As the hardworking staff previously noted, New York Times Op-It Girl Maureen Dowd has been hanging out at the James “Whitey” Bulger trial and dispensing her trademark PoMoDo reactions to the proceedings.
Gangsta Guilt Trip
BOSTON — Even the loathsome Stephen Flemmi was loath to see a picture of the skull of Debbie Hussey.
“I don’t want to see that,” the man who murdered for a living said, turning his head away from the macabre remains of a beauty he raised from the time she was a toddler as his own daughter, then molested when she was a teenager, and then helped kill when she was 26.
Jurors stared at the skull of Debbie, who grew up calling Flemmi “Daddy.”
“Do you remember how many teeth you pulled out of your stepdaughter’s mouth?” Whitey Bulger’s tart defense lawyer, Hank Brennan, asked Flemmi, Whitey’s old partner in killing, ratting and womanizing who is now the star witness against Whitey.
The 79-year-old Flemmi replied that he had been “in a semitraumatic state” and on a “guilt trip” during the murder. Whitey nicknamed Stevie “Dr. Mengele,” because extracting identifying teeth was his specialty.
This is all refried tough beans, with Dowd reduced to interviewing Boston journalists to flesh out her coverage.
Yet, as Kevin Cullen, a Boston Globe columnist, told me, “Debbie Hussey might be the saddest case of all.” Cullen co-wrote the compelling chronicle of the Winter Hill gang, “Whitey Bulger.”
“I think the most interesting thing about Whitey and Stevie was their obsession with women,” Cullen said. “They could never have enough of them. They kept very tangled domestic situations, with common-law wives and girlfriends on the side. Their domestic lives were more complicated than their criminal lives.”
There’s very little in Dowd’s coverage that New York Times readers couldn’t get online from the Boston news media.
It’s the Internet 3.0 era, Timesniks. You need to think about New York Times 3.0.
Send Dowd elsewhere.
I think I have it figured out: her writing is usually superficial, generally semi-comprehensible, almost always smarmy, often repetitive, generally devoid of memorable phrases or imagery, and just plain lousy in grammar, style, coherence, flow, grace, and poise. Plus, she’s a legend in her own mind.
After you read her pieces, you wonder why you wasted your time–again (fool me once, etc) and realize that’s a few minutes of your life you’ll never get back.
Conclusion: she’s a perfect fit for the NYTimes columnist template!
So . . . you like her, yeah?
Let’s not forget she was also famously unable to come to grips with the concept of readers having a forum for responding and commenting on articles. The dialog goes one way – from her down – thank you very much, without all the fact-checking from the hoi-polloi. Snark only rolls downhill.
And I’d be willing to bet she was one of the three Times columnists who chased Nate Silver out.
Would not surprise me in the least.
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