Friday, November 27, 2009

Reality Check

THREE ASSHOLES: But only one of them belongs there. From the Facebook page of wanna-be reality 'stars' Tareq and Michaele Salahi, a photo of them crashing the White House on Tuesday [above]. Here they join another asshole, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

When this reality TV bullshit started about 10 years ago, I knew that it would lead to the end of popular culture as we knew it. I didn't realize, however, that it would also lead to possible death of rescue personnel or a major breach of security at the White House. Even now, ten years later, I still cannot for the life of me discern what is entertaining about watching people - who you wouldn't let into your home if they were on your doorstep - enter your abode through the Idiot Box. Granted, they can't use the bathroom if you're must watching them on TV. But otherwise, I have never, ever, ever gotten the fascination with reality TV.

Recently, we went from the death of popular culture to the possible death of rescue personnel. That nearly happened recently when the asshole reality TV-wannabees Richard Heene and Mayumi Iizuka put the lives of countless rescue people in jeopardy as they tried to get their kid out of a giant instant popcorn tin that had floated away. Fortunately, no one was injured trying to save the phantom kid. Unfortunately, our society is not yet at a place where Richard and Mayumi would be taken out and shot immediately as their punishment for such foolishness.

Now, we have the assholes like Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashing the White House. First of all, why can't she spell her name like a normal person? It's Michelle you dumb bitch, not Michaele. Second, call me a racist, but when I find out that an unauthorized guy named Tareq is within feet of the President of the United States, I want to know where in the fuck is the Secret Service?

All of this is happening because now everyone wants to be on TV. I think it is time that Congress do something worthwhile for a change. There should be legislation passed immediately that says that if you do anything stupid in the name of trying to get on television, you, your accomplices and anyone who has 'friended' you on Facebook will be put to death with no trial. Period.

A bit harsh? I don't give a fuck. We have got to put an end to this scourge of reality TV and get back to the golden age when people who were celebrities had really done something worth celebrating.

This latest horror involved a couple of wanna-be reality TV assholes from Northern Virginia who crashed the White House's state dinner Tuesday night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation to mingle with the likes of Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. I have no problem if they want engage in a manage a trois with Emanuel. But when they managed to get within a bitch-slap of the Vice President, we all have a problem.

These latest assholes - the Salahis -- are self-described "polo-playing socialites" whose claims to fame prior to Tuesday were a bitter family feud over a D.C.-area winery. These two idiots were slated to "star" in a forthcoming piece of celluloid bullshit called "The Real Housewives of Washington". They arrived at the White House and quickly posted on Facebook photos of themselves with VIPs at the elite gathering. "Honored to be at the White House for the state dinner in honor of India with President Obama and our First Lady!" one of them wrote on their joint Facebook page at 9:08 p.m.

There appears to be some discrepancy as to whether or not these two were or were not interlopers. A White House official initially said the couple was not invited to the dinner, not included on the official guest list and never seated at a table in the South Lawn tent. This was met by someone describing herself as a publicist for the Salahis who denied that they were trespassing. Pressed for details, this bimbo - appropriately named Mahogany Jones - sent a statement saying simply: "The Salahis were honored to be a part of such a prestigious event. . . . They both had a wonderful time."

While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner. The uninvited guests were in the same room as President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - although I don't particularly care if they bring Singh into their aforementioned tryst with Emanuel. I'm more concerned about them getting anywhere near the Obamas or Bidens. No one seems to know whether the Salahis met the Obamas or Singh.

"Everyone who enters the White House grounds goes through magnetometers and several other levels of screenings," said Ed Donovan - a spokesman for the Secret Service - unconvincingly. "That was the case with the state dinner Tuesday night. No one was under any risk or threat." How in the fuck would the Secret Service know? If they can't give me the blood types and Social Security numbers of every human who enters the White House, we have a problem, folks.

Donovan said a preliminary internal investigation has identified "a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedure to ensure these two individuals were on the invited guest list." He declined to give further details. An administration official said the White House will conduct its own review. Gee, I hope so, as it's obvious the Secret Service can't be trusted to do it.
The Salahis, both claiming to be in their 40s, showed up about halfway through the guest arrivals. A Marine announced their names, and the couple -- he in a tux, she in a red and gold lehenga [which is apparently traditional Indian formal wear] -- swept past reporters and photographers, stopping several times to pose for pictures. They then walked into the White House lower hallway, where they mingled with guests on the red carpet before heading up to the cocktail reception in the East Room.

Later, these two assholes posted pictures that seem to chart their course through the night: Michaele posing with Marines outside near the White House doors, and with Katie Couric and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) inside the mansion. I'm not even sure Couric should be allowed in the White House, but at least she started as a journalist before becoming famous for televising her colonoscopies. In the East Room, the Salahis both cozied up to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his wife, Michelle.

That was nothing: once inside the dinner tent, they got pictures that appeared to show them with ABC's Robin Roberts, Bollywood composer AR Rahman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Obama Chief of Staff Emanuel (identified as "Ron" in the couple's Facebook photo caption; I'll give them points for goofing up his name) and two with a grinning Vice President Biden. The photos end there -- no shots of the Salahis sitting at a table, their seatmates or the post-dinner entertainment.

How could it happen? You could ask that question both about how these two pricks got into the White House as well as how American popular culture as sunk to such depths. A former White House senior staffer -- who more than a decade ago encountered a crasher at one of the executive mansion's less-fancy parties -- offered this theory: a savvy pair of crashers, dressed to the nines, might arrive on foot at the visitors' entrance, announce their names -- then express shock and concern when the security detail at the gate failed to find them on the guest list. On a rainy night like Tuesday, with a crowd of 300-plus arriving, security might have lost track of or granted a modicum of sympathy to a pair who certainly looked as though they belonged there. If their IDs didn't send up any red flags in the screening process, they would be sent through the magnetometers and into the White House. Yes, you read that last part right. And yet, the former staffer noted, someone from the White House social office should have been posted at the guest entrance with the guards.

If you can believe it, apparently once visitors were in the White House itself, no one necessarily would ask them for further identification. They could check their coats, give their names to the Marine on duty, walk past reporters and into the lower hallway where guests picked up their table assignments. They would pass the junior staffers handing out seating cards and walk on up the stairs for cocktails in the East Room. Of the White House.

Later, all guests were directed to head for the dinner tent on the South Lawn. Facebook photos suggest that the Salahis walked into the tent; it's unclear when they left. Reporters were cleared from the entryway by the time dinner seating got under way. There is no security checkpoint to leave the grounds.

The Salahis seem to think they were destined for national fame via reality TV. Michaele, a razor-thin blond who used to be a Redskins cheerleader [meaning she not only can't pick a winner in husbands but lacks the skill to choose one in football teams], has apparently been in contention as one of the "Real Housewives" in the forthcoming D.C. edition of a Bravo cable series. Although Bravo has not officially finalized its cast - and I can imagine how painstaking a process that must be - its cameras have followed the couple at numerous parties -- including something called the "America's Polo Cup" held on the Mall in September, part of a series of tournaments the Salahis founded a few years ago. Abby Greensfelder, head of the local production team Half Yard Productions, referred questions about the Salahis to Bravo. A Bravo representative wisely declined to comment.

Prior to this brush with fame, these two numb-nuts had gained some notoriety for a long-running feud with Tareq's parents, Dirgham and Corinne Salahi, over control of the family's Oasis Winery in Hume, Virginia. Last year, Tareq accused his mother's attorney of punching him; the lawyer was found not guilty. Court records show that Oasis filed for bankruptcy in February, with Tareq listed as "debtor designee." A note on the winery's Web site promises a reopening for business in 2010. Their 'America's Polo Cup' has also endured controversy, last year drawing a lawsuit from a Middleburg caterer over alleged non-payment. That suit remains unresolved.

Hours before the White House denied that the Salahis were legitimate guests, the Washington Post asked the couple - via Facebook - how they happened to attend the dinner. Tareq responded: "India is the challenger in the America's Polo Cup World Championships June 11/12 2010, and they are very excited in this first ever cultural connection being hosted on the DC National Mall since Polo is one of the primary sports in India." When pressed about why they did not appear on the official list, he added, "it was last-minute attending."

If I have my way, doing something like that again will be the last "last-minute" thing assholes like these two will ever do.

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