Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Who is Dennis Haster's secret lover? Did you throw up just imagining that?

Everyone has deal-breakers. I could meet a Nobel Prize-winning, Sports Illustrated centerfold who insisted that our first date be at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet after a long day of wakeboarding while talking American foreign policy - and I would take her home at the first sight of an US Weekly or Star Magazine on her kitchen table. Most people lead fairly mundane, humdrum lives and they need some sort of stimulation. I recognize that. However, instead of taking up new hobbies, getting to know their families better or taking up a cause, some people choose to get enmeshed in every detail of celebrities' lives. Housewives from Des Moines whose weekends consist of crocheting enough doilies to cover their obese husband's new recliner talk about "Brad" and "Brittany" like they're on a first-name basis with movie stars worth $500 million. Office workers whose daily interaction with their families consists of some mumbled words over KFC in front of the television are familiar with the minutiae of B-list actors' relationships. I could go on for pages, but I actually do have a point.

I always considered myself interested in politics and so I was a little confused to discover that I don't really enjoy talking politics with many of the people out here. After thinking it over I realized that there is a difference between politics of the world (which I'm interested in) and the world of politics (what everyone is immersed in out here). Politics is fascinating - you can analyze and understand why countries act the way they do. You can predict the path of countries and regions within countries. Politics DC-style is different. "Talking politics" out here means talking about the latest controversial blog post, gossiping about what chief of staff switched jobs, and bragging about your input on an inter-office memo dictating faxing policy between the House and the Senate. Politics out here means losing yourself in the minute details of the process and not necessarily considering the results of said process. Out here it's popular to the point of passé to deride west-coasters for their fascination with Hollywood and celebrity magazines. The hypocrisy in that derision is that these people engage in the same sort of celebrity watching and gossiping - just with different idols.

DC is a very insular world and the people who inhabit it believe that everything they do is imbued with import and significance. They're like that clique of kids in your high school who talked a lot about the burdens of being at the top of the social chain. You know the type, they always talked about their parties and how everyone wanted to get invited. They sat by themselves at lunch and convinced themselves it was because their social circle was so exclusive that nobody else wanted to intrude. In actuality, their parties always featured the same fifteen people sitting on a couple of couches and faking having a good time while secretly wondering if everyone else was as bored as they were. After high school,most people went to college, got jobs, and became contributing members of society. These kids moved to DC, hooked up with other self-important wankers, and are now trying desperately to believe that anyone outside of Washington DC gives a rat's ass about what they do. I can't even get started on the political bloggers. Bloggers blog to other bloggers, who post comments on their blogs about the initial blog's topic, which makes the first blogger think that people care about his blog, which means he will blog more. It's like an incestuous community in the backwoods somewhere. They only communicate with each other, and instead of spreading genetic mutations and birth defects, they spread an inflated sense of self-worth and ability to sway opinions. (says Austin as he writes in his blog...the irony is not lost on me). I'm going to law school in five months. Is that really any less insular? Feel free to mock me for my hypocrisy and judgmental nature. Next post up soon. I'm making them smaller. Reluctant Fundamentalist next...pinkie promise.