White House Takes Cue From West Wing, Hosts (Virtual) “Big Block of Cheese Day”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 25 2014 10:15 AM

White House Takes Cue From West Wing, Hosts (Virtual) “Big Block of Cheese Day”

Comparisons between President Obama and Josiah “Jed” Bartlett may be a thing of the past but West Wing fans can rejoice that their show is still in the minds of those who work in the real White House. On Wednesday, the White House will host a virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day” in what it described as a “nod to history (and maybe the TV show the West Wing).” The idea was discussed on the show, in which White House staff were required on one day a year to meet with citizens and interest groups who would otherwise not have access to top White House officials. The initiative was described as a continuation of President Andrew Jackson’s February 22, 1837 initiative, in which he held an open house that featured a 1,400-pound block of cheese.

“This original ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’ opened the doors of the White House to thousands of citizens to interact with cabinet members and White House staff—and carve off a slice of the four foot by two foot thick slab of cheddar,” notes the White House statement. The event next week will hardly be that exciting. On Wednesday, dozens of officials will be answering questions from social media throughout the day. White House press secretary Jay Carney announced the initiative with a video featuring West Wing actors Bradley Whitford and Josh Malina.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.