Maureen Dowd knows even less about sports than about human nature, which she instinctively denigrates whenever she touches the keyboard. But the world would certainly be a better place if she’d quit the columnist gig and start covering the Redskins, which she’s been doing anyway. The proscriptive juvenilia she routinely produces (including the dysfunctional inability to resist infantilizing nicknames like Rummy, Vice, and Spock) dumbs down the public dialogue with desperate, look-at-me, limerick-level analysis. It’s staged as hubris hunt, but never serves, as it presumably intends, any public interest. What her style, such as it is, and shallowness assure is that those casting stones in the same direction as she can chuckle, comfortable in their righteousness. In other words, Roll Tide. The world is complicated, but don’t tell Dowd. She hasn’t considered it. And by failing to, she’s done more harm to her causes—and those of us who also espouse them—than any writer working.
So: sports! It’s perfect. It’s already filled with infantile nicknames (ahem, the Babe?), fact-liberated opinionators, couch-bound quarterbacks, and the truly enchanting spectacle of greatness crashing into failure. It’s her kind of world. It’s simple. And at least the score comes at the end, not the beginning–the genre could teach her patience. Let her tell us all she knows about quarterbacks, ambition, malfeasance in its service–and the busted knees and warrior psyches of certain professional physical phenomena. At least then, when she jokes, it won’t be about nukes and poverty.