TLP: Embarrassing Public Masturbation, For Your Reading Pleasure
This one is always tricky for a reporter: the meta story. As in, "I'm a reporter writing about something you might find interesting as a way to write about myself so that you think I am interesting." Let's see how Jon Hilsenrath manages, shall we?
He's at the White House Correspondents Dinner. No surprise there, huge media-political circle-jerk that it is. Watch, he can't resist the circle analogy.
The dinner — an annual ritual in which Washington journalists invite celebrities and dignitaries to a black tie dinner — is the ultimate ‘in’ crowd event, complete with a red carpet entrance, glamorous movie stars, Washington’s power elite and real-time television coverage. (OK, it was C-SPAN, so it’s not quite the Oscars.) Within the Washington Hilton ballroom, there are many layers of in-crowds within the in-crowd, which emanate out in concentric circles from President Barack Obama’s seat on the main dais. The coolest and most powerful people sit at tables nearest the president, people like move star Scarlett Johansson and Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.After that scene-setter, it doesn't take long for Hilsenrath to whip it out:
When there was a break in proceedings between dinner and President Obama’s annual roast of the media, the room converged on itself … i.e. people in the outer rings moved toward the center tables where the most beautiful and powerful people sat. (This correspondent hunted down an autograph from Justin Bieber, the teen pop star, for his daughter, plus pictures with some movie stars.)But because he covers the economy, Hilsenrath equates celebrities with Fedheads. Whether he was still jerking off at this point is up for debate. Surely, his readers weren't.
Many organizations, neighborhoods and other social networks have in-crowds even at their highest reaches. One example: Vincent Reinhart, the former head of the Federal Reserve’s powerful monetary affairs division, has described the Fed’s powerful interest rate setting body, the Federal Open Market Committee, as something like a high school hallway: There are ‘Cool’ kids who make the decisions (Ben Bernanke & Co.), ‘Jocks’ who beat their chests about inflation (such as Jeffrey Lacker from the Richmond Fed), ‘Geeks’ who were monetary policy scholars using complex models (such as Janet Yellen), and ‘Wannabees’ who want to be among the Cool kids.Don't think Hilsenrath, or any other reporter who files this kind of piece, has all the readers fooled. If my lazy ass has paid attention to anything JDA has ever told me, it's that the best stuff is in the comments. "Sad and pathetic," one jeers. "Anyplace Justin Bieber is in the 'in-crowd', doesn’t include me," sniffs "HannahMontana." From another: "I’m just devastated I wasn’t on the guest list. Give me a Mickey D’s with a trucker and a hospice nurse eminently more important."
Have another drink, Jon. You look like you need it.