If You Won that $80,000 Dinner with Barack Obama, Anna Wintour, and Sarah Jessica Parker, Please Ask About Asma al-Assad, "Syria's Desert Rose."


Kerry Picket at the Wash Times notes that the lucky winner of a much-derided opportunity to dine with President Barack Obama, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, and Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour has a ready-made conversation starter: What was up with Vogue's fawning profile of Asma al-Assad, the wife of murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad? Back in 2011, just as the latest cycle of state-sponsored violence was getting into full swing, Vogue profiled Asma as "Syria's Desert Rose."

The article, which I critiqued in "The Real Housewives of Arab Thugocracies," is full of grotesque, unintentend humor, such as the moment when Mrs. al-Assad explains away an ugly lamp in the tyrant's palace:

The household is run on wildly democratic principles. "We all vote on what we want, and where," [Asma] says. The chandelier over the dining table is made of cut-up comic books. "They [our kids] outvoted us three to two on that."

Ha, ha, ha.

Pickett notes:

The author of the original Vogue Assad piece, Joan Juliet Buck, admitted, "she regretted the "Rose in the Desert" headline that Vogue put on the article," but that "Mrs. Assad was 'extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue.'"

You got that? Fat, dumpy wives of dictators need not apply. Wintour disowned the piece, claiming that she apparently had no idea that Syria, in which the Assad family has ruled for decades and which has been rated as "Not Free" by Freedom House for years. Wintour sent a statement to the NY Times, which said in part:

"Subsequent to our interview, as the terrible events of the past year and a half unfolded in Syria, it became clear that its priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue. The escalating atrocities in Syria are unconscionable and we deplore the actions of the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms."

OK, so Wintour didn't realize that Syria has been mopping the lower reaches of any and all indices of freedom for decades. But here are some questions for dinner, which costs $80,000 a plate: 1. Are you seriously angling for an ambassadorship to Great Britain? Because if it took you until 2011 to realize Syria's "priorities and values were completely at odds with those of Vogue," you haven't read a newspaper in about 40 years. Or Vogue was until last year a murderous regime. 2. Let's assume the story was just one of those hilarious goof-ups that happen all the time in glittering world of high fashion. Why the hell would you have disappeared the offending piece off your magazine's website, so that readers have to go here to find it? Editorial mistakes aren't the end of the world, Amb. Wintour. They come with the territory. But coverups are just total bullshit, especially in a world with the internet. You may well be uninformed enough to be a diplomat, but you better bring your A game when it comes to lying about indefensible screwups.

Read the whole Pickett piece here.

Here's the Wintour invite to enter the sweepstakes for the free dinner with the prez and his special hosts. Not to be taken internally, though best taken on an empty stomach.

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  1. My God those bangs are a force of evil.

  2. And don’t forget that Wintour is widely considered to be the inspiration for the Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada. She is universally known to be awful. She probably admires Assad’s management techniques.

    1. I doubt that, given Assad let her kids outvote her on a stupid lamp.

    1. Jezebel did it better:…..ow-to-feel

    2. Yeah, the internet is a sewer but it’s an equal opportunity sewer.

      1. I wonder if she ever reads the comments section on Jezie and makes the connection that anonymous comments make everyone with strong political views assholes. The lack of self-awareness is pretty funny.

        1. Everyone except us, that is!

          Mainly because I presume most of were (and are) assholes without the internet.

        2. Lack of self-awareness isn’t exactly unique to women. Plus, I hope it doesn’t make me a femnazi to point out the some of the men on Hit Run need to get over being ignored by the pretty girl in highschool.

  3. Mrs. Assad was ‘extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue.’


    1. You don’t go into fashion because you are a deep thinker. Yeah, the people at Vogue really are that shallow and stupid.

      1. Yeah, but even the idiots know not to say it out loud. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a woman who would write a puff piece on a dictator’s wife has the approximate IQ of a carrot.

        1. When you live in a bubble your forget how to act when the hired help can hear.

    2. That was my reaction when I first heard Joan Juliet Buck bleat it on NPR.

      Fat is the modern world equivalent of being a medieval gay heretic.

      1. Sure her and her husband may be ordering troops to bayonet babies. But it is not like she is fat or something.

        You can’t write fiction anymore because real people defy explanation.

    3. That’s why Michelle Obama will never be in Vogue.

    4. “It is better to look good than to feel good.”

      Fernando – SNL

  4. Who in the hell is running Obamas campaign right now? He bitches and whines about the “1% fat cats holding up the recovery” and then pimps a fundraising with ANNA FUCKING WINTOUR?

    Really? Seriously?

    If Wintour wasn’t already a classic example of a rich clueless East coast elitist the Occupy folks would have had to invent her.

    1. this is no dissonance for my lefty friends. You see Obama is just one of those betters who is really working against corporations. *snicker*

      1. Next up, dinner with Obama and John Corzine to discuss how to solve our entitlement crisis!

        Please bring a blank check.

    2. Wintour is one of the Right People so she’s okay.

    3. Maybe they think that the American people are too dumb or lazy to find out about this, or do the mental math necessary to connect it to his class warfare.

      And….maybe they’re right.

    4. In the minds of the Progressive, it’s okay to be a 1%er as long as you play the “traitor to your class”-card like FDR did (even though he really wasn’t, he just used populism and organized labor to gin up support for himself).

  5. Follow-up question:

    Sarah, do you prefer to wear Western or English?

    1. I prefer a cloak of the finest baby skin with a merkin made from bald eagle eyelashes.

  6. It’s hard to think of a less congenial, less attractive crew to have dinner with. Plus, why Anna Wintour, who I’m pretty sure doesn’t actually eat?

    I admit to a weakness for– an addiction to, even– fashion magazines, but even I have never been able to get through an issue of Vogue. That they wrote that fawning Assad profile came as no surprise to me– that level of cluelessness is one reason I avoid that rag. I honestly cannot think of another American fashion/beauty magazine that would have run such a story, even if they’d been offered the chance on a silver platter.

    1. Eddie: Have you eaten something?

      Patsy: No, not since 1973.

      1. You leave Patsy and Edina alone. They are nothing like Wintour. They actually had a good time once in a while.

        1. I’m not sure that the phrase once in a while does justice to the girls’ affinity for a good time.

          1. I would hang out with Patsy and Edina. I wouldn’t spend ten minutes with Wintour for love nor money.

    2. I sure as hell hope a veterinarian won, because I can’t imagine who else would want to have dinner with an ass, a horse, and a bitch.

  7. And it gets better

    It should be noted that Ms. Wintour, according to New York Magazine, is strategizing for an ambassadorship to Great Britain. NYM says the wealthy fashion mogul “might be rewarded with a political appointment in return for all the money she’s raising for Obama’s reelection campaign.”

    Anna Fucking Wintour, most personally unpleasant and nasty human being currently not in prison with a major diplomatic post. We are doomed

    1. Obama has made no secret he hates Britain for oppressing his make believe, literary homeland of Kenya.
      She’ll start a war for sure.

      This time, the we take it too the Redcoats.

    2. I thought BO put a doorstop in the revolving door or something?

  8. I imagine Rockwell and Raimondo will be attacking [T]reason for libeling this heroic enemy of Amerikka.

    1. I can’t remember, does this trigger a drink?

  9. We finally know the answer to the burning question, “Can a woman have a punchable face?”.

  10. Joan Juliet Buck, admitted, “she regretted the “Rose in the Desert” headline that Vogue put on the article,” but that “Mrs. Assad was ‘extremely thin and very well-dressed, and therefore qualified to be in Vogue.'”

    I have nothing to say to this except:


  11. Oh, come on now. The association between roses and pricks is well established.

  12. Certainly a thorny subject.

  13. time to hit it on up one time. Wow.

  14. See, to me, it really makes no difference whether it’s a puff piece about assad’s wife, or a dinner with Obama. In both cases, you’re completely up the ass of a psychopath.

    As for the “priorities and values” of Vogue, and Wintour? Well, thin, pretty, and well-dressed ARE the “priorities and values” of Vogue, so how is the Assad regime – or the Obama regime – NOT in line with those “priorities and values”?

  15. Powerful people almost never deserve the power they have.

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