Monday, February 01, 2010

Tina Brown on the Andrew Young Book

I've been around enough pols in my life to know that most of them have their whipping boys and girls. Nothing new there. Budd Schulberg noted this very well in A Face in The Crowd and that was in the late Fifties. But Tina Brown really nailed it beautifully in her piece on the Daily Beast this morning. The relationship between tyrant and servant--and this goes for any such relationship in any field. It's standard in rock and roll and Hwood. I've seen it in corporations. I like Brown btw. I know the snobs hated her for "destroying" the New Yorker. She had the gall to make it more interesting and--gosh--actually entertaining. She's doing a great job with The Daily Beast which gets better all the time.

Tina Brown writing about John Edwards and his enabler Andrew Young, who just wrote the tell-all informing us of what an asshole his former boss is (no argument here; I never liked or trusted Edwards from the first time I saw him.)

"Andrew Young’s account of his decade as John Edwards’s body man, beard, and shit-eating courtier is a mesmerizing insight not only into the rotten nature of his hero but the corruption of the culture that allowed a man as devoid of authenticity as John Edwards to flourish for so long, even to the point of getting a decent shot at the White House. This is not a political memoir. It’s a morality tale with the chill of Hitchcock.

"Young and his hero, Edwards—who spotted his craven acolyte as an enabler even more committed than his wife, Elizabeth—sucked each other into a moral abyss that led eventually to Young’s willingness to pretend he was the father of the child Edwards sired with his mistress Rielle Hunter.

"A fascinating undercurrent for the reader is wondering at what point Young will eventually turn on his boss. Being made to mop up when the bathroom plumbing breaks down at the Edwards house? Being yelled at if there was no Diet Sprite in the ever-present cooler in the campaign car Young chauffeured the candidate around in? (This was after Edwards’s cosmetic dentist told him that his customary Diet Cokes would stain his newly whitened teeth.)


"Servility always curdles into rage in the end. There’s a wonderful moment in the master/lackey relationship when you can see the hint of Young’s inner Iago. Edwards always liked the armrest up in the car when he got in so he could move around in the backseat. Sometime after the 2004 election loss Young began a “quiet exercise in rebellion by making sure the left armrest for his seat was always lowered when he got in… I put it down and smiled to myself whenever an annoyed look flashed across his face before he pushed it up.” Young adds that he “also took silent pleasure in waiting for the moment [Edwards] would demonstrate that he had become truly spoiled rotten by voicing a complaint about this tiny inconvenience.”

for the rest go here:


Jeff P said...

Well, if it's true, what an asshole! I was totally fooled by the bastard. I thought he was our best bet for the Democratic nod. Very glad now he didn't get it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Johnny, we hardly knew ye. Me, too Jeff P.

Todd Mason said...

I was simiarly unimpressed by Edwards, who always seemed like the kind of toady for the rich that WJ Clinton has been. I will differ with you about Brown's NEW YORKER only to the extent that she made it less boring, not actually interesting. But Shawn's was indeed a smug and pokey thing. (THE ATLANTIC is also less dull than in was ten years ago, but isn't a patch on what it was in the early '80s, much less the '60s.)

Todd Mason said...

The kind of toady who makes lots of populist noises, mind you.

Deb said...

It's hard to decide who is the most reprehensible: Edwards or Young. Neither of them come off with a scintilla of decency or self-awareness. Although I'm sure the gossip's good, I'm really not interested in slogging through Young's inspiring story of a toady's gradually fight for self-respect through...

...leaving the armrest down.

/Dismounting soapbox now.

Unknown said...

I am not a fan of Edwards, but I saw Young's interview on 20/20 with his wife and they both made my skin crawl.

Brendan DuBois said...

Never liked Edwards at all --- always thought he was a phony --- but what I find disturbing is that being from NH, during primary time I ran into a lot of young, dedicated volunteers, who were sacrificing time, money and probably health to get that P.O.S. elected... and I feel sorry for them.