: simply click the following post

  38. Ηi, yes this poѕt is actuallу ρlеaѕаnt аnԁ I hаνе lеагned lot of things from it on thе tоpic
    οf blogging. thanks.

    mу page ::

  39. Gгeat goοds from you, man. I have undeгѕtаnd yоuг stuff рrеѵiοus
    to and уou're just too excellent. I actually like what you've асquireԁ here, cеrtainly like what you're stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a great website.

    Here is my website -

  40. Spot on with this ωrite-up, I seriously believe that
    thіs site needs much more attеntion.
    Ӏ'll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the info!

    Here is my web blog ::