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Sally Quinn: An Urbi et Orbi

In Disappearing Ink, Harvard Math, Palinography, Sarah Palin, The War on Speech, The Way Far Right, Uncategorized, Weekly Rant on 19/11/2009 at 20:25

Sally Quinn

In the early 1960s at the height of Beatlemania the group gave a command performance at Albert Hall in London. Of course her Majesty Elizabeth Regina II was in attendance, as were most of the members of the royal family. The concert was moving along splendidly, when during a pause, John Lennon leaned into his microphone and asked, “You in the cheaper seats, clap along,” then looking up into the Queen’s box, added, “And the rest of you, just rattle your jewelry.”

I don’t know why I told that story but I remember the most irrelevant things. Trivia, of no use to anyone. I thought of it last night watching Sally Quinn on the O’Reilly Factor. On the broadcast, the Washington Post “On Faith” blogger (because it’s hip in DC to blog like regular folks these days), deigned to enlighten us on Sarah Palin’s lack of understanding of religion, name-dropped her luncheon with mega-pastor Rick Warren, and gave us a tutorial on Calvinism. She generally demonstrated her complete ignorance of her column’s subject matter.

Sally grew up privileged and pretty. Her family dates back to the early settlements in America. Like her nemesis Hillary Rodham Clinton (who reportedly, albeit not in the Post, snubbed her invitation to a cocktail party), she was a Goldwater Republican. Her father, a Lt. General, was instrumental in transitioning the OSS to the CIA after WWII. If you read Nelson DeMille’s, The Gold Coast, Sally Quinn would fit in perfectly on John Sutter’s side of the family tree, not wealthy but blooded, for lack of a better term.

One thing missing in the biographies of New York media types are the obscure details that they are so fond of exposing in other people’s lives. During the 2008 campaign they dredged up a supposed affair between Sarah Palin and Todd’s business partner. It wasn’t true as far as anyone’s been able to establish, but the press floated it anyway. You won’t find anything like that in Sally’s story. Like how she was hired by fabled editor Ben Bradlee at the Washington Post as a schoolgirl without any credentials, and how she became the third wife of her much older boss. Details on things like that are sketchy, no thrown vases, or “other woman” stories.

Most recently, Quinn seems to have discovered religion and, presto-change-o, she now is blogger-in-chief of the On Faith column. Anyway, Ben, at 88, is home drooling soup these days, and a gal has to have something to do. Educating the gin and caviar set on the meaning of the Eternal ala Sally Quinn seemed as good an idea as any. Besides, it gives her an excuse to lunch with Bill Moyers.

It occurs to me that, just as in DeMille’s Gold Coast, Sally and her contemporaries in the media at large are in denial. They know deep inside that their day has come and gone yet remain bizarrely unattached. After all, they coined the phrase “fly over country.” Her biggest concern these days is whom to pair the Rathers with at Sunday afternoon tennis at Gray Gardens.

Sally is nearing her 70s now and like the Post, once the Grand Dame of the Eastern press, has seen her relevance wan. Anchors like O’Reilly, I think, have her on their programs more as a novelty than anything. In fact, I believe that Sally has become so irrelevant that not even bloggers like me really care much about what she thinks anymore. But I do have a fascination for trivial things.

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  1. I saw the O’Reilly interview and I quickly sent off an email to him I was so ticked…she hasn’t a clue about Sarah’s faith or anything else about her. She is so shallow and elite and I’m sure she thinks Sarah is a hick and didn’t go to the right schools and that she’s stupid…..Sally, don’t under-estimate Sarah….

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