The W.H. Correspondents’ Dinner rewards nonfulfillment.
I’m one of those people who respect the President, his family, and their values. I just wish the spectacle of immunity that is the 99th White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner didn’t make me queazy for my country.
It’s nauseating that the self-approving lifestyles and arrogance of our government’s elite will be inescapable when comedy highlights saturate the media this week. What is there for Washington bureaucrats to celebrate these days besides themselves? Our gullibility, maybe?
The whole letting their guard down angle seems increasingly phony when our leaders guard nothing but their own command. Cutesy clips of politicians’ one-liners and zingers aren’t worth having to watch ’em kiss the asses of High Media — and vice-versa. Assurances that our President can be as loose and sharp as Patton Oswalt in the face of pressure isn’t exactly what we need these days, not when his most sulfurous faultfinders and foes are enjoying their salads a few feet away.
Maybe the Correspondents’ Dinner was more relevant back when everyone in the White House Press Room could feel the tension coming from Sam Donaldson — when the two sides in need of dropping their guards were the journalists and All the Presidents Men, not the entire country. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner meant a little more when it was full of inside jokes, when it wasn’t so relatable to the public and tailored for the Internet. Now it’s gone past even that: today it feels like it’s being used on us.
Don’t agree? Okay look, I know it’s not a bunga bunga party. But Obama taking the stage to the lyrical rap beat, “All I do is win win win no matter what,” then asking attendees how they liked his new entrance music, is funny, and not because the president is winning. It’s bitterly humorous ’cause, given the climate in Washington, few are going to see this presidency as the bringer of change it was sold as. It’s funny ’cause he’s not winning.
Considering that the Belgians just bought Budweiser, gas is still $4 a gallon, and many of the Correspondents’ Dinner guests are bowing to corporate pressure like never before, this isn’t really a funny kind of funny. Our government is effectively paralyzed, so why reward it by watching Hollywood help to divert our attention from its bureaucratic blood clots? Oh right, we’re “letting our guard down.”
So, what’s the First Lady wearing? If we’re gonna stop dwelling on the near Roman Empire-sized gulf that exists between rich and poor in this country, we’ll need these sorts of distractions. (Thanks celebrity guests!) We’ll need more assurances that our President can be hilarious (while America takes a back seat to corruption and corporate control).
Originally, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner wasn’t intended to pacify the public’s discontent or divert attention from its grievances. But that’s what it’s being called upon to do in its modern omnipresence – with subtle, real-time revisions to boot.
It’s bread and circuses for sure. And God help us, we just don’t care.