I went to an inauguration ball long ago–SO long ago that I’m too embarrassed to even specify which President it was for. (All right, Millard Fillmore.) And I was amazed at all the glitzy, gawdy opulence on display–on the people! Clearly these folks had the expression “One more bugle bead won’t hurt” bedazzled on their purple velvet pillows–which they carried around at all times!
But with Obama being sworn in to rescue a land in trouble, the mood is way more somber, and attendees will have to strenuously reflect that in their attire and behavior. The balls will be reminiscent of the 2003 Oscar ceremony, which was all tasteful and shit because of the war situation, with even Nicole Kidman taking pains to mention some international crisis or other in her acceptance speech in between thanking her publicist and agent.
So now we’re faced with the ultimate conundrum: Events that are based on ritualized showing off will have to suddenly represent subtlety, conservation, and concern. How will the rich freaks do it? By wearing green Hefty bags? How will they hide their balls at these balls? I want an answer!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 9, 2009