Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Dinners with Dubya
January 13, 2009 4:39 AM   Subscribe

C. Brian Smith gets invited to dinner at a college friend's house. The father drinks "non beer" and scolds the dog for farting. Smith remembers that he has a joint in the cigarette box in his pocket. One of the sisters "severs the tension by asking her father how many words he screwed up" during a recent speech he gave. Just another family dinner at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
posted by tractorfeed (107 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Emergency brake. Brake. Brake. There is a typo in the first paragraph. And again, a 'tap of the breaks.' Sorry, but this one kills me.
posted by fixedgear at 4:55 AM on January 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


Haha! Brilliant find(s) fixedgear. I can't believe a major publication doesn't have a qualified proofreader. That or they rely on MS Word's spellchecker.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:00 AM on January 13, 2009


Too soon.
posted by DU at 5:00 AM on January 13, 2009


Too late.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:02 AM on January 13, 2009 [9 favorites]


That's a great article. There's something so poignant in the small things.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:02 AM on January 13, 2009


Too soon to be too late, too late to be too soon. To do be do be do.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:03 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


The actual source of the invites--Babs jr.--falls out of the picture almost immediately in this article, making it sound like he's just hanging out with her creepy, homophobic, lazy, fart-joke-telling dad. I'd be more interested to hear how/why/if his friendship with Barbara didn't survive dinner and movie nights that included her father. I'd sure hate to be judged on the politics and lifestyle of my old man.
posted by availablelight at 5:07 AM on January 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


Cool story, although the part where he asks his parents to remove the pics is kinda gay.
posted by micha at 5:07 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had always imagined Bush's private moments at the Whitehouse with him yelling at the tv, "Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping! heehee. Gotcha, Swiper, you dumb dog."
posted by stavrogin at 5:08 AM on January 13, 2009 [41 favorites]


The sight of metal detectors and dogs reminds me that I am carrying one half of a marijuana cigarette in my Camel Lights pack.


That's a good time to remember you're carrying, you know right before you get searched by the Secret Service.
posted by nola at 5:20 AM on January 13, 2009


Swiper is a fox, stavrogin. But maybe your point is that Bush is a dummy...
posted by Mister_A at 5:22 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before I know it, I have a Heineken in hand

Strike one Bush, strike one.
posted by clearly at 5:26 AM on January 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


That's a good time to remember you're carrying, you know right before you get searched by the Secret Service.

Would they really care? Their mission objective is to protect POTUS. They don't meet arrest quotas by making pot busts.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:28 AM on January 13, 2009


Good read.

Thanks.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 5:30 AM on January 13, 2009


...my entire net worth is rattling around the sticky change holder next to the emergency break.

I’m humbled by its presence and tap the breaks a couple of times.


So how'd you enjoy Yale, C. Brian Smith? That class on homonyms was a real snoozer, huh?

(on preview -- echoing fixedgear, above)
posted by Shepherd at 5:34 AM on January 13, 2009


Swiper is a fox, stavrogin. But maybe your point is that Bush is a dummy...

Ohh maaaaan. Yeah, I knew.
posted by stavrogin at 5:35 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


What exactly was the president supposed to be doing after September 11th? Spending every waking moment pacing with clenched fists? Constantly sobbing?

I think expecting anyone to be constantly somber is a bit much. I hate it when I feel like I have to defend Bush, because I think he's an awful person and perhaps the worst president ever. But this is just more 9/11 porn. "Oh, I feel so hard. So awful hard for all those people. More than the president." Do we really need more of this shit 7 years on?
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:39 AM on January 13, 2009 [31 favorites]


“Here’s my favorite part,” he says. “Quite a sight, usually, when the sun sets on the Washington Memorial.”

WTF? Apart from calling it the wrong name, the Washington Monument is directly south of the White House. If you saw a "sunset" there it would probably be a nuclear explosion at Andrews. Maybe he was talking about the Jefferson Memorial.
posted by exogenous at 5:41 AM on January 13, 2009


Which is also directly south?
posted by smackfu at 5:45 AM on January 13, 2009


If the setting sun is casting light on the WM, I could see someone calling that "the sun setting on the WM". Granted, the sun doesn't set in the North either, but it could be lit from the side.
posted by DU at 5:49 AM on January 13, 2009


Does anyone have more info about this bit? "Yale had given him an honorary degree, and during his speech, in a remarkable act of disrespect, a large portion of my graduating class had turned their seats 180 degrees, facing their backs to the president."
posted by kev23f at 5:52 AM on January 13, 2009


Swiper is a fox, stavrogin.

POINT #2: As canids, foxes are related to dogs.

POINT #1: You're worried about stavrogin not identifying Swiper as a fox??
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:53 AM on January 13, 2009


Maybe he was talking about the Jefferson Memorial.

One does need to keep an eye on Project Purity.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:53 AM on January 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


ah, christ, give the kid a brake.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:53 AM on January 13, 2009 [7 favorites]


kev23f, here
posted by exogenous at 5:55 AM on January 13, 2009


I'm somewhat amused that a post about Dubya is being panned over lapses in English and factual fabrications. But that's just me ...
posted by ElvisJesus at 5:55 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Turned their backs on Bush.
posted by fixedgear at 5:55 AM on January 13, 2009


The president eats quickly. Apparently when he is finished, we all are.

That struck me as less than gracious. When did the POTUS become King?

I'm also struck by how little impact Laura Bush makes in her own home. She gets one mention: "Mrs. Bush, who is impossibly delightful." Laura has been the least charismatic First Lady in my life time and apparently she is just as colorless in her natural setting.

I also agree with Mayor Curly. When all is said and done, the White House is the President's home-- it is where he goes at the end of the working day, even if he is "on call" 24 hours a day. Everyone needs a little down time, a little time to pull away from work and relax. So what if the President chooses to watch a crappy movie; if I'm being judged by other's taste I quite often watch crappy movies.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:02 AM on January 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm still trying to figure out who's a bigger dickhead, the author or his dinner buddy. At least the author doesn't have access to nucular launch codes.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:03 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


“Here’s my favorite part,” he says. “Quite a sight, usually, when the sun sets on the Washington Memorial.”

WTF? Apart from calling it the wrong name, the Washington Monument is directly south of the White House. If you saw a "sunset" there it would probably be a nuclear explosion at Andrews. Maybe he was talking about the Jefferson Memorial.


According to the map I'm look at, the Monument is south and slightly east of the White House. Viewed from the West Wing of the White House, one would see the Monument illuminated by the last rays of the day. Presumably, the floodlights go on before it is is totally dark as well, making it a spectacular view.

Give the man a break, will you? I feel pretty confident that he can identify sunlight.
posted by notmtwain at 6:08 AM on January 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


This does nothing to dispel the hypothesis that people who use an intial for their first name are douchebags.

Why does this irritating and pompous ritual persist? What's wrong with just "Brian?" WHY??
posted by Atom12 at 6:10 AM on January 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


The sight of metal detectors and dogs reminds me that I am carrying one half of a marijuana cigarette in my Camel Lights pack.

Maybe he's going to meet Willie Nelson up on the roof.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:11 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel pretty confident that he can identify sunlight.

Are we talking about Bush? Hmmmm.....wellll.....yeah, you are probably right.
posted by DU at 6:11 AM on January 13, 2009


I'm still trying to figure out who's a bigger dickhead, the author or his dinner buddy. At least the author doesn't have access to nucular launch codes.

The author is the bigger dickhead. A friend invited him to dinner and a movie with her family, and he decided to blog badly about it. Seventy percent of mefi probably faults the author for not throwing a shoe at the President, etc., but the kid basically took an extraordinary and gracious invitation to experience something special and turned it into a "web only" exclusive on VF, which is pretty shitty in my view.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:13 AM on January 13, 2009 [27 favorites]


Wow, they turned their back on Bush before 9-11.

From the Post link:
... More than 170 Yale professors boycotted the ceremony because they said Bush was not worthy of his honorary degree...

... Students in Bush's own Davenport College at Yale, which now claims his daughterBarbara, showed no support for the famous alumnus. "The sentiment in Davenport is definitely against Bush," said Will Durbin, a graduating senior passing out protest signs. Surely there's a Bush supporter in the group. Durbin looked around. "I don't see one," he said. ...
...
Even Delta Kappa Epsilon, Bush's Yale fraternity, did little to boost its brother....Isn't DKE showing support for Bush today? "Well, we're not rallying against him," Buck said.
...

(even his old frat? what happened to the love for frat brothers? do you turn your back on a frat brother the moment he becomes president?).

7 more days.
posted by el io at 6:14 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


This guy lambastes the President for watching a movie a month after 9/11, really? Is the man supposed to be tied down to his office chair 24/7 for three years after any national emergency? Dude, everyone needs a break now and then. I wonder whether it occurred to the author that the evening's events might have been the only even remotely normal thing the president had done that day, that week, or even that month.

Also he is way too fond of adjectives, "handsome chef" indeed. Dude, we know you're gay, poor, and pretty much unable to get your shit together. You illustrated this in the first paragraph. You don't need to bludgeon us with those little "insights" over and over again.
posted by oddman at 6:18 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


At the ceremony, Yale had given him an honorary degree, and during his speech, in a remarkable act of disrespect, a large portion of my graduating class had turned their seats 180 degrees, facing their backs to the president.

Right, C. Brian, that's pretty much the whole point of that exercise.
posted by NoMich at 6:20 AM on January 13, 2009


Wow, he went all that time not knowing that the Republican Party and its President opposed gay marriage? This guy comes across as someone who put aside questions of right and wrong just so he could hang out in the White House.

Also, the author could be accused of the same thing.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:27 AM on January 13, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'm still trying to figure out who's a bigger dickhead, the author or his dinner buddy.

Though dubya is a very big dick indeed, it seems unlikely that he'd take stuff that he'd learned as an invited guest in somebody's home, and then splash it all over the papers in an attempt to denigrate them.

It's not like he's revealing questions of national importance here. Who gives a shit about whether Bush yells at his dog for farting, or drinks 'near beer'. You were a friend of his daughter's, he was a generous host and treated you almost like one of the family, and you go running off to sell your story just as soon as you can do so?

Regardless of how big a dick Bush is, he doesn't look anything like as big of a dick as this guy is.

(So long as you ignore the war stuff. And the running the country stuff. And the giving away the store to his friends stuff. etc. etc.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:31 AM on January 13, 2009 [14 favorites]


I agree with availablelight ... did he ever discuss the whole gay marriage issue with his friend Barbara? I'd have liked to hear what they talked about when they weren't around her family. In any case it's a pretty interesting read.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:35 AM on January 13, 2009


I have also intended to cure myself of a propensity for driving my car into stationary objects while intoxicated.

Well, he already had something in common with his host, then.

And the "Smitty" thing. I've always hated people who give you their own choice of nickname, right off the bat.
posted by idiomatika at 6:37 AM on January 13, 2009


The Bush-ster. Bushy-McBushington. The Bushmeister! The Bushenheimer.
posted by fixedgear at 6:40 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, that sounds remarkably like dinner with my dad. But on the other hand, my dad was an HVAC mechanic and not the leader of the free world.
posted by The Straightener at 6:47 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


... More than 170 Yale professors boycotted the ceremony because they said Bush was not worthy of his honorary degree...

Since we're being picky about everything else here: How exactly does one become "worthy" of an honorary degree I wonder? Is there a national board of some sort? Or is it just some arbitray litmus test (or in this case a "dickmus" test)?
posted by ElvisJesus at 6:50 AM on January 13, 2009


Yep, self-confessed drunk driver abuses hospitality all to tell us not very much. He claims to be poor yet is a Yale graduate who shares family friends and acquaintances with the President. Not too impressed.
posted by Abiezer at 6:50 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Emergency brake. Brake. Brake. There is a typo in the first paragraph. And again, a 'tap of the breaks.' Sorry, but this one kills me.
posted by fixedgear at 4:55 AM on January 13 [3 favorites +] [!]

Haha! Brilliant find(s) fixedgear. I can't believe a major publication doesn't have a qualified proofreader. That or they rely on MS Word's spellchecker.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:00 AM on January 13 [+] [!]


At least it's just a blog posting and not from the magazine itself.
posted by notmtwain at 6:53 AM on January 13, 2009


Though dubya is a very big dick indeed, it seems unlikely that he'd take stuff that he'd learned as an invited guest in somebody's home, and then splash it all over the papers in an attempt to denigrate them.

The hand in the Plume business, though different, would indicate otherwise, I think.

However, even if it is something Bush would do, that doesn't make it right to do it. He was invited to the White House as a friend and, on a personal level, it would seem he was treated kindly by the whole family, even Monkey Boy himself. The subsequent betrayal of that friendship and kindness for a few bucks from Vanity Fair is a base and despicable action; nothing that happened during those visits was on the record. If C. Brian was of my acquaintance I would be sure not to say anything around him at all. Wanker.
posted by mandal at 6:53 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know. The whole blue sweat suit kind of bothered me. Nothing says "I don't give a shit" like wearing sweats.
posted by Sailormom at 6:54 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


How exactly does one become "worthy" of an honorary degree I wonder?

I imagine it involves some kind of intellectual activity or humanitarianism. For which of these was Bush honored?
posted by DU at 6:55 AM on January 13, 2009


For which of these was Bush honored?

Um, that would be this one.
posted by netbros at 7:03 AM on January 13, 2009


The whole blue sweat suit kind of bothered me.

It wasn't a Nike or Reebok sweat suit though, it was a blue sweat suit bearing the Presidential Seal.

To me, that says 'I'm relaxed, but my finger's still on the nuclear trigger, buddy!'

If he'd been one of my children's kids, he'd have got me in my underwear.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:11 AM on January 13, 2009


ugh. Children's friends, obv.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:11 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am surprised and impressed by my new friend’s honesty and, once again, am ashamed of my self-righteous, irreverent classmates.

Eat shit, you self-righteous, over-privileged retard. That was the point.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:16 AM on January 13, 2009


I decide that my graduation chair was facing the wrong direction after all.

Nope, too late.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:18 AM on January 13, 2009


I'd be more interested to hear how/why/if his friendship with Barbara didn't survive dinner and movie nights that included her father.

Yeah. I think more attention to the rest of the family would have made the story stronger. By now, everyone knows that GWB is a guy who likes nicknames, drinks non-beer, and scolds his dog for farting. But providing insight into how Mrs. Bush or the daughters felt about living in the White House at that time might have given the piece some permanent value.

In his place, I might have done the same thing as Smith, but writing about it, now, as he does, seems a little ungracious. After all George W. Bush did and all he failed to do, it isn't kicking a man when he's down to announce, much later, that you liked dining with him and his family until you realized he was a murderous buffoon, it's standing on his head to burgle the silverware.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:26 AM on January 13, 2009


You people are truly amazing. Are you all jealous that someone besides you is lambasting Bush? Jesus Christ.
posted by nosila at 7:26 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think that there are no good guys in this story. You don't have to show respect for someone who hasn't earned that respect, so the Yale professors who boycotted the ceremony and the students who turned their chairs around were in their right, but there are some things that you don't do, not out of respect for the person you would be doing them to, but because you just shouldn't do them. One of those is accept an invitation into someone's home and then broadcast details of your visit without their permission. I think that the right thing to do in this situation is to refuse the invitation. You tell your friend that you would be happy to meet her to do things, but that you don't feel it would be proper to have dinner with her family when you find the beliefs and actions of her father to be repugnant. It is not as if the first time he heard that Bush was anti-gay was the press conference he described. He chose to overlook those views because he thought it was cool to have dinner at the White House. That is fine, that is his choice to make, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. He traded in his principles for some photos, beer and bowling and he has no right to fall back on them now. Also, driving drunk does not make you cool and rebellious, it makes you a fucking asshole who doesn't give a shit about the people around you.
posted by ND¢ at 7:28 AM on January 13, 2009 [20 favorites]


octobersurprise: The part of me that was raised in Texas to be gracious and polite no matter what agrees with you (and others who have called him ungracious), but never forget that Bush has committed horrible atrocities. He asked to be judged by history when he decided (that's right) to be president. We are history, and so is Smitty.

I would also like more detail about the Bush family's interaction, though.
posted by nosila at 7:29 AM on January 13, 2009


Bush is horrid, but to accept hospitality and then trash the host is profoundly lame.

Also, it takes a special kind of self-loathing gay to listen to Don Imus. I mean, really.

It's a shame; I liked the first page of the article.
posted by CaptApollo at 7:38 AM on January 13, 2009


Even Delta Kappa Epsilon, Bush's Yale fraternity, did little to boost its brother

Oh good grief, Bush is a DKE? I dated one when I was 22 who turned out to be a total asshole, and I've since heard that DKEs have a bad reputation for pretty much the same things I despised my former date for doing. Bush fits the profile for sure, and even the DKEs don't want to claim him. Speaks volumes.
posted by orange swan at 7:52 AM on January 13, 2009


Huh. I really would like to know what his (former?) friend Barbara thinks of this, whether they're still friends, etc.
posted by limeonaire at 8:02 AM on January 13, 2009


He may have left most of the family out of this intentionally, thinking that Bush, as a public figure, was fair game but -in acknowledgment to what others have said here - believed that true ungraciousness would be to say too much about the others.
posted by vacapinta at 8:12 AM on January 13, 2009


I think that the right thing to do in this situation is to refuse the invitation.

Right. And if you do accept an invitation to a dinner with someone you (grow to) detest because it would be cool to dine in the White House--and who can blame you--then have the graciousness to not boast about your connections in print years later. You sound like someone saying "Yeah! I never liked that guy, either!"

I'm not really condemning Smith. He had an interesting experience and he wrote a mildly interesting piece. If he had written something new or insightful about the Bush household, I'd even excuse his tactlessness as the price of knowledge.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:23 AM on January 13, 2009


What exactly was the president supposed to be doing after September 11th?

*Reading books about Afghanistan
*Talking to experts about Afghanistan
*Talking to experts about Al-Qaeda
*Setting up different segments of his intelligence apparatus to work on different assumptions and deliver the resulting assessments to him
*Reconciling the inevitably conflicting assessments
*Learning about counterinsurgency operations
*Learning about antiterrorism operations
*Learning about the legal problems involved in antiterrorism operations
*Reading about different attempts at reconstructing countries, such as Afghanistan, after militarily conquering them
*Learning about the miserable history of powers that have tried to occupy and reconstruct Afghanistan
*Talking to experts on the occupations of Germany and Japan, experts on failed reconstructions such as Somalia, experts on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and experts on other similar events
*Not making up lies about Iraq
*Reading relevant reports and learning enough on his own to be able to critically assess the intelligence given him
*Learning about the military force levels necessary to maintain a reconstructing occupation of another country, such as Afghanistan
*Learning about the current state of military equipment, its planned uses, and what changes might be necessary for successful operation in an ongoing low-level conflict

Dude, everyone needs a break now and then.

Good thing Bush spent a third of his presidency on vacation, then.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2009 [28 favorites]


*Not making up lies about Iraq

Watching Hearts in Atlantis probably qualifies under this criterion.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:55 AM on January 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


Gay men are sooo bitchy.

But seriously, what goes on tour stays on tour. Whatever one thinks of Bush or his politics, the author's a dick. The story's a bit crap too. Once you get past the dog farting and the nicknames he accelerates the story just as it actually gets a bit more complex.

I'd be far more interested in why he stopped being friends with Barbara Bush, and indeed how Barbara Bush manages to make and keep friends when she knows that the minutae of her family's life will become someone's dinner party piece, or worse an article.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:04 AM on January 13, 2009


"An unjust king once asked a holy man, 'What is more excellent than prayer?' The holy man replied, 'For you to remain asleep until midday watch Hearts in Atlantis, that for this one interval you may not afflict mankind.'"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:06 AM on January 13, 2009 [6 favorites]


I can't believe a major publication doesn't have a qualified proofreader writer.
posted by Zambrano at 9:18 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


couldn't get through the first couple of paragraphs .. just too boring
posted by mary8nne at 9:35 AM on January 13, 2009


"I have also intended to cure myself of a propensity for driving my car into stationary objects while intoxicated."

LOLDWI

Ugh.
posted by zippy at 9:42 AM on January 13, 2009


couldn't get through the first couple of paragraphs .. just too boring

Thank you for your contribution
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:55 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


As someone who would hate to see my writing criticized so unmercifully by the brains at metafilter (which I do truly respect), I am loathe to launch into why this piece was terrible. And yet... urge to snark... rising...

I feel most sorry for poor Ben in this story.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:11 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do we know for sure that the dog was the culprit and not POTUS himself? Wasn't there some anecdote about Bush testing new hires' mettles by farting and pretending not to notice?
posted by emelenjr at 10:14 AM on January 13, 2009


I think the author needs a little of this lady's sagely, timeless advice.

I'll join the chorus here and cry foul. Beyond the embarrassment this must cause Bush's daughter, it takes part in my least favorite liberal game: nitpicking the man for being, well, a man. This, to me, is the worst example of that whole "personal has become political" line the postmodernists are so fond of. There are tons of legitimate reasons for despising Bush as a political figure, but don't hate him for watching a movie or calling you by a nickname.
posted by ford and the prefects at 10:20 AM on January 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


I like to think the prototypical Yale Man is the half-blind elderly drunk at my local gay bar who opposes gay marriage, drags people into long rants about how the liberals are ruining the country, drinks til he can't stand, and is constantly muttering various racist and misogynistic remarks to no one in particular. (Latest memorable comment, "The WOMAN cooks. Who wants to see a man in the kitchen?! Disgusting!) yet only seems interested in suspiciously young black men.


Hey, wasn't Monty Burns a Yalie?
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob both!
posted by Spatch at 10:37 AM on January 13, 2009


I came to this to get some Bush hate and I just ended up hating some punk article author. I guess that's what I get for having jackassed reading plans.
posted by Shutter at 10:50 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


As canids, foxes are more welcome at my dinner table than President Bush would be.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:56 AM on January 13, 2009


There's not much there, there. But I find it hard to care if someone tries to make Bush look bad. The more the better, hopefully in a courtroom.
posted by cell divide at 10:59 AM on January 13, 2009


Do you know how you know the author is going to be a jerk? His name. Anyone who goes by first initial middle name last name is going to be a jerk. He delivers on being unlikable in spades. There's this profound lack of self awareness in this story. He criticizes his peers for turning their chairs around but doesn't concede that he's saying that to be a suck up (which would be perfectly understandable). He dwells on trivial gaffs repeatedly invoking Bush's calling a monument a memorial as though this mistake was particularly telling. Ditto on the non-beer. He invokes his shitty car and small apartment like they for regular guy cred while he's writing for vanity fair about his visits to the white house to see his friend that he met at Yale.
posted by I Foody at 11:34 AM on January 13, 2009


9/11 changed everything.
posted by anonaccount at 11:38 AM on January 13, 2009


If quick google results are anything to go by, C. Brian Smith reluctantly uses the "C." in his name. It comes in handy at airports. He sang while at Yale, and is now in Los Angeles. At one point he was a writer's assistant, but it seems he's now working on "Cleveland," the new "Family Guy" spinoff, fancying himself as a comedy writer.

Also, it seems this story was posted on I Love a Good Story back in April (google cache, as the story was offline today), with different wording. Yes, there is no "emergency brake," but an "emergency break." Scan through the two for a comparison of wording changes. So it seems Vanity Fair's web exclusive isn't too exclusive, but probably now a ploy to get Mr. C. Brian Smith more publicity for his future as a comedy writer.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:38 AM on January 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, please note. In narrative he criticizes the actions of classmates for turning their chairs (not just in past dialogue) and then at then end he agrees with them. You can't make a narrative statement in an article and then disagree with yourself as the ending centerpiece.

It's like those twist endings that don't make a lick of f-ing sense.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 11:47 AM on January 13, 2009


Hey, wasn't Monty Burns a Yalie?
Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob both!


Where'd Smithers go?

(I used to work at a newsstand/convenience store in New Haven. The clientele were a roughly even mix of Yalies, street flotsam, residents of nearby projects, municipal/school employees, and commuting professors. they were all trying to drive me crazy. New Haven's a weird place.)
posted by jonmc at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2009


Let's review the writer's qualifications:

• drunk driver
• druggie
• Yalie
• gets a free lunch (and many dinners, evidently) by knowing the right people
• publicly admits he's wrong, seven years after the fact

Sounds like presidential material, to me.

• gay

Or at least worthy of becoming a Republican senator, doing "fundraisers" at airport bathrooms.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yep BP, and willing to cast aside fundamentals of the moral code (host-guest relationship) if there's a buck in it. Shabbby stuff.
posted by Abiezer at 12:39 PM on January 13, 2009


When all is said and done, the White House is the President's home-- even if he is "on call" 24 hours a day.

Blowing off an FAA meeting in his own house, a month after 9/11, in the evening which suggests the meeting had some urgency, in order to watch a movie? No, sorry.
(I've been ODing on old West Wing episodes and have strict opinions on this sort of thing.)

Also, give the Yalie props for waiting this long - he could have sold this to the National Enquirer for megabucks at the time. Remember how obsessed they were about the Bush twins?

And he may not spell well, but I have to admit I really liked the phrase about novelty wearing off "like Vegas on a Sunday afternoon."
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:39 PM on January 13, 2009


Don't really see Obama wearing a blue sweat suit with the presidential seal on it. *contented sigh*
posted by HotToddy at 1:07 PM on January 13, 2009


hi metafilter, i agree with all the negative stuff that's been posted about this stupid article. i even experienced a peculiar feeling of disgust at the betrayal of the host (and i cannot express how i loathe the host). this is the third sentence in sequence and thus i have formulated a paragraph.

i'm just kind of curious though, don't you guys feel a little weird for making those pointed remarks on the author/dunce's, c. brian's, homosexuality? i keep coming across little moments of metafiltered what the fuckness like blazecock pileon's "• gay," micah's "kinda gay," and after reading those it makes even the innocuous comment by oddman "we know you're gay, poor, and pretty much unable to get your shit..." feel peculiar.

am i alone here? maybe. i still get a little weirded out by folks who use 'gay' as a negative ("that's pretty gay, dude."). is this even the right place to bring this up? this is not an attempt at a derail by any means so anyone who thinks it is please do forgive me.

also, to the three metafilterians i named before, i want to say that i'm not accusing you of being homophobes. the comments feel strange. i feel strange. there's a little stink of the 'huhn?' in the electronic aether over here...
posted by artof.mulata at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


“I feel most sorry for poor Ben in this story.”

I feel sorryerist for the friendly secret service guy.

“Hey, wasn't Monty Burns a Yalie?
Mr. Burns and Sideshow Bob both!”

Yeah, well, at least they didn’t go to clown college (Princeton).

Y’know, this doesn’t really say anything. I agree with the above criticsm of the piece and the author’s moral compass, but it’s so watered down I find it hard to care one way or the other.

If Bush was a tremendous dick, but a great president, that might be an interesting story. Or vice versa, lousy president, but a really great human being.
...kinda like Carter there, really.

But this geeking out about the white house and the history, etc. juxtiposed with the lack of what, dignity Bush has?
Presidents don’t wipe their asses in the White House toilets? (LBJ’s proclivities aside).

Y’know, Bush’s said he likes the party animals. He clearly doesn’t have the proper priorities in life (like many wealthy scions who can afford to be adolescents throughout their lives).
But what difference does any of this make?

What, the irreverence of a joint in the white house? Of a gay boy (he’s not really a man here) eating in the white house?

All I’m taking away from this is that the chicken pot pie sucks.
We can all pretty much see who Bush is and always was, it’s not like there’s any secrets revealed here.
People in the white house (et.al) really are what they appear to be.
Odds are you’ve clocked about 99% of them dead on just by closely watching them on t.v. etc.
The real problem is the ideas they carry/ propagate, not this banal tripe.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 PM on January 13, 2009


(None of that to say that this was a bad post)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:26 PM on January 13, 2009


“don't you guys feel a little weird for making those pointed remarks on the author/dunce's, c. brian's, homosexuality?”

Probably his only saving grace really. Were he not gay this piece would be utterly devoid of any dramatic point of contention at all.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:29 PM on January 13, 2009


I'm pretty sure that blazecock pileon's not a homophobe.
posted by amro at 1:31 PM on January 13, 2009


I'm surprised everyone is so defensive of Bush. This piece seems like it should have come out sooner, but that the author didn't want to deal with the personal issue of writing about Bush while he was still in office, so he's publishing it now that it's basically all history. I found it reasonably moving and understandable, that at first he would accept an invitation to the White House, think he could "get past politics" and just be friends with his friend, and deal with the president on simply a human level... But after 9-11, when he saw how little things seemed to change for Bush, he started to see that he couldn't separate the personal and the political...

He coulda dropped the whole first page though - i just skimmed that, definitely needed to be edited.
posted by mdn at 1:36 PM on January 13, 2009


am i alone here? maybe. i still get a little weirded out by folks who use 'gay' as a negative ("that's pretty gay, dude."). is this even the right place to bring this up? this is not an attempt at a derail by any means so anyone who thinks it is please do forgive me.

I can assure you that this is certainly not the sense in which I am using the word.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:07 PM on January 13, 2009


well thank you blazecock, now i can count myself as hopelessly confused by your final bullet.
posted by artof.mulata at 2:15 PM on January 13, 2009


I nervously sip my beer and add that I am a horrible speller.

Yeah, no kidding.
posted by John Shaft at 3:07 PM on January 13, 2009


All of you have completely missed the most damning evidence of all:

He opens the liftgate to reveal the following: three weeks of dry cleaning I intended to drop off earlier that day, one rusty front fender, a half case of warm beer from a camping trip I took two months ago, and a couple dozen harmonicas, which, at first glance, look a lot like pocketknives.

Not only did this lamer fail to make it through one case of beer on a camping trip, he has now driven around with it for two months without finishing the job? Yet more proof that the only thing that will make a hipster sufferable is alcohol.
posted by mek at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


What perhaps makes Bush here more sympathetic here, at least to me, is that I can’t help but think of George Carlin yelling at ‘Tippy’ - “Tippy, why did you fart!? I saw his asshole open up!” - whenever brings up the subject of blaming the dog for farting.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:09 PM on January 13, 2009


I find myself almost feeling sorry for little old Mr Bush, sometimes, these days, and I don't like the feeling. I know it makes me human, to be able to feel compassion for someone who I have so completely despised for so long, but I want to stay angry at the man, at what he's done, and want him and his gang of criminals brought to account for the things he's done. But I get this 'ah, poor stupid funny old George, he really was out of his depth, wasn't he' gentle kinda feeling about him, even though he's come as close as one could imagine to ruining a once-great country.

When did I get so damn soft?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:23 PM on January 13, 2009


:slaps stavros twice, briskly:
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:37 PM on January 13, 2009


artof.mulata:

I believe Blazecock Pileon's final bullet point was meant to be interpreted as

"Well, we've just found that he has all the qualities possessed by our current President. However, this extra quality is not one possessed by our current President - it is possessed by Republican senators though, doesn't everyone remember all those hypocritical Republican homophobic senators who turned out to be gay and having random sex in bathrooms? Bloody Republicans. Also, I hate this guy Smith."
posted by jacalata at 6:03 PM on January 13, 2009


When did I get so damn soft?

When I showed you that photo of Eudora Welty and Danny DeVito doin' it?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:35 PM on January 13, 2009


there's a little stink of the 'huhn?' in the electronic aether over here...

It was the dog.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:40 PM on January 13, 2009


:slaps stavros twice, briskly:
posted by From Bklyn at 12:16 AM on January 14, 2009


So we have a poorly written article, based on events which happened 8 years ago and haven't been published sooner, for some stupid reason. We also have 9/11-victem-without-being-a-victim porn (the most popular kind) and bullying an incredibly easy target. And it is all poorly written.

All written by one of the super duper winners being the idea to spin off Cleavland, from Family Guy, into his own, almost certainly even worse, show.

I can't believe I read the whole thing.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:05 AM on January 14, 2009


It was fluff, but I enjoyed it. As I may enjoy Cleveland. (He's credited as a "writing assistant." Does that mean he delivers scripts?)

Now who's the poor speller?!

Whatever the reason for this mostly pointless "insider's tale," it seems to be working. C. Brian Smiths' "Starmeter" is up 74% since last week. Why? No one knows, because who the fuck would pay for IMDB?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:00 PM on January 15, 2009


« Older Charlie Corcoran, Bagman of the Morris Ring, belie...   |   A really useful legal help res... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments