There are some smackdowns that are just better than others. I don't know why this tickled me so, but my mother, who shares my love of Gene Kelly movies, clipped this out of the dead tree version of the NY Times. Patricia Ward Kelly, the widow of the great Gene Kelly, took umbrage to Maureen Dowd's casual reference to Bush's soft shoeing as acting like Gene Kelly. Can you blame her?
Surely it must have been a slip for Maureen Dowd to align the artistry of my late husband, Gene Kelly, with the president's clumsy performances. To suggest that ''George Bush has turned into Gene Kelly'' represents not only an implausible transformation but a considerable slight. If Gene were in a grave, he would have turned over in it.
When Gene was compared to the grace and agility of Jack Dempsey, Wayne Gretzky and Willie Mays, he was delighted. But to be linked with a clunker -- particularly one he would consider inept and demoralizing -- would have sent him reeling.
Graduated with a degree in economics from Pitt, Gene was not only a gifted dancer, director and choreographer, he was also a most civilized man. He spoke multiple languages; wrote poetry; studied history; understood the projections of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes. He did the Sunday Times crossword in ink. Exceedingly articulate, Gene often conveyed more through movement than others manage with words.
Sadly, President Bush fails to communicate meaningfully with either. For George Bush to become Gene Kelly would require impossible leaps in creativity, erudition and humility.
Oh, snap! You get more truth in column inches in that letter than the last four years of Judy Miller's tenure at the NY Times.