Hopefully the Last White House Correspondents' Dinner Post
Julia Allison and Henry Kissinger, the two poles of Washington reprehensibility (even though they both actually live in New York -- it's a crazy night, folks). -- Photo courtesy HuffPo
Was the White House Correspondents' Dinner the worst party we've ever gone to? No, probably not -- we've gone to more than one Capitol File party, after all. But if we'd spent our Saturday night staying home, ordering a pizza, getting wasted, and watching Arrested Development episodes, would we have had a better time? Yes. And more material, probably.
We didn't go to the dinner itself -- it's always the worst part of the evening, and this year's in particular looked awful -- but that hardly spared us the depressing blandness of the entire enterprise.
We showed up a little late to the Washington Hilton (right after the mayor -- if you saw the back of a hungover and underdressed gentleman walking by as the mayor took questions, that was your humble editor), said our customary hello to Dan Foomkin (Dan Froomkin and Tom Toles are the only two people in Washington who are ever happy to see us), and wandered outside to find Liz, who was smoking on a bench, taking pictures of the fat guy who was kicked off American Idol (we spent most of the night asking people if he was the fat guy from Lost).
Then we stood in line for the bar for 45 minutes, chatting with a Hotline editor. Are you beginning to get the picture? It's every other Washington party ever, except it lasts longer and the B-list celebrities might be from television shows that are still on the air.
The Newsweek reception, like last year, had the most famous political types -- we walked in behind Mike Bloomberg, which made us want a cigarette. Henry Kissinger lumbered around looking like a 200-year-old evil Hobbit. Huge blown-up Newsweek covers everywhere asked whether Jesus was real, and if so, how could he help you lost weight and save enough for retirement?
We traded the usual stale jokes with the usual suspects, silently thanked Friday night's binge drinking session for saving us from Saturday morning's brunches and pre-parties, and repeatedly scanned the room looking for someone -- anyone -- who wasn't Fred Thompson. Or Newt Gingrich.
The problem with attending these parties is that we genuinely do hold of these people -- from the politicians to the journos on down -- in a great deal of contempt. So why buddy up to them for the night? For material? We're not gonna mic ourselves like Dana Milbank (helpful hint: everyone's having the same drunken conversations they'd be having at any other party!) or, uh... put ourselves out there with as much, er, gusto as Julia Allison. Do we care what Sanjaya thinks about politics? Do we care what Henry Waxman thinks about anything? Or that Laurie David is a smug, shrill liberal and Karl Rove is kind of a dick?
After a delicious dinner safely away from the self-important morons of the press corps, their corporate masters, the aging (and aged) actresses, and the friends of the advertising departments who actually get the tickets to the dinners, we grudgingly walked to Bloomberg, where we stood outside for half-an-hour wondering why the fuck the doors hadn't opened at the scheduled start time, shouting mildly ironic variations of 'do you know who we, collectively, are?' and bitching loudly about not being drunk enough for this kind of treatment.
Then they didn't let Liz in.
So, if you really need to know what it looked like, imaging the Korova Milkbar from A Clockwork Orange with semi-employed male models shipped down from New York serving you mediocre hors d'oeuvres, an inexplicable conga player, two more models in bathrobes next to a tub full of beer, a tiny fenced-in smokers' pit out back, and some toilet-paper-like white streamers hanging from the ceiling.
The most famous person there, by the time we left, was Lloyd fucking Grove. As we walked away, Adam Nagourney shouted something to us from the middle of the now-huge line outside. We went to crash Hitchens' house, but we got caught by the door people. So we went home and watched Arrested Development and finished getting wasted.
Next year we're sending Intern Nick.