The Sartorial Splendor of NYTimes Professionals (MoDo) at Work

As you may recall, Jim Risen of the New York Times recently caught a little flack for producing a rather un-Risen like article in the Times on the “suddenly discovered” Afghanistan mineral mother lode. When a few astute souls, led by several in the main media, mused that it seemed an odd story coming from Risen’s pen, Risen went a tad apoplectic.

I respect Risen; seems to be a decent chap so, like Marcy, I kind of internally cut him some slack and blew it off even though the story was curious and the mineral deposits were long known. Cest la vie. Until Risen decided to lash out with an unnecessary, undeserved and mean spirited frontal assault on bloggers:

In an interview with Yahoo! News, Risen dismissed suspicions that the story was part of an orchestrated campaign to rescue the troubled American effort there and derided critical bloggers as pajama-clad layabouts with no reporting chops.

Aw Jim, why did ya go and do that? Because now I have to point out what kind of sophisticated high fashion threads the high and mighty stars of the New York Times, Risen’s home, wear when covering the biggest and most important stories of our age. In the august and serious halls of United States District Court.

You see, Marcy and I had the privilege of covering closing arguments in United States Federal Court in San Francisco on the groundbreaking Perry v. Schwarzenegger case. As luck would have it, so too one of the tenured star of stars from the New York Times was present with us covering the critical closing arguments. None other than the high doyenne herself, Maureen Dowd! Exciting!

But while I, a lowly blogger, was clad in a Brooks Brothers suit, Canali tie and well polished Cole Haans, the star representative from the venerable Gray Lady New York Times, home of uptight sartorial snobs like Jim Risen, came dressed quite in a different and interesting fashion. Take a look and judge for yourself whether the haughty boys and girls at the New York Times ought to be blowing dung out their posteriors at other reporters over fashion sense and choice. Go ahead clotheshorses of the Gray Lady, make my day.

The traditional prize awarded for outstanding commentary, the cherished Emptywheel hubcap, will be bestowed to the most creative caption for this precious photo. Let the contest begin!

138 replies
  1. Suzanne says:

    judas priest, did she forget it was a courtroon and not a forking game.

    and i don’t even wanna know what that big silver shiny purse/suitcase thingie is…. maybe it is where she keeps her jammies and cheetos.

    • Rayne says:

      The bag is definitely scary, like a folded-up flying saucer or a portable heat shield.

      It’s quite large; maybe she keeps her familiar in it.

  2. Hmmm says:

    Never mind the Dowdy lady in the ballcap and cheap shiny purse, who’s that attractive and sharp dressed woman in green on the left?

  3. Teddy Partridge says:

    “Why doesn’t anyone recognize and bother me, in my ‘I’m-a-celebrity-hiding-under-this-baseball-cap-so-no-on-will-recognize-and-bother-me outfit?’ Haven’t these West Coast hicks ever seen a New York Times columnist before?”

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      “Why doesn’t anyone recognize and bother me, in my ‘I’m-a-celebrity-hiding-under-this-baseball-cap-so-no-on-will-recognize-and-bother-me outfit?’ Haven’t these West Coast hicks ever seen a New York Times columnist before?”

      “Dang it, I wanted someone to recognize me just so I could diss them in public, but they won’t cooperate!”

      • PJEvans says:

        Soemone needsw to take her aside and introduce her to the works of Caen. (Herb, the long-time gossippy columnist for the Chron. A much more interesting writer than MoDo. Probably better looking, too.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Ms. Dowd writes as if she’s already familiar with the world of Caen. Suspecting that’s a misspelling, I surmise that she knows “cant” far better than she does “Kant”.

          • bmaz says:

            Well, I will give Maureen this much, she is very well read, literate and bright. And every now and then, the talent is actually put to good use and she just kills. It is the predominant, condescending, rest of the time that is the glaring issue.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I agree; it’s the predominant, catty, condescending rest of the time that’s at issue, not when Ms. Dowd is on her game. Her good work seems so long, though occasionally flashes of it come through, like an awake and lucid David Broder or a good editorial that mistakenly finds its way onto the WaPoop’s opinion pages.

              • freepatriot says:

                not when Ms. Dowd is on her game.

                when was MoDo ever “on her game” ???

                I’ve been reading the NY Times since 1998, and I’ve never seen it

        • eblair says:

          Ah yes, Herb Caen. He was really 90% gossip columnist, 10% Walt Whitman wanna be. But he grew on you and he was a definitely an SF original.

          • tanbark says:

            eBlair; I lived in Santa Cruz for 17 years. Caen was good, but Charles McCabe, his contemporary at the SF Chronicle, was better. In the throes of Watergate, he referred to Ron Ziegler as:

            “Nixon’s House liar.” :o)

        • JohnLopresti says:

          HCaen had a measure of soul which matched his perspicacity in the 60s into early 70s. Later, the figurines on the vinylrecord spindle somehow mesmerized his attention. I know of one blues dancing venue which he attended a fleet at least recognizable once. I doubt the dapper suit ever was replaced by beads, though in the Best of HC column ultimate years, ?who knows?

          re: [email protected], CMcC had some stubborn old-school ubergentness about him, eloquent and soulful though his writings were. Hoppe even in his penultimate times persisted in a marvelous self-deprecatory humor.

          In the photo, my impression was ew still was liveblogging, with the requisite concentration for accuracy in keyboarding. bmaz probably would have to explain again, however, I think all three foreground ladies might have had similar ideas coursing thru their respective consciousnesses, *?this is a new direction?* I think the most notable features of the ballot initiative which set off the spate of trials had to do with subornment of a CA state election law known as Political Reform Act, from the 80s, as revised; out-of-state sectarian treasuries emptied into both campaigns and litigation…predictably, as the themes embarked upon illegislatables which modern mercantilist forms of government assiduously avoid.

          The singlequote in ¶3 brackets the *caption* for the image in the author*s contest.

          • fatster says:

            Here’s a bit of HC that I picked at random. For old time’s sake, and for those who might not have read him “live”.

            I particularly liked his remembrances of his Sacramento childhood. One of my favorites was putting the bed sheets in the icebox (not refrigerator, but a large chest with a huge cube or two of ice in it) during the day and then taking them out and putting them on the bed right before retiring. Of course, they heated up in no time, but for a little while one experienced some relief.

  4. Teddy Partridge says:

    I love the shell-shocked look on her new assistant’s face: “I went to Columbia Journalism School to tote this bag’s blackberry around?”

  5. Teddy Partridge says:

    I do wonder what her right hand motion is intended to convey to the bloggers in the row in front of her who are unruly enough to snap her pic. Wasn’t there something Risen actually said that got cleaned up for Yahoo! News?

  6. Suzanne says:

    she certainly is doing her best Judith Giuliani impression commandeering a separate chair for her purse — and that purse ain’t no Louis Vuitton

  7. bobschacht says:

    OK, after giving this some thought, here’s my caption:

    “Dowdy faux-journalist in mufti eyes the award-winning journalist Emptywheel with envy.”

    Where can I pick up my hubcap?

    Bob in AZ

  8. Maxcrat says:

    Locally famous bag lady from the Castro takes a load off at the District courthouse, oblivious to the trial of the century taking place in front of her.

    • qweryous says:

      And while taking a sponge bath in the restroom writes some comments on the wall-which are then stenographed (story reads:”an anonymous source”..).

      But EW, bmaz and more are on the scene- so bag lady gets credit.

      Within 24 hours- Bag Lady hired by the NYT!

  9. qweryous says:

    I’d wear my nice clothes- but I knew who’d be here- and those damned orange crumbs will be dropping and sticking and spreading and arrrgh!

  10. Hmmm says:

    The more I think about it, this really is an iconic photo: Jaded old media on the way out and on the skids; new media on the ball and looking the part.

  11. HanTran says:

    Aghast as the site of a real working reporter, MoDo fires her assistant for not packing one of those “little portable typewriter thingies.”

  12. JTMinIA says:

    “Maureen Dowd, at the exact moment when she realized that she’s in San Francisco covering Perry v. Schwarzenegger and not in LA covering Lindsay Lohan.”

      • JTMinIA says:

        Sorry, but I like the original. (But keep in mind: “everyone likes their own brand” – Fat Bastard)

        With all that said, please keep in mind, bmaz, that many people use the word “bloggers” in the same way that they used to use “AOL” for the whole internet (or still use “Fritos” for all corn chips or “coke” for all colas). Bloggers, to them, are the diarists on Daily Kos and the staff of the Huffington Post; if more than half of those people can actually dress themselves, I’d be surprised.

    • egregious says:

      She thought “Perry v Schwarzenegger” meant the governor was actually going to be there.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        From her writing, Ms. Dowd doesn’t agree with the theme, “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle”. MoDo seems to despair of having only herself for company, which may be why she has only herself for company.

        As for her picture and handbag, it reminds me of Ms. Dowd’s biting description of Catherine Deneuve in 2007. Dowd spied Deneueve, elegant, many-friended and 64 (Dowd was 55), at a Left Bank Parisian hotel, “having fun, smoking and drinking wine with girlfriends surrounded by Chanel bags full of Chanel bags.”

        The construction allowed her readers to wonder whether Dowd was talking about Ms. Deneuve and her friends (the Chanel bag surrounded by Chanel bags), or their recent purchases. What was clear was that the joie de vivre that Ms. Dowd envied had left her as abruptly as Michael Douglas.

  13. JohnJ says:

    For the back of her hat: “My other hat costs more than a dollar”.

    Are those beer can holders on the sides?

  14. jackparsons says:

    She needs to meet Frank Chu to learn how real reporting works.

    Seriously, if you kids see Frank, pinch yourself. He’s the real San Francisco: 2 dopamine molecules shy of paranoid schiz, and they named a nightclub for him.

    Best of!

    He is actually a sweet guy. A friend made his website.

  15. Hmmm says:

    “They got the rider, right? ‘Cuz I swear to you, if I see as much as one fucking blue M&M in the M&Ms dish, I fucking walk.”

  16. nusayler says:

    “Whaddya mean Anna Wintour isn’t coming? I bought these sunglasses specifically to school her on how to wear REALLY dark shades! Well, surely Glenda Bailey will be…No? WTF?! Wait a sec…this IS Fashion Week, right?”

  17. eblair says:

    As an SF resident, I have to say no San Franciscan would have either the bag or the hat, especially the bag. This is a city of off colors. Black, grey, olive, brown, etc. Flat colors rather than glossy ones. Never silver. So, for the caption I’m gonna have to say: “Excuse me, how do I get to Fisherman’s Wharf?”

  18. 1der says:

    “You know, that Emptywheel doesn’t look that smart, I bet she has a ghost editor. Maybe it’s this tramp in red sitting next to me. I think she’s trying to crib from my notes!”

  19. Desidero says:

    Maureen Dowd recycling her fashion accessories from Farm Aid.

    (Sadly someone grabbed NASCAR first)

    Exlusive: Famed NY Times columnist selling burritos to the jury during recess.

    Or via Bob Somerby: In a bid to raise her ratings among conservative readers, Naomi Wolf has convinced Maureen Dowd to start channeling her inner redneck. Earthtones out, denim and trailer trash in.

  20. Jim White says:

    That’s no purse! That’s one of those insulated bags for taking frozen goods back to the farm from Sam’s Club. Prolly has her lunch in it…

  21. BoxTurtle says:

    My first thought:

    “Available TODAY at Kmart! Fashion under the Blue Light”

    Boxturtle (Does her grandmother know she’s got that sweater?)

  22. klynn says:

    Here are my shots at captions:

    Dowd Does Dwaaab.

    (Sounds like a porn film title…)

    Groundbreaking grunge at groundbreaking trial.

  23. PJEvans says:

    ‘If I wanna take up two or three seats, I can. Because I’m from the New York Times, and I’m a Serious Person.’

    I hope she understands that the bag is supposed to be on the floor or in her lap.

  24. Mary says:

    “Ok, ok, I put it in the bag, but I’m sure other people brought foam fingers too”

    I’m pretty schleppy and I went through a phase when I was in 9th grade where I wore a fishing hat at school, so I’m not going to comment much – but wowsers, that bag!

  25. rosalind says:

    “Maureen Dowd’s attempt to infiltrate the sartorially-challenged world of bloggers foiled by a sharp dressed man with camera.”

    Story on A-1.

  26. PJEvans says:

    ‘I’m just visiting the peasants.’

    Really, that’s what the look on her face is: she thinks she’s slumming.
    Someone should have sent her on a Gray Line tour. Or bought her a ferry ticket halfway to Alcatraz.

  27. JohnLopresti says:

    The image*s composition is lyric. ew probably has done more to modernize the NYTimes than most writers. I think the shiny appurtenance by MoD might be one of SF*s typical merchant gaudy takehomes (link to Crocker Galleria upscale mall in SF*s financial district. Stagewise, the 3 figures in the image foreground are an interesting contrast to the distant SRO persons in the background; kind of an elegant compositional juxtapositioning in modern courtroom decorum. However, MoD may be pondering whether there will be time to return to Galleria after trial, plus finding time to redeploy the part of the portfolio invested in gold, now that word is emerging in the press that a current war theater soon may be the scene of a goldrush much like the population escalation which occurred in the very city of SF following the precious mineral*s discovery:

    **San Francisco’s population went from an estimated 600 in early 1848 to over 20,000 in 1849**. reference

  28. fatster says:

    She looks to me like a Midwestern matron sitting in the local bus station waiting for the Greyhound to take her to the Neil Diamond concert in St. Louis.

  29. skdadl says:

    This thread made me so self-conscious that I had to go and put on clothes. (I’m now in my capris, very Joanne Woodward ca 1959 if I do say so m’self.)

      • skdadl says:

        What a really nice thing to say, out of nowhere. Gosh: now I’m all a-flutter (remembering my Joanne Woodward ca 1959).

        • freepatriot says:

          we would compliment you on the way you dress, but you could look like Minnie Pearl and outdress Modo

          hell, you could dress like Junior Samples and out dress Modo …

          (duckin & runnin)

  30. BoxTurtle says:

    If this place gets any more catty, we’re all gonna have to get rabies shots.

    Boxturtle (History suggests that distemper is already endemic around the wheelhouse)

  31. pmorlan says:

    Looks like Maureen was purposely dressed to be noticed. After all there aren’t too many people that would wear that get up to Federal Court. Dowd was merely pretending to be incognito when in reality she was trying way too hard to attract attention to herself. Very telling.

    Look at me…Look at me…I’m so cool I don’t have to dress properly for the event like you poor slobs. I’m so above the common people.

    • fatster says:

      I just couldn’t picture Tony racing around in a yacht in the oil- and Corexit-poisoned Gulf of Mexico, so I had to check the article you linked to and–ah, yes–he’s having a lovely time yachting around the Isle of Wight.

      “BP chief executive Tony Hayward, often criticized for being tone-deaf to U.S. concerns about the worst oil spill in history, took time off Saturday to attend a glitzy yacht race off England’s Isle of Wight.”

      • klynn says:

        Which goes to the heart of the comments by BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg …

        small people was not “lost” in translation.

        • fatster says:

          Hope Tony is in some discomfort from the distant echoes of Jimi’s incendiary 1970 Isle of Wight concert. Here’s a small sample (about six parts altogether, I think).

    • fatster says:

      Hahahaha. His yacht is named “Bob”.

      Thanks for the laughs, qweryous, even though they do have a bitter edge.

  32. SaltinWound says:

    All right, we made it this far with no one noticing us. Now you spill a cup of coffee on emptywheel over there, I offer her the pajamas in this bag, you get a picture of the blogger wearing pajamas in a courtroom, and we are out of here with no one the wiser.

  33. timbo says:

    “‘We can’t all be right,’ thought Marcy as she read the New York Times.”

    “My eyes! My eyes!”

    “Le sigh.”

    “A high point in the Jim Rosen debacle. Would there be another?”

    • fatster says:

      Didn’t make the connection to you, Bob. I was riffing along with such images as “bob and weave.” You are obviously master of your own sturdy ship, my friend.

  34. Disgusted says:

    Modo….The morning after.

    Maureen Dowd is caught confiding to an associate,”I woke up this morning,and he was gone. G-O-N-E- GONE. But he did leave me this hat and this thing that keeps the pizza warm when delivered. So,being the creative beast that I am,I decided to make a handbag out of it,whatcha think?”

  35. fatster says:

    O/T. Grrrrrrrr.

    Blackwater-connected firm gets $100m+ Afghan security contract

    “U.S. Training Center, an affiliate of the controversial mercenary group formerly known as Blackwater, has been given a major new contract to provide security for U.S. diplomats in two Afghan cities.

    “The contract, confirmed by the U.S. State Department on Saturday, would be worth over $120 million if extended for a full 18-months, according to CNN. Current terms guarantee 12 months of service.”


  36. freepatriot says:

    thank GODDESS she isn’t married to some poor dude

    can you imagine what she looks like when she isn’t dressed to go out in public

  37. freepatriot says:

    it’s the new “Incognito” line

    from Jersey Shore fashion

    and on a personal note, I look better than that just by shaving …

  38. freepatriot says:

    can we enter more than once ???

    This is what happens when you lose a bet with Bobo

    it was either this, or let Friedman cut my hair, so here I am …

  39. PJEvans says:

    I don’t who the woman in the orange jacket is (and I don’t care either) but she looks like she’d rather be anywhere else than sitting next to some hoity-toity NYT social reporter.

  40. tanbark says:

    On a good hairday, Modo can level some decent snarky shit at hypocrisy and sellouts.
    She ran afoul of the Clinton wing of the democratic party when she got into Hillary’s shit for all of her truckling to the right wing as her preznintial campaign was imploding. It was a worthwhile job, and she was persistent and pleasantly wicked, at doing it.

    And, of course, the Clintonistas have never forgiven her. :o)

    Having said that, she’s also been all over the lot, on some issues that I felt were pellucid in clarity…to the point that she’s pretty much laid off of Obama, as he frolicked in the “centrist” pool and gave rehab-swim lessons to the republicans to whom he’s so generously allowed pool priviledges.

    So…WTF…I’ll play. :o)

    Modo: “Does anyone have a boyfriend I could borrow for a 10 minute quickie in that broomcloset down the hall? It’s been so long since I’ve had my ashes hauled that my joints are feeling limbs on a tree.”

  41. tanbark says:

    BTW, the pimping of the “discovery” that Afghanistan may be sitting on a lode of hi-tech “oil”, sure as shootin’ (pun intended!!!) was obviously aimed at the effort to allow Obama to do his own commander-codpiece “mission accomplished” strut, in the not-too-distant future, as he continues to spiral down into his historic role as THE posterboy for a failed president.

    It offers an interesting possible scenario:

    U.S. and NATO troops riding shotgun on giant earthmoving equipment as the Hindu Kush is strip-mined, while Obama (as republican as ever…) tries to find the price-point for trickling down juuust enough of the gelt, to keep the wogs placated.

    I’m betting it won’t work.

  42. tanbark says:

    After Risen’s kneejerk response to the criticism, it was interesting to see how quickly he apologized. :o)

    The internet is, of course, “The Good; the bad, and the ugly.”, but so far, it’s one place where people can still get together with some ease to argue about whether or not the emperor has clothes on or is buck-nekkid. (In Obama’s case, the latter…)

    And that freewheeling two-way, or multi-way, street, is frustrating to the pundit-priests who want us all reciting their mostly-establishment Holy catechism.

    Sorry, Jim; that train done been here and gone. If you want to pimp for this wretched status-quo that we’re mired in, there will be people at least as smart and literate, and a lot more honorable, who will call you out for doing it.

    • Leen says:

      “The internet is, of course, “The Good; the bad, and the ugly.”, but so far, it’s one place where people can still get together with some ease to argue about whether or not the emperor has clothes on or is buck-nekkid. (In Obama’s case, the latter…)”

      Maybe James is jealous that Jane, Marcy etc are referenced on Keith’s, Rachel’s, Dylan Ratigans more than he is.

      What was it that Joe and Valerie Plame Wilson said about Marcy’s depth of understanding and research on the Plame outing by the Bush thugs? That Marcy new more about the case, trial than they did.

  43. Leen says:

    Bmaz “Aw Jim, why did ya go and do that?”

    This is why
    New York Times going down?

    After the Times allowed bloody Judy “I was fucking right” Miller to print lies about Iraq and lead this nation into an unnecessary and immoral war. Many Americans have run for the blogs and other internet sites along with Democracy Now, Ring of Fire etc for their news. The news that is fit to print royally fucked themselves with their lies


    I really do not get people who wear sunglasses inside. What is with that?

    Would be funny if Bmaz, Marcy, Jane etc wore pajamas to the next trial, news event etc that they cover and live blog. You folks would end up on the front page of the Bloody Grey Lady

  44. freepatriot says:

    I really do not get people who wear sunglasses inside. What is with that?

    I used to do it inadvertently in community college classes

    found out it really intimidates some teachers

    (even better, wear dark glasses at night, that really fucks with people’s heads)

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