The White House Press Correspondents dinner is on its way. Better known to many by the very apropos Twitter hashtag columnist Ana Marie Cox created for it: #NerdProm, it’s the one day each year the media’s tireless habit of self-administered proctology is rewarded. This year, as tradition goes, The New Yorker is throwing a hot, exclusive jam, with a door tighter than the asses of their most Upper West Side rent-controlled lifetime subscribers. But why’d they go lowbrow?
Here’s what happens at NerdProm: A comic roasts the president, who then roasts/flatters the media, who are wined, dined, and surrounded by celebrities with no actual business being at something for “White House Press Correspondents” for any other purpose than to delight journalists. It’s a fun time for everyone — journalists, politicians, professional media personae, and celebrities — to cozy up in an orgy of self-regard, which is why the New York Times has boycotted the dinner for two years in a row, now. Squares. Afterward, everyone has big parties, like the Oscars, but without any actual money at stake, and also a room full of people who want to take pictures with whoever showed up from Mad Men.
Enter Politico, who noted earlier today that this year’s New Yorker party’s going to be held at….
Yes, The W. As in, that really clubby chain of hotels with “modern” decor people who don’t want to be perceived as “stuffy” for staying at a Westin. In New York, they’re for people who want to stay at a “cool” hotel but think The Bowery’s still too “dangerous” for them. Let’s get real: The New Yorker would never — ever — have a party at a W in Manhattan. Culturally, this is somewhat akin to Malcom Gladwell writing a new chapter of Outliers solely about Snooki’s relationship with The Duck Phone.
Instead, the staff of The New Yorker (okay, just their star writers; editorial assistants, stay seated) and David Remnick (who Politico also notes has an Obama biography coming out in a few weeks) will get cozy with politicians, celebrities, and media at a place some (obviously uncool) Yelpers described as “a thoroughly terrible experience” where D.C.’s “guys in blue blazers and pinstripe shirts” kick it. A place that’s “trying way too hard to be cool,” when it’s not “a darker side of DC that I would not readily like to revisit.”
That said, the view (from the balcony, Toobin) is supposedly wonderful. Granted, it’s not one of the classic D.C. institutions other parties are housed in (the St. Regis, French Ambassador Pierre Vimont’s pad, the Washington Hilton), but seeing as how The New Yorker‘s basically completely immune from Conde Nast layoffs, balling out of control is essentially the order of the hour. Beat on the beat, yo.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 3, 2010