"It's a thin line between clever and stupid"
I'll confess I don't read the entire Washington Post every day. In fact, I usually only scan the front of their web page for the headlines, read the pieces that interest me, maybe check the occasional column or editorial. Since, however, my newspaper carries their Sunday "Outlook" - albeit a few days late - I always get to read their main weekly opinion "think piece section.
Sometimes it's a good read, sometimes not and while it has slowly become more conservative over the last half-dozen years, this week had a piece that really made me think very, very hard--"Yes, We're Out of Power. But I'm Still Starstruck" by S. E. Cupp. Not having previously heard of the author, I really couldn't decide on the merits of the article itself whether it was a staggering work of brilliant satire, an inside joke, life imitating McSweeny's or just what the hell it was, but read some of these bon mots and see what you think:
See, in my world, stars don't come any bigger than Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney and Mike Pence (if there were a congressional version of Teen Beat, the Indiana congressman would be on its cover every month). Michael Steele, Mike Huckabee and John Boehner are the Jonas Brothers of conservative celebrity.
You see my confusion - that last comparison will mean different things to different people. On the surface, I suspect conservatives will see comparing Steele, Huckabee and Boehner to the very popular teen idol popstars as an endorsement of their star quality, their charisma and penchant for success. All of which ignores the truth that lies only nanometers below that surface - the Jonas Brothers are a trio of talentless pretty boys assembled in a Disney PR laboratory to appeal to a group of very unsophisticated, uncritical consumers - preteen girls. They, and others like them, are the personification of all that is wrong with America. (Now, I know dear reader, you are dying to ask "who does he mean 'they'? Is he talking about the pop stars or the politicians?" To which I can only answer "Yes.")
Obviously, something like "And doesn't everyone want to have "Breakfast with Phyllis Schlafly"? Just me?" can never be anything but ironic, but just how deep is the irony intended to penetrate? And what are we to make of this vision of hell:
"I'm also looking forward to drinking boxed wine with such friends and colleagues as Tucker Carlson, Stephen Baldwin and Andrew Breitbart during the forced socialization of conference happy hours...And, yes, I just totally name-dropped."
The article ends with same kind of awkwardness that one might experience upon walking into the men's room and seeing Ann Coulter emerging from a stall.
And let's not forget the thrill of the unplanned and unexpected. The environment at conferences like CPAC is ripe spectacle -- the hilarity of an inebriated speaker, the hysteria over a surprise guest, or an awkward moment between you and that woman you met last year whose name you've completely forgotten.
Last year a disheveled-looking man sat on a street corner near the hotel all four days, pan-handling. He held a cardboard sign that read, "Bush is Bi." I'm not sure what he meant by that -- I have a feeling he didn't know, either -- but I really hope he'll be there again. Who needs star power when you have memories like that?
Having checked out Ms.Cupp's website, I'm still undecided - she's either the nee plus ultra example of the "sassy young conservative sex bomb pundit" right down to the librarian glasses and the guns-and-nascar fetish or she's mining the same territory as Stephen Colbert but in a much more subtle and undercover way.