Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wait until they read Vineland.

The New York Observer's Chris Lehmann reports from an after-party somewhere in D.C. following the (now-infamous) White House Correspondents Association gala. Like Lehmann, I don't know what any of this means, except that Gravity's Rainbow appears to be the secret key to understand the Bush Administration in its baroque phase:

A VERY, VERY DRUNK G.O.P. CONSULTANT—swaying as he stood, his bowtie unclasped and draped around his neck and his vest askew, pointed toward some spot overhead with a bottle of Amstel Light. “It’s all in that Thomas Pynchon novel,” he said.

Which Thomas Pynchon novel? The Crying of Lot 49? V?

“No, no,” he said. “That other one.”

Ah. Gravity’s Rainbow.

“Yes! That’s the one 500,000-page novel I read—and Thomas Pynchon is the best living American writer!”

The consultant, now well afield from his original point, then whipped out a jewelry box that contained a set of cufflinks from some long-ago Senate campaign—for a guy named Rawlings, near as could be made out in the dim light of the tent abutting the Macedonian Embassy.

Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman happened along then. The swaying consultant thrust the cufflinks at him. Mr. Mehlman volunteered a story about President Bush, who honored some work Mr. Mehlman had done on the President’s re-election campaign with a gift of cufflinks.

“And I told him, ‘I paid for those cufflinks seven times,’” Mr. Mehlman said, in a tone just shy of belligerent. “And he looked at me and said, ‘That’s good.’”

This was the shank end of a long day’s drinking—about 2:30 a.m.—and making sense was not at a premium.

You sure he didn't mean Mortality & Mercy in Vienna? (DC, party, hacks, surprising outcome . . .)
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