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December 09, 2007

CAUGHT YOUTHENING: Maureen Dowd's latest column begins:

When I was a kid, we used to drive on the Beltway past the big Mormon temple outside Washington. The spires rose up like a white Oz, and some wag had spray-painted the message on a bridge beneath: “Surrender Dorothy!”

But if you're imagining Dowd as a pigtailed six-year-old in the back of the family station wagon, think again. The temple was finished in 1974. Maureen Dowd was born in 1952. So she was a "kid" who was old enough to vote and drink. (According to this source, the graffiti first appeared in 1973, when Dowd would have been 21.) Thanks to reader Conrad Kiechel for the tip. I remember the graffiti, too, though, which was still there in the 1980s when I was a "kid" practicing law in Washington. By then Dowd was pushing 40.

UPDATE: Patrick Carroll emails:

Oh, I don't know. In some circles our troops in Iraq are called "children".

Besides, is there anything in her writing that suggests she ever grew up? All I ever see is teenage condescension and snark.

Good point.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A very weak defense of Dowd. Yes, the Temple was started in 1968. The graffiti wasn't there until 1973. Then again, factchecking isn't the strongpoint of this blogger, who can't even spell my name right: It's "Glenn," not "Glen." It's right there next to every post . . . .