Patrick Gavin has a bone or three to pick with Nerd Prom:
Everyone knows the White House Correspondents Association dinner is broken. What started off decades ago as a stately formal celebration of the best of presidential reporting has morphed into a four-day orgy of everything people outside the Beltway hate about life inside the Beltway—now it’s not just one night of clubby backslapping, carousing and drinking between the press and the powerful, it’s four full days of signature cocktails and inside jokes that just underscore how out of step the Washington elite is with the rest of the country. It’s not us (journalists) versus them (government officials); it’s us (Washington) versus them (the rest of America).
Something has to change.
Gavin’s main problem with the WHCA Dinner is that it doesn’t actually raise much money for the student journalists which it’s supposed to be helping, and that the red carpet attracts too many Hollywood types who don’t really know nothin’ about nothin’.
Fair complaints, especially when Gavin adds, “The week acts as a tacky and vainglorious self-celebration at a time when most Americans don’t think Washingtonians have much to be commended for.”
If that line doesn’t sting, it ought to.
But the real problem goes deeper than that. Washington behaves exactly like a no-account heir using Mommy and Daddy’s credit card to pay for a fabulous Prom Night with all the fixins — limo, booze, Armani tux, throwing the whole party for his entire clique. His failing grades? No matter. Mommy and Daddy will keep on paying no matter what.
And so of course the party is fabulous, and of course it’s entirely meaningless. And of course the heir feels completely entitled to all of it.
The WHCA Dinner isn’t “Nerd Prom.” It’s Entitlement Prom. The only thing it’s missing is Caesar Flickerman as the emcee.
If Gavin is serious about fixing what’s wrong with Entitlement Prom, he could endorse policies which would take money and power away from those who deserve neither.