Is more on the way? Or is this it? So far I’ve spotted just three sentences in today’s online Post about D.C.’s most-talked about society wedding this year—the union of Sally Quinn’s and Ben Bradlee’s son with a yoga instructor.
As a long-time Postologist—with no incredible inside connections these days, but certainly with enough words read on the topic—I’m disappointed by the perfunctory treatment in the Post’s Reliable Source gossip column. No picture from Washington Nation Cathedral, even? Was the bride’s pregnancy a factor? A Google News search right now doesn’t reveal a wealth of stories from elsewhere. Perhaps certain journalists have taken the hint from the the New York Times, which downplayed the wedding announcement.
Imagine what the Ear column in the rival Washington Star might have done with this event back in the 1970s. Consider all we’d have learned about the Washington power structure and about friendships and the aftermath of the dueling weddings controversy. What ended the gossip party, especially in regard to Sally Quinn and family? Economies in the newspaper world? The more somber atmosphere of America in the era of the Great Recession? The feeling that Ms. Quinn had declined as a newsmaker because she aired family secrets in the Post, leading the paper to kill the column? The relationship between newsworthiness and popularity? As news fodder, we all live by the kindness of strangers—except that’s the point: At the Post Ms. Quinn isn’t one. Too bad Ms. Quinn isn’t around as an active society writer to report on Ms. Quinn and kin.
Thing is, she’s been up and down before—observe the CBS News debacle—and I won’t write her off even as she approaches 70. What’s more, Quinn and Pary Bradlee are thriving in cyberspace. Items mentioning them are among the most popular attractions on the Scandals Web site.
I suppose the Post editors would say, “We’re just trying to respect the couple’s privacy, and hasn’t enough been said?” But it’s a little too late for that in the era of the Net. The irony is that the Post may especially be hurting the former Pary Anbaz-Williamson. We know next to nothing about the new Mrs. Bradlee other than that she is a brunette yoga instructor who supposedly is shy about publicity. The result is all kinds of wild speculation, on and offline, that she is a mere gold digger. That she may be (the pregnancy doesn’t exactly help her case). Then again she may not be one.
If nothing else, I’d like to know how the devil she ended up as Rahm Emanuel’s yoga instructor and what it’s like to work among The Power People. Or how much time she and Quinn spend together. Or more about what they do together—beyond the obvious—and talk about. Or thoughts on marriages between the disabled and others, something more informative than the line in Vanity Fair: "Both of them are very clear about not wanting to be each other’s caretaker.” Coincidentally, in the new Philip Roth novel, a doctor’s daughter feels betrayed because a crippled PE instructor fails to marry her. Could it be that Pary Anbaz-Williamson did not want to wed a bossy Olympian-Mensan and felt that a gentle soul like Quinn would be easier and more fun to live with? Or maybe a mix of motives? Good intentions blended with a desire for an illustrious last name to help her business? Year by year I grow more jaded about Washington—especially with the likelihood that this year’s election will enlarge the town’s already-sizeable army of professional thieves and liars—but I’d love to see Pary and Quinn refute the skeptics.
The genius of the old Sally Quinn and of the Ear, too, is that they were so good at homing in on the details that sentient readers wanted to know more about. I don’t see as much of this in the traditional media today. Maybe that’s one of many reasons why paid circulation is down and Post media critic Howard Kurtz has bolted for the Web-based Daily Beast. Oh, well. It’s just 3:30 a.m. Maybe we’ll see something else in the Washington Post or enough detail in the Washington Examiner, and there’s always the New York Post. Where’s Rupert Murdoch when we need him?