There’s no two ways about it: Maureen Dowd is hot. Attractive, yes, but also smart and witty and spicy in that 40’s Katherine-Hepburn-one-liner kind of way. Challenging, playful, spirited; a match for any man — if she deems them necessary, the subject of her upcoming book (and also a previous Fishbowl post right here).
I’d had my suspicions before reading Ariel Levy‘s cover story in this week’s New York, but that is clearly meant to be the takeaway: Levy describes MoDo almost continuously in terms of her sex appeal, reports that she’s “irresistible to men,” compares her to Jessica Rabbit, and makes me very uncomfortable by extensively quoting a gushing Todd Purdum who calls her “bewitching…a sorceress” with whom it is “almost impossible not to be a little bit in love” (NB Purdum seems to have been similarly bewitched by Tim Russert, about whom he writes glowingly in the previously-mentioned-on-Fishbowl NYT article, yet does not address Russert’s failure to address his own role in PlameGate. Oh, Tim, you enchantress!).
Sexy and fantabulous as MoDo surely is, the article has other equally captivating elements, like the treasure trove of casual tidbits about MoDo and her beat, plus glamorous columnista girlfriends like Michiko Kakutani and Alessandra Stanley (Star columnists! They have relationship angst just like us!). It’s dishy, people. Here are a few of the choicest tidbits, plus one very important unanswered question. In no particular order:
- MoDo screens Anna Quindlen’s phone calls.
- The day she won her Pulitzer, Michiko Kakutano called MoDo “nearly in tears” moaning “Now I’ll never get a date!” We think Normal Mailer‘s off the list, at least.
- Judy Miller responded to MoDo’s infamous “Woman of Mass Destruction” op-ed with a 7-point rebuttal email beginning “I like you, too.” Sense of humor, our Judy.
- Jill Abramson, btw, had advised MoDo not to write it.
- She’s also been “buried” under “all this Judy Miller crap.” We have a sneaking suspicion how Jill Abramson might have voted in our Fishbowl Poll.
- Ariel Levy and your editors, hold out your wrists: the Good Witch of the North is GLINDA, for God’s sake! Glinda! My eyes almost popped out of my head at that one. Can’t you just hear her trilling “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” Here, now you can. In the name of the Lollipop Guild, we wish to welcome you to Munchkinland.
- Todd Purdum has carried MoDo’s bags and fixed her computer in the middle of the night. Aw. That’s sweet. If this were a movie, you’d totally be MoDo’s soulmate. But, life isn’t a movie, Todd Purdum. Buck up.
- Barbara Bush may be jealous of MoDo; George Bush 41 had a soft spot for her. I think it’s safe to say that George Bush 43 does not.
- The article stops short of confirming whether MoDo dated Howell Raines. That seems very weird to me.
- …but no weirder than her dating Michael Douglas.
- …or bringing an extra suitcase of lamé along with her on vacation with Aaron Sorkin.
- Both Michael Kinsley and William Safire tried to talk her out of using the funny, womanly voice that has become her trademark. If I was a better woman, I would find the wiki joke in here that is tantalizingly close. Is there a big strong man out there who can do it for me? Golly gee, thanks.
- MoDo’s mother found Tim Russert bewitching, too.
- Kirk Douglas: “Do you have any idea how hard it is to make love to Lana Turner on an empty stomach?” Honestly Kirk, no, I can’t say I do. But I do know that we have something else in common.
- You’ll watch Nick Lemann cook and you’ll like it, dammit.
- DUDE! MoDo’s fiery head of hair is a keystone of your article — but in three of the accompanying photos she’s got full-on raven locks! What gives? Did she dye it back then or is she bottle-burnished now? It would be nice to clarify such a detail in any case, but seeing how the article is called “The Redhead and The Gray Lady” it kind of demands an answer.
- Aw, nuts: men hate it when a woman uses her critical faculties AND the word “Dude!” Damn.