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What Maureen Dowd is Trying to Tell Us

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Poor Maureen Dowd is in a little bit of trouble. I don't know if you've already heard the news 'round the blogosphere, but she plagiarized her latest column from the work of Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall. Dowd claims this was an accident, and that she got the idea for the material in question while chatting with a friend. Yes, it's odd that her "friend" recalled Marshall's article verbatim, but that's Dowd's story and she's sticking to it. No one ever accused the gal of lacking moxie.

And no one can blame Dowd for being drawn to Marshall's idea. He's one smart guy, and winner of the prestigious Polk Award for excellence in journalism. Talking Points Memo has been hailed for "(leading) the news media in coverage of the politically motivated dismissals of United States attorneys across the country." While Dowd missed the attorneys-firing thing, she did come up with clever puns for Sarah Palin (emphasis mine):

I don't agree with those muttering darkly that the picture of Gov. Sarah Palin with a perky smile and shapely gams posing with a pleased Henry Kissinger, famous for calling power the ultimate aphrodisiac, is a sign of the apocalypse.

It isn't even a sign of the apocalipstick.

How did you ingrates expect her to maintain this level of excellence all these years without occasionally plagiarizing from a "parasitic blogger"? And yet I see this latest scandal as a cry for help from Dowd. She's trying to tell us, and her bosses at The New York Times, something very important.

Maureen Dowd wants to retire her column to Josh Marshall. Think about it! He's a smart, insightful journalist, who runs one of the most respected blogs on the internet, and has published other works in other respected forums such as (see, this is how you credit other sources, Maureen): The American Prospect, The Atlantic Monthly, The Boston Globe, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Post, Salon, Slate, and even The New York Times. And just to soothe the nerves of any snobs out there, yes, Josh Marshall went to Princeton, so he already knows how to speak the language of the privileged.

Such a silly, blatant violation of basic journalistic values is beneath Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. Sure, she won for essentially gossiping about a blow job during Lewinskygate, but those fellatio euphemisms weren't going to write themselves, damnit! Now, Dowd is telling us, her loyal readers, that she wants to step aside and let a new voice take her place. She syphoned Marshall's excellent idea because she has no excellent ideas of her own. Dowd is an empty vessel, filled with nothing except gossip and bad puns.

The old girl is asking to be put down. When she's not plagiarizing, she's writing about Star Trek or trying to figure out how Twitter works. I mean, how long are we going to watch her suffer? Well, I for one, am going to try and put a stop to this. I have already written the editors at The New York Times with the following request:

Dearest editors-

First time writer; long-time reader here. At first, I was quite distressed to learn about Maureen Dowd's plagiarism of Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall's excellent article. But then, I realize Maureen was trying to tell us all something.

Maureen Dowd...wants to retire! I think this is great news, and I propose that Mr. Marshall take her place at the Times. He's more than qualified as a Polk Award winner, and he's already been published in numerous, nationally distributed newspapers. Oh! And he went to Princeton. I know it's not Harvard or Yale, but seriously guys, loosen up.

You already know Marshall has good ideas because Maureen stole one from him, so we're halfway there!

Requesting Josh Marshall replace Maureen Dowd,
Allison Kilkenny

I suggest you do the same. Email a letter to letters@nytimes.com.

Cross-posted from Allison Kilkenny's blog. Also available on Facebook and Twitter.