Monday, April 23, 2007

Broken Valve

Beltway insiders must envy me today - many of them were obligated to attend the clearly miserable White House Correspondent's Dinner, while I get to read the highlights. While they were eating rubber banquet food, I was enjoying top quality salmon at a good seafood restaurant in Calabasas. And while I listened to my mother-in-law's account of her most recent health scare, they had to endure Rich Little.

My mother in law, for the record, is just fine. Comedy itself has been dealt a mortal blow.

The bizarrely un-hip booking is a reaction to Steven Colbert's turn last year, which was clearly TOO hip. Colbert's speech was the equivalent of walking into a crowded pool hall on tournament night and screaming "billiards sucks!" To make the scenario more apt, I'd add that the judges have long ago decided to always pick Bob as the winner, even though everyone knows that Bob can't play.

Little addressed the bad Colbertian taste in the mouths of attendants with his opening lines.

"I'm not here to make any political points," the veteran comic said. "...I'm just here tonight trying to make enough money to get my relatives out of Canada."
He then wisely stuck to Nixon jokes, Johnny Carson jokes - basically humor which had absolutely no relation to anyone in the room who happened to be alive. Because those people can be a little testy, dontcha know.

Unfortunately, by all accounts the act went over like Colbert's but with the substance removed. As Wonkette pointed out, the President said he wouldn't be funny in light of the Virginia Tech shootings, and Little bravely did the same. But I think he was on the right track, because Rich Little understands the WHCD.

The dinner is a safety valve.

It's a public truce between the White House and the press, who spend the rest of the year trashing each other. It's a way of saying, "we recognize that what you do is essential to the functioning of a healthy democracy, no matter what we may say." If it's swung from too mean to not mean enough, perhaps it's because neither side has been doing their job properly. Democracy has gotten a pretty raw deal these last six years.

Meanwhile, away from the podium, Laurie David and Sheryl Crow approached Karl Rove while he was eating, to talk to him about global warming. Rove is said to have snapped at them; Crow reportedly reminded him, "you work for me!" To which Rove responded, "I work for the American people." This response is the key to Karl Rove. If you don't agree with everything he says, you are NOT AN AMERICAN. To Karl Rove, only 35% or so of us are Americans. The rest are, I guess, the terrorists.

Helluva choice, siding with Rove or the Terrorists. My choice is that they both have to go.

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