Nobody captures the clubby, insular, crepuscular world of New York better than Tina Brown, whose column this morning in the Washington Post is, as always, a marvel, in ways unanticipated by its author. Yes, John Edwards, there are two Americas. One is peopled by Tina Brown and people like her. We live in the other one.
The Republican convention, held, as Tina notes, in their own backyard–the nerve!–has put Tina and her set in a state of high dudgeon. They seem to be feeling the same sort of angst Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette must have felt when the women of Paris began marching towards Versailles. How dare they trespass!
Except that today we have shrinks:
“While Republicans just move on when they make mistakes, Democrats in New York go into therapy,” notes Brown. “It took no time at all for last week’s righteous rage against the Bush campaign’s stoking of the Swift Boat Veterans’ smear campaign against John Kerry to morph into self-flagellation about the way the candidate is blowing it.
“The sight of the GOP partying in the Democrats’ own back yard just rubbed salt in the wounds. Protesters toting coffins in Union Square couldn’t distract anyone from one jarring, panicky fact: The Swift boat assault had worked and the president was pulling ahead.”
Ms. Brown reports that the cartoonist Art Spiegelman “was so depressed at the news” after his return fro a holiday in France, that he “began to gird himself for defeat.” “I am not preparing to lose, I am preparing to leave,” he says. Don’t get your hopes up. These folks never actually leave. They’ve got it good, and they know it. Remember Alec Baldwin? Well, he’s still here, isn’t he?
One of the highlights of Tina column is her contrasting the atmosphere at John McCain’s birthday party with that of the general convention:
“Against this mood, the party thrown for Sen. John McCain by his 49-year-old wife, Cindy, at an East Side restaurant to celebrate his birthday and to stroke the media had the dreamy quality of an alternative political world. Here, instead of being seen as The Enemy as they are in Bushland, media types felt once again the respected pillars of the fourth estate. The senator’s fearless informality conjures up the pre-blog, pre-cable era when the off-the-record stuff over cocktails can be about racy adventures he’s shared in foreign junkets or irreverent asides about Senate colleagues. Meanwhile, Cindy — who has traded the blond crop of the 2000 campaign for shoulder-length glamour — shimmered around the party in a mint-green Chanel suit, dispersing deftly targeted warmth. It made every hack feel like Scotty Reston, every cable babbler like Edward R. Murrow.”
Translation: Those tacky Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth would never have gotten past Scotty and Mr. Murrow.
How out of touch is Tina? She felt that the “relentless serenity of the first lady’s smile made one suddenly long for the irritating complexity of Teresa Heinz Kerry.” Yes, that’s what everybody was saying in Kansas.