In a striking display of awful judgment, the VIPs (Arianna Huffington, Moby, the Mayor) were allowed (forced) to mingle on stage. The poors sat in chairs in the auditorium and watched.
You can imagine the party planners' thought process: We want to have this exclusive witty cocktail party--but we also want to do something for everyone else. Hey, we'll let them come and watch! That's better than nothing, right? Wrong! Stark, in-your-face snobbish social inegalitarianism makes everyone unhappy--the favored few no less than the masses. At least in this country. At least Atlantic types. ...
P.S.: Celebrity-based inegalitarianism is arguably much worse than money-based inegalitarianism. If the VIPs had paid to be on stage, skybox or Vegas-club style, that would have been less offensive. ...
Most obvious public policy application of the Atlantic Party Parable: Guest-workers! Many U.S. employers, generally allied with Republicans, want to import unskilled workers and then ship them away after a few years. Atlantic moral: Everyone at the party gets to party. For legal guest workers, there should be a path to citizenship. ...
P.P.S.: Getting the wittiest, most talented people, feeding them and then letting everyone else watch them talk--isn't that also Bradley's business plan for the Atlantic, including it's blog presence? I'm not sure it works. For one thing, people want to interact, not just sit in their seats. They also have blogs of their own, and don't seem attracted to the idea that the blogs invited onto Bradley's stage are all that much more entitled to attention than the blogs not invited onstage. ...
Update: At the libertarian Reason blog, Kerry Howley demands to hear from "the people involved," imagining that those stuck in the audience enjoyed themselves despite the "social inegalitarianism." Well, here's an excellent blog account from one of the voyeurs. He seems ungrateful! Sample--
At this point it was clearly time to ratchet up the theater of cruelty. An Atlantic employee came up the aisle with a video camera, interviewing the pathetic audience members. "What do you think is going on here?" he asked me. "I think the celebrity guests are up there, and the groundlings are down here," I told him. No argument from Errol Morris. "And how does that make you feel?" he said. I thought about it. "It makes me feel special," I replied. "Well, you can still say you were at a party with the mayor and Robert De Niro," he told me, moving on up the aisle. [E.A.]
Anti 'Anti-Incumbent Wave' Wave Building: "Anti-incumbent wave" is a classic Neutral Story Line-- a bit of bold political analysis the "objective" mainstream press can deploy without seeming to pick sides between Democrats and Republicans. (It's just incumbents of both parties the voters hate!) The "anti-incumbent" idea fits the NSL bill so neatly that it's bound to be overehyped in the press. Stuart Rothenberg notes that the last predicted "anti-incumbent" wave was really an anti-Republican wave. The next one could be as well, if any wave materializes at all. ... 8:23 P.M.
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