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“[I] am a serving officer in the Iraqi Special Forces,” he said. “We don’t wear underwear.”
July 6, 2012 7:47 AM   Subscribe

The Worst Marriage in Georgetown
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed (47 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wonder if he was related to Clark Rockefeller.
posted by Melismata at 8:10 AM on July 6, 2012


A glimpse into the black, corrupted soul of the Republic, the Georgetown dinner party.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:20 AM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


No worse a liar than most members of the bush administration. He certainly killed fewer people.
posted by empath at 8:29 AM on July 6, 2012


Somehow I'd hoped that members of the Bush administration wouldn't become the moral benchmark, even just for people involved in politics.
posted by koeselitz at 8:31 AM on July 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't think "fabulist" is a synonym for "mentally ill."
posted by scratch at 8:36 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh. I'd have guessed George Will.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:53 AM on July 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


We know it doesn't count until the NY Times writes about it, but there are a few places in DC that have mentioned this story.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:59 AM on July 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 9:02 AM on July 6, 2012


I doubt this is the worst marriage in Georgetown. And while that isn't the point of the story, it must be said the story is not at all well served with this title. (The Times really just gets worse and worse at this journalism shtick.)
posted by DarlingBri at 9:03 AM on July 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Fascinating. I was picturing Muth as Matt Damon from The Talented Mr. Ripley while reading the article, and it seems to be not that far off.

It's an interesting observation about how people with power just assume that anyone who makes it to their desk has already been vetted by underlings.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:13 AM on July 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's a long standing rule in DC among natives that if you meet someone and they dress like a fucking Baron or something theyre most likely a liar and you should do no business with them.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:20 AM on July 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


I doubt this is the worst marriage in Georgetown.

Maybe, but it's gotta be up there with the worst of them. He was an abusive, inveterate liar who sponged off his wife for years and then (quite probably) murdered her.
posted by jedicus at 9:21 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a long standing rule in DC among natives that if you meet someone and they dress like a fucking Baron or something theyre most likely a liar and you should do no business with them.

fuck you this is a colonel outfit
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:23 AM on July 6, 2012 [29 favorites]


oh yes. most excellent. i grew up in DC, of government parents, and boy does this capture what only DC can offer in terms of the many corridors of power-mongering, naiveté, and just the sheer insanity of individuals with (often comprehensible) political agendas seeking their own validation. wow. don't analyze. just embrace it.
posted by buffalo at 9:39 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Guests at their dinners included Anne Patterson, Obama’s ambassador to Egypt; Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift; and Pierre Salinger, the Kennedy courtier, followed by his little white dog. Antonin Scalia was another guest... In 2006, even Dick Cheney emerged from his bunker to attend a party that Drath hosted.

Why? Why on earth would these people risk their reputation to associate with an obvious fraud?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:40 AM on July 6, 2012


It's a long standing rule in DC among natives that if you meet someone and they dress like a fucking Baron or something theyre most likely a liar and you should do no business with them.

That never stopped Ahmed Chalabi.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:41 AM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's a long standing rule in DC among natives that if you meet someone and they dress like a fucking Baron or something theyre most likely a liar and you should do no business with them.

fuck you this is a colonel outfit


There was an old man with a huge white beard who used to attend Georgetown University spirit events in what appeared to be a Confederate soldier uniform to dance wildly, like Ian Curtis, to the terrible music of the student bands. He would also occasionally wander the Georgetown waterfront dressed as the Naked Cowboy, in huge white underwear, cowboy boots, a large cowboy hat and a guitar.
posted by superquail at 9:43 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


He would also occasionally wander the Georgetown waterfront dressed as the Naked Cowboy, in huge white underwear, cowboy boots, a large cowboy hat and a guitar.

Reader, I married him.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:46 AM on July 6, 2012 [21 favorites]


Why on earth would these people risk their reputation to associate with an obvious fraud?

Probably because at that point they weren't 100% certain if he was a fraud or if they were, weren't 100% certain that he mightn't still be a useful acquaintance to cultivate, or if were, then hey, it's still a free night out.

That story's pretty much a metaphor for DC.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:52 AM on July 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


'In 2006, even Dick Cheney emerged from his bunker to attend a party that Drath hosted.'

Why? Why on earth would these people risk their reputation to associate with an obvious fraud?


Dick Cheney's not a fraud. His papers from the Kaiser are in good order.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:52 AM on July 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Talented woman marries crazy manipulative douchebag who uses her for his own benefit: ends up getting abused regularly." Granted, this is a bit of a more extreme scenario (and it was a very entertaining link, so please don't feel like I'm criticizing the person who submitted it) but still... not exactly an earth-shattering phenomenon.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:54 AM on July 6, 2012


I was picturing Muth as Matt Damon from The Talented Mr. Ripley while reading the article, and it seems to be not that far off.

Heh. I see him more as Damon in The Informant! myself.
posted by bonehead at 10:00 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fascinating story, thanks.
posted by msalt at 10:07 AM on July 6, 2012


from article: “The former Pakistani ambassador to Iraq, a recipient of Muth’s e-mails, wrote a column in The Dawn newspaper that credited Muth with restraining Sadr: ‘Perhaps [Muth] had been inspired by the sterling example of the Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who welded modern Germany.’”

He missed a golden opportunity here. If I were Albrecht, I would have thenceforth christened myself "Otto von Bismuth."
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Loathsome people, yet somehow still boring. Couldn't finish the article.
posted by Jeff Mangum's Penny-farthing at 10:20 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the Washingtonian: "Upon Reflection: Albrecht Muth and Viola Drath. While the accused murderer undergoes a competency evaluation, the author looks back at some odd encounters with him and his wife." By Carol Ross Joynt
posted by zarq at 10:38 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


People went to the parties because they had existing relationships with Ms. Drath and her late husband, who were the real deal.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:44 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jesus Christ. I didn't think I'd finish that feeling so dismayed--of all things--or that I'd be so curious what the men he dated would have to say about the whole ordeal.
posted by psoas at 10:47 AM on July 6, 2012


so curious what the men he dated would have to say about the whole ordeal.

Hey, everyone loves a guy in a phony uniform.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 10:51 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


octobersurprise: "That story's pretty much a metaphor for DC."

Georgetown (or the weird political-cachet-seeking crowd) is by no means representative of DC. If anything, it's a footnote to the city's soul (and one that contradicts almost everything else about the place).

I cannot overstate just how much this sort of thing is overplayed in the media, and the daydreams of people who have never lived here. Yes, this sort of thing exists, but it's incredibly, incredibly rare. In fact, I'd wager that it's much more common in places like New York.

"DC" is full of civil servants who talk about (and bring along) the most recent issue of The Economist on first dates.
posted by schmod at 10:54 AM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Too easy to picture them as Lucille and Buster Bluth. "Army had half a day, Mother."
posted by that's how you get ants at 10:55 AM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dude threw a chair at a 90 year old lady and knocked her off a sofa. Pretty well sums up what a fucking monster this guy was - regardless who he tricked into having dinner with him.
posted by helmutdog at 11:03 AM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Talented woman marries crazy manipulative douchebag who uses her for his own benefit: ends up getting abused regularly." Granted, this is a bit of a more extreme scenario (and it was a very entertaining link, so please don't feel like I'm criticizing the person who submitted it) but still... not exactly an earth-shattering phenomenon.

Back under the bridge, please.
posted by clockzero at 11:08 AM on July 6, 2012


Georgetown (or the weird political-cachet-seeking crowd) is by no means representative of DC.

That's true. I was short-handing "DC" for "Georgetown/Hill/inner-beltway-media power structure." I don't think my observation is completely inaccurate, but you're right to point out that there are many, many parts of the city that have little or nothing to do with the political-cachet-seeking crowd.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:09 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"DC" is full of civil servants who talk about (and bring along) the most recent issue of The Economist on first dates.

Hey, I resemble that remark!

That's right, gentlemen, I have a steady career with secure employment. Call now while I'm still available!
posted by psoas at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Georgetown/Hill/inner-beltway-media power structure

Even that gets it wrong. People like Sally Quinn and Tucker Carlson and the rest of the bow-tie/sun-dress set have no actual power.
posted by downing street memo at 11:30 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


In fact, I'd wager that it's much more common in places like New York.

Rich and powerful people don't even live in the same New York as everyone else, so no, I don't think so.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:30 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


People like Sally Quinn and Tucker Carlson and the rest of the bow-tie/sun-dress set have no actual power.

For some value of "actual power."
posted by octobersurprise at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2012


For some value of "actual power."

It's a somewhat pedantic point but all I'm trying to say is that conflating the cocktail party set with the group of people who actually make and influence political decisions isn't accurate. The latter group is more diverse (for just about all values of diverse), is more likely to be actually working than attending fancy Georgetown parties, and generally is just as skeptical of that group as anyone else.
posted by downing street memo at 11:46 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


octobersurprise: "That's true. I was short-handing "DC" for "Georgetown/Hill/inner-beltway-media power structure." I don't think my observation is completely inaccurate, but you're right to point out that there are many, many parts of the city that have little or nothing to do with the political-cachet-seeking crowd."

The most surprising thing about living in Washington is just how tiny even that Hill/media structure is. I work for the freaking Senate, and am only barely aware of its existence (however, it must be said that there is a bit more visible schmoozing around the executive branch). For the most part, it seems very small, even among 'connected' folks.

I'm not even sure that the namedroppers are even all that common in the "popularly-perceived" power circles (although I've anecdotally observed that lots of AU folks sure do like to name drop). The climbers and namedroppers come to DC with some grand notions of what the place is like, quickly get disillusioned, and leave within a few years. Simply put, you don't gain political power in DC by climbing here; you climb elsewhere, then move here; or you come here with lots of money in hand. After all, DC doesn't elect the people who run the show, and 'inner-beltway' is a bit of a pejorative in national politics...

Muth is an extreme outlier, given just how far he got by faking it; it's actually not surprising at all that people trusted him, since it was generally considered impossible to have done what he did.

Having finally read through the whole article, I'd say that this story would have been better framed as having taken place among the wealthy elites of America, rather than (inaccurately, IMO) constraining it to DC political circles. Muth faked his appearance in such a way that seems more reminiscent of an NYC socialite than anything I've observed in DC. It almost seems fitting that the Times provided much more coverage of the story than the Post; the NYT thrives on this kind of upper-crust gossip. You could have picked this story up, and moved it to any large US city, and it would have been equally, if not more plausible.

Also, I'd add a +1 the other comments questioning exactly how much actual power that these circles really have over policy matters.
posted by schmod at 12:13 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


conflating the cocktail party set with the group of people who actually make and influence political decisions isn't accurate.

I think we can meet somewhere in the middle here. Undoubtedly, there are many members of the set of "Georgetown cocktail party/media groupies/political hangers-on" who have zero influence on any actually effective political decision; also undoubtedly, a lot of the members of these sets believe they have more influence than they actually do. On the other hand, it seems implausible to believe that political decisions are made in such a vacuum that none of the people in these sets are ever capable of exerting the soft power of persuasion, money, or affiliations over any actually effective political decision. That's really my only point.

You might be a nutball, but if Dick Cheney comes to your party, then you are perceived to have a degree of influence or a degree of usefulness, at least.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:47 PM on July 6, 2012


Well, I read the title, and as someone who married his wife in Georgetown and had a wicked verbal disagreement with her last night, I was worried this was about something entirely different.

I will say, after 4 years living in Georgetown, there is a very dark and deeply psychopathic undercurrent in that place and I was very glad to leave. The Exorcist is one of less disturbing things that happened there.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:50 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting how all these stories have the same elements, right down to the suicides - my former nasty little social climber self is admiring the balls but tutting the lack of technique and long game.
posted by The Whelk at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a crazy story!
posted by ph00dz at 2:19 PM on July 6, 2012


Loathsome people, yet somehow still boring. Couldn't finish the article.

Funny thing, I'd come to say the opposite -- I couldn't put it down. I also highly recommend zarq's link to "Upon Reflection," above. What an unsettling little man.

As someone who hasn't been able to lie since childhood, I'm fascinated by accounts of high-society grifters -- not the fictional ones, who are always so suave and well-put-together, but the ones who actually made it for a while. They always seem like such flagrant impostors. When all of the accounts are put together after the fact, everyone seems to be saying, "I thought something was off about that guy . . . It was just so hard to believe . . . It seemed harmless . . ." Everyone wants to ignore their intuition because they can't believe that someone would tell such bald lies. And so do the Salahis of life sneak in through the front door.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:22 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That never stopped Ahmed Chalabi.

This is actually a good point. Muth had the instincts for social climbing, but unfortunately for him was born a generation too late. If he had come out of Germany in 1950, when America was pumping money into Europe to stop communism, he might've have ended up assistant to the Chancellor or something. But all that suppressed rage would have brought him down eventually.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:25 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


This grim tale kept nipping at the corner of my mind--there was something familiar about the characters, but it wasn't a Georgetown thing. This morning's news reminded me that I was thinking about poor Zsa Zsa Gabor and her creepy uniformed fake Prince escort. Zsa Zsa too knew what she was getting when she married a much younger social-climbing man with no job or assets of his own. Some women simply can't imagine themselves ever getting old enough to be vulnerable to abuse or neglect... but I bet the men could.
posted by Scram at 8:06 AM on July 12, 2012


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