This one requires some inside baseball background to understand what happened.
Sally Quinn: Washington D.C. social doyenne, and wife of Ben Bradlee
Ben Bradlee: Former and legendary editor of The Washington Post, who oversaw the Watergate coverage.
Okay, so Sally Quinn, many years ago, wrote a book called The Party (which I have actually read) about how to entertain properly. She has since been writing a regular column in WaPo entitled “The Party,” but recently, she decided to turn a prime real-estate column into a crazy local family newsletter rant. Or in the words of The Awl’s Choire Sicha: “A WaPo Tumbr.”
Basically, she scheduled her son’s wedding on the same day as her husband’s granddaughter’s wedding. Yikes! Instead of rescheduling, she ended up writing a really defensive and filled with family gossip column about it. A commenter on Gawker said that they clicked on it hoping to find “A juciy Miss Manners column” but ended up on Quinn’s column instead. Anyway, Quinn ended up getting demoted (her column will now only run online) over the whole episode, probably for including random family gossip like:
- “Over Christmas, Greta’s mother and I came to an understanding that, because of existing tensions, it would be best for all if none of us attended Greta’s wedding.” Translation: My husband’s ex-wife and I got into a huge fight and we were disinvited.
-The son in question, one Quinn Bradlee, wrote a memoir about growing up with learning disabilities, which was excerpted in the London Times. To put it mildly, Sally Quinn is a totally insane overprotective mother. Quinn writes about losing his virginity on a Carribbean island while on vacation with his parents. This is how his mother reacts:
“When she found out I’d lost my virginity at a “house of ill repute”, she went nuts. She started to go on and on about how many people on the island had AIDS….
My mother started to call every doctor she knew to tell them what had happened….
She took us to the front desk of the hotel where she gave them a talking-to….
The manager could see my mom was panicking and she was very cooperative – even when my mother asked her to find the girls we’d been with, which took about half an hour…They got in the car and Silky took us all to a clinic for an HIV test. Talk about awkward. My mom and dad sat in the front with Silky and we sat in back with the girls.”
Anyway, incidentally, the whole reason why the wedding became a conflict was because Quinn impregnated his fiancee and the family decided to move up the wedding (at The National Cathedral, natch), thus causing all the madness. So apparently, Quinn Bradlee has learned nothing—his mother is still way too involved in his sex life.
-One more funny note: Quinn and his fiancee were introduced to each other by infamous New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. I feel that Quinn Bradlee is just pushed around by a bunch of intense D.C. opinionated ladies.
UPDATE: Oh dear, Quinn and his parents went on Charlie Rose to talk about the whole brothel incident! [Click through to the 45:30 point in the video.] It’s kind of a fascinating look into the um, intense, and sort of strange family dynamics of this WASP-y family—there’s a really weird unspoken classist and sexist anxiety about the prostitute, as well as a glimpse into their family relationships.