August 4, 2021

Oh! Now, the Covid restrictiveness has gone too far! The perfidious killjoys have ruined Obama's birthday party!

I'm reading "Obama Significantly Scales Back 60th Birthday Party as Virus Cases Rebound/Hundreds of former Obama administration officials, celebrities and Democratic donors had been planning to attend the huge bash on Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday" (NYT).

The party plans had been months in the making and many invitees had already arrived on Martha’s Vineyard when former President Barack Obama belatedly announced he was canceling his huge 60th birthday bash scheduled for Saturday.

CANCELING! All the headlines say "scales back." That's because the official statement uses that phrase: "the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends."

Hundreds of former Obama administration officials, celebrities and Democratic donors had been planning to attend the party at Mr. Obama’s island mansion.

The donors! What a crushing disappointment!

Many guests were already in transit and others were scheduling the required coronavirus tests whose results they had to submit to a medical “coronavirus coordinator” to gain entry to the Obama compound. The New York Post reported that George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey were all expected to attend.

Oprah got tested! Oprah was in transit! Wait. Oprah must be in the "close friends" group that's still coming. Oprah and Steven and George. It's the donors who are excluded. The party is better. I'm officially withdrawing the sincere pity I was offering. Everything's going to be all right. The most wonderful man in the world will have his party — a finer, truer party. Take that, grouchy neighbors: 

Alan Dershowitz, an infamous Martha’s Vineyard denizen who served on former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team in his first impeachment trial, said the community in Chilmark was critical of the glitzy bash and said it was wise for Mr. Obama to cancel or postpone it rather than create a distraction for Mr. Biden. “Everyone is talking about it and no one is talking about it positively,” Mr. Dershowitz said in an interview on Tuesday. “Some people are making excuses for it. No one is saying it’s a good idea.”

UPDATE: The NYT now says "Alan Dershowitz, a controversial Martha’s Vineyard denizen...." With no note that a change has been made. (Thanks to reader Peter for pointing that out).


Ann Althouse said...

J writes:

"I’m a bit disappointed that Obama is “scaling back” or cancelling his birthday party. I was feeling good about the big party. The party was a message that the Delta variant isn’t that serious."

I'll say:

Yes, that's the position I was taking in my post 2 days ago. But most people were lambasting him, and he caved. But now, my position is, he took the easy route and found a better party. Who wants all the donors at your house?

Ann Althouse said...

MadisonMan writes:

"I'm suspicious that all those people who have already arrived/going to arrive by private jet aren't going to congregate somewhere. "Close friends" is a very ambiguous phrase, after all. Good on the Island Buzz that's all negative about it though. Peer -- or you might say 'Pier' -- pressure for the win!"

Ann Althouse said...

Joe writes:

'Many guests were already in transit...'

Fortunately those Gulfstreams have a really small turning radius compared to the Jumbo jets. I'm kind of surprised Oprah doesn't have her own suite at the 'compound.'

These are the masters of the universe...the front-facing, shallow end of the deep state.

It's all one big fucking club and we ain't in it.

I'll say:

It's better to be all the way out of the club than to be the kind of halfway in that the donors are. The real club is having its party — the "close friends."

Ann Althouse said...

Temujin writes:

"My money is on the party staying as it was going to be originally, and the only thing that has changed are the directions given to the press on how to cover it and what to say. That is how our elite class works now. Tell the kulaks whatever. Then proceed with the party.

"Were that I would be worthy enough to stand in His presence on His birthday."

Ann Althouse said...

JPS writes:

"The NYT writes, "Alan Dershowitz, an infamous Martha’s Vineyard denizen...."

"You've been reading the NYT longer, and more regularly, than I have. Did they ever refer to Alan Dershowitz as infamous before he defended Donald Trump?

"If not, it's interesting that his previous clients didn't win him that adjective.

"Google isn't clearing it up. If I search for "Alan Dershowitz infamous," I just get a string of articles on all the awful people he's defended in the past – by way of context for his defense of Trump!"

Ann Althouse said...

Lloyd writes:

"Funny stuff, and you were on this from the beginning.

"The obvious joke: they should have called it a largely non-violent street protest. They should have arranged for antifa and BLM to throw around a few Molotov cocktails, etc.

"Obama has revealed that he thinks a lot of Covid restrictions were bullshit, and you would get a pass if you were person of colour, progressive, etc. The John Lewis funeral. Biden's guests at the border. It strikes me again that Obama is no longer seen as progressive enough."

Ann Althouse said...

Temujin writes:

"Well, now it appears they've canceled the entire thing. At least that's the official public word. But I maintain my original comment from earlier: there will be a directive on what and how the press is to cover this event. Then the party will either take place (a) as planned, or (b) in a more private location such as a donor's home in The Hamptons.

"As always, I live to just be in the shadow of His news."

Ann Althouse said...

"Well, now it appears they've canceled the entire thing."

I'm not seeing any report beyond what I'm talking about in the post. The party is "scaled back" to family and close friends.

Ann Althouse said...

Amadeus 48 writes:

"A robust press would turn the world upside down to find out who those “close friends” are. My bet: it will turn out to be one of those Jay Gatsby parties after all. Will there be a Nick Caraway buried in the throng who will record who was there? Better yet, will there be a Tom Wolfe to give it the “That Party at Lennie’s” treatment? Or even a Hunter Thompson to whip up “Fear and Loathing in the Vineyard”?

"Those were the days!"

I'll say:

Yes, once there were cool journalists who kept their distance to mock the rich and glamorous and wrote for us, the readers. I miss them enough to reread them now, even though all the people they excoriated are dead.

Ann Althouse said...

Skeptical Voter writes:

"Your post—and the quote from the New York Times—touched on one of my pet peeves. The word “infamous” is routinely misused by a generation of ignorant journalists. Certainly, like the word “notorious”, it describes a person who either is, or is thought to be, well known. But in its original and correct usage (before being debased by the group journalismus ignorati) it carried a very negative connotation. As in “the infamous crime against humanity” or the “infamous Pirate Bluebeard”. Now Allan Dershowitz is famous for a lot of things—a leading law scholar at Harvard Law etc. But in this instance he’s called “Infamous” for being guilty of wrong think. In my local fish wrapper (aka the Los Angeles Times which doesn’t even rise to the fairly low bar of journalism purveyed by the New York Times) I’m likely to see the writer apply the word “infamous” to someone or some thing of which the writer unabashedly approved. They think the word means “famous”. They haven’t yet stumbled over their word processor to describe Barack Obama as “the infamous Barack Obama”, but that day will come. There’s a reason that Ben Rhodes, a Barack Obama colleague, described reporters as being “27 years old and knowing nothing”.

"Mrs. Hall, a legendary teacher of senior English in my long ago high school days, would have red penciled the work of most of these clowns until there was nothing left. Professor Torbert, who taught business courses at my college alma mater, gave an automatic “F” to any writing which contained one misspelled or misused word, or one grammatical error."

Ann Althouse said...

Peter writes:

"Your comment about the donors being only halfway in the club reminds
me of a scene in The Godfather Part 3. I think this scene is very
important and criminally overlooked.

"Anyway, the premise is that Michael Corleone is trying to buy his way
into the Vatican's global real estate cartel. It's a major part of his
plan to build his family fortune while getting out of organized crime
and into "legitimate business". But after he's paid all the
application fees and made all the demanded (and humiliating)
obeisances, the cartel rejects his application anyway. It turns out
that his idea of organized crime - a few ethnic gangs carving up the
New York and Las Vegas rackets between themselves - is amateur hour
playtime, compared to the level the Vatican cartel is on. They were
never going to let this big fish in a small pond join their club of
world-class robber barons. They milked him just like his small-time
organization milked its small-time victims.

"Same with these donors. They're trying to buy their way into a cabal
that will only ever see them as cows to be milked. Or worse, beeves to
be slaughtered, carved up, and eaten."

Ann Althouse said...

Stephen writes:

"NYT has stealth edited "infamous" Dershowitz to "controversial" Dershowitz...without an editor's note. Natch.

"Alan Dershowitz, a controversial Martha’s Vineyard denizen who served on former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team in his first impeachment trial, said the community in Chilmark was critical of the glitzy bash and said it was wise for Mr. Obama to cancel or postpone it rather than create a distraction for Mr. Biden’s messaging on the pandemic."

Ann Althouse said...

Yancy made me laugh:

"It is now a big party the size of a small party."