Don’t Spoil The Party


The light entertainment at these events is also supposed to reflect the same spirit of forced good cheer, to the point where even matters of deadly seriousness — things that in other countries might cause governments to fall — are treated like inside jokes, as with Shrub’s looking-for-the-missing-WMDs-under-the-couch routine. Ha ha ha. We’re all friends here!

The underlying message, never stated or even acknowledged, is that there are no disputes that can’t be resolved within the cozy confines of our “democratic” (oligarchic) system. Friends don’t send friends to jail — or smash their presses or abolish their political parties or line them up against the wall and shoot them.

The problem is that the tissue of this particular lie has been eroding ever since the Clinton impeachment, if not before, and is now worn exceedingly thin. It’s becoming harder and harder to conceal the ruthlessness of the struggle for power, or ignore the consequences of losing it.

I have to admit this is the part of the annual White House Correspondents’ Sploogefest that always escapes me. How do you party with people who hate you? How do you overcome the nausea when sitting next to somebody who thinks, who honestly thinks, that the country would be better off if you and everyone who did your job did not exist?

I don’t get it, I’m sorry. How can you take yourself so lightly as to think, as White House reporters so famously did, that missing WMDs are funny? That you should be laughing at the same stuff these people are laughing at? How do you get there? Tell me the turn-off so I can avoid it when I pass it on the road.

That’s not about a difference of opinion about what constitutes humor, that’s about a disconnect from what’s actually happening so profound it approaches psychosis. It always strikes me at moments like this that for all the “we are at war” rhetoric and “moment of national crisis” portentiousness that emanates from the administration and the talking heads who love this shit, nobody actually conducts himself or herself in the off hours like there’s a war on, a crisis underway.

It’s like they know, in their tuxes and tulle, that it’s all a big show, and I could forgive them for that, for indulging in humor about the fraudulent picture they paint every day of a world in which they do not live, except for all the bombed out buildings, the bodies, the laws, the lives lost in the painting. Except for the coffins. Except for the fact that there really is a wolf, and the world is caving in, and the sky actually is gonna fall down on us. And maybe I’m just the girl who can’t take a joke, but I think that’s worth ruining the barbecue over. I think that’s cause enough to be impolite, decline the invitation, leave the stage.

And say, maybe, on the way out, that it would have been the best party ever, but the dead bodies piling up really are a downer, and you’d much rather dance somewhere else.