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Veiny, Vidi, Vici

The New York Times’ TV critic Alessandra Stanley suffered the indignity of a Times “Editors’ Note” last week as the paper finally budged on Nudgegate, admitting on Sept. 27 that Fox News Channel’s Geraldo Rivera did not use a “factual” nudge when beating a Hurricane Katrina rescuer to the assistance of a woman in a wheelchair.

On the same day the clarification ran, Stanley’s review of ABC’s Commander in Chief also appeared—and reminded us why people read her stuff so closely. She’s a smart, provocative writer. We especially admire Stanley’s one-woman campaign to popularize the use of “vein” as a verb.

Commander in Chief, Stanley said, is “veined” with “a devilish look at the vanity of public servants.” Kind of like how (Nexis tells us) Pope John Paul II’s funeral in April was “mass spirituality veined by the political intrigue of the Medici court.”

Other examples in that vein: The creators of Over There, “have been careful to vein their drama with a message that is cautiously bold: hate war, love the troops.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm? “Veined,” Stanley said, with “pessimism, loony narcissism and political incorrectness.” Oops, she forgot “misanthropy,” which on another occasion Stanley said “veins ‘Curb’ and makes it so distinctive.”

Will & Grace, Frasier and Just Shoot Me? “Noel Coward humor veins such hits.”

Sometimes it seems like whenever Stanley writes about TV, her copy pulses with a certain word. The former co-chief of the Times’ Moscow bureau, writing in 1996 about Russian President Boris Yeltsin, mentioned a new current-affairs TV program on the state-controlled ORT network. The show, Stanley noted, was “veined with attacks on the West.” She didn’t say if the attacks drew any blood.