White House party crashers fit a new mold: Fame at all costs
On the heels of ‘Balloon Boy,’ the White House party crashers reveal that all the world is an episode of ‘Punk’d’.
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But there’s a darker side, too: In the Salahis case, economic troubles may have ratcheted the couple’s predilection for pranks to a new, distressing level. Mr. Salahi is reportedly trying to stave off a $1 million debt in order to save his winery.Skip to next paragraph
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The couple apparently managed to convince producers for Bravo TV, who are casting for “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” that they had an invitation to the White House State Dinner, the President’s first. The two gatecrashers were seen exiting a car with a TV crew, including a makeup woman. They somehow got past the first line of Secret Service gate checkers and after that it was smooth sailing.
Looking like any other DC power couple in a tux and glimmering red dress, the couple worked the receiving line, and got snapshots with Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel and even the boss, President Obama himself, all of which were promptly posted on Facebook. The Secret Service has categorically denied that the Salahis were invited.
Though embarrassing for the Secret Service, it’s clear the couple never posed a danger to the president, other than the notion by some that Ms. Salahi could have given the President a peck wearing poison lipstick.
As most reporters -- many of whom are veteran gate-crashes at parties they weren’t invited to -- are aware, there are always weaknesses in any security cordon. And though the Salahis may be looking at criminal charges, is it really a crime to go to a party without an invitation? Are you at fault if you’re savvy or well-dressed enough to get waved in?
“Crashing a party, even at The White House, does not rise to the level of a federal crime, so much as indicate dismay that the officials in charge were not able to keep the riff raff out,” the HuffPo’s Michael Russnow writes.
Even TV producers seem taken aback by this rash of fame-hunters staking it all on publicity stunts that are both ethically and legally questionable.
All of which may be in our historical nature.
"Americans are exhibitionists by nature, and have been so for generations, perhaps as an ongoing, unresolved reaction against the country's original Puritanism, which censured blusterers and showoffs,” writes the Daily Beast’s Tunku Varadarajan. “This is a large and competitive country, in which the most reliable way to catch the eye, or to rise above the throng is … to catch the eye and rise above the throng. Of course, when an entire throng is trying to rise above itself, an epidemic of free-form vulgarity and solipsism ensues."
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