So how do we judge 'sophisticated' in the age of COVID?
On Monday morning, leaked photos showed former president and apparent ruling monarch Barack Obama partying without a mask, indoors (yes, a tent outdoors is still indoors) with about 200 of his closest friends. Appearing on CNN, the New York Times White House correspondent, Annie Karni, was kind enough to say the quiet part out loud.
In relaying what she was told from neighbors and the elites who attended the event, Karni stated that the concern for the event was "overblown" and that the Obamas had only invited a "sophisticated, vaccinated crowd." I want to be clear, as Karni herself stated, that this was not her personal opinion, but, rather, a recitation of the opinions of those she spoke with in Martha's Vineyard regarding the party.
Regardless of whether it was Karni's personal opinion or not is frankly irrelevant. The main point was made loud and clear. When it comes to COVID, the delta variant, any of those pesky "safety precautions" such as mask mandates for even the vaccinated, or avoiding large gatherings, there's a certain group of people who don't have to follow the directions that we serfs, plebeians, and peasants must follow.
Now, being the scientifically minded, analytical individual that I am, I was eager to measure myself up against the people deemed "sophisticated" enough to be invited to the king's court for this glorious event. It's always important to measure oneself against the world from time to time to see if you're effectively keeping up with the Joneses. What confused me was that, when I looked at the list, the qualifications for what is "sophisticated" seem to be all over the place.
I originally thought the standard must be education. After all, sophistication is most likely to come from a strong academic background, right? So, looking through the list, Valerie Jarrett and Eric Holder have Juris Doctors and seem to be at the high end of the spectrum. Given that I hold only an MBA myself, I don't know if I can meet this standard. But wait a minute. Gabrielle Union, Oprah Winfrey, and Gayle King have only Bachelor's degrees, and Dwyane Wade and Alicia Keys didn't even finish college. Trap Beckham didn't even finish high school. So clearly education is not the barometer for sophistication. Must be something else.
Maybe it's connections to the former president's administration and campaigns? Valerie Jarrett and Eric Holder would again seem to support that stance, but then why leave David Axelrod off the list? What about all the other Obama administration officials who were left off the list, not to mention Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi? Clearly, political connections were not the barometer, either. I must keep searching.
Maybe it's net worth? Some very wealthy individuals came through the party this weekend — guests like George Clooney, Jay-Z, and Beyoncé. Steven Spielberg would certainly give credence to this line of thinking. But then how did relative paupers, by comparison, people like Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, Melissa Winter, get invited? (Though from the New York Times article, it seems her job was to inform her other administration colleagues they had been removed from the list. Price of admission, it would seem.)
It would appear we have a conundrum. We have an assertion that this was a "sophisticated and vaccinated crowd," according to a Martha's Vineyard resident, an opinion that Annie Karni hilariously relayed on national television but without clarifying what that "sophistication" metric could possibly have been. It couldn't possibly be that those who frequent locations like Martha's Vineyard were just pulling a word out that they thought the rubes would take at face value, could it?
I wonder how many of these "sophisticated" folks own motorcycles or even (gasp), God forbid, Harley Davidsons, such as the many riders heading to Sturgis South Dakota on August 15th. Sturgis, as many will remember, was touted as a "super-spreader" event last year, with a since debunked study claiming that the event caused 260,000 cases of COVID-19 and cost $12.2 billion in medical costs.
After all the dust had settled, the total number of deaths from COVID in relation to the Sturgis event? One. Of course, this hasn't stopped Saint Anthony Fauci from prognosticating that Sturgis will again be a "super-spreader" event.
It's a shame that the good people attending the Sturgis rally can't lock down the "sophistication" traits of the attendees of Obama's birthday party. Then they wouldn't have anything to worry about COVID-wise. I mean, it's not as if the term was used arbitrarily in a blatantly hypocritical attempt to justify one gathering of rich Democrats and Democrat donors while vilifying a gathering of those dirty peasants, would it?
Gregory McCants is a pseudonym.
Image: D.J.'s since-deleted photo of Obama’s b-day party.
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