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So did you read Maureen Dowd today? While her beloved Washington, D.C., is submerged underwater, while a study published in her newspaper yesterday revealed unprecedented and mind-boggling waste and corruption with Katrina-relief funds, while the White House is deflecting attention from its disastrous execution of the war on terror by instead rattling its sabers at her employer, and while it suddenly seems the whole Israel/Palestinian thing will finally, irrevocably spiral out of control, what does one of the country's most influential newspaper columnists write about? Duh. Whether Miranda Priestly, the fictional Anna Wintour in The Devil Wears Prada, was really too hard on her assistant. Even more surprising: Her verdict.

Is it so wrong of Miranda to expect her assistant, Andy Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway), to know how to spell Gabbana, reach Donatella and ban freesia? Is it so bad to want help getting a warm rhubarb compote for Michael Kors? Or to have an assistant who knows what an eyelash curler is?

Well, then. It seems that in Maureen's world, like in Miranda's, assistants, at least, will always be necessary.

Sympathy for the Devil [NYT]