As a former gossip columnist, This Charlotte dislikes the condescension implied in Roger L. Simon’s characterization of Tina Brown as an “aging gossip writer.” She was actually an editor rather than a gossip columnist. But let that pass.
Anybody who wants to know what New York and Hollywood elites are thinking can do no better than read Brown’s Thursday column. A chameleon, she lives in these worlds, soaks up their hues, and writes about them amusingly. You know exactly what they are thinking when you finish Brown’s column every week. For example, last week she demonstrated the essentially frivolous blue-elite mentality that regards Secretary of State Condi Rice, the most powerful woman in the world, as boring because she hasn’t bought into the Upper East Side’s foreign policy.
“Condi seems to have shed gender, shed race, shed the need for any visible emotional life. Her hobbies — ice skating, chamber music — are intellectually pristine and demurely glamorous. As national security adviser in the Church Lady White House, she was the Policy Nun. As secretary of state and queen of Foggy Bottom, she shows signs of becoming the Bushies’ Emma Peel,” Brown wrote, comparing the secretary to the amateur sleuth portrayed on Brit TV by Diana Rigg.
The other thing that came across in last Thursday’s column was the elite’s discomfort with the bloggers — “busybodies” or “the new Stasi” — who have broken the blue elite’s control of information:
“We are in the Eggshell Era,” wrote Tina, “in which everyone has to tiptoe around because there’s a world of busybodies out there who are being paid to catch you out — and a public that is slowly being trained to accept a culture of finks. We’re always under surveillance; cameras watch us wherever we go; paparazzi make small fortunes snapping glamour goddesses picking their noses; everything is on tape, with transcripts available. No matter who you are, someone is ready and willing to rat you out. Even the rats themselves have to look over their shoulders, because some smaller rat is always waiting in the wings. Bloggers are the new Stasi.”