Of the White House Correspondents Dinner, circa 2011

I think it’s a bit of an understatement, but I’m just going to put it out there. Last weekend was pretty eventful. Seriously, jam-packed. Friday was “bandquet” at the Prime Rib. It was as fun as it was delicious. Sunday night the world at large received the news that Osama bin Laden had been shot and killed in a mansion outside of Islamabad, Pakistan. And then there was Saturday…

I think there should be an actual holiday declared for the last Saturday of April, because it was wonderful and magical and exhilarating. While I’m not actually one for celebrity gossip, I had an amazing time running around DC. Because, governmental or religious recognition or not, Saturday was a holiday and the best one of them all: the day of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

The day began with Amanda and I running (figuratively) from campus to the White House all the way to Georgetown to see if we could spot Matthew Morrison with his bff Chace Crawford. Amanda is a little bit in love with Matt Morrison. And, though we scoured the city for the two gorgeous fellows for a good part of the afternoon, we did not find them. But not for lack of trying.

In the evening, Rachel, Amanda and I started walking towards Dupont Circle so that we could hang out at the Washington Hilton, for that’s where the dinner is held.  A surprising number of attendees don’t get dropped off in front of the hotel, but actually just walk up Connecticut Avenue, in gowns and tuxes alike.

The event was exciting for me because for one I was included. I got to spend a wonderful evening with Rachel and Amanda. Also… I’ve never really seen famous people before in real life (discounting politicians, just because.) In the end, this is a list of those stars we saw that I was able to identify. Just for kick’s I’ll compile subgroups:

  • Political – George Stephanopolous’ hair, Bristol Palin, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, Bill O’Reilly
  • SNL – Andy Samberg, Bill Heder, Jason Sudeikis, Amy Poehler & Fred Armisen
  • The Hangover – Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis, the groom
  • Other: Chris Colfer, Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder, Omar Epps, Jeremy Piven, Mila Kunis, Jon Hamm, Chelsea Handler, Selma Hayek, Alisa Milano, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rashida Jones, Kenneth the Page, Paula Abdul, Rosario Dawson, and Ryan Kwanten

The most frustrating part of the evening probably came from having to wait for the President’s motorcade. No one can enter the building and the entrances have to be cleared. This happened not only when he arrived, but when he left as well. And, sure, it’s cool to see the President, but we really only end up staring at his motorcade, willing it to just move already. Regardless, it was a fun night. We’ve got big plans for next year and even grander for 2013.

For your entertainment:

That Girl Looks Like Trash

There are a lot of things I love about GW. There’s also a lot of stuff that GW people like. But sometimes I just don’t get it. I understand that fashion is (kind of) important. You get judged by what you wear. You don’t want to look like a slob. But GW fashion is ridiculous. Everyone seems to wear a variation on the same thing. Especially the girls (pea coat, leggings, Uggs, non-t-shirt shirt, Blackberry, Starbucks).

For a group as uniform in appearance as we are, GW’s a bit judgey about fashion. Which, GW students must be the epitome of class if they’re too good for pants, right? I wouldn’t know, not owning a pair of leggings. Shocker, I know.

But, for as politically active and socially aware as GW students can be (especially PoliComm majors, just sayin’), they are still ridiculous and judgey about clothing and fashion. Case in point. I just… They turned a wonderful and insightful political event of former White House press secretaries into an opportunity to critique professional fashion. Guys… really? I’ve seen girls strutting around thinking this is an okay look. Pick on her!

I’m just saying – it’s kind of preposterous for a 20 year old to pick apart the clothing choices of an adult when said adult is, roughly, 1000% more successful than you. They worked in the freakin’ White House. They corralled unruly journalists (and presidents alike, I’m sure). They were the source of information and poise when talking about the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, 9/11, the beginning of the Iraq War and much, much more. They probably have more things to worry about than what GW students (and C-SPAN viewers) think of their clothes. Most of them run communications firms and… I’m just exasperated.

The event was fantastic, though. I really learned a lot about what the actual job of the press secretary is. Because, as much as I love Aaron Sorkin, Allison Janney, and the West Wing, it was nice to hear a real-world perspective. They spoke candidly about their time in the White House during international crises. They spoke about delivering a message without being the one that crafts the content. They spoke about having to rely on themselves and their gut instincts, all while knowing when to ask questions and become a journalist themselves. And, despite what Ari Fleischer said, they kind of are rock stars. Especially at GW.

Let’s get Literal, literal! I wanna get Literal…

The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows premiere is only a month and a half away and I couldn’t be more excited. Confession: I’ve never before been to a HP midnight premiere. This will be the first time. We’re getting the whole gang together for it. Costumes will be donned, the series re-read, and tickets purchased a month in advance. Look out, Georgetown, you’re going to get invaded by muggles who wish they were wizards.

This summer I confessed to my dad that when I was eleven I waited for my (seemingly inevitable) acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Clearly, it never came, seeing as how I’m sitting in my GW dorm room, but whatever. Maybe I was a little naive. Of course I wouldn’t be accepted to Hogwarts. That school is for British students. And no matter how much I wish I were British, it wasn’t going to happen. My dad mocked me for a very, very, very long time, but I don’t miss having that hope. I did, however, ream him for not having made me a fake letter and having it delivered to me. Would that have been cool, or what? If I ever have kids and they get addicted to Harry Potter, I’m for sure creating a fake wizarding school for them to be accepted to. Or I’ll kindly explain that they’re squibs. It depends on how much I like them.

Regardless, the hope that one day, maybe, I would board the Hogwarts Express with all of the other muggle-born students never really died. Sometimes I catch myself wondering: did the letter just get lost in the mail? For now I’ll just sigh and keep studying my political communications. Maybe one day I’ll be able to work as ambassador for muggle-wizard relations.

I’m Old School Like That

One of the wonderful things about college (academically, at least) are the speakers that come to campus. Recently, GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs procured three new fellows. I just returned to the dorm after seeing our dean, Frank Sesno, hold a discussion with Joe Lockhart. Lockhart is a professional political operative:  he helped found a Washington-based strategic communications firm, has worked on numerous national campaigns and was a press secretary under Clinton. He was witty and interesting and a great source for information about how technology is changing the way that reporters and the public experience news.

According to Sesno and Lockhart, the gatekeepers and grey-beards of old are having trouble filtering what stories will and will not meet public consumption. While at one time (more or less during the Clinton admin) there was an understanding in the press that a story would only go to print if it could be corroborated, that’s not so much the case anymore. We’re now living in a time where people can upload news stories from anywhere at anytime. It’s the 24-hour news cycle.

And it sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how easily I can access information using the internet and I often don’t have the patience to sit down and read the newspaper, and aggregators can be a great way to bundle news that I’ll think is interesting, but it’s not necessarily a good thing. All of this technology, the aggregators for instance, limit my scope of knowledge. Instead of sifting through all of the information a news site puts out, I can read only what I want to know about. That leaves a bit of blank space in which I am entirely uninformed. If that were the case, I would rarely know what was going on in the business world or certain parts of the world.

There’s also something to be said for the instant gratification of it all. We, the young generation who have grown up with iPods and laptops and cell phones are used to everything being accesible at the tips of our fingers. We don’t know how to take a step back. We’re always moving, always looking for new ways to be entertained. We expect to know everything as soon as it happens. But that immediacy isn’t always effective, especially in the age where anyone can publish anything from anywhere. If everyone keeps moving at warp-speed, I feel like something is going to be left behind. Maybe it will be the truth.

It feels almost like information is too easy to come by. When we can easily limit what information gets fed to us, it becomes easier to be apathetic to the types of stories that perhaps don’t interest us, even if they are important. Maybe I’ve romanticized it a little bit in my head, but I want news stories to be accurate and compelling, full of information that is important. I don’t need to know of every affair that’s happened between a senator and whomever or which representative is gay. I want to know when bills are going to be passed and when policy changes happen. Sometimes it just feels like the media is focused on telling the public stories that they feel we, as consumers, are interested in, instead of telling us boring stories, full of minutia, that can impact our lives. Because, really, I don’t care what Kate Gosselin’s doing.

“If I could recruit two more dollars…”

During the never-ending wait for Toy Story 3, amid all of the late night Denny’s runs and despite the grueling hours I put in at the lovely pool (what up, BVFAC?) I still find time to enjoy politics. I started my internship today at the lovely office of Congressman Dennis Kucinich. It was a blast. Yeah, some of the things I was tasked with were menial, but it was never boring. The people there are fun and intelligent and I’ve learned a lot already. I genuinely like the staffers and I’m getting the hang of phoning up agencies (oh, hello FEMA). But sometimes the stories you hear at the office aren’t quite as funny as the ones you hear once you’re home. (Generally speaking, they’re less confidential, too.) Case in point: I get home last night and what does mom have to show me right off the bat: FAVS!!!The Time Obama's Hottie Speechwriter Played Shirtless Beer Pong With His Bros

Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t remember him.

And that great little nugget of gold led me to this, which is, to me, almost more exciting. Plus, it reminds me of the great little pictorial display of Obama Admin. staffers hanging from Anne’s dorm room walls.  Oh, politics. You have yet to bore me to tears.

Tuesdays with Maury, Wednesdays with John

A long time ago I came to terms with a simple fact: I am a geek.  Not only do I read like it’s my job (in actuality, I probably read with more diligence for fun than I would if I were at work), but I have for as long as I can remember always plod through summer with sheer excitement for school to restart. I like to learn. I have a reading list this summer that I compiled for myself. It has sixty-nine books on it, all of them either non-fiction or literature. I’ve been out of school for 17 days and I’ve already read ten books – none of them on my list.

And, for as much TV as I watch (which, believe me, is a lot), it actually helped me, come college! Even the non-educational, completely fictional, escapist shows that I watch helped me ace quizzes and classes in college. And parents say TV rots your brain. Honestly, ten seasons of Stargate SG-1 and seven of the West Wing helped me pass Astronomy and PoliSci, respectively.

The first few books on my reading list: Faiths of the Founding Fathers, The Oxford Companion to World Mythologies, and Generation Kill. I was looking forward to reading Anne’s book about quantum physics, but I forgot to borrow it from her before we parted ways for the summer.

But, seriously, even some of my favorite cartoons  are geeky. Regardless, I can’t wait for Futurama to come back to TV this summer. Also, is it just me, or does the theme song for Futurama sound reminiscent of the chime-y intro to 17? Decide for yourself:

But the geeky thing about me that really seems to take the cake: I love over-the-phone political surveys. Always have. I think they’re fun. Sometimes I bond with the pollsters. Like yesterday, for example. I bonded with the guy interviewing me over the fact that we were both too young to vote in the 2008 election. Apparently, we’re the same age, and even have the same birth month! Go figure. See, politics can be fun. (Speaking of, you go John Sides!)

Refigeratoring: the action of being a refrigerator.

Summer break has officially spoiled me. I’ve been doing nothing but reading, sleeping, eating, and watching tv for the past week and a half. Okay, well I went on a bike ride or two, played some golf, and photographed a softball game, but still. I just spent 15 minutes on Google playing Pacman (it’s the 30th Anniversary. Of Pacman, not Google).

Oh, right. I also found this disturbing dance routine. It’s not the dance itself, so much as the seven year olds doing the moves. And the fact that this song will forever remind me of my PoliSci professor. And Glee.