I don't totally blame him. He takes issue with the Kennedy Center Honors as an example of Washington going on its merry-making way while serious stuff happens elsewhere inthe world. I don't think holding the Kennedy Center Honors is dishonorable when there's a war on. And, frankly, I thought it was more of a downer than helpful-to-the-cause when actors urged simple black and less frills and strictly somber back-patting at the post 9/11 Oscar and Emmy Awards. But some of his broader points ring true: the administrative grandstanding, all show, little substance, and using those they claim to revere as props.
And on one Washington Party, in particular, I agree:
Washington's next celebration will be the inauguration. Roosevelt decreed that the usual gaiety be set aside at his wartime inaugural in January 1945. There will be no such restraint in the $40 million, four-day extravaganza planned this time, with its top ticket package priced at $250,000. The official theme of the show is "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service." That's no guarantee that the troops in Iraq will get armor, but Washington will, at least, give home-front military personnel free admission to one of the nine inaugural balls and let them eat cake.Yes, yes, I'm biased - I wanted to be gown shopping for the other guy's inaugural, duh. But especially now, if you don't want to spend that $40M (shh, I know, private donations, but still, take a page from the X-files - like truth, money is out there) armoring vehicles or building concrete mess tents, send it to tsunami devestated countries where it would go a long way. Have a ball, sure, but maybe just A ball, or spend a bit less on the deli platters.
Even aside from the festivity flavored commentary, the man makes some good points. Read in full in comments below, or just register for the NYT site already . . . .