Friday, 20 June 2008

All Rise

I’ve realized that organizing meetings, which I have done a lot lately, is quite an art form. You have to balance elements of information dissemination, ego-stroking and entertainment, calculate how long people can go without a loo-wow break and make sure that, whatever your food budget permits, there’s plenty of it. So it’s amazing to see how badly this is done by the so-called professionals.

A group of us wandered down to City Hall Wednesday night for the New York City Council’s Pride Week awards ceremony where my sympathy for the openly lesbian president of that body (and aspirant to succeed Mayor Bloomberg), Christine Quinn, quickly dissipated when it became clear that she has the Hillary disease, i.e. a constitutional incapacity to let go of a microphone.

I know politicians have to recognize everyone from their Rolodex and not leave anyone out, but one could run through the list and ask people to hold the applause. Or hurry through other parts of the program, especially if it starts an hour late. But not our city officials, for whom we had to perform as an increasingly listless claque. Quinn and her buddies were happy in their little world, and we were left to play the ruminant herd standing by to bleat on cue. If they’d have fed us beforehand, at least we could have been chewing our cud.

Politics attracts many people with an unseemly need for attention, and power then feeds their disease as they get used to the slavering masses hanging on their grandiose phrase-balloons. They are joined in those numinous heights by the pontificating classes in a permanent linking of heavenly arms. Tim Russert’s endless papal funeral now makes even more sense.

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