Saturday, March 12, 2005

Maureen Dowd Gets One Right

I normally don't have much use for the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, but I'd have to classify her March 13th column among her better ones.

Here she addresses the Susan Estrich controversy. Estrich, you'll recall, is a syndicated opinion columnist who waged an unsuccessful campaign to get Los Angeles Times editor Michael Kinsley to hire more female opinion columnists of the left-wing persuasion for better diversity on the opinion page. Dowd speaks for a lot of the blogosphere when she calls Estrich's manoeuvre for what it is: "a crazed and nasty smear campaign ... trying to force him to run her humdrum syndicated column."

Some of Estrich's work can be found here. I'd have to admit, compared to Dowd's output it does tend to be pretty dull -- but then again, being a university professor can do that.

What makes Dowd's current column readable is that for once, she doesn't try to be cute about skewering a target. Trying to be cute -- things like using nicknames like "Rummy," pop culture metaphors, etc. -- may seem like a good idea to Dowd, but it also means she can't be taken seriously as an opinion columnist. Here, however, she is more serious than usual, outlining her problems as a woman pundit and pointing out the dearth of female opinion out there. (Caveat: because she cites no statistics, her statements are based on her own observations. Obviously she hasn't read Blog just yet when she talks about male bloggers predominating -- but then again, one wouldn't have expected her to read Michelle Malkin.)

Have a look. I assure you, it's a lot less annoying than usual.