November 13th, 2012
I find this piece at the Atlantic kind of mystifying. The central conceit is that Paula Broadwell was in part of a victim of the journalistic culture requiring writers to do whatever it takes to get the good stuff from their sources. The headline on the piece reads:
The Writer and the General: What the Petraeus affair exposed about D.C. Both Petraeus and Broadwell were good, maybe too good, at doing what it takes to succeed in this city.
How many talented journalists need a ghost writer on their books?
Exit Question: Whenever we have a politician caught in adultery there are thumb sucking pieces tut-tutting about how unsophisticated Americans are because the French expect all of their politicians to have mistresses. We haven’t seen any of those about French generals in the last week, have we?
I’m surprised by how pleased the nutroots are with this story. I knew they hated Petraeus, knew they generally opportunistically hate the military, generally hate “morals” and “honor,” and additionally harbor a selective distaste for Sally Quinn’s Village, but as someone who lived through the various Monicas big & small I find the vindictive glee strange. A local news team in Denver recycled a Baboon Juice-style photoshop of the book cover into their broadcast. They still on their sugar high?
“Paula Broadwell and I were standing in the kitchen of my house in northwest Washington one evening last summer…”
“That evening, she seemed to have a nice time at the party…”
“These people, both in the military and in the media, are prey to ordinary frailties…”
“Indeed, the seduction story is as old as time itself, a biblical tale…”
“‘I got shot at,’ she told me, then crouched to show how she had managed to avoid incoming fire…”
“After the party at my house in June, Broadwell emailed me…”
–Wow, what an in-depth piece, even at the 1,000 word limit. Good of her to remember the 5 W’s, or is it 6 now
Having slogged through the Steve Jobs biography, I’d say that Walter Isaacson could’ve benefited from a ghost. And an editor.
Same with some of Halberstam’s books after Best and Brightest and Powers That Be.