Monday, June 08, 2009

Eavesdropping on D.C.

The D.C. Interns blog sums up its target:

Over the next three months you have paper runs, coffee runs, and envelope licking to fill your days. As a consolation prize, you will be provided an intern badge, conveniently red, fashioned as your scarlet letter. This will identify your status to all of DC. A status that you interpret as “important” and we interpret as “tired” and “obnoxious.”

Aiming to correct the egregious behavior of aspiring lackeys, the blog recounts laughworthy but worrying examples such as this tour-leading intern:
High School Kid: "Are Ted Kennedy and Edward Kennedy related?"

Intern (authoritatively): "They're brothers."

And this:
Intern 1: I like, wanna try getting waterboarded.

His intern friends: What?!

Intern 1: Yeah, like I feel like it would be totally grounding.

Hear this blog tell of an intern who signed legislation meant for her boss. And observe more willful stupidity:
Intern 1: I'm not good with numbers.
Intern 2: Oh, I'm really good with numbers. Just not the times tables. I gave up on those.
Intern 1: That's okay, memorization is for baby boomers.
Intern 2: I know, right? I had to go to some research seminar last year. It was total bulls**t. I mean, maybe back before the internet...
Intern 1: But you can just look stuff up on Wikipedia now. I mean, I can learn more in twenty seconds than I could from reading books.
Intern 2: I totally agree.

It is unpleasantly amusing to think that those who answer phones and prioritize mail for the halls of power are supremely confident in their hodgepodge understanding of Wikipedia entries.

The horror continues with the sighting of "Two red-badge toting interns sharing a copy of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations ... Cliffs Notes version."

This provokes an aphorism: Ideology is to reality as Cliff's Notes are to great literature.

Attention-grabbing tales of D.C. Interns are by nature outliers, so we may hope that these tales reflect the follies only of the dullest political and careerist youth.

The Capitolist, a blog which claims to accept anonymous postings only from Capitol Hill IP addresses, serves a related purpose. Acting as a direct line into the various ids of staffers and interns, it allows the reader to eavesdrop on the type of internet dependent who works in a Capitol Hill office.

Many of the comments are pleas from clueless workers who lack a social life. Those competent enough to acquire juicy gossip likely won't share it there. They are astute enough to use sensitive information to advance their careers and to bait reporters.

But their ineffectual expressions of opinion are of minor interest.

For instance, a March 30 entry praising Catholic dissent generated replies two (clever), three(anti-papal), four(anti-dissent) five (pro-dissent) and six (pro-dissent).

Those wishing to monitor legislative obsessions may find The Capitolist useful. But note that mockery of constituents quickly turns tiresome.

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