Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dowd and Darcy

Maureen Dowd has completely lost it:

In The Wall Street Journal, Amy Chozick wrote that Hillary supporters — who loved their heroine’s admission that she was on Weight Watchers — were put off by Obama’s svelte, zero-body-fat figure.

“He needs to put some meat on his bones,” said Diana Koenig, a 42-year-old Texas housewife. Another Clinton voter sniffed on a Yahoo message board: “I won’t vote for any beanpole guy.”

The odd thing is that Obama bears a distinct resemblance to the most cherished hero in chick-lit history. The senator is a modern incarnation of the clever, haughty, reserved and fastidious Mr. Darcy.

Like the leading man of Jane Austen and Bridget Jones, Obama can, as Austen wrote, draw “the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien. ...he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased.”

The master of Pemberley “had yet to learn to be laught at,” and this sometimes caused “a deeper shade of hauteur” to “overspread his features.”

The New Hampshire debate incident in which Obama condescendingly said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary,” was reminiscent of that early scene in “Pride and Prejudice” when Darcy coldly refuses to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, noting, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Pardon me while I, whilst laughing, choke to death on my own salivary secretions.

Barack Obama? Mr. Darcy????

Oh, snort, chuckle, snark, breathe. Ok. I'm good now.

There is a time in a woman's life when, having encountered the sublime wit and sparkling intelligence of an Austen novel for the first time, she experiences an effect nearly as surreal and dizzying as her first sip of champagne will also feel; the world of the drab and everyday seems to whirl like a forbidden waltz in Regency England, as the romance and power of Austen's words work their intoxicating magic. She begins to imagine herself in the role of this heroine and that, and correspondingly places the men in her life into the part of this or that Austen hero, losing herself in a cloud of sweet propriety and alluring imagination--and the favorite pairing for this pretty game is to see oneself as Eliza Bennet, and one's hero as Mr. Darcy.

She's usually about fifteen at the time.

Maureen Dowd is not fifteen, but clearly she has been badly smitten by her would-be hero of an early twenty-first century romance.

I can forgive the average fifteen-year-old girl for wanting to be Eliza; she's one of Austen's most powerful and charming heroines, who combines intelligence with wisdom, a rare feat. And I can forgive these young girls for correspondingly choosing Mr. Darcy, with whom I've never had any sympathy at all. I know that's heretical for an English major to say, but there it is: I don't admire Mr. Darcy, and never did very much.

Still, I know he's popular; but he certainly bears no resemblance at all, not even the slightest, to an opportunistic Chicago politician who is more megalomaniacal than proud.

That doesn't matter, to Dowd, who honestly seems to be using this extremely strained comparison as a way of talking about how racial prejudice will keep people from voting for Obama. The left has already decided that the only reason anyone could possibly have not to vote for Obama is prejudice; somehow severe disagreement with his policies doesn't make the list.

But what this "Mr. Darcy" incident really illustrates with wearisome familiarity is just how silly the press has become over Obama. When I wrote, a while back, that the tone of so many Obama pieces made it seem as though the journalists were writing Obama fanfic in their spare time, I really didn't think that these fanfics were set in Regency England, or that Obama-as-Mr. Darcy would be a leitmotif. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; the only question is how long it will be before some journalistic genius decides that Obama is really Romeo, and that the Montague-Capulet feud symbolizes our red state-blue state divide.


freddy said...

Oh, that's just hilarious! No, no, Maureen, *not* Mr. Darcy; Barack Obama is the image of poor Mr. D's bossy Aunt-- Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

matthew archbold said...

great post, red. Well thought out. You astound me somedays.