Washington Babylon — December 3, 2009, 1:43 pm

Sally Quinn: The life of the party

The Washington Post recently announced the winner of its “America’s Next Great Pundit” contest, and Kevin Huffman, (who Wonkette aptly described as “nothing more than a composite of all preexisting Washington Post op-ed writers, yet somehow even whiter”) took the gold. Almost simultaneously the Post unveiled what has to be one of the worst columns of all time: “The Party,” by Sally Quinn, in which Ben Bradlee’s wife “offers tips and advice on how to entertain with style.”

Here’s Quinn on the mission of her column:

We all entertain. You may not call it that. You may not like to think of it as that, but it’s the truth. Anybody who has ever had a friend over for a cup of coffee or a beer has entertained. The question is, how do you do it, and how do you do it right? Entertaining well is not about which fork to use. Anybody can go to the store and buy a book on etiquette, which will ease their minds on the details. What those books don’t tell you about is the spirit of entertaining.

This week Quinn is back with another column which will certainly be of interest to the 0.01 percent of the population that gives a shit about “the spirit of entertaining.” Here’s her two cents on the burning issue of whether a husband and wife should be seated together at dinner parties:

My answer is emphatically no. Here’s why: The whole point of going out to dinner is to meet people, make new friends, see old friends, learn something, make connections and share something of yourself with others, not to mention having fun. It’s very hard to do this if you are sitting next to your spouse. I find that it saps the energy from the table when spouses are practically in each other’s laps.

And the Post wonders why its readership is declining.

Note: Check out this delightful 1998 profile of Quinn by Harry Jaffe. “Sally Quinn has been floundering around for the last couple of decades, when she failed first as a journalist, then as a novelist, before emerging as a hostess in a Washington society that even she admits is in its death throes,” Jaffe wrote. “Which brings us to a central question: Who appointed Quinn as the mouthpiece for the permanent Washington establishment, if there is such an animal?”

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

April 2017

The March on Everywhere

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Defender of the Community

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Echt Deutsch

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Boy Without a Country

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Behind the Fig Leaf

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Can Run …

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The March on Everywhere·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Photograph (detail) © Nima Taradji/Polaris
Post
The Forty-Fifth President·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Photograph (detail) by Philip Montgomery
Article
Defender of the Community·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Illustration (detail) by Katherine Streeter
Article
The Boy Without a Country·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Illustration (detail) by Shonagh Rae
Article
Asphalt Gardens·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In a city that is rapidly pricing out the poor, NYCHA’s housing projects are a last bastion of affordable shelter, with an average monthly rent of $509
Photograph (detail) © Samuel James

Rank of Italy, Argentina, and Libya in annual per capita pasta consumption:

1,2,3

A barn owl in Wiltshire failed to deliver two wedding rings and instead fell asleep in church.

In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Who Goes Nazi?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

Subscribe Today