Maureen Dowd is a particularly fascinating columnist, not just because she is the only regular New York Times Op/Ed inhabitant without a Y-chromosome, but also for the rabid, drooling, mouth-breathing fan base she has developed. Google “Maureen Dowd is hot” and you get 90 hits. “Eleanor Clift is hot” did not match any documents.
The Washington Post Style section has an astoundingly long puff piece by Howard Kurtz on MoDo (as internet shorthand refers to her) and her new book, Are Men Necessary?. New York Magazine has an even longer more fawning article. And these are her competitors. Wonkette calls the media orgy over her a "mogasm".
So what makes Maureen such an object of desire? It can’t be just looks. Although at 53, she gives Rene Russo a run for her money in the well-preserved category. She is famously single and has been at different times connected to Michael Douglas, “West Wing” genius and mushroom aficionado Aaron Sorkin, and new NYT stablemate John Tierney. Her red hair is the taking off point for many a descriptive metaphor for her fiery snarky prose.
If power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, being the New York Times premier female columnist just reeks of pheromones. She took over the Anna Quindlen Endowed Chair Of Female Commentary in 1995, just in time for the Clinton-Lewinsky media feeding frenzy where she got to play both directions by condemning Clinton’s crimes against decency AND the conservative war against him. Right wing blow-hards and ideologues have made her the columnist they love to hate. And her most recent smackdown of Judith Miller firmly establishes her as the Queen Bee of the Gray Lady.
But the brain is the most important erogenous zone. Both critics and fans cite her prose as being exceptionally crisp and frequently acid-tinged. Her pop-culture references are sharp and creative. She stays just this side of the ad hominem precipice that Ann Coulter has thrown herself down. She is disingenuously dismissive of her skill as a columnist and borders on Katherine Hepburn-esque reclusiveness when she doesn’t have a book to flog. She keeps her Sunday morning appearance infrequent enough to not wear out her welcome. All of this adds to this image of the valedictorian hottie that sits home on prom night because everyone is too nervous to ask her out.
The recent move of her column behind the NYT Select VIP room red rope and her conspicuous silence on the move has only enhanced her rock star appeal. The Post’s Joel Achenbach had a hilarious blog post about people furtively meeting to pass along bootleg copies of her column to the cold turkey addicts that need their hit of MoDo.
The two photos the Post published prove that Maureen is hotter fully clothed than anything Esquire had of the half-naked Jessica Biel, the current Sexiest Woman Alive poseur. The second photo unfortunately is not available on the Post website, so I am flirting with cyber-stalkerdom (not that I haven’t been there before) by scanning and cropping it here. The thoughts I get imagining myself in a book-lined room with Maureen Dowd leaning across a chessboard about to capture my rook are so wrong I should go take a very cold shower and scrub myself with a steel wool
Forgive me, Maureen. I’m happily married and can’t possibly be the man you deserve, so I will quietly step aside. I just ask that you find in your heart the pity to e-mail me your new columns so I don’t have to scrounge through the recycling bin at Starbucks any more. They're starting to get suspicious that I'm there for more than the over-priced highly-caffeinated milkshakes.
Technorati tag:hummingbird rump, Maureen Dowd, Howard Kurtz, Cokie Roberts, Ellen Goodman, sexy, Times Select, Achenblog, Ann Coulter, Eleanor Clift, Mara Liasson, New York Times, Jessica Biel