So a feminist walks into a conservative conference...
The night before, Anna Merlan and I had gingerly made our way from our Uber to the steps of a place I heard referred to as “The Embassy,” “The Breitbart Mansion,” and “that place where they have that big party,” unsure of what kind of murder situation we were willingly entering. We’d been invited by a man we’d never met before who spotted us and told us to come to a party in a strange city, miles from our hotel, something no self-respecting urbanite would do unless they were interested in having a kidney stolen. Later, I’d confirm that our welcoming committee was Stephen K. Bannon, a screenwriter, a commentator, and a gregarious shit talker who called me a “commie” with a twinkle in his eye within 30 seconds of properly meeting me. Steve is at once too brash and too canny to commit murder. I feel safe attending this party. I think.
“THESE TWO LADIES ARE MY GUESTS!” Steve bellowed as we approached the stairs. And with that, the two security guards stationed outside stepped aside, and we entered a room packed wall-to-wall with what has been called CPAC’s “Most Impressive.” This year, in honor of everybody’s favorite television program Duck Dynasty, the party had a bluegrass n’ moonshine theme. There was a live band. There were hay bales. There were cute female bartenders in plaid shirts. A water cooler full of whiskey sour. There was a picnic basket full of Twinkies and other cellophane wrapped snack foods. A catering staff. Cigars. So many cigars.
What is it with conservative men and cigars?
The conservative conference's most blustery saber-rattling occurs in a large room with the capacity to hold thousands of Regulars and hundreds of Media People and their dozens of cameras. The Regulars filter in and out as their interest waxes and wanes during the nonstop parade of speakers; the ambient sound of the space is this coming and going, bodies jammed up against each other during marquee speeches and then separated by dozens of chairs during lulls. When the room fills up and the important figures take the stage, it's a truly epic celebration of bombastic talking points.
The main stage speeches are pure dick-measuring contests, as are all speeches at all political events. Every speech answers a set of key conservative hot button issue-related questions:
- How great is America? (The best fuckin' country in the history of the world! *guitar riff*)
- What about Common Core? (Best answer, by Donald Trump: "Common core is bad! Bad! Second Amendment good!")
- How do you feel about the Second Amendment? (Second Amendment GOOD.)
- Abortion? ISIS? Obama? Hillary Clinton? The Affordable Care Act? Amnesty for undocumented immigrants? Unions? Taxes? (BAD! All very bad!)
By the second day of the convention, the main stage speeches (with a couple of exceptions) sounded so numbingly similar that they began to melt into each other, like a binge read of the Fox Nation comment section with all of the swears and misplaced homonyms taken out. Even the so-called "Lightning Round" of post-speech word association couldn't break up the monotony, although it made a noble attempt.
|I exaggerate, but only just|
|Clint Eastwood. The defence rests.|