Open thread: Ruling class gathers at White House Correspondents Dinner to toast itself

Here’s your thread for hate-watching. C-SPAN’s live coverage of the, gulp, red carpet began at 6 p.m. ET and will continue with the dinner itself starting at 8. (There were Beltway pre-parties last night too but C-SPAN doesn’t cover those. Yet.) Obama and tonight’s keynoter, Joel McHale of “Community” and “Talk Soup,” will speak after 9 p.m. There may or may not be some sort of jokey video too, a la last year’s send-up of “House of Cards,” although this year’s organizer seems to be wary of making things too festive. And of course, there’s bound to be at least one joke in the main event that everyone finds tasteless, a la O chortling a few years ago about sending drones after the Jonas Brothers if they don’t stay away from his daughters. Odds are good that tonight’s will involve Benghazi.

I’ll spare you my annual rant and give you two quotes to meditate on instead. First, let’s meet the people who govern you and their media “watchdogs.”

According to the source, “there are way too many [A-list celebrities] who have had pretty weird experiences at the dinner. A lot of the people who have gone say they’ll never do it again. The room is so crowded. It’s uncontrolled. There’s no limit to the number of people trying to get photos and autographs — and there’s no way to hide from it. It’s like the stars are animals in a cage. People go crazy when they see them. They act like a bunch of kids at the Kids’ Choice Awards.”

Publicists tell their clients that it’s OK to attend the dinner — especially if they want publicity for a project — but that they should be wary. This is a crowd that gropes and grabs. A few years ago, one drunken guest actually bared her breasts to Ben Affleck as he was walking to the men’s restroom. (That was the last time he attended the dinner.) And it’s not just the megastars who get the unwanted attention, which often comes from the correspondents’ dates.

“They’re infatuated with anyone who is sort of famous,” according to one previous attendee. “People on reality TV shows are walking around like they’re the secretary of state — and they’re actually getting their pictures taken with the real secretary.”

Second, thoughts from the editors of The Federalist on the “nerds” at “nerd prom” who definitely don’t want you to think they consider themselves elite, even though they palpably are and do:

There is a certain appeal to “Nerd Prom” as a name: it’s short, it has basic meter, it seems harmless, it’s easier to say than “Dinner with People Who Sleep and Socialize Together At All Hours And Then Pretend to Cover One Another Objectively,” less alarming than “The Ruling Class And Its Propagandists,” and certainly less gauche than “Thronesniffers Unite!” It fits into Twitter (the Official Social Network™ of “Nerd Prom”) in a compact, hashtaggy fashion in ways that “Careerist Forced Bonhomie” or “Abandoning My Middle-American Values” does not. These cats know how to live by the promise of hashtag…

“Nerd Prom” is the cultural appropriation of the experience of the powerless by the powerful, not unlike Miley Cyrus’s appropriation of urban African-American culture, but without her sense of propriety, dignity, respect, humility, and restraint. And by God, they’re going to ride that wrecking ball you paid for through every traditional American institution they can find.

You can watch on C-SPAN if you’re in front of a TV or, if not, on’s livestream. While we wait for O, here’s “This Town” author Mark Leibovich shaking his head at the epitome of “This Town” clubbiness.

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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on December 06, 2022