Some days, one finds a screenplay or some Latin text beneath Maureen Dowd’s byline on the New York Times op-ed page. Yesterday, Dowd just typed up a conversation she had with a fellow Times columnist en route to the British Embassy. (And you assumed you were chatting off-the-record, David Brooks!)

And? That conversation was, in Dowd’s telling, perhaps even more insufferable than you might have guessed. Turns out David Brooks thinks Michelle Obama should stop going sleeveless. “She’s made her point,” Dowd says Brooks told her. “Now she should put away Thunder and Lightning” because “Washington is sensually avoidant.” Moreover, “sometimes” Brooks thinks “half the reason Obama ran for president is so Michelle would have a platform to show off her biceps.”

As for Dowd, she thinks “the only bracing symbol of American strength right now is the image of Michelle Obama’s sculpted biceps” and that Mrs. Obama’s “arms, and her complete confidence in her skin, are a reminder that Americans can do anything if they put their minds to it.” (Echoes of Gov. Jindal’s Big Speech).

I wonder why the Times Web site didn’t enable comments for this column? Also: we now know where three different Timesians — Dowd, Brooks, and Jodi Kantor—stand on the issue of Michelle’s Bare Arms. From whom might we hear next? Paul Krugman? Bill Keller?

Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.