Thursday, November 10, 2005

"Takedown" Tina Brown*

If you've been looking around for a great writer who can be sympathetic and devastating while also turning some awesome phrases, give the Washington Post's Tina Brown a try. She's classified as an Arts & Style columnist, but she often covers politics too. I'd compare her to Maureen Dowd, but today she rips Maureen pretty good. In fact, she Willy-Lomanizes a few of the "serious" women who are in the public eye today in the course of describing how hard it is for a woman to be aggressive without being labeled with the b- word. Go read the whole thing to get the unity of effect, but here's some choice words, first for Harriet Miers:

The poor drudge is back in her old job mopping up the [Plamegate] mess in the men's rooms, stoically pretending she's not bitter that a stampede of right-wing rhinos just got done stomping her reputation and flattening her future.

It's like Brown is saying "I feel your pain. Here's some more."

She's not partisan, however; she'll lance any boil she finds. She's also got some exquisite and excruciating hugs for Martha Stewart, Judy Miller, and Mary Mapes (editor of Dan Rather's story about Bush and the National Guard). Check out her love for Maureen Dowd:

Dowd's new book, "Are Men Necessary?," is a fun rant about how women have dialed back their hard-won independence to become alpha geishas servicing the craven weenies of inadequate males, but the elephant in the room is the way Dowd's promotion for her book turns on an onerous, retrosexual pitch for what hot stuff the author is. The more her PR plays up the flame-haired temptress angle, the scarier and more desperate it feels. . . . Dowd's hunt for who or what to blame for her vaunted datelessness recalls Bush's correspondents' dinner routine about looking for Iraqi WMD under his Oval Office desk. The thought of Dowd's girls' nights with fellow Times sirens Alessandra Stanley and Michiko Kakutani sounds about as soft and yielding as Macbeth's three witches on a club crawl.
Note to self: if you're gonna call a woman a witch, make sure you do it Shakespeare style.

(*P.S. No relation to Downtown Julie Brown.)


Otto Man said...

Damn that's good. She sounds like a cattier Frank Rich.

Is this the same Tina Brown who ran "Talk" magazine?

Mr Furious said...

Yes, it is the same Tina Brown.

This is really weird. Less than an hour ago while searching for an old post in my archives to use in a battle over at Cole's place, I found a post about Tina Brown's columns before the 2004 election. I called her a must-read at the time. And since, I have completely forgetten about her.

So I just went to the Post website and looked for an easy way to search and see if she's still writing columns and I didn't see anything. Glad I was wrong. This is good stuff.

Mr Furious said...

Not to blogwhore, but I just love these quotes from Brown' column last year tooo much to pass up... Here was the old post:

Politics: She's becoming a must-read

Tina Brown has a nice breakdown of the VP Debate, and Cheney's performance in particular. This is the second nice column* she's had in The Post of late. I don't always agree with her 100%, but it's nice to read something so entertainingly well-written as well as substantitive.

Dick Cheney's bullet head and nuanced basso anchored his thoughts to his words and filled out the frame of the screen, while beside him Edwards bobbed like a tethered balloon...The Cheney team was smart to decree the VP debate had to happen from plush swivel chairs. The veep always operates from a rumbling crouch, but Edwards is not a guy who does well at sitting still.

Money quote at the end:
Cheney doesn't pass hot potatoes. He eats them, with plenty of sour cream.

* The other column nailed the whole Rather/memo fiasco better than anything else I read or heard.

Thrillhous said...

I didn't know about the "Talk" connection. Interesting. I was actually first turned on to her work by Tony Kornheiser, who has a TV show on ESPN and a local DC radio show. He's a sports guy, but he's also a former Post Style columnist himself, so he frequently reads snippets from Style columns such as hers.

I agree with your assessment, Mr. F. I dont' always agree with her, but man she's got some chops.

ORF said...

TB was also the editor in chief of the New Yorker about eight or nine years ago. She got a lot of fanfare for coming on staff and then ran that thing into the ground. They went through some pretty ignominious years following her departure and it took a lot to restore the mag to its current stature.

(Yes, I know I sound like a gigantic snob. But hey, at least I didn't go to UVA!)

Mr Furious said...

Hey, thanks for the listing in the "links". I just noticed it...

Otto Man said...

Don't mention it. We've been meaning to update them for a while, and finally got around to it this week.