Proof that there's some good in all of us: Hitler loved dogs, and Trump hates the White House Correspondents' Dinner.
It's creepy to endorse a Trumpian decision, although my creepiness is mitigated by the doubtless fact that Trump based his no-show decision on his hide's exceptional thinness. He's a bullying coward, eager to trash the press at cheering Bund gatherings such as CPAC, but terrified by unintimidated journalists and comedic critics. There are no political kitchens whose heat he can stand, and so he avoids them.
That said, with or without Trump the WHCD has become a national obscenity. All-day C-Span coverage of who's traipsing Washington and Hollywood's insiders' red carpet is a dispiriting adventure in egocentrism. To "be seen" is the event's fundamental objective; to be uninvited is a professional disgrace. Or so goes the insiders' self-assessments.
To willing outsiders, the annual event's aristocratic nature (scarcely a feature of yeomanlike journalism) has become so grotesque, ridicule is all that's left. As the Washington post reports, "Comedian Samantha Bee announced in January that she was planning an alternative event on the same night for 'journalists and non-irritating celebrities from around the world.' (Its tentative name: 'Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.)"
Nonetheless, the White House Correspondents’ Association is determined to maintain the fallacy that the yearly, preening penguin-suit gathering is a noble occasion: "[The dinner] has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment," wrote the WHCA's president in response to Trump's declared absence. Then so were the Dean Martin roasts.
From 2012, here's what Andrew Sullivan had to say about his attendance at the, ahem, First Amendment's celebration: "It was a really magical evening…. I bumped into many people – we were next to John Legend and his fiancee and the British ambassador and his wife at dinner – and did have a brief and warm chat with the president…. George Clooney came up to say hi. Not since Jon Hamm came out as a Dish reader at the White House Correspondents' Dinner did such a shiver go up my leg."
I don't mean to pick on Sullivan. His reflections above, though, represent the self-promotional essence of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. It possesses virtually no other reason for being. It has become a national obscenity.