First off, we have a new “Think Again” column entitled “Free Ride to theFinish Line,” about guess who, which is here. Second, I came across thisgenuinely lovely review–ten years after itspublication–of my Springsteen book, so thanks to Scott Parker for this.
Ok, here’s an actual Inauguration post:
So let’s face it. The Inauguration was pretty much a disaster.
The DC cops did not care if anyone actually saw the speech.(I was in the crowd sent into the tunnel to nowhere, where nobody knewnothing. At the gate I ended up in–the wrong one for my ticket–themetal detectors broke and everyone had to be hand-searched. Thousandsof people with tickets, who travelled thousands of miles, spent thespeech crammed together in a tiny area unable to see or hear anything. Ileft, but only after I was literally kicked in the head by a small childon his father’s shoulders.
Obama gave, by my calculations, only his fifth best speech atbest; not as good as: the 2004 convention, the Martin Luther King Dayspeech in Alabama, the race speech, the Denver speech and maybe some Inever heard nor saw.
Most of the events I went to were actually catastrophes. Ienjoyed the HuffPost party but I only got in because I was with VictorNavasky, who had visited his friend Kenny Lerer, and been given apurple wristband, which allowed me to talk my way into two more purplearmbands. Otherwise, I would have been with the freezing hordes who wereeventually turned away, without having been invited. Also the drinklines were ten deep. I do not exaggerate.
Another event I went to–a big one–was so awful, at thelevel of the wrist-band I was originally given that it felt like a punchin the face to the people who had paid thousands of dollars to be there;bad food, no access to the entertainment, and believe it or not, aping-pong table as the only thing to do, besides stare at the lobbyistsand their clients who had been roped in without due diligence. I didn’tpay anything, and eventually, I was able to land a decent wristband, andso I had a good time, but it struck me as symbolic. For a few thousandbucks or so, the contempt was palpable. For twenty grand, you weretreated decently. (I’m not being more specific because I’ve notcommitted to burning this particular bridge yet.)
One band I went to see, paying fifty bucks in cabs,round-trip, did not come on in time for me to stay away long enough tosee them. (Jason Isabel–the guy who left the DBTs when he got divorcedfrom one of its members.) I think it was around midnight.
“The Rising” with a gospel chorus, was a great idea that justdid not work. Did we really need a Black president to have Garth Brookssing an Isley Brothers song?