I’ve been walking around Washington, D.C. for the last three and 1/2 hours, mostly near the Dupont Circle area and along K Street and N Street and that general thing, and I’m just not feeling that old pin-striped, power-elite, uptown-and-connected vibration that I recall from my visit here in ’94. There are too many tourist-schlub types, and most of them are poorly-dressed with ordinary faces and (I’ll bet) not all that much to say. It doesn’t feel right. Being here has made me want to fly to Vienna or Paris.
Friday, 10.29, 8:25 pm.
Friday, 10.29, 7:10 pm.
There used to be a kind of hush all over Washington — a vibe that told you “like it or not, this is where the power is, and where the best minds and the great statesmen and the slickest hustlers and wheeler-dealers live and operate.” Now the vibe says, “Haw! Yo, dude, three Blue Moons and two Jack Daniels neat!”
This is Washington D.C. — a place that used to stand for something. Now it looks like a town that Senator John Blutarsky took over and remade in his own image. America has largely become a nation of mallbilly pudge-bottoms and commoners with meager educations, and dressed in ugly-ass T-shirts and man-shorts and bad pigtails and grotesque Foot Locker cross-training shoes.
A barrel-chested guy got out of a taxi on Pennsvlvania Avenue and he looked like Akim Tamiroff with a Van Dyke beard, and the woman with him looked like a Las Vegas slut with too much make-up. Even the storied Tabard Inn felt just a tiny bit downmarketed. Pudgy middle-aged people were hanging out in the bar and going “blah, blah, blah, blah” — they looked and sounded like real-estate agents from Trenton.
If you’re not “in” with the connected government crowd (like me), Washington, D.C. is basically a hick town with large boulevards and big government buildings and tens of thousands of beefy-bodied, T-shirt-wearing, under-dressed dorks walking around and slurping beers. It’s not cool. It’s turned into Fairfax, Virginia or…whatever, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Where’s the Washington of lore and legend? If the ghost of Jack Kennedy was to return here for one day in the manner of Billy Bigelow, he would say, “This is what America has come to? Get me out of here. I want to be dead again.”