A hard rain's a-gonna fall | Bleader

A hard rain's a-gonna fall

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Tribune correspondent Frank James reports from this year's desultory White House Correspondents' Assocation dinner ("dispiriting, mostly humorless"; "hideous"; "fin-de-siecle degeneracy"), and, with no news to report, makes a plaintive request that America not strip the remnants of glamour from the job:

There's been much talk in recent years of how the White House Correspondents' Association's annual dinner has perhaps outlived its usefulness.

But there's probably something to be said for an event that may be of the world's greatest flesh-and-blood mash-ups. That, for no other reason, probably argues for its continued existence.

[snip]

And what were Colin Powell and Jenny McCarthy talking about at their table?

They do share an interest in biological agent-related conspiracy theories, come to think of it.

Everywhere you turn, there's someone who used to make headlines, is making them now or will be. It's one of the biggest parades of the fabulously wealthy and famous you're ever likely to see. Where else outside Hollywood can you see Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Martha Stewart, Marcia Cross and the Jonas Brothers gliding by your table? (I'll confess I didn't know who the Jonas Brothers were until I saw them identified in a wire-service photo.)

And will we ever forget how Pamela Anderson displayed her, umm, "assets" as she dramatically entered the dining room, a tall, younger man in a Kentucky colonel suit at her side. Weird, but it's that kind of night.

I guess you had to be there, but I doubt I would forget it either, no matter how hard I tried to drink the vision away.

At this point, you may be thinking: this is pitiful. 

Here was another such moment. A college student the height of an NBA forward took climbed the stage to be recognized for winning a correspondents' association scholarship and to get a handshake from and photo with the president.

Bush stepped up onto a chair to pose with the kid, to make himself taller than the kid, get it? It was a goofball thing to do but there he was, the president of the U.S. being a goofball.

This got a lot of laughs and applause. More proof that Bush may be one of the best comedians to ever become president.

I'll grant that this calls into question Frank James's evaluative skills, but his conclusion--well, John Steinbeck would be hard-pressed to come up with a more resonant, more depressing metaphor of abject defeat.

After Ferguson, the rich and famous went to the exclusive parties where you have to be somebody or know someone to get in. We never get invited to those. We're not complaining. Not totally.

Instead, some of us got wet walking in the rain to our car parked in the space that looked so perfect there in front of the Polish Embassy annex when we found it, but now seemed a block too far as we sloshed towards it in our increasingly moist tuxedos.

It was a fitting end to an evening whose whole point seemed to be not to take ourselves too seriously. 

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me . . . .

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