JONATHAN CHAIT JANUARY 22, 2010
While Jon is on vacation, enjoying the sun while we rot in D.C., we thought it may be a good time to review some of the classic TNR pieces he has written over the years. Over the next few days, I'll be posting some of our favorites, so be sure to keep checking back.
Here is one from February 1997 based on the experience Jon had as a coatchecker at the Caribbean, New Jersey, and Gay & Lesbian Inaugural Balls. While the night started inauspiciously enough, chaos ensued:
10:30: Any semblance of a line has disappeared. Hundreds of black-tied Democrats press up against the barricade, waving claim checks and cash and loudly threatening revenge at the hands of the lawyers and politicians to whom they have access. Some successfully talk their way into the back room, only to discover in horror that their fur coats are misplaced.
10:50: A customer at the door snaps a photograph of the sea of coats behind me. "Evidence?" I ask. She nods. The runners now take orders from walkie-talkie-toting DNC staffers, who are even less competent at coat-checking than McM. But, by now, there's probably nothing the DNC can do. The only way to avert total chaos is to distribute the coats about ten times faster. And the only way to do that would be to let customers in to find the coats themselves, which would invite anarchy. The system teeters on collapse.