Sally Quinn is the wife of legendary Washington Post newsman Ben Bradlee. Sally Quinn has dedicated her life to the most petty, self-regarding, insular interpretation of what "Washington" means. Now comes a new profile of Sally Quinn. She is bad.
We last saw Sally Quinn defiantly declaring that she did not regret writing the single most embarrassing newspaper column of 2010—the one where she used the Washington Post as her family gossip newsletter to snipe at various family members she dislikes, which got her more or less banned from the respectable parts of the paper. Update: she still doesn't regret that shit. Vanity Fair reports that after spending some time in, direct quote, "the concrete meditation labyrinth her husband had built for her on their country estate" (not to be confused with her palatial Georgetown mansion) Sally Quinn decided that "I did exactly the right thing."
Which is a theme of Sally Quinn's life: perfect confidence in the validity of her own vapid judgment. We bemoan only the fact that Sally Quinn was born 30 years too early to be our DC version of Julia Allison. For her, Washington is a town populated by glamorous people just waiting be validated by being invited to a Sally Quinn party, and, in turn, to validate Sally Quinn, by showing up.
Maintaining the Establishment-and her role at the top of it-wasn't easy work. First Families came and went in the White House, and often didn't realize, in Sally's view, how Washington worked, a phenomenon she griped about in many of her articles during those years. "You come in from another community and you don't know anything about the people," she says, explaining why the Establishment is so critical to governance. "So you don't know what perspectives they bring to something and what the relationships are and … who's feuding and why…. And all of that is extremely important information for people in the White House to know."
No it's not. It's not important at all. It's actually provincial, self-serving, entitled bullshit, which is the opposite of "important." Were Sally Quinn just another rich white lady in Georgetown spouting nonsense about a city she grotesquely mischaracterizes in her own mind, it wouldn't much matter. But instead, she's an OPINION LEADER, whose views must be RESPECTED. Her foibles are representative of the class of people who are prominent for one reason, and who mistakenly come to believe that they therefore deserve to be prominent for other, wholly undeserved reasons. Sally Quinn became known to the world only by dint of her own marriage; so while Sally Quinn's personal life is, like everyone's, a mixed bag, we found this anecdote in VF's profile to be illuminating:
At times, her protectiveness may have felt overbearing. On a trip to St. Martin, [her severely learning-disabled son] Quinn lost his virginity to a prostitute in a brothel bar. When he told his parents the next morning, his father essentially congratulated him. Sally, on the other hand, was hysterical. She dragged him back to the brothel, demanded to know who the girl was, and, with Quinn in tow, escorted her to a clinic to get tested for H.I.V.