WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER: WHAT A MOUND OF BULLSHIT
Two hundred years from now, when we’re all dead and buried with our caskets lined with money, cultural anthropologists will certainly cite the White House Correspondents Dinner as one of the causes of the fall of the American empire. It’s not that it’s just dull in a loud way, which has been the case in previous decades, now we have the added element of celebrity worship. And really, no one even questions what a mound of bullshit the entire event is any more; in fact it’s one of the main topics of conversation. That, and, of course, Lindsay Lohan.
Let’s stop calling this prom, shall we? It cheapens how spectacularly offensive the whole thing is. Prom was one night in your high school’s gymnasium. The White House Correspondents Dinner is actually a marathon of schmoozing and boozing over an entire weekend, while the dinner itself is only one small part of the entire affair. There are pre-parties on Friday, followed by some fancy brunch that you will never be invited to the next afternoon. The main event is held at the Hilton in Dupont Circle, which is outfitted with an adorable red carpet and PR girls waving signs to direct guests to the multiple pre-dinner parties held in stuffy banquet rooms. The actual dinner is definitely exclusive and definitely boring. It’s like a Bilderberg conference except hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and in the basement of a Hilton. So basically the same. After the dinner (or hanging out at the lobby bar for two hours) there are multiple after parties at various museums, embassies, and palatial residences around the city.
Everyone wants to end up at the Vanity Fair party to stare at George Clooney for three hours, but we’ll settle for any old open bar. Celebrities are flown in by the dozen, while journalists and politicians openly celebrate the successful collusion of media and government. It makes me, dare I say, miss the Occupy movement. Come on, you guys! #OccupyWHCD! That actually makes more sense than sleeping in a park for six months.
Younger journalists do the get a free drink/take a picture with a celebrity/tweet/get another free drink routine, while older journalists smoke hand-rolled cigars and look forward to retirement. When the end of the night, or the beginning of the next morning, rolls around, there are private cars stationed out front to whisk you back to reality. It is an over-the-top show of excess of wealth and power, and it is always a lot of fun.