Enemy of the Week

Scout’s Honor

A tale of three women amid the patriarchy.

By 5.16.14

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The war on womyn continues apace, the product of so-called friendly fire. There was the recent reemergence of that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, all of it premised on the delicious delusion that she had been the only other woman in the love of her life’s life. For her troubles, she was promptly smacked down by the bewitchy likes of Maureen Dowd and Ruth Marcus, aka David Brooks’ occasional partner… on PBS.  Ms. Tina Brown joined in, spewing volcanic hate. She always did like it hot. The consensus — Ms. Lewinsky had cleared the air. The wronged wife would no longer have to worry about her as she proceeded toward coronation in January 2017.

But not so fast. For the royal Clintons the past remains a gauntlet, whichever way they choose to fight through it. Dr. Karl Rove merely needed to raise an innocent point about Lady Hillary’s physical condition to set off political panic. So she wore dark sunglasses for a time. A post-concussive fashion statement? Or maybe a nice Hollywood touch for the former first lady? Didn’t Jackie wear them, before they were known as designer shades? Even Rand Paul wears them — did you catch handsome him in Ray-Bans at the Kentucky Derby?

But then Ms. Lewinsky’s former mentor stepped in to “defend” his wife of nearly 39 (and counting) memorable years. She’s in great shape, he chuckled, better shape in fact than he is. It only took her six months to get over her concussion of a few years back, he boasted. Or five months longer than the State Department had officially claimed, in between overtime screenings of West Bank occupying anti-Islamic videos.

Big Bill offered some other helpful insights, too entertaining to go into here, except for the brilliant one about how to stay in shape his beloved exercises once a week. At this rate she’ll be running the Boston Marathon as president. With a Frenemy like Bill, she’ll need to get away from him at every opportunity.

Will Jill Abramson join her? Only if she’s paid no less than the male runners, we reckon. The shock may not be universal, but at Enemy Central we remain doubled over by her unexpected ouster. One way to look at is that it’s payback for the cruel work she did in trying to destroy Clarence Thomas before and after he became a Supreme Court justice. She appeared on our January 1995 cover nipping at his robe. As did her partner in crime, the spoiled Ms. Jane Mayer. To her credit, no one ever called Jill spoiled. She had to work doggedly to achieve the dislike that even a pristinely progressive institution like the New York Times came to develop for its fabled first ever female executive editor.

This despite Jill’s best efforts to be liked, not only through a consultant hired of late to help in her efforts to win friends and influence people. We refer specifically to the now forgotten charm offensive she launched early in her thousand day adventure. It focused on her new dog, Ms. Scout, and culminated in the publication of a book of books entitled The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout.

The reviews were ecstatic (“Jill Abramson had me at woof”), particularly the two that ran in the New York Times, which neglected to do the traditional journalistic thing and ask for a second opinion. Nor did anyone try to contact the dog itself, a clear breach of the paper’s own ethics as confirmed by the Times’ recent efforts to argue for an animal’s legal standing and right to sue its owner.

To be sure, there were some naysayers, as we saw in some astute reviews by the uncredentialed and unconnected. One complained, “I felt there was a lot of resentment toward Scout for chewing up some of their belongings… I felt bad for Scout at times… a warm, feel good, puppy story, this is not…” Another complained, “I expected a bit more from a writer of Jill Abramson's caliber and reputation,” and betrayed some class resentment: “Scout’s owners live in an apartment in New York City and in a country home in Connecticut. (… I have a terrible time identifying with folks who have N.Y.C. loft apartments and country homes in Connecticut.”) Along similar lines, we heard this from another unhappy reader: “[Most of the book] focuses on the author trying to impress the reader with the many celebrity people she knows….” On top of that, she committed the ultimate liberal sin of purchasing the dog from a breeder. One reader said “most 4th graders could compile a more interesting journal of their puppies’ first year.” But leave it to a dutiful husband to have the last word: “I bought it for my wife because she was thinking of getting a dog. After trying to read it I decided it was a lousy gift, and did not even give it to her.”

So is Scout’s owner our EOW? Or has Jill (not to mention Scout) suffered enough? All right, then, there’s only one honorable way out. This week’s Frenemy of the Week is also Enemy of the Week. He’ll survive, so long as he doesn’t exercise even once a week.

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