8.14.2006

Soul-Crushing Journalism

Ok, The Washington Post article on interns isn't as funny as I hoped it would be. It is, however, incredibly depressing and should be used as Exhibit A for why I hate DC. Let's get cracking. As usual, all excerpts are indented. Also as usual, I won't be copying and pasting the entire article. I'll focus on the ridiculous parts.

"You know where you need to start?" asked [Ryan] Holte, 22, whipping out his Treo Smartphone. "Right here."

He scrolled down to a spreadsheet that listed what seemed like every happy hour in the Washington area. Organized by day and neighborhood, it reported the specials at about 75 bars and restaurants each weeknight.

You know in American Pie how there's that legendary book passed down through the generation that document the proper way to perform cunnilingus on Tara Reid? Well, there's an alcoholic version of that. And what kind of intern gets a Treo? I want a Treo.

This spreadsheet is the Washington intern's summer road map to cheap booze and greasy grub. For years, this list has been passed down through e-mail by friends and friends of friends, and now by universities to group e-mail lists of students in the city. Its accuracy is questionable. Still, to many interns, the listing is gospel.

These fuckers depend on a spreadsheet? Lame. That's so Windows 95. Those lucky enough to be members of the super-exclusive DC Late Night Shots Club don't need a spreadsheet. They list all the happy hours for you. Microsoft Office is no longer necessary! It's so nice to be one of the beautiful people.

Ground zero for schmoozers-in-training is the weekday happy hour. If it's the right bar on the right day, they can chat up a congressman and jump-start their careers. Ultimately, it's all about making as many lasting, positive impressions on as many important people as possible, right?

Wrong! It's about getting coffee and forging your congressman's signature. Number of important people I met on the Hill during my four-month internship: ZERO!

"They're just blown away by the fact that they grew up watching 'West Wing' and now are a part of it," said James Hoppes, 34, who interned at the World Bank and still throws back Coronas at the Front Page in Dupont Circle when he finishes work at the Aspen Institute, a think tank.

Oh my God. First and foremost, stop going to The Front Page. Secondly, I'm willing to bet that The West Wing has little to do with interns drinking during the day. In fact, I bet there were interns before The West Wing was even on the air! Research confirms this.*

Known as the nation's intern capital, Washington could add another title: the happy hour capital. Interns say the D.C. scene reigns supreme. If you asked them, here's what they'd tell you:

New York? Nope, too many investment bankers crunching numbers through the wee hours.

Los Angeles? Nope, not enough of a walking city to pub hop.

In defense of investment bankers, the biggest (and bestest!) alcoholic I know is a New York City investment banker. If DC had more people like her, I would be a happier man.

In Washington, though, happy hours are part of the culture. On Capitol Hill alone, 4,000 interns head down the columned steps of their office buildings by 5:30 or 6 at night, many of them heading for bars. You can spot interns by their security badges, which some wear even after punching the clock.

Ah yes. The interns who wear their badges after they get out of work. What assholes.

In the barrooms of political Washington on a weekday evening, you can hear the names rolling off the tongues of the young and ambitious: Hillary! Obama! McCain!

Yeah, you can meet a lot of important people when you're willing to work for free. Showing off about it is incredibly lame. It never fails to amuse me how people claim they want to make a difference when what they really want is to climb the ladder as quickly as possible. What's at the top of the ladder? A cushy job as an Executive Assistant.

Back at Tortilla Coast, the side room filled with Republican interns eagerly awaiting a congressman. An appearance by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was promised by the Leadership Institute, an organization that recruits young conservatives, trains them for public service and helps place them in government or policy jobs.

"Being able to set up a rapport with an influential Republican congressman like himself is valuable to me," said Holte, a second-year law student at the University of California at Davis and an intern at the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. "It'll hopefully set myself up for job opportunities or future career growth."

Why does this guy think that Steve King could give two shits about him? And job opportunities? Ha. I met Tipper Gore during a (very) brief stint on the executive board of the American University College Democrats. I don't use her as a job reference.

Another day, around the corner at Hawk 'n' Dove, the venerable Capitol Hill honky-tonk, draft pitchers were $5. A couple of interns and their co-workers from a human rights and government watchdog group gathered at a table in the back room. They bandied jokes around a pitcher of foamy brew and jumbo potato skins (no bacon), then started to rail about those interns, the relentless handshakers and name-droppers. You see, not every D.C. intern goes to happy hours merely to network. And when asked about the networkers, Daniel Werner, 22, and Michael Piccinelli, 21, just shrugged and laughed as if to say, That's Washington .

Werner, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, recalled attending a panel for interns this summer that featured Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and NBC News' Tim Russert. After the talk, audience members swarmed the headliners.

"All those interns want to do is get a picture with them and post it on their Facebook and say, 'Hey, look at me,' " Werner said, referring to the online networking site popular among college students. "That really turns me off about interns here."

"They might care about their work," Werner added, "but all they do is name-drop."

Yes! I think I'm in love with these guys. These are the people I want to drink with. If Dan and Mark are reading this, first round is on me. We will seek out dudes wearing their House badges and punch them in the nuts.

That's really it for the article. There's some more talk of ladder climbing and, for some reason, a Monica Lewinsky reference. Blah, blah, blah. Although interns drinking after work isn't exactly a hot story, I'm glad this was published. These are the people that have ruined DC. Name-dropping, ladder-climbing, back-stabbing, brown-nosers. I hope someone spikes the Coronas at The Front Page with cyanide.

*I didn't do any research.

28 comments:

  1. Is there truly a law student that butchers the english language this badly: "Being able to set up a rapport with an influential Republican congressman like himself is valuable to me," said Holte, a second-year law student at the University of California at Davis and an intern at the U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. "It'll hopefully set myself up for job opportunities or future career growth."

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  2. oh my. marry me, please.

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  3. I hate the people that wear thier badges after they get out of the office! I'll be right along side you, punching them! Just let me know when and where.

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  4. Rusty - I just took a look at hey pretty's blog, and I'd suggest you take her up on her proposal.

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  5. Yay! I love it when this blog bashes interns.

    The one thing I hate more than Rusty's dumb pablum.

    Has anyone started a petition yet? "Why WhyIHateDC Deserves Better: The Undersigned." Let's get cracking. Young minds are at stake.

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  6. Geez, man. Calm down. I got a proposal today.

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  7. I think she's just cheezed b/c she wears her badge after work.

    I always hated people like that. As soon as I ever got out of the Pentagon/Dept. of Energy/Capitol Hill I always took off my various tool badges.

    Now, I work at a secure facility but take pride in leaving my badge at my desk, as if I'm some kind of big shot that doesn't need a frickin' badge. Let the plebians wear their badges.

    This was your best post yet (except you're a little lazy about photos).... You should try a little harder w/ this blog--you do the minimum. You should get people to do a little "I report for CNN" for ya and send in some photos.

    Do an ABCnews.com and send out some requests....

    Are you an intern? Do you know any tools? Send photos....

    You could really fuck w/ some people here.....

    --Krystal Klear

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  8. If anyone sends a hilarious photo, I'd be glad to post it.

    And I put minimum effort into this blog because I make no $$$ from it. Just sweet prestige.

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  9. Even though I no longer live in DC, I still read this to validate why I moved. Keep up the good word.

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  10. I had that spread sheet last year....it was incredibly inaccurate. Lots of the bars don't even exist anymore.

    And no, I wasn't an intern (at that time, anyway).

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  11. the fake kyrstal koons (aka pimp daddy)August 15, 2006

    First, Hey Pretty is self-absorbed and full of herself. Just check out the blog. Believe me, you don't want to say 'Yes' to her proposal.

    Second, WOW! This was actually a good post! Perhaps you are channeling the spirit of James?!?!? This really was a perfect 'Why I Hate DC' story. Self-absorbed, ladder-climbing, ego-maniac interns who open mail for three months talking bullshit about how "it's really important for [them] to gain a rapport with" some Republican asshole.

    Anyway, congrats (finally).

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  12. You should compare the picture of the interns in the printed newspaper (four frosted hair cute white women) with the picture on the internet site (more diversity than a Benetton Ad). I think the post was worried about letting out the secret that most interns are rich white kids.

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  13. The picture in the paper version of Post was pretty ridiculous.

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  14. The picture on the Post was pretty ridiculous.

    I tell ya, I'm white but I can't identify w/ those spoiled people. Reminds me of that Dave Chappelle line, "We're rich, they're n-gger rich!"

    I think we all hate them. They think they gonna climb the ladder.

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  15. This was the best post in a long time...thanks for a morning laugh. And by the way, I take off my lame badge as soon as I walk out the door from my office. Everyone who wears them after hours or during lunch are all a bunch of tools!

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  16. When I worked in politics (for way too many years), finding a decent intern was pretty much a joke. A few came along here and there, but they were mostly from foreign countries.

    As for the swarm of them running around DC, every time I see one, I want to punch them. They creep me out.

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  17. this_shithole_sucksAugust 15, 2006

    If I knew where all of you worked, I'd hang out outside your offices with my badge on, just to piss you off. Everyone in this area wears a badge at work. Who gives a shit if they don't take it off when they leave the office? Get the fuck over it.

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  18. I don't wear a badge. And when I did I was careful to take it off when it wasn't necessary.

    Knowing you wear a badge outside of work makes me immune to all your criticisms. You are "that guy."

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  19. This Shithole,

    You are LAME, son! You probably also wear a mobile phone on your hip (cooler people "carry" smaller phones in their pockets that don't need to be "worn" like some kind of six-shot).

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  20. The other day, some chick cut me off and almost made me fall backward down an up-escalator on the Metro. As she blew past me (without an apology, I might add), I noticed her "Congressional Intern" badge, emblazoned with her full name. Being the fine, upstanding person that I am, I'm not going capitalize on this information, but I COULD. Moral of this story: If you're going to be an asshole on public transit, you should really consider removing your nametag. Not everyone is as nice/passive-aggressive/ineffectual as I am.

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  21. FUCK ALL YOU FUCKING INTERNS AND FUCK ALL OF YOU OUT OF TOWN TRANSPLANTS HATING ON DC

    BENNING ROAD YOU BITCHES

    FUCK FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS

    ALABAMA AVE KIDS PUSH YOU DOWN THE ESCALATOR ON YOUR FACE

    YOU FUCKING TRANSPLANTS THINK YOU ARE IN A CRIME EMERGENCY?

    TRUST ME YOU AINT SEEN SHIT YET

    YOU HAD BETTER PREY THE YOUNGINS TODAY DONT TAKE SHIT BACK TO 1988-1991 STYLE

    I GIVE PERMISSION FOR ALL YOU TECH SAVY TRANSPLANTS TO DO A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH ON THAT SHIT SO YOU CAN SEE FOR YOURSELVES EXACTLY WHAT THE FUCK I BE TALKING ABOUT

    R.I.P. TINY B.B.

    BITE ALL YOU TRANSPLANT FUCKERS RIGHT ON THE BACK OF YOUR FUCKING FLAT ASSES

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  22. Today's educated quiz: point out the grammatical errors in the prior post. Benning Road? Wow, you are intelligent enough to read a street sign! My what a GED can do for some these days!

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  23. ...RIP tiny BB? I'm sure BB appreciates your having recognized him in the comment section of a blog. No need to fret, he'll be waiting for you arms open when the local Alabama Ave kids get fed up with your theatrics and drop kick
    your ass down that escalator.

    I should mention my appreciation for your permission to search the web by the way. You're so cute, like a fucking teddy bear.

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  24. thanks for the shout out, rusty! come back to nyc soon... we were not nearly stupid enough last time

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  25. And this is exactly why I don't date anyone on the Hill! Private sector all the way, THANK GOD.

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  26. YOU HAD BETTER PREY THE YOUNGINS TODAY DONT TAKE SHIT BACK TO 1988-1991 STYLE

    This is why I live in the non-MS13 part of northern Virginia.

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  27. I require my interns to wear their badges while they blow me.

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  28. AnonymousMay 06, 2009

    I like this, I like this a lot! I see that it was written 3 years ago, but is still right on.

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